- Sonya Leigh Anderson
Just now I escaped our apartment to find a quiet refuge where I can think. It’s Sunday afternoon, and we recently returned from a long walk to a Bogota flea market. We’re back at “home” resting. But resting for boys means TV, and there are TVs in two languages competing within a few feet of each other in our small space. American football on one, and Spanish cartoons on the other. This, honestly, has been my biggest struggle these last two weeks. I do not like TV. I don’t care for it at home, where watching is sporadic, and the TV is downstairs, and I don’t have to watch. But here living in close quarters, with too much free time, this pastime is making me crazy.
I ask God for patience. I understand the circumstances. It isn’t forever. I hope.
I shouldn’t complain. Yesterday there was no TV. There were no appointments, and no long lines. Yesterday we escaped for an entire day to the mountains, and it was glorious. My favorite kind of day.
Unfortunately there were only three of us – Felipe, Luke and me. Kyle stayed back with Jimmy, who is taking his turn at a stomach bug. The sickness hit first thing in the morning, just before we were to leave. Kyle had work he could do, so he stayed. The rest of us met up with Jorge Rico, our driver and guide for the day.
For the three of us the day was perfect. Perfect weather, and a perfect plan. Our guide was an expert. Part humanitarian, part naturalist, Jorge made sure we savored and saw his Colombia. Our journey took us through the mountains to a coffee plantation. The planation was beautiful, and worth the drive, but for Jorge it was just an excuse. An excuse to get us out of the city, and into the country he loves.
Our route included several intentional stops. First a roadside restaurant where we sampled cheese-filled arepas and fresh squeezed orange juice. Yum. Later, a trip to a local market, where we followed Jorge through a sea of produce, two floors deep. We watched as our guide stopped and talked to the vendors, filling his bags with fruits and vegetables. Before long we realized this was not just weekend shopping. This was a compassionate venture for a man with a big heart. We followed his lead, filling our own bags with Felipe’s favorite fruits.
The best part of the day for me was the drive. Even this was strategic. Jorge chose two routes for our journey. The trip out to the planation was scenic, but the way home was exquisite. And our guide made sure we experienced the difference.
On our way out the mountain path was lined with a single species of trees. Eucalyptus, imported from Australia. These foreign trees had taken over parts of the mountain, killing the native varieties. Although they were green and pretty, the Eucalyptus-covered mountains did not hold a candle to our way back home.
The return trip was paradise. Tropical trees of every variety lined mountain walls, heights and jungle combined. I’ve never seen such a combination. Luke tried to take pictures, but it was impossible to capture. Too much beauty to describe.
It was evening when we returned to the city. The traffic was thick and the boys were tired. I watched as the view returned to concrete and commotion. I closed my eyes and remembered, and I cherished my day away.