The challenge of finding a school for children in Colombia often includes tests and interviews that determine who will obtain the select number of spots. At the tender age of five, I underwent this process and under my parents´ discretion enrolled in a private all-girl catholic school as a Protestant. Thus took seed my biggest childhood fear.
While other children feared the dark or even getting kidnapped, I worried I would be outed before all the Carmelite nuns as a Protestant. Worse, I figured God´s wrath was already upon me for having a Catholic baptism to get into the school, but that the level of sinning somehow incremented since the lie involved people who devoted their lives to him.
The memories I´ve retained from said school are fond ones, but leaving for the U.S. in third grade helped not only overcome this fear, but it also allowed me to escape Confirmation and future catholic commitments. This unfounded fear seems comical now, however, as I paced the streets the other day, finally accepting that rain will fall in Bogotá regardless of whether I make deals with Poseidon or decide to carry an umbrella or not, I was swept into a church to avoid a downpour.
Taken back to this point in my childhood, I was also reminded of how relaxing churches can be. In a city like Bogotá, this feeling is easy to obtain, with over 20 ancient churches dating as far back as 1538 one can be swept back to Spanish colonial times. From the peak of Monserrate, to el Templo de San Francisco one can visit part of the city´s history and enjoy the atmosphere, the architecture, and the art.
I suggest to not wait until it rains to visit the churches in this city, but do make room for an umbrella on your walks.