1) A lot of people have asked about our trip and it was overwhelming to know how to begin explaining it all.
2) I like the November Gratitude Challenge, but I needed a little change up.
3) At some point in my life, I might try to write professionally and I thought this would be good practice and a challenge. (Which it has been.)
4) A memory for Rhonda, Mackenzie, Abbi and I to have in a tangible form.
The fourth point is going to be the purpose of my last blog. The four of us went through an experience together that we will never forget. This will always be a very special memory for me as I saw my daughter blossom, and I bonded with one of my favorite girlfriends and her daughter in such a unique way. We were pushed to our limits of comfort. We were confused and frustrated. We were rummy and silly. We were together. We were AWESOME! During all of the difficulties and all the triumphs, we laughed. We laughed so much! So for my last blog, I'm pulling all of the "funnies" out of our travel journal. You'll be privy to our inside jokes. Here, in mostly quote form, our favorite jokes throughout the trip.
We had little bags of chocolates to give to the gate agents and flight attendants for our travels. When we couldn't get on the DEN-MIA flight because it was full, Mackenzie said, "Ahhh! We wasted our chocolates!"
In Miami Airport, boarding for LIM- A big security guard type of man and a sliding space-aged doorway to the jetbridge. The doors closed ahead of me and I looked to him, in confusion. "Do you have duty free?" Me, "Uh, no." Him, "Then go!" He had a deep, thick African accent, and his serious demeanor did not match our giddy excitement. "Then go!" became a favorite quote for our trip.
Our first night in Cusco, we ate at Pacha Papas. We had a very nice waiter, named Roger. In jest, one of his coworkers told us that the live music was playing tonight because it was Roger's birthday. Rhonda and I broke out in the Happy Birthday song and other patrons joined us. It was not Roger's birthday.
During that first dinner, I had asked Mackenzie, "Do you like art?" I was asking because the entire street we had walked to dinner was filled with art galleries. And we had already been hit up by Pablo Picasso. Before she could respond, I said, "Because, I don't." I wasn't trying to be funny. I really don't care for art. My home is decorated with photos of the people I love. I have a few art pieces, mostly that have been gifted to me, and I do like them, but I don't think I'm a "tour an art gallery" person. I just stink at decorating anyway, and I don't care to own any more art in my lifetime. (Why am I feeling defensive about this?)
Anyway, for the rest of the trip, we laughed so many times about, "Do you like that?" "Because, I don't." Many, many times that quote was repeated.
The first night in the villages, Mackenzie was not going to sleep in her volunteer shirt. We had to wear it for three days, but changing her shirt meant changing clothes in the freezing cold. Rhonda said she should just sleep in it. Mackenzie said, "You, the one who set out new pajamas for me on Pajama Day at school, are going to talk to me about this?"
We remarked in our journal that the people of Huancancha gave us many hugs and kisses during the delivery of blankets. I think our whole group would agree that they were our favorite village.
Some inappropriate humor follows:
The third night in Cusco, Abbi and I were given a different room. When you opened the door, immediately there were steep stairs straight up. Rhonda said, "Oooh, it's like an attic!" And I replied, "Yes, Abbi and I are like Anne Frank!" Abbi thought that was a terrible thing to say.
During the night cap in our Anne Frank room, for some reason we were talking about making the decision to "pull the plug," on a loved one. Abbi said, "It's just adios, amigos!" and did a throat cut gesture. Ha! I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the inappropriate tree?
We were laughing a lot that night, processing everything we had been through during the previous nights in the village. We had plans to leave for Germany from Miami, and we were probably being a tiny bit rowdy. Rhonda and I did tell the girls to ask us in the morning if we were still going to Oktoberfest.
We had possibly been knocked at once for being too loud at 8 p.m. (We walked right by Dan & Barb's room on the way to our room, and we are pretty sure Dan knocked on the window to quiet us down.) When a knock at our door came, I was sure we were in for it. I was so embarrassed (I may have tried to hide,) and I made Mackenzie answer the door. It was just Jeannie with our tickets for the day hike in MP. We settled down and went to bed soon after.
The Hritscos and I agree that Peru has a certain spice smell, everywhere! Abbi can't smell it.
Mackenzie had asked the time of day a lot! And the plans. She goes over them and wants to know what happens next. And then she converts the times to Pacific Time and Rhonda and I would scold her! "Stay on the time zone you're in or you'll have no fun!"
Rhonda was hugging and kissing Mackenzie and the local kids were pointing and laughing at them.
We wanted to treat the girls in MP, so we bought them ICE CREAM! and alcohol truffles!...ooops.
Aguas Calientes has a beautiful church in the courtyard. Rhonda and Mackenzie went in and were praying for their family and were having a very special, meaningful moment. Then, the guy next to them ripped a loud fart. So much for the moment! I didn't enter the church all of the way, but I did want to take pictures-- even though there were 'no pictures' signs everywhere. Abbi wouldn't let me. It is a funny dynamic in our relationship that the daughter enforces the rules on the mother... a lot.
When we were leaving MP, there was a group of local kids that stopped Mackenzie and Shelly (a beautiful blonde with blue eyes) to take pictures with them. Beautiful, white girls were like a novelty. We were wondering if they were doing a scavenger hunt and had to take a picture with a tourist. For whatever reason, Mackenzie was asked by 3 different groups to pose for a picture before we left MP. Her dark hair and beautiful blue eyes are stunning.
This is the rough cut. I ran out of time to edit it. Abbi didn't want to write for the blog, so I interrogated her. It's so long that really only her family members will want to take the time to watch it.
On a final note, I hope you've enjoyed spending this month of November with me. I've gotten some really nice feedback. It's been fun to share this journey. Please feel free to leave a comment below. It would be great to hear from you all!