Sam: “I should have danced with that guy yesterday.”
Me: “Uh. I’m pretty sure that was a girl.”
Don’t try to figure it out. That was another one of those you-had-to-be-there moments. It was hilarious though, and it actually made sense at the time.
In a way, this past week here in Bogotá has felt almost like a vacation.
Since we arrived we’ve been abundantly cared for in every way. It was quite a drastic difference from our time in Panama. Here’s the account of our entry:
We had decided to sleep at the airport in Panama City the night before we left because I’d wanted to go up to the ticket counter to change a teeny-tiny mistake that I had made on one of the tickets. After already having tried everything I could to fix it myself, I was told that there was virtually nothing that could be done for it; and since our plane was about to depart in a few hours, we had to make a quick decision. There was no way we could leave Chrystel behind, so we ended up buying a new ticket that cost more than our previous three tickets combined.
I don’t think I’ve ever had that much difficulty trying to enter a country before. Even when we arrived at the airport in Bogotá, we almost weren’t allowed to get out because I didn’t know the foreseen address and had almost no way of finding out what it was.
Nevertheless, we finally did make it into Colombia, exhausted and exorbitantly exuberant.
Since our arrival, we’ve been staying with the family of my friend Carolina whom I met nearly three years ago in Argentina. They have all been beyond generous and loving. In fact, they’ve been over-abundantly spectacular and have gone above and beyond in how much they’ve taken care of us. We’ve been fed more than we can eat; we’ve gotten to ride all around Bogotá and visit various gorgeous places; we’ve been able to spend heaps of quality time with both their immediate and extended family. You see, Sam and Chrystel and I had had no definite previous plan of how long we were going to stay in Bogotá once we got here. We figured we’d just feel it out day by day, as we’d been doing so far; and in turn, we’ve ended up staying for over a week.
The reason for that, though, is that when we first arrived, Carolina’s older brother, Juan Pablo, had proposed to us the notion of heading up to Santa Marta, on the northeast coast of the country, to help his father with a house that’s he’s currently working on. (He’s had it in mind to construct it as a missionary hosting home but also use it for his family from time to time when it’s unoccupied.) We’ve been told over and over that Santa Marta is a beautiful place, with mountains and beaches and a city teeming with possibility. We were immediately excited about the idea; and we nearly made up our minds to go, right then and there.
Carolina’s mom offered to let us ride with her up to Santa Marta, since she had already been planning to go anyway. As it is, then, we’re only waiting for her to find a new apartment for her girls to live in whilst they attend their universities here in Bogotá. Once she finds an apartment, and once we help her move, we’re off on the long drive across the country to our next destination.
Despite how relaxing it has been, our time here hasn’t been without its own measure of difficulty. In Panama, our struggles were mostly external or physical, such as having to sleep sitting up in bus terminals, getting lost in big cities, or going up to three days without a shower; here in Bogotá, however, we’ve been faced more with emotional and spiritual strife. Degrees of discouragement and uncertainty have imposed themselves upon us, but I can confidently say we’re holding our ground in terms of staying focused and always making the most of every situation we’re in, at any moment. We’ve been deliberate about this in the past few days. Sam and I in particular have had some very peculiar conversations with some very peculiar people. We’ve all experienced a couple blatant miracles; we’ve been a part of changing some lives; and all three of us have grown dearly close to Carolina’s family, not to mention each other as well. We’ve drunk gallons of chocolate milk, hiked up to churches on the tops of mountains, spent time with sheep, made friends with homeless people, and all around have had a fabulous time so far. We’ve each concluded that it will be very hard to leave when the time comes.