We got a lovely send off at the station (despite the early start) and thoroughly enjoyed the trip down to Lima on the second highest train route in the world. It was a familiar route, since it largely follows the road, but much more slower-paced which gives you more time to appreciate the stunning views.

As a final send off and to get in with the Peruvian custom of throwing a baby shower whilst they still could, our friends David and Charito and Cesar organised a lovely evening with a few friends that we thought we’d share with you.

Well, life kind of slowed down for me since becoming pregnant. When we first found out I had 4 weeks left of teaching which I just about managed. I have had top put my nutritional  studies on hold for the time being as I my ability to concentrate is almost next to zero and the intense tiredness that one feels when making a little person has meant that daily chores tire me out quickly.  I have been limited to going to the market every other day, and washing up! Some days I have got out and about but that usually requires lots of rest either the next day or immediately after. According to everything I have been reading, my energy should be coming back now that I am into the 2nd trimester….. I await this stage eagerly!

However, my latest little project, that doesn’t involve too much thinking or walking around, is to record a book in Spanish on my laptop. Our friend A down in Chincha is still living up queer street with his personal problems and life decisions, so we sent him a 70 page document which would help to explain to him where one picks up personal baggage in life and what can be done about it. He has so far managed 4 pages of the introduction – fairly large type. We know he doesn’t like reading but had put it mainly down to laziness until recently. We have now decided that maybe he is just unable to read it. He can read and write, but probably only has to cope with gmail chat, facebook and email which is quite different to a book or document.  We heard recently that Peruvians only understand 10% of what they read. They can read the words but they haven’t been taught reading comprehension. This is an alien concept to our culture, something we take for granted perhaps.

Anyway, my response to this issue is to record the book we gave him to see if that helps in any way, shape or form. If it does, this may give us a tool for the future.

I got back late last night and immediately I’m back in the thick of things with a length meeting this afternoon to further discuss the ramifications of my ex-boss’s retirement. There is going to be so much to do over the next 2 weeks before we leave for Lima!!

More paperwork surprises – I managed to beat my record from 2 days ago and was in and out the government office inside 2 minutes with the bit of paper in my hand saying that we are free to leave the country. Now just the question remains of what we’re heading back to. Job searching continues, but it’s highly competitive. I managed to get feedback from one of my unsuccessful applications and was told that my application was excellent, but I was 1 of 117 candidates!!

Whilst waiting for documents to be processed, I went down to Chincha today to say our goodbyes to the folk down there. I got to see nearly everyone I hoped to see as I did my rounds. Generally, folk were sad to hear that we were leaving, but very excited to hear about Rachel’s pregnancy. I also got to spend some time with our friends whose marriage is in tatters. Time was short and it’s still in tatters, but at least I was able to have a frank talk with the husband and gave him some things to think about. He has promised to come back to me on the points I raised and has started reading a book (minor miracle!) which should help him understand himself better. We finished the day off with Chinese take away, during which my taxi-driving friend, Daniel (known as Biry Biry) presented me with two replica football shirts – one of Peru and one of Allianza, his team – which was a lovely gesture.

Down in Lima again in order to take our volunteer, Francesca, back to the airport (successfully done) and get started on the lengthy (why doesn’t that surprise me?!) paperwork process to leave the country next month. I was pleasantly surprised today though to find that I was able to pay  the administration fee and hand in all the bits of paper within 5 minutes and that there were no nasty surprises, like needing 5 different documents stamped in triplicate on top of the ones I was submitting.

So, today marks the 12 week mark in terms of Rachel’s pregnancy!!!! It’s more high risk being in the high altitude (if you weren’t born there) and Rachel has been told that she can’t leave the altitude until at least week 15, but scans show that the baby is developing well. We have managed to make friends with the top gynaecologist in the area (it’s great – we get free consultations and he takes us out for meals!!) and are getting excellent treatment. We’ve already had a couple of scans done, with the photo below taken at 10 weeks and 4 days old. Apparently, baby size hardly varies around the world until the baby has 20 weeks, so our gynaecologist was very surprised to discover that the baby was already over 12 weeks in terms of size, even in a land where Paul is considered a giant!!

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