I feel fortunate to have several people in my life who I’ve known since my early youth. These are people who have seen me at my best, my worst, my most socially awkward, and in moments that make me cringe to remember them. They saw me with huge permed hair shellacked with the cheapest drugstore hairspray, and were kind enough to not tell me that it smelled of varnish when it rained. These people are saints of the highest order.
The person who takes the title of my longest-suffering-friend is Jill, who I’ve had the privilege to know since grade school. She knew me when my hair was the highest priority in my life, when I had Michael Jackson posters on my wall, and when it was more important to have “cute” shoes than shoes that made my feet feel good. We competed in spelling bees together, planned overly dramatic stories under romantic pen names (I believe hers was Normandy something-or-other), and wrote each other lampoon papers with an advice column called “Dear Flabby” (written by “Flabigail Van Booger,” of course). To Jill’s eternal credit, she patiently tolerated my obsession with my hair and didn’t roll her eyes (much) when I kept a curling iron at school so I could style my hair a second time when the walk to school deflated its poofy perfection. Oh, how time changes us…and thankfully, mostly in good ways.
Decades later, I couldn’t care less about my hair (and it shows) and Jill now lives in Bogota, Colombia where she and her husband Don—who I’ve known since high school—teach in an international school. The primary purpose of this trip is to see her, but I am also thrilled to discover a country that has gone through a tremendous amount of change in the decades since I first met Jill.
As always, this first post is to let you know that David and I have arrived in Bogota safely. Our plan on this trip is to spend time with Jill and Don in the Bogota area and then in Cartagena, after which we will part as David and I travel north to Santa Marta to embark upon a mini-trek to La Ciudad Perdida, or “the Lost City.”
I look forward to this opportunity to create new memories with my lifelong friend.