Trip Start Sep 15, 2012
Trip End Sep 25, 2012

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Flag of Peru  ,
Tuesday, September 18, 2012

We were up and had the kids packing this morning, with their massive stuff in the lobby at noon. Why? Because we had to be out of the rooms. But the bus didn't come until 2:30. So, wrangling the kids and trying to keep them civil in a living room the size of a regular bedroom was a challenge. Especially since Rick doesn't hear or see anything. So, it was all about me.

We left the hotel for the airport at 2:30. I asked Rick several days ago if the Choir guy had paid in advance for all of that luggage and the boxes for the airplane. He assured me that it was all clear. So, we get to the airport, with 26 pieces of luggage, including 6 huge boxes of "old clothes and junk toys", and sure enough, we are overweight. Significantly. I vote that we leave the boxes there, but Rick and the social worker said that it "would look bad to the children" because their host families in America had given them the stuff. I didn't care.

$427 dollars later (and all of the tickets on the airplane only cost $680--I paid for those too), we loaded all bags and boxes on, and kids to the food court. No one had eaten anything at all. Rick was out of money, so they didn't eat breakfast. I didn't know that, but they survived. So, we had Papa John's pizza in the food court. Me again. I think that this trip has cost me about $1700 so far, and I haven't even started my vacation. But, they are amazing kids, and if you met them, and saw how many times they look at me and thank me, and hug me, and are so genuine, it just doesn't matter. We are so lucky. Unbelievably lucky. They are so full of love, and so giving. They never argue. They share with each other without question. So, it isn't hard to just share with them.

We arrived in Arequipa, and there was a city official there to greet them, and a news station to video it. The lady read a city proclamation, and the kids performed for a group waiting for them. It was cool, because when we got off of the plane, outside, there were people with signs yelling and waving, and the kids felt like celebrities. So cute. They traveled in costume, so they got lots of attention in the airports.

We went to the orphanage of Rick's, and the children there were so precious. Little ones from age 3 on up. So happy. They love Rick and Sandra (the social worker), and call them Papi and Mami, the only parents they know. There were signs welcoming me, and welcoming Papi and Mami home. Precious. I'm sending photos to Brian to include in the Blog. Faces that melt you.

Then, I arrive at my Arequipa hotel. I am amazed. A $40 a night suite, that is wonderful. It is formerly a home, built in the 1800's, with grand staircases, amazing woodwork, and it is staggeringly beautiful. The room is wonderful. And there are no children here. I will sleep in tomorrow while the kids do tv interviews and go to the City Offices for official welcomes. That's their deal. I need the rest. Then I will meet up with them later on.

It's late here now, but I'll have Brian put photos on tomorrow. Wish I could do it, but don't know how. No Flash on my iPad.

Love you all.

Connie (Mom)
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