Thursday, May 22, 2008

Corpus Christi en Cusco

Thousands in the Plaza de Armas. This Catholic holiday in Cusco is an excuse to drink. All the images of the saints of each region of Cusco are brought out and carried to the center of Cusco, the Plaza de Armas. The people dance and play music. And then they set up shop in a corner of one plaza or another and pull out cases and cases of beer. By the time night falls, men and women alike are drunk. This is only the beginning of a series of Catholic holidays that are celebrated here in Cusco.
Funny how the church doors are open ALL day long on this day, but other so called "normal" days, the church doors are closed and even charge people to enter in. How the priests can call such a day "holy" and condone such drunkenness, when they know how alcohol is such a problem in this city, destroying families and ruining lives. We're not against drinking a glass of wine or a bottle of beer. But we do not think it's ok to call drunkenness holy.

On another note, it was a beautiful day! We took Isabella out for a walk in her new stroller. She loved looking at everything. She is such an observant baby.

This is my favorite plaza of Cusco. There are large trees, colorful flowers, beautiful architecture and a lovely fountain.
We sat for a while, taking in the beauty of the day. Isabella watched all the people... and they watched her. Some Peruvians even came up to take pictures of her. I told them, 5 Soles for the picture. It was just a joke, but the truth is, they charge us (foreigners) anytime we take pictures of them or their kids.

Isabella was mesmerized by the water spraying out of the fountain, with the cool misty breeze blowing in her face. She loves being outdoors.

We stood and watched the water for a long time, before it was time to go home.

A woman dancing

A girl fixing the back of a woman's dress

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chile and a wedding

Angello did it. he tied the knot! we had a wonderful (although short) 10 days in Chile. it wasn't all fun though as we had work and things to take care of while we were there.

Isabella had her 4 month shots. She did great, she didn't even cry. But i vowed to never take her back to that consultorio where they place the vaccinations. The nurse was the most pesada that i have ever met. I (sorry to say it but i) wanted to punch her! First she didn't want to put the shot because I didn't bring Isabella's carnet (the card where all the shots are recorded). But the pediatrician told me just the day before that it wasn't necessary as long as I brought the doctor's orders for the shot, which i did. Anyway, she then was super rude and said only one of us could be in the room with the baby, so Ricky left. She told me to expose her left arm. I swear she pushed the needle in Isa's arm without even looking. She pulled it out so quickly I was surprised and by the time I looked up, the nurse had turned away and went back to her desk to help the little boy beside us. The nurse just threw the piece of cotton down onto Isa's chest, didn't even try to put it on the spot where the shot went in. I was mortified!! Isabella didn't make a peep however, and the woman next to me encouraged her 5 year old son to be brave because even the little baby didn't cry. What a poor kid. The nurse made him cry. Ricky and I won't be going back to that place. That woman does not belong in health care. Ugh!

We also had to go to downtown to check on the progress of Isabella's inscription into the Chilean Civil Registration, so she can be Chilean as well as American. We had to send her birth certificate back to the U.S. with the Ministry of Foreign Relations, to San Francisco, to have her birth certificate translated into Spanish and legalized, etc etc. We started this process 2 months ago, and they said it would be ready when we got there. But the man who was responsible for sending the document to San Francisco had a problem and forgot. He found the document on his desk... STILL! He apologized profusely telling us that he had gone on vacation and when he got back he totally forgot (nice one). We will wait another 2 months at least in order to continue the process. It's ok though, really, because Isabella is not in a hurry to get her Chilean nationality. She will always be gringa as well... She is on a tourist visa with her US Passport, just like me.. so it's all ok.

We have an update on our Peruvian residency. The owner of the house we rent in Cusco is a pretty important and wealthy man in the city. He has a cousin who is a general of the army who happens to be stationed working in Immigrations in Lima, the capital of Peru. After we lost our residency and were told we would have to start the year long (at least) process all over again, from scratch, Sr. Washington (our landlord) told us he would see what he could do to help us. He checked with his cousin. Apparently we still have residency in the immigrations system (thanks to incompetency of the peruvian immigration officers). We aren't all ok though, because we still need our Peruvian residency ID cards. It's very possible they have them sitting in a file cabinet in the Immigrations office in Lima. We are waiting to find out if we need to go to Lima to pick them up. If we do, we'll have to leave next week. It's about a 5 day process to have them actually handed over to us (interviews and I don't know what else hold the process up a few days). I'm not too excited to stay 5 days in Lima, but we'll manage. I hope hope hope that our id cards are ready and waiting... and thankfully that person who made us renounce our residency last October must have lost that paper, or thrown it away... don't know.. and don't care.

Back to our trip to Santiago... Angello and Maria Laura got married. The wedding was nice, the party was better. Lots of dancing, good wine and good food. I love Ricky's family. They took up 90% of the dance floor. They sure do know how to have a good time. I really wanted to tell Maria Laura how lucky she is to be marrying into this family, because they are such good people. They are so united and fun. The newly weds went to Buenos Aires, (Argentina) for their honeymoon.

Edgardo decided to come back to Cusco to work with us until the end of the year. We are really thankful because he works great with the children. He will be a huge help to me as well. His main focus will be the children's ministry. He flew back with us last Friday and got to work right away.
Dia de la Mama was fun with the kids. They did a craft to give to their moms. The kids had to think of reasons why they love their mom. Some kids had a hard time.. others went on and on. Cristian, a 10 year old, asked me if it was ok to say i love you because i love you. Of course, i said. On Sunday we did a different craft for the moms of the church. And we gave each mom potted flowers. I hope they take care of them. I love plants. Ricky and Isabella gave me a nice tall indoor plant for my first mother's day gift. Last mother's day, which was technically my first mother's day because i was pregnant, Ricky gave me a plant, which now is taller than I am and looks wonderful in our living room/church.

Something happened with Isabella once she turned 4 months old. She started sleeping wonderfully! I don't know exactly what happened, or if it was something different that i started doing, but she started going down (awake) in her crib, and going to sleep within 5 minutes, without a fuss. I am so proud of her. She learned to self-soothe (as all the books say is important for them to do). She sucks her thumb a little. She'll play with the pacifier in her mouth, but won't suck on it. She likes us to read her a book before going to sleep. I don't know what it is, but I'm not complaining! She still wakes up once a night to nurse. I'm not sure when she'll start sleeping through the night, but i think this is a good first step. She weighs 7 kilos, which is pretty heavy, the pedi said she doesn't need to eat at night, but i'm not ready to let her cry during the night when she wants to eat. I know soon i will just have to stop her 4 am feeding, but not quite yet.
Oh, and she started napping great too! Before it was really hard to get her to nap. I was consistent with her wake times, nap times, etc, but she only wanted to nurse to sleep and as soon as I put her down she would wake up. But now I put her in the crib at nap time and she goes to sleep and she sleeps a good hour or two.... how easy is that?! i love it.

I'm going to close now. Chao to you