The girls’ school went on a field trip yesterday. The whole school, everybody from the first graders to the eighth graders. They hiked up a mountain at high altitude for three and a half hours to get to their destination: indigenous fertility huts. They spent about 30 minutes at these huts, learning about ancient rituals and practices, and then hiked back about an hour and a half until the school buses picked them up on the road. There weren’t enough seats for everybody so younger kids sat on older children’s laps. The kids, expecially Siena, our six year, came back home exhausted and complaining.
At first I was annoyed with the school. Who makes young children walk for five hours in the heat up and down mountains? But then I realized that while the kids were complaining about it, they were also excited and proud of what they did. Isn’t this the kind of thing I always want to do with them but then assume they can’t do it and give up? Now I know what they are capable of. This is great training for our upcoming trip to Peru.
Speaking of our upcoming twenty day trip to Peru. I am excited and nervous. We will be constantly on the move – planes, trains, buses and horses, staying in eleven different hotels, visiting Machu Picchu and exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas, staying with an indigenous family on a floating island made out of reeds in Lake Titicaca (the highest navigatable lake in the world at 3,300 meters/12,500 feet), hiking and seeing condors in Colca Canyon (believed to be the deepest canyon in the world), and relaxing in Arequipa, Peru’s soulful colonial city. I am super excited for the obvious reasons.
I am also nervous about how the kids will do with this much movement. The older girls are great travelers and our oldest is currently studying the Incas and other ancient indigenous cultures in school. She is excited to visit the places she has been hearing about and meet descendants of the great Incas. It’s our youngest that I worry about. She is turning two in about a week and is a wonderful handful, fun and super cute but also prone to temper tantrums and the willfulness common to this age. I spent twenty minutes before bed last night trying to entice her with cozy pajamas and convince her that jeans are not a comfortable thing to wear to bed at night while she screamed and insisted on trying to pull on the jeans herself.
I guess we won’t know how it will be until we try. I think of the German family I met while trekking with a dear friend in Nepal in my twenties. Like us, they were doing a challenging eight day trek at very high altitude. The mom was carrying a two year old on her back and the dad was carrying their pack with all of the things the three of them needed for the journey. I remember telling my friend that this is how I wanted to be when I had kids. Never mind that my friend and I had porters to carry our packs and that we rented a horse for my friend who wasn’t feeling well.
I can’t think of anything worse than not trying to go for my dreams. (Well I can, but you know what I mean.) So we are going to go for it. Worst case scenario, it will all be funny some day in about twenty years. Best case scenario, it will be the adventure of a lifetime that we will all remember (except for our two year old who will always feel tortured and left out as her sisters talk about our time in South America and she doesn’t remember a thing). Either way, it is bound to be an adventure, with lots of learning for everybody involved. Stay tuned!