© 2015 mikeandbrynne

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Parting is such sweet sorrow–

Four years ago when our friend Garin returned home from a work trip to Peru and visited the magical citadel of Machu Pacchu, he and Mike formulated a plan to take our older kids to this site heralded as one of the “Seven Wonders of Modern World” when his oldest was a senior and our oldest was a junior. Four years flew by and the next thing we knew we were planning a trip to South America. Our friends Lisa and Garin are amazing planners, but they are also extremely busy and between all of our over scheduled lives and Mike and I’s famed last minute planning, somehow we were solidifying details all the way until the moment of departure. The most stressful of these being our Brazil visas which did not arrive in Los Angeles for pick up until less than 24 hours before our international departure. Ahhhhhh!  Thankfully my parents kindly picked up the visas for us and handed them to mike on his flight from Portland through Orange County. Sadly, he missing Jakes eagle board of review (which he passed win flying colors–phew!) , but he did manage to arrive just before midnight with our passports and visas in hand. I felt like I had spent an entire week trying to get the kids appropriately packed and prepped for the trip and the younger kids happy and organized for our time away. Somehow Mike managed to started packing at our appointed time to DEPART for the airport on Friday morning.

Trying to review and prepare for our adventure the boys read all the picture books I could find on the Incas, Machu Picchu and Brazil. During their school time with me they filled out maps on South American geography each day for a week or two. The older boys also read an excellent Machu Picchu guidebook, Hiram Bighams “Lost City of the Incas” and  “Turn Right at Machu Picchu”. All were helpful reads that made you want to grab your hiking shoes and trek out the door. Aside from the visa drama I had major trepidation about a couple of things: the first was leaving the little ones. I hate leaving them and as crazy coincidence would have it, I had already left them this Fall and didn’t want to leave them again. I think I held and snuggled Lily ALL DAY LONG on Thursday. I am so thankful to all the wonderful people who are helping to watch those kiddos. My other legitimate concern was my 13 year old adventurer who loves to hike and rock climb, but suffers from altitude sickness. I have talked to and read about gaggles of people that get altitude sickness in Cusco and Machu Picchu. In fact, the stats I read this week stated that 75% of visitors experience some level of altitude sickness during their visit to these ancient Incan cities. What was I doing taking a kid with known altitude sickness to a city that nears 12,000 feet??  We started praying for Jake. Blessedly with the stars aligning our flights went without a hitch and we arrived after midnight in the seaside Capitol of Peru, Lima.

Exhausted and so ready for our beds we found ourselves lost in Lima. Due to a banking convention in Lima hotel room prices were through the roof and we ended up booking a home through AirBNB. Surprisingly the map on AirBNB’s website was wrong so we were left circling the city at 2am. The bright side was that we didn’t have any traffic at that time of day in a city that is known for horrible traffic congestion. By either inspiration or desperation we finally managed to find the gate guarded community and were happily whisked to our beds by a lovely Peruvian couple.

We awoke to sunshine, a hazy fog that I understand typically lingers over the city and breakfast cooking. The hard thing about visiting a beautiful, but non first world country like Peru is that you aren’t always sure what is safe to eat and not to eat. Knowing that the goal of our trip was Machu Picchu and that we would already be struggling with altitude the last thing I wanted was for us to be sick. Thus, I was overly cautious with what we ate. I kept telling the kids to avoid all the salads and fresh vegetables which they thought was hilarious because it was the antithesis of what I am always expounding. After our scantily picked over victuals we headed for the Lima temple to do baptisms.

Right in the heart of a busy Lima neighborhood amidst a traffic filled street stood the beautiful Lima temple complex. Gate guarded 24/7 with temple apartments, family history center, cafeteria and worship facilities it was more of a temple block than simply temple grounds. Drew sat in the lobby while we waited upstairs for our turn in the Baptistry.  Soon we were ushered into the tiny hallway and the even tinier dressing room. Often in the temple you feel like there are angels in your midst. What I wasn’t anticipating was meeting earthly angels. Yet in the hallway we found ourselves surrounded by the most incredible youth who had traveled by bus from their town 16 hours away to come to the temple, many for the first time, to have the opportunity to do one or two baptisms and then hop back on the bus for the return trip of another 16 hours. Mike later told me that many of them were shaking when he went to baptize them because they were so nervous, but their eyes and countenances shown with light. I loved them for their goodness, for their sacrifice, for their example. My eyes filled with tears as I performed the ordinances for my ancestors and as I thought of the ease with which my boys go to the temple every week. What a weight is on our shoulders to make an impact for good in the world. Their example would have been worth the entire trip.

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After being edified we took a detour to MiraFlores which is the high end area of Lima on the coast. There they have beautiful parks along the ocean where locals can exercise or run or just relax. We wished we had more time to stroll through the gardens and sit on the park benches. Luckily we managed some time to eat at their outdoor mall which felt more like Fashion Island then Peru with our delicious fresh juices and grilled chicken. Far too quickly it was time to head to the airport and board our plane for Cusco.

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