The Final Countdown

One week to go and the final week and the final countdown is staring us straight in the face.

For quite a few weeks we’ve envisioned this momentous junction. Longed for it, would be a more apt description, actually.

Now, with everything right in front of us, and three full months nearly in the rear view mirror, we’ve gotten our big wish. And, to be honest, something doesn’t feel quite right. Which is all a very strange sensation.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.
‘Profe’ Maria

Back when we finally agreed to this house sitting opportunity, the general consensus was, by the end of three whole months we’d be hitting the exits at speeds usually only reserved for finish line crossing Olympic sprinters.

And I’d be lying if there haven’t been moments when this seemed an all too real possibility. But then, something happened. Something unexpected that, week by week, snuck up on us. Something that now leaves us in a bit of a quandary.

The point would be driven home this week after a trying couple days away on my own in the capital of Asuncion for a Bolivian visa run. Two days spent jumping through the sort of endless bureaucratic red tape government employees the world over seem to pride themselves on both devising and implementing. Red tape involving, among other things, color copies of various documents. This, in a city where I swear color coping machines carry the weight of the mysterious Coke bottle in ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’.

All this and an inability to utilize Skpe for a call with anything less than a 25 second delay further conspired to make my time away from my gals far tougher than it needed to be.

Nothing was proving easy and a bustling, hot and ragged Asuncion without my family close by wasn’t helping things in the least. Even so, my emailed message to Bec, later, my second night away—“I can’t wait to get back to Paraguari”—still, caught me off guard. It seemed impossible, but the fact was I was flirting with a touch of something resembling, of all things, home sickness. Home sickness for the relative peace, quiet and familiarity, of all places, friendly Paraguari.

This was serious stuff, I told myself. We simply had to get out now. If not, I was afraid this affliction would set its hooks in even deeper. It seemed a very precarious slope and, suddenly, I was worried. What could be next?  An email to Bec detailing the advantages of investing in a small piece of land near town?

But then calmer heads prevailed and I just chalked it up to too much heat and frustration—all while being away from Bec and Kaia. A quick kiss from my wife once home and a nice big hug from Kaia when I surprised her at her school would break the spell, I assured myself.

That image planted itself in my imagination, took hold and evolved over the course of that second night away. And as our flamboyantly painted ‘Little Bus that Could’ chugged along at a glacial creep over kidney bruising, potholed roads for two plus hours amidst 35 degree (100 F) heat, it became something substantially more.
“Profe’ Gabi

So much so that by the time I materialized like a tired and dusty, conquering general on the grounds of Kaia’s Colegio Maria Louis playground, my theme music was ringing loudly in my ears. All this while the scene of Kaia’s inevitable open armed, B-lining path to greet me etched into my subconscious playing on a constant loop.

The reality, however, was vastly different.

The end result would net me little more than a quick glance, a cute smile and a lacklustre wave. All before diving right back into her little world of a classmate filled sandbox.

And that’s when it hit me.

Leaving this sleepy town was going to be hard. Far more difficult than we could’ve ever imagined because, in the end, we could’ve never imagined the positive impact children her own age and three months of Spanish only interaction and instruction would have on Kaia.

Now, with only one week to go, and Kaia already periodically mentioning our upcoming adventures in ‘Olivia’ (her pronunciation for Bolivia), both mom and dad are faced with a daunting and unexpected prospect.

This being helping a three year old learn what our moving on to the land of ‘Olivia’ will imply.

Namely, that it will not involve friendly faces with names such as Eva, Mia, Giani, Danne, Louis, Alex, Enrique, Samuel (and of course, neighbour Ethan) joining us.

No, it’s time to move on and, as such, we are destined to be on our own again…Just the three of us.

And I can only hope she comes to quickly learn to forgive us.






  1. Dave Oliver August 30, 2016 Reply

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