I am beyond excited to see my little sister tomorrow morning. She will fly into Arequipa at 7:30. It has been a year since I have seen any of my family. Katy is arriving, spending less than a week with us, and then she will be flying with the three kids and me back to the states. The only time Katy visited was when I gave birth to Maggie. That was more than FOUR years ago. So much has changed, and I am so excited to show her AQP again with new eyes.
I am beyond excited for our state-side visit as well. It has been a year since our last visit. Greg and I are scheduled to leave Peru permanently in 2015 so this is our last furlough for this run. It is definitely bitter-sweet to think that our return to Peru from furlough will also be our last for a long while. While in the states, we will be doing some visiting with TA 2.0 members (the families moving to AQP in 2014) which is really exciting.
Anyway… lots to be excited about.
I am not a fan of airports, and if I am honest, I always get a little nervous before flying. I worry which I know I shouldn’t. I worry about things that are out of my hands so worrying really doesn’t help anything. We have flown a lot since we live in a foreign country, but that hasn’t helped. And it always seems like we can never fly home without some sort of drama. Paperwork or delays or kids getting sick before leaving, etc. I thought I would record it this time around (especially since this is our last furlough to take for awhile)…
1. I noticed that there is only an hour and 40 minutes between my arrival to Lima and our departure to the states. If you account for possible delays out of AQP + waiting for bags to come out (which sometimes takes forever) + standing in line to check-in for the international flight + going through immigrations + hauling 3 kids through an airport, you can see my worry.
I am so thankful that Katy will be helping me with luggage and kids and that Lima is overly gracious to those of us with children (as in, they will see me with 3, guide me to the front of the line, and even escort me through immigrations if we are tight in making our connection). I am also thankful for my children. I really am not nervous at all about traveling with my kids. They are great travelers. Having mis-behaving kids is a stressor that I am so thankful that I DON’T have to deal with.
2. Peruvian law states that in order for a parent to leave the country with children without the other parent (and this applies to Peruvian citizens only–Maggie and Cohen are citizens), they must have a signed, notarized letter stating permission from the parent staying back. I have traveled with kids by myself two different times, and they always ask for the letter. I have a friend that traveled to Lima from AQP, and they refused for her to pass immigrations to catch her flight without the written consent of her spouse.
Greg and I went to the notary office yesterday. Of course, the notary had already gone home and today is a holiday. We were told that we could come on Monday to get it done. Easy-peasy, until the secretary told Greg something we weren’t expecting… “You need the birth certificate for each child.” That’s right. Their passport isn’t enough to prove they were born. You may think, “What’s the big deal? Just bring the birth certificate you have in your file at home.” We would, except that Peru has this crazy deal where birth certificates are only valid for 6 months. I guess it is one way they make money for the government (“Hey, let’s require people to show their birth certificates for every possible thing, but make it where they have to buy a new copy every half-year. Think of all the money that will bring in!”). Greg doesn’t remember us having to show their birth certificates the last time we got the letters. We are hoping the secretary is wrong.
We get home, and Greg realizes something else. Their birth certificates (proving that WE are their parents) have our residential visa numbers on them for the proof. Our residential visas expired this past year! They make you fingerprint everything here, so now we are hoping that they can identify us by our fingerprints. Never a dull moment.
So… I am so excited to see Katy. And I am so excited to be traveling to my home country. I am just praying that we get there without any major drama. It is out of my hands, and honestly, I am to the point in this culture where I laugh at the drama that unfolds every.single.time we have to do something like this. I am just praying that Katy arrives safely and that we arrive safely to the states (whether it be on-time or majorly delayed). We shall see. One more week.