Deciding what to buy them was easy. I just had to find them.
My four nephews and nieces love soccer so I figured soccer jerseys would make a great Christmas gift, but I had to find them in their favorite colors and that meant going downtown or, as it’s called here, Centro.
My paísa friend Alejandro, who we all call Cachis, offered to take me, to help me. Everyone knows about “gringo prices.” I didn’t want to pay them and Cachis didn’t want me to pay them either.
So here’s the deal. We get there and find a parking spot after looking for about 10 minutes — it was 2 ½ weeks until Christmas and it was a Saturday, so needless to say, downtown was crazy. It was like Times Square on steroids. I was swimming through a sea of people.
I was also protecting my wallet, following Cachis’s advice. Now, don’t take that the wrong way. I wasn’t doing that because it’s Medellín.
I was doing that because it’s a big city and I was bumping into a lot of people. I take these precautions when I’m in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, in any big city.
We passed these vendors that were side-by-side, hundreds of them everywhere, like being at giant flea market.
Cachis had to ask a couple of people where we could find jerseys for my “sobrinos” and eventually, we did.
At this point I had no idea where we were, only that we were somewhere downtown.
I went through my checklist:
- Emma, 8, wears a size 8 and her favorite color is pink.
- Kayla, 6, wears a size 7 and her favorite color is purple.
- Ethan, 5, wears a size 7 and his favorite color is green.
- Zachary, his twin brother, also wears a size 7 and his favorite color is blue.
I batted 3-for-4, barely. There was one pink jersey, just one. I didn’t recognize the team, and it might not be a replica for an official team, but it was pink. Emma, check.
And there were lots of blue and green ones; I just had to choose. For Zachary, I settled on a Chelsea Football Club jersey. For Ethan, I found a Nacional jersey.
There was just one problem: there were no purple jerseys in Kayla’s size. Didn’t matter. I was determined to find one. Fortunately, passing a vendor a few minutes later who was selling them off a rack, I did.
Like Emma’s, I don’t think Kayla’s represented an official team but my sobrinos are at the age when color matters more than anything. Mission accomplished.
They all seemed happy when they opened their gifts on Christmas. But the boys definitely like their jerseys more than the girls like theirs.
Ethan put his on immediately, and I took a picture. Zachary later followed his brother. And they apparently wore them again two days later.
I never got a chance to get a photo of them together because they were never in the same place at the same time, and shortly after opening presents, we had to get ready to go to my sister-in-law’s uncle’s house.
When they wore them again, I wasn’t around. I was in my room, icing my ankle, hoping it wasn’t fractured, treating it until I saw a doctor.
I’ll be going downtown again when my ankle is healed. I need a Nacional jersey, and my brother wants one too.