So we made it! And so did our cases which, given that we only had a 30 minute layover in Asuncion, was a small miracle. It’s been just over two weeks since we arrived – an intense two weeks spent finding our feet, kitting out our home, buying a vehicle, re-orientating ourselves to Santa Cruz, and catching-up with people. I’ve also managed to squeeze in some priority Novō business… We still have some more practical stuff to do (both to set-up life here in Bolivia and to close things down in the UK) but it feels like we’re turning a corner and by the end of this coming week the initial settling phase will be complete. We’ll see. First impressions? That it’s really strange returning to make home in a place which is definitely not ‘home’ but in which we’ve previously ‘made home’; that Santa Cruz is an intense, growing, gritty city with an extreme wealth/poverty gap (a gap we’re seeing with fresh eyes, not least because of our kids’ questions and observations); that getting out of the city is massively life-giving for us; that it’s a huge advantage coming back to a place we know, to people we know and love, to a language we ‘know’ but that that also means you skip the “wow, isn’t this exciting?!” honeymoon phase! What else? The weather has been rough – mainly wet and/or cold – but that hasn’t stopped the kids asking to go swimming. I got stopped/fined by the cops on Day 4 (poor JJ was sure I was going to get hauled off to prison!). The kids have already made some great friends and we’ve all had such a warm welcome from friends here who’ve stocked our fridge, had us over for meals, and looked after our kids while we’ve shopped. Phoebe has had a terrible stomach bug for a couple of days, but was super-brave about it! It seems the people who lived in the house before us fed the local strays so we’ve been plagued by ferrel cats (a mangy white one is sauntering past the window as I write…) I’m tempted to get into something more reflective on what has been an emotionally/physically/spiritually intense couple of weeks, but I think we’ll save for that for a future post! For now, here are some snapshots we’ve take whilst out and about over the last couple of days. If you’re reading this as an email you will only be able to see the photos if you read this post online (which you can do by clicking on the blue blog title above).
The view towards the city from the only high-spot near to Santa Cruz
On the banks of the River Pirai
Sunday lunch at ‘La Sierra’ where they serve incredible duck… Mickey adds that they also have monkeys and parrots – not to eat though!
Visiting Kairos, a professional class Bolivian church, this morning
Our new home
Scooting on our street
A roadside fruit seller or ‘fast fruit’ as Mickey calls it!
Daniel takes a rest from our furniture shopping!
The road behind our neighbourhood
On the main road into the city