It was 5am when my alarm went off, but I had been awake long before. We arrived the previous afternoon to the Cappadocia region and Matteo was extremely crabby. I assumed it was the long travel day, but as the evening went on a fever developed and all through the night I was constantly checking and monitoring him.
I got up and reached for the thermometer and placed it to his forehead. The number on the screen indicated that the fever, though lower, was still there.
“Shoot..” I whispered. What do I do?
I had overheard from the front desk that this morning might be our only chance to watch the balloon flights because the weather forecast was predicting high winds the rest of the week —which means no balloons would be allowed to fly. “We’re not going to miss it..” I said to myself, determined to see what I came all this way for.
I quickly dressed and then scooped my sleeping, feverish baby into my arms and covered him with his blanket. It wasn’t until the cool air of the morning hit his face that he awoke.
“Goot ta goot ta ga?” He asked, the famous phrase he has been repeating since he turned one. I’m not sure what it means, but I assume it’s something like, “Where are we going?”
“We are going to go see the balloons take off at sunrise, baby.”
We walked the 7 minute walk from Karadut cave hotel where we were staying to the Sultan Inn Suites where there was a beautiful rooftop view of the entire valley. It was quiet, the sun was still behind the mountains and there were only a few other people on the roof. Minute by minute the light grew and one by one the balloons began to take off until the sky was a splendor of sun rays and hot air balloons.
The fever had gone and Matteo was in awe at all the “ball balls” floating in the sky, he ran around the rooftop pointing to every balloon he saw. Everyone around us, including professional photographers, were trying to snap his photo as he pointed to sky in excitement.
It was a magical sunrise in a place that belongs on the pages of a storybook, nowhere have I ever seen landscape quite as captivating as that of Cappadocia. But as beautiful as it was, it was no where near my favorite sunrise.
Medellin, Colombia, August 2016
At around 4 months old Matteo began to develop a schedule where he wanted to go to sleep at 6pm and wake up at 5am. I tried extending his bedtime by a few hours, contending with a cranky baby every evening, but it didn’t matter what time he went to sleep he still woke up at 5am every morning. He was now 7 months old and this morning in particular was no different. It was still dark outside and the entire city was still asleep.
“Let’s go say hello to daddy.” We quietly exited our bedroom and found Dona Rosa in the kitchen, the elderly maid who lived in the back service room throughout the week.
“Buenos Dias, Dona Rosa.” I said.
“Buenos Dias,” She replied. “Madrugador!” She exclaimed to Matteo —which means “early riser” in Spanish.
Seeing that Andres wasn’t in the kitchen where we sometimes would find him at this time, we headed upstairs and found him lying on the couch outside his bedroom, iPad in hand, watching an episode from some tv series on Netflix.
“He’s still not sleeping?” He asked as he sat up and reached for Matteo who was squealing excitedly for his “dada”.
“No.. this kid.. he’s like his dad..doesn’t want to sleep.” I said, observing that he was in a better mood than the morning before where the minute I walked up the stairs he slammed the door in my and Matteo’s face.
“I WANT to sleep, I just can’t. Besides, I like the night.” He said as he let Matteo smack his iPad screen repeatedly.
“I’m going to make coffee, do you want some?” I asked.
“No I’m going to go bed soon..After I make something eat.”
We all headed downstairs, and at 5am the kitchen was alive with sound and motion and food. Andres decided to make pancakes, Dona Rosa was squeezing fresh orange juice, Matteo was jumping in his bouncy seat, and I was brewing a pot of coffee and getting Matteo’s breakfast ready. A few minutes later Andres’ mom entered the kitchen..
“Good morning..” She said with tired eyes.
“Why are you awake?” I asked. This kitchen was getting smaller and smaller by the minute.
“I couldn’t sleep all night. I’m so tired.. I was up late working on that dinosaur and got nothing done.” She said.
She was an expert at cross stitch and Andres had challenged her to complete a giant T-Rex for Matteo to prove her love for his son. He was always trying to get her angry by saying that her grand daughter Sophia (Andres’ niece who is 11 months older than Matteo ) was her favorite. She had recently finished an adorable banner for Sophia and was now working hard to fulfill Andres’ request. I was with him the day he chose the dinosaur, he had picked the most complicated one on purpose because he knew it would drive her nuts.
“You better finish that dinosaur.” He taunted from the stove where he was flipping pancakes.
“Well then, this is the place to be because no one else here can sleep either.” I said as I handed her a small cup of coffee. “Un Cafecito.”
“Hey —do you want bacon?” Andres asked. “I’m going to make bacon too.”
“Sure.” I said.
“I want bacon too.” His mom said.
“Am I making breakfast for everyone now?” He asked a little annoyed.
“Yes, and can you make me scrambled eggs with — hey where is all the hagao??” I frantically searched the refrigerator for the tomato and green onion salsa typical of Colombia.
“Probably it was Franco.” Andres said, indicating that his younger and only brother who stops by for meals ate it all.
“FRANCO!” I said between gritted teeth. “Next time I’m hiding it.” I said in frustration. I really loved horgao.
“Dona Rosa can make more.” His mom interjected. “Dona Rosa hace was hagao por Osanna, por favor.”
“No it’s okay, I’ll make more later.” I always felt bad for adding to the list of things Dona Rosa had to do and did my best to help her throughout the day.
“Okay it’s ready.” Andres handed me a plate of pancakes and bacon.
“Thanks.” I said as I set the plate down on the counter and pulled up a stool and finished mashing Matteo’s avocado and pear mixture.
We all crowded around the counter top on bar stools, eating our breakfast while the magic of the sunrise happened right outside the window. But the real magic was taking place in this little kitchen in the early hours of the morning.
To see our Budget for Turkey (Where we stayed and how much we spent for 3 weeks) click here.