Final reflections or why I am glad we did not road trip
Things I am learning:
1) Sometimes eating ice cream is the most important thing for the moment. Pace is important for relationship. It is not about how quickly or how much is done, but about traveling together. Sometimes a cold ice cream and a sit down is what is needed to recharge.
2) Our children do not travel well in cars going around mountains. I do not travel well in cars going around mountains. Peruvians are very kind when vomit is projectile. Daniel does not find me laughing at projectile vomit amusing. Sometimes it is better to laugh than cry or get frustrated.
3) Including the boys in decisions is really helpful for getting them on board with what is going on. It builds relationship too. It is fun for them to go through the holiday saying: ‘Mummy, we got to do the thing you wanted today!’ It is helpful for me to recognize where their priorities are. For them, ice cream is a priority. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be complicated or take a three-hour journey up a mountain to get to.
4) Having a gathered time as a family every evening is really important for our family. Starting whilst we were away, we have been having a time to read the Bible, pray, listen to God and chat together, play a short game of Uno together or watch something together every day at 7pm. It has become a priority and we make sure the boys are ready for bed beforehand which has made bed times less stressful too. It has been so encouraging to read the Bible together and hear the boys’ reflections (we are reading through the book of Mark together) and to hear them pray, see prayers regularly answered and the boys hearing God’s voice clearly for us and for others. That has been SUPER encouraging for us after it being something we have desired for so long to do, but just found it so difficult to begin. There was a lot of resistance at the beginning, as with beginning any new thing, but being on holiday meant we had the space to push through and prioritize it!
Apart from Ice cream, Kaleb (3) also loves animals. Kaleb had been so patient and persevering with all the long walks we had been on and all the ruins we had looked around, but towards the end of the trip he finally lost it and cried ‘I just want to see some animals!’ So we arranged for Daniel, Kaleb and I to take a colectivo bus (s./2.50) from Puputi Street in Cusco to Km 22 towards Pisac to the Ccochihuasi Animal Sanctuary. It took about 25 minutes.
There are not a huge number of animals there, but the entrance is free (a suggested donation of s./10 per person will be rewarded with a free gift - Kaleb chose a condor pen and Daniel an ocarina clay musical instrument.) The Santuary is a rescue centre and there are some condors, wild cats, vicunas, llamas, alpacas, macaws and falcons as well as some tortoises and guinea pigs. The most impressive thing, and what Daniel and Kaleb loved the most, was the condors. They are very tame and they show off their flying as well as letting you get close to them inside their enclosure.
The whole tour probably only took 30 minutes, but the boys were very happy and wanted to go back and look at all the animals again. Kaleb's two favourite memories of our trip to Cusco are the animal sanctuary (which he kept calling the 'animal factory!') and ice cream. Don't forget the ice cream. He drew 2 of them on the front page of his photo scrapbook!
The other thing that really inspired me in Cusco was our hotel.
The hotel that we chose was the Niños hotel in Calle Meloc. I loved the fact that it was set up to fund the costs of a local children’s home, meaning all the profits from the hotel go to help the children. All the names of the rooms are named after the first children who were in the children’s home and the room keys even come attached to a tiny black sandal!
The hotel was very simple but very pretty. It is a safe, quiet, friendly hotel with rooms around a central courtyard. The first night we had two rooms with a shared bathroom outside the room, which was clean but too cold to use in the middle of the night! (Temperatures in July drop to near freezing in the middle of the night!) Thankfully we were able to swap to a large family room with a bathroom for the remaining 3 nights.
The food in the hotel was healthy, creative and really yummy (I had the chicken curry with brown rice, bananas and almonds a few times!). For foreigners the prices are probably very reasonable, (the curry cost about $6) but being used to Peru prices, it was too expensive for us to all eat there regularly. There was a supermarket across the road, however, where we were able to buy bread and cereal for the boys for breakfast and tea (we had brought our own spoons, cups and bowls with us.).
Because we were able to stay with some fellow missionaries for the first week of our stay we were able to afford to stay in the Niños Hotel for 4 nights at the end of our trip. It says it is a 2 star hotel and it is very basic (there was only a tiny soap and no shampoo in the rooms), but it was very clean, pretty, quiet and well thought through. It inspired me to think creatively about business ideas for Oikos. Starting a small hotel like that would be something I would happily do, but it wouldn't work where we live in Lima - it is not central enough for there to be the tourists for it. It did inspire some other ideas though, so watch this space...!
So here are my final reflections on our time in Cusco and the things I am thankful for:
The opportunity to get out into nature - for beautiful bright blue skies, occasional fast-moving clouds and the sun’s warmth. For children playing with sticks for light-sabers and collecting berries and seed pods. For laughter and paddling in steams. For opportunities to climb, run, slide, jump and explore.
The opportunity to spend time as a family - to adventure together, to find places together, to explore places together.
For friendships as a family - spending time with the Brown family and their children and getting out into nature together with them, for their help and guidance in pointing us in the right direction. For the children having other children to play and explore with.
The opportunity to think - to leave the computer to one side and read, think and be without feeling guilty about something else I should be doing. For new ideas and processing old ones.
For God’s faithfulness and peace. It wasn’t a stressful holiday. There were no big obstacles to overcome. We just felt God’s peace and provision and guidance over the whole time. Even though we did get sick or injured or hurt, every evening we prayed together and by the morning in every single case, the person was better. It didn’t get in the way of us having a great time. So much so, I only just remember those things now because I was looking for them! My main memories of the two weeks are all positive!
I hope you have enjoyed these posts on our two-week trip to Cusco in July. Here is the full list in case you missed one:
Thanks so much for reading. Do leave a comment and say hi! I'm about to start a new series on the blog in the coming weeks, so look out for the posts! You will have to wait to find out about what exactly...Let's just say it is something very close to my heart! If you don't want to miss new posts, you can sign up to receive new posts by email by clicking here.