Connecting over Colada

The other day I got to have my first mug of Colada Morada. And I got to have it while sitting and talking with a friend about life and all its complexities. Colada Morada is a thick, hot, sweet fruit drink that is only made and served around this time of year in Ecuador in anticipation of the Dia de los Difuntos, or Day of the Dead holiday, on November 2. But really they start selling it several weeks before – similar but not nearly as extreme as the Christmas decorations that appear in U.S. stores in September!

True to it’s name, the drink is a very dark morada, or purple, and families gather together to enjoy one another over the long process of cooking up the drink. They put all kinds of things in it, including mortiños (similar to a blueberry), blackberries, pineapple, oranges, grapes, strawberries, cloves, cinnamon, sweet peppercorns, aromatic herbs, and of course lots of sugar and purple corn flour for texture! It’s thick and almost syrupy, and when you get to the bottom, chunks of fruit await to be slurped up.

My friend and I didn’t labor over making our colada morada, but we were happy to order it instead of coffee when they told us it was being served. We talked about life and work and friendships, and as I stared into my slowly draining cup I found myself reflecting on the community we live in. In that moment I was so thankful to have a friend – a friend I was having a very real conversation with rather than just the fluff that is often so easy a replacement. Living in a community like this is a unique experience – it’s like we’re a bunch of different kinds of fruits thrown together with spices in a pot and heated until something sweet emerges. We don’t always choose to be thrown in with each other, but choosing isn’t always a luxury we get. It’s tempting sometimes to try to keep to yourself or hold back some until it feels safe enough. After all, you might just come to like someone and they could move away that summer. But a simmering cauldron of fruit cocktail is never very safe. It’s sticky and hot and threatens to change parts of you into something else. But it can be sweet and warm and delicious if you’re willing to stay in it for long enough. This year, I’m challenging myself to stay in it for longer. Here’s to more conversations and cups of colada morada.

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angela October 24, 2013 Uncategorized