Today started rough, but ended beautifully.
We barely got through breakfast when we had a major meltdown with Luisa. She is so much more challenging because she is so tall and strong. I definitely can't handle her alone. So it ends up being a two person effort. But, this time it wasn't as long- only 45 minutes. And surprisingly, she was a bit more tranquil. I think this time we actually got closer to true repentance. All the other times it is hard to discern whether she is fully finished with her tantrum because she stays sulky and grumpy until she gets something that makes her happy again. This time I didn't allow her to have anything nice afterward and had to say no to her several times right after and she still responded well. She even had to deal with not getting to wear the dress that she wanted since it was covered in ketchup still. So even though it was another tantrum, it was still profitable!
Around 11am we headed out to see the Metrocable (pronounced may-trow-cob-lay) that is famous in Medellin. The river that runs through the middle of the city (Rio de Medellin, I think) separates the two halves of the city. Almost all the people on the north side of the city are extremely poor and it would take hours to get to any form of work on the other side of the river where things are a bit wealthier. So the government of Medellin built an elaborate metro system that is very cheap for people to ride. It has allowed the people on the North side to find work easier by getting there more quickly and efficiently and inexpensively.
Because Medellin is literally built into the valley and up the sides of the mountain, they also built a cable car system as part of the metro. It has gondola type cars that take you straight up the side of the mountain and over the top!
We knew this was one of the main things we wanted to do here because our chicos were born in one of the slums that is underneath the cable system. It is much to dangerous to ever drive by car to their neighborhood, so seeing it safely from above was perfect.
First we had to ride the regular metro train. The chicos had never been on one before so they were a bit nervous. It was TOTALLY PACKED, and our guide said this was a light time of day! Oh, my! I can't imagine what rush hour is like! We were tossed back and forth around the metro since we couldn't get close to the holding bars.
Then we had to transfer to the cable car system. We had to take two since we had such a large group. So one guide went with all the guys and one with all the girls! You can take the cable car ride 3/4 way up the mountain in about 30 minutes or less. Or you can go all the way up and over, but that takes hours! We had only planned to go the shorter route since we got a later start in the day, but it turns out we wouldn't have been able to go all the way up anyway since it was closed due to cleaning.
It was a super interesting ride. You can really tell how the areas get progressively poorer the further up the mountain you go. Near the metro it looks like a slum in the US, but the further up you go the more depressing it is. It reminded me a lot of our travels to the Tarahumaran communities in Mexico, with scattered boards and pieces of metal for roofs with bricks holding the pieces on so the wind didn't blow it off. Only, instead of them being one story houses, they stack them up as high as they can. So there might be 3 or 4 floors- extremely uneven and dangerous to even live in. The higher we went, the more feeble the houses looked and we didn't even go as high as the poorest of poor areas.
I am so thankful we had the opportunity to go and see these areas. It made me more fully appreciate what the chicos lived through and gave me a tender heart for the multitude of desperate people in that place. My heart breaks for the many who live in such horrible conditions. Yet, what was interesting was that there were tons of people milling about and children playing and music blaring. They were still enjoying life as much as they were able to in their situation.
On the ride, Luisa talked openly about her memories of living with her birth mother. I'm not going to give the details here because it is her private story and memories, but it was interesting to hear the tidbits that she remembers even as a toddler. I'm writing all of her comments down so one day when she is grown and has forgotten these memories, she'll at least have a record of what she said to us. It is such a precious gift to us that she is talking so freely. I think she feels safe in our relationship for her to do this.
On the way back in the regular metro, we had a bit of an adventure. The train was even more crowded this time and our big group had to cross from one side of the train to the other door to get out at our station. We had formulated a plan of which adult had which child and what our escape route was, but boy, they don't allow much time for people to get off and on! Like 10 seconds! Only half of us got off in time before the doors shut! Thankfully, a guide ended up being with each of the stranded groups. I had a few kids and was able to get off, but Brent had a few of the rest of the kids and got stuck on! Poor kids were a bit panicked! It was scary! I'm just glad it was Brent stranded and not me! LOL! He's much better about those kinds of situations than me! They ended up getting off at the next stop and taking a taxi back to where we had parked. Whew!
We ate lunch in the cafeteria at Exito (a Walmart type store). That was chaotic with trying to get 9 people all the right food without any meltdowns due to low blood sugar levels! But we finally survived with only two juice spills and one bout of tears.
We headed back to the apartment to chill for a bit. After a bit we headed out for some fubol and met the other adoptive family. The kids had a great time playing futbol together but there were a bunch of bruised shins and a few other injuries! Luisa and the other family's Jonathan are very competitive so they were intense in their play! LOL! They all had fun though! Then both families walked down to the food place down the road to have dinner together. They kids are all feeling super comfortable with each other now and therefore they were all super silly and wound up! This only adds to the spectacle that we already are! LOL! They still needed to burn up some energy so we finished the night at the playground.
Once back at the apartment, Brent got a phone call from Nora, our attorney. Apparently, the Defensora won't allow us to change the kids' names like we had planned. In Colombia, the law says you can only change a child's name up until they are three unless there are extenuating circumstances. And I guess the Defensora didn't feel like being adopted was sufficient reason. That's fine because we can get their names changed once we do the readoption in the US. My only concern now (which I have to talk to Nora about tomorrow) is that the new names are listed on our airfare tickets and their US Visas. So I'm praying that this won't be an issue....we'll see...
Ok, heading to bed. It's been a full day! Pray for Sentencia tomorrow!