After having parted with the vast majority of my material possessions and leaving behind most everyone that was dear to me back in the United States, I felt immensely comforted by the fact that a couple of old friends could join me here in my new home.
And so, in October 2008, I brought my two cats, Cocoa and Ziggy, with me on the long voyage from the U.S. to Argentina. Cocoa took to his new surroundings almost immediately, and he quickly gained admirers here in Argentina.
He adapted to the local customs with ease. In fact, he started drinking mate even before I did.
Though always an indoor cat when he lived in the U.S., Cocoa longed for a taste of freedom and the great outdoors. I finally relented to the pressure of Daniel's family, who insisted that I should let him go outside, despite my fears.
His knowledge of the outside world remained limited to the patio and garden, but he loved it just the same. Cocoa spent many an afternoon soaking up the sunshine on the lawn or keeping cool and undercover beneath the planta de la moneda, where he observed our comings and goings with great interest.
An incredibly sweet and easygoing cat, Cocoa's most endearing trait was, without a doubt, his gentle and loving disposition. He adored the attention and company of his humans, and I rarely worked, relaxed, or sat down to a meal alone. His constant companionship and rumbling purr worked wonders on homesickness, the blahs and the blues – better than any other medicine I could imagine.
There was something about Cocoa that felt extremely human; I swear that when I gazed into those large blue eyes, there was a soul in there that peered back at me.
May that soul now be at peace.