A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
Las Alasitas is apparently an Aymara word (I think) that means 'Buy it'! This is such an interesting tradition here: There are markets ALL over the city that sell miniature things: houses, restaurants, money, animals, cars, babies, groceries, etc. You buy a miniature thing, then you have it blessed by either the 'witch' or a priest, and then you'll get the thing that you bought in miniature in real life during that year!
Well, we didn't buy anything. We went to the downtown Alasitas market at about 11:30am, which was actually a really bad idea! Turns out that in order to have the BEST luck to get what it is that you want, you have to buy it and have it blessed at exactly noon! So the crowds were thickening...and the sun was shining and beating down on us...and you put crowds and heat together and you get a really unhappy Peter (and therefore an unhappy mom)! Doh! So we didn't spend long at the market, and didn't get any miniature things hoping for big things...
Instead, we fought our way back to our transporation and floated over the top of the crowds on the teleferico. MUCH more fun to take pictures of it from above! It was SO packed with people! Wow! We went back to the embassy and had lunch together. It was our first day without Josh, Claire and Andrew, as they had left the night before on a trip with the youth of our church group to Cochabamba for 3 days! So fun! So Peter and I had fun, too. :)
At lunch, the staff was handing out 'Alasitas' money--miniature cash! Peter pondered what he would do with all of that if it were real money. Ha! :)
After our trip to visit the miniature city, we went over to play with friends and enjoy the afternoon. It was a nice day.
Someone...ok, LOTS of someones...has said there are no bugs in La Paz. Well, I’m here to tell you there ARE bugs here. Ants are EVERYWHERE; earwigs roam our yard; we have a tree in our yard that is always being buzzed by bees; moths, flies, gnats, and even mosquitoes have infiltrated our house...and just look at what we found meandering through our garage today:
That coin is the size of a US quarter. That was the BIGGEST beetle I’ve ever laid eyes on. Neat.
Honestly, I’m not complaining. While there certainly are bugs here, there are substantially less then anywhere else we’ve ever lived, so that’s a definite plus in my book. However, every time I see a bug, fly, or spider, I sing the famous refrain from ‘An American Tale’: “There are no cats in America and the streets are paved with cheese! Oh there are no cats in America so you can set your mind at ease!” Oh well. America does have cats. Bolivia does have bugs. And we learn to live together and move forward.
I've never seen a total lunar eclipse before! About a year ago, when we found out we were going to Bolivia, and I was studying up on what the kids and I wanted to study for science this year, I saw that a total lunar eclipse would pass straight through La Paz while we were here! I was SOOOO excited! I've been looking forward to this and planning for it for over a year!
There were a lot of challenges leading up to this, which I think made it all the better.
First of all, I was SO afraid the telescopes wouldn't arrive in time! I mean, we just got them 10 days ago! It took 3 months longer to get here than they had previously thought--I was in a panic! And yes. I have 2 telescopes. And I'm SO glad we do! One was a big Christmas gift to me from Devin probably about 8 years ago. We only used it once in Finland, and since then, we haven't had any opportunities!! The other we got this year--it's computerized and was recommended in Josh's astrophotography books as a good one for taking celestial photographs...
THEN I threw my back out this week. Ugh. I was bending over to pick up a laundry basket, when 'POP!' Something popped in my lower back! I fell over and couldn't get up for awhile, and spent the rest of that day lying down. I STILL don't feel fabulous, but between some back exercises that my uncle sent me a few years back when I had back problems, essential oils and lotions, hot pads, and lots of gentle stretching, I'm able to walk now. However, we had planned to camp out so we could have a darker space. That was out. :( SO sad! BUT, I think our alternative of just camping out in our front yard was even better!! We could come and go as we pleased inside the house, the little boys pooped out a little early, AND I got to sleep in my own bed, which was a plus.
So, we went outside at about 10pm to set up our gear. The skies were clear and glorious! We checked out Orion and looked at him through binoculars while the telescopes were being set up. We used laser pointers to find constellations and point out fun things in the sky. We spread out a blanket to lie on and watch the celestial display... Then about 11:30, as the shadow started to darken the moon, the clouds started to pass through in earnest! :( NOOO!!! We could still sort of see the glow of the moon through the clouds, as they weren't thick, but we couldn't see it through telescopes very well. By about midnight, the clouds were thick and completely covered the moon! NOOOOOOOOO!!! I was praying and praying with all my heart that there would be a break so we could see the lunar eclipse in all its glory!
