“What does your mom think?!” asks almost every human who appears more adult than me in Medellin (i.e., everybody). Since I’m often mistaken for a student myself, most friends I’ve made in the Spanish-English circuit are shocked to know that I’d showed up to Colombia’s second-largest city sola. Unmarried, single, and twenty-two years old. “Sos un bebe,” they tell me, and I wait for someone to pinch my cheek while I order another beer.
My family has always been supportive of my interest to travel and live abroad. I just have to send a Whatsapp message now and then to prove that I’m still breathing. But not every mom would be as eager as mine to make the 2,000-mile trip to visit.
Having any family or friends visit abroad is more than a treat. It’s an excuse to eat out, take a weekend trip, and celebrate being together. I’d planned to take my mom around to all of my favorite spots. We’d share a slice of tres leches in Los Colores, sip wine in Santa Elena, and dig into arepas on the street corner. But because I’d already fallen into a routine of the quick-service panaderias in my new neighborhood, I was surprised to encounter a calming escape of a coffee shop just a few streets away. (Meaning my mom found it on Trip Advisor…. and I fell in love with a latte.)
Cafe Ondas is clearly expat-owned. The design– with its communal table, deep purple walls, indie rock playlist and mason jars for fruit juices– softly screams “I’ve been to Brooklyn before.” But that’s Ok. While earning my hourly teaching rate in pesos, I wouldn’t visit Ondas every afternoon. But with a visitor in the city, a strong cup of coffee is exactly the afternoon pick-me-up required before exploring another corner of Medellin. Ondas offers a small luxury in the form of cocoa-dusted cappuccinos, tucked away on a quiet street in barrio Floresta. The small haven makes for good conversation and a cup of something fancy to sip on.