We had a quick morning today since the Dos Glorias were coming at 9am to take us to El Penol. Everyone did very well, except at 8:45 Cindy started melting down because she wanted to go in her pj's and not wear socks! LOL! I held her on my lap for about 45 minutes until she calmed down. So we left a bit late.
We all rode in a rental van. El Penol is on the other side of the mountain- a two hour drive from Medellin. Let me just tell you that driving over a mountain is a faith building experience. Because of the flooding in Medellin this past year, parts of the mountain have completely washed away- sometimes whole towns. It is so sad. Many lives have been lost. Once we made it out of Medellin, the roads were so bad that several times each mile our driver had to take great care in avoiding the huge rocks and mounds of eroded dirt covering the road- the very narrow-on-the-edge-of-a-cliff road! At a few particularly bad parts there were huge sinkholes in the actual road and we had to go very slowly and carefully to get around the sinkhole. Most had no caution tape or any visual signs of it, so if someone was traveling at night they would definitely wreck in the sinkholes.
Our ride was made even more eventful when we had to stop (multiple times) because of car sickness. I had no idea where El Penol was or else I would have given them dramamine ahead of time. Poor Jake and Quinn and Grant! To their credit, the driver, although safe, was not the smoothest driver in the world. She had a manual transmission and she jerked the car every five seconds. Thankfully, for the ride home, Gloria #2 bought dramamine for us. It saved the day! No problems on the ride back.
El Penol is a huge meteorite in the ground the size of a mountain. The view at the top was unbelievable. The only problem are the 649 steep steps that you have to climb to get there! The kids (Cindy stayed on the ground with Gloria #1) did really well, but Gloria #2 and I had to stop for 5 minutes every 20 steps. No lie, they are tall steps, completely straight up. And because of the high altitude we had trouble with having enough oxygen to catch our breath. When you finally get to the top you can overlook as far as the eye can see, a gigantic manmade lake- actually hundreds of small lakes that are interconnected. They sank whole towns underwater so that they could make this lake. It powers all the electricity for Medellin.
After coming down, we had lunch at an authentic Colombian restaurant. The food was plentiful and delicious. We found out that the chicos LOVE fried fish! Brent ordered it and the three of them ate almost all of it themselves! Thankfully he was able to eat their food in exchange!
Then, we drove down to the lake and took a big touristy kind of boat out on the lake. Luisa was nervous at first since she'd never been on a boat but she soon got over it and loved it. They played loud Colombian salsa dancing music so the kids and I danced together. They loved that! We had lots of opportunity to work on some English words like trees, water, fish, sun, sky, clouds, boat, etc. Thankfully, Luisa is very interested in learning English. Cindy is adorable when she tries to say the words. Her mouth just can't seem to get the right sounds. She has an adorable speech impediment! She says trees like "thwees"!
Once we arrived back at the apartment, Brent ran to get pizzas while everyone got ready to go to the piscina (pool). It was sprinkling when we walked outside but we decided to go anyway. We only got in a half hour of swimming before it started with thunder and lightning. So back inside for pizza and a movie.
We had a few issues today discipline-wise, but overall it was a good day. We realized that Luisa gets quiet and pouty any time someone else is getting attention. So we are deciding to give NO attention to her when she is pouty and LOTS of attention when she's happy. Jonathan is hysterical when he tries to barter with my commands. I might say, "In five minutes we'll clean up at the pool and go to the house." And he'll hold up 7 fingers and jabber about how he should have 7 minutes. I immediately say, "Ok, 2 minutes!" Then he'll say, "No! NO! 5 minutes!" HA!
There is a lot of manipulating trying to happen with all three of them. We found out that the foster family told the kids that we would give them whatever they wanted and they could do whatever they wanted once they were with us, so we are trying to retrain that ridiculous thought.
We found out also that Luisa hasn't ever seen a washing machine (can't remember if I wrote about his yesterday...). We have found her several time washing the clothes by hand or even taking the clean clothes out of the washer and rewashing them. Thankfully Gloria helped us explain what a washer does and that she doesn't have to wash them by hand.
I had brought cute new earrings for the girls, but I haven't been able to get out her old earrings. They were a style I'd never seen before and I couldn't budge them off at all without ripping her ear! So I asked Gloria for help. Luisa explained that her foster family glued them shut because she had lost her first pair of earrings and she was never allowed to changed them again! Poor girl! I can only imagine how long she's had these earrings in! Gloria wasn't able to budge them either so tomorrow we're going to get wire cutters or something and cut them off. They aren't allowed to wear earrings for their passport photos so they HAVE to come off.
Jonathan has a big cut on his upper gum. We and he have no idea what happened. His front tooth is also discolored or dead. He had that from before he came to us. He doesn't remember what happened to his tooth. Guess we'll be spending some quantity time at the dentist once we get home!
Ok, enough for now. I'm exhausted. Grant still has a fever and I am still sick too. Need sleep!
Tomorrow is supposed to be a relaxing day at home which I'm looking forward to!
By the way, we SO appreciate your comments and emails. They are keeping us sane right now!