We didn't give up. We had faith and stuck it out. While the clouds floated slowly by covering all the skies, Josh read all the telescope manuals. He learned how to steady them and set them up properly so he could mount his DSLR camera to take some pictures! We laid on the grass, shivering under our blankets, hoping that even a small break would come through so we could see the moon in all its eclipsed-ness! :D
I can tell you, God answered my prayers! AS SOON AS the total eclipse moment hit, the clouds cleared around the moon!! AND it stayed clear around the moon (not the whole sky, just the moon!!!!) so that we could see the ENTIRE eclipse until the shadow started to move away and the moon started to become bright again! Josh got some AMAZING photos--I couldn't help dancing and squealing around the yard as Josh kept saying, 'THIS is why we stayed out here!!" Oh, WOW! Gorgeous giant red moon pictures! Even the boys came out to see it for a few moments and try to see the moon through the telescopes! It was worth every second of staying up until 2am! :D I'd do it again!
We watched the moon SAIL through the viewfinders; Josh took a little time lapse of it moving across the path of vision. What an incredible, unforgettable experience! Hooray for science! :D
Here we are! The boys LOVE their cooking class with Miss Valentina! They learn a brand new Bolivian dish every week! SO YUMMY!!
Lots of fun peeling, chopping, and stirring, but it’s worth it when we get the finished product!!!
Queso Humacha and Quinoa con Leche today! The Quinoa con Leche is like rice pudding—and even garnished with lovely flowers and herbs from the garden! 👏🏻🌺🌿
And Andrew’s creations:
Mine! (I get to eat the examples made by the teacher...) 🌞
Devin got me a for real carpet cleaner for Christmas!! AND he’s using it for me, which makes it the gift that keeps on giving! ☺️ These carpets have never been cleaned, and our room perpetually smells like wet dog! Ugh! So, hopefully all the muddy black water we’re pulling up will end that!!! Yay! I’m so excited!
Lake Titicaca! The highest fresh water lake in the world! It still blows my mind that we live only a few hours away! Yes, the road there is TWISTY, but it's nothing new for us. I think it was less twisty than Sri Lankan roads, so it's a win in my book. :)
We started off our day on a bad note--as Andrew and Devin were up all night SICK!! But as no one told me about it until I got up at 5:30, and we were scheduled to leave at 6, well, we just went anyway! And I'm really glad we did! It was GORGEOUS! The ride there wasn't bad at all; it was really beautiful! The lake is HUGE and just beyond beautiful--I can't describe it, and pictures don't do it justice. It was BLUE BLUE BLUE, and full of mountainous islands. You could see snow covered peaks in the distance everywhere. Just gorgeous.
We arrived in Copacabana and wandered the town a bit. We saw a big beautiful church and there was a big parade going on that day.
We went to the lake shore and ended up going on a boat to the floating islands! That was fun--there were tables all set up and we ordered fish for lunch, which they caught and cooked for us right then and there! :) Yum!
While I felt really bad for Devin and Andrew who mostly just laid in the back of the bus and sat a lot, it was a really nice trip. It was fun to see the culture of the people and learn and SEE the history we've learned about this area. I can't wait to go back and explore some more!
Thanksgiving! A time for family and a for a LOT of food! :D The kids ALL helped make all sorts of food--from Claire's pies to Peter's sweet potatoes! Then we pulled out all the Christmas decorations and put up the Christmas tree--with my two sillies who found our Arab garb (and the Amish beard) in the boxes and decided to sing Arabic songs and drink 'beer' (Guarana soda). Oh brother. My kids are super silly! It was a quiet Thanksgiving with just our family singing songs, eating food, and watching movies. Nice.
The Muela del Diablo (Devil's Tooth) is an iconic sight and hike here in La Paz. From reading guidebooks and things, I've learned that it's a volcanic plug from an extinct volcano! It really does look like a molar from far away and close up. Pretty crazy! We went up with a group of friends from the embassy and hiked up to the tooth. It was the PERFECT day for a hike--overcast and cool. The scenery was gorgeous, as per usual here in Bolivia. :) We saw fields of sheep, stick bugs walking the trail, a mountain range that looked like Sibelius' monument in Finland (like organ pipes!), and breathtaking views from the top. The kids didn't come as they had LOTS of homework, but I can't wait to take them!
Who Am I?
As a Stay At Home Mom of 4 wonderful children, I have the amazing opportunity not only to home school them, but to do so in many different places! I am married to the most amazingly wonderful (and handsome) man in the whole world! Together, we seek out, every day, that Joy in the Journey that makes life exciting!
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