As I wake up to the sound of high heels and chatting business people in the hallway instead of the giggling school children and honking bus horns, I realize, in that still half asleep kind of way, that we’re in a new place; we’re in Popayán. There is hot, fresh coffee ready 24 hours a day around here which is all the motivation I need to get up. Jamie and the boys fast asleep in the other bed (did I force Jamie out of this small bed last night?), I quietly grab the laptop and head up to the rooftop.
The sun is creeping up through the green hills and distant clouds. Sipping my coffee in a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops feels luxurious. The climate seems something close to perfect. Not too hot, not too cold. Humid, but not wet. The smell of fried corn bread is in the air. Horse hooves clop alongside the revving of motorcycle engines on the street below. I can see the domes of three churches popping up in a sea of red tile rooftops. Two cats have decided to join me, soaking up some early morning rays on the terrace.
We’re sure enjoying this new place. Some of the reasons are obvious: the amazing historic white-walled city center, the amiable and snazzy people, new and tasty foods and a clean, safe hotel (the boys would add the five channels of cartoons on the flat screen mounted above their bed and the indoor playground at the very modern mall). Below are a few pictures of our latest adventures to give you a taste!
Some of the other reasons we’re enjoying it here are a bit more elusive because they have more to do with what’s going on inside us instead of around us. Here’s a guess at some of what’s going on…
We are able to just take the place in as it comes without judging it as much as we did in Ecuador. In Ecuador, we had to live with whatever we experienced for months on end so we measured a day’s events against our high hopes and expectations for the whole time. Since our time here is short we’re trying to savor it but we also know that we have plenty more travel ahead of us so we’re not taking the frantic squeeze-it-all-in approach as is typical of the standard American one-week vacation. Also, our time in Ecuador desensitized us to the many things we are seeing in Colombia that would have overwhelmed us previously. We’re now used to random boy-sized-holes in the sidewalks, to traffic that seems to be aiming for you and to not understanding at least half of what is said.
So here we are, safe and sound in Colombia. Today we’re feeling grateful for this chance to see and do new things together. Packing up and leaving Ecuador was hard. The two days of travel on hot, dusty and bumpy roads was tough. And tomorrow we’re going to pack it all up again and hop on an airplane to Cartagena. Surely, there will be some surprises along the way. Hopefully, we’ll take them as they come with a bit more grace than we had when we arrived on this continent. If learning to live in the moment and face each day with a centered stance of calm and possibility is one of our goals, and it is, then we are currently attending the best university on the subject. Speaking for myself, I think I can handle the course load…as long as they have fresh, hot coffee available the whole time.