Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Friday, June 3, 2011

Our trip to Bolivia

Anna Kate and I just got back on Wednesday from an 8 day trip to Bolivia for my little brother's high school graduation. My parents and brother moved to Bolivia eight years ago (the summer after I graduated from high school) and I spent every summer and Christmas there throughout college and then a couple times since then as well. This trip was bittersweet not only because my baby brother is not a baby anymore, but also because my parents are in the process of a big move to Costa Rica. So this may have been our last trip to Bolivia for a while. With that said, we had a fantastic time seeing friends, spending time with family, and celebrating Andrew's accomplishments. This post is going to be chock full of pictures, so enjoy!

I was pretty nervous about our flight down, I'm not going to lie. I wasn't quite sure how it would go being 20 weeks pregnant and taking my 15 month old on a 2-hour flight, then a 7-hour flight, then a 1-hour flight, without my husband. Did I mention it's an overnight flight?!? I went prepared with baby Benadryl, but didn't even have to open the box! Anna Kate was a champ and except for dumping over the airplane dinner that they serve at 1 in the morning, she caused no trouble and slept almost the whole way there! It helped that we met up with my Aunt Patty in Miami to do the long flight with us. Here's a picture of the three of us right before take-off...a little blurry, but it was a phone camera picture!

One of the first things many people notice about Bolivia is the very congested and slightly unnerving traffic! I tried to get a good picture of it looking out the car window so you can see for yourself. Not the best shot, but you can see how close the cars come to each other as they try to turn corners!

Another interesting thing about the traffic is that the police are very selective about what they will give tickets for. For example, you can run red lights or turn 2-lane roads into 4-lane roads all you want, but heaven forbid you park in a no parking zone. You might just get a citation like this glued to your windshield!

For the past few years that they have been in Bolivia, my parents have lived pretty far outside the city, but they recently sold their house and are living in an apartment downtown for a few months before moving to Costa Rica. It was pretty fun to be right downtown because we could just walk to the main plaza for all the festivities that go on every weekend.

Anna Kate really liked the pigeons in the plaza. She thought they were ducks though!

One day when we were down there we got to listen to a mariachi band...Anna Kate was captivated.

The focal point of the city is the huge cathedral right downtown on the plaza. Most Bolivians say they are Roman Catholic, but they mix their religion with the indigenous religions of Bolivia so that it is very different from the Roman Catholicism in the US.

One interesting shrine in the cathedral is that of Jesus in a coffin. There seems to be such a focus on the death of Christ and no emphasis on the hope of the resurrection. It is this hope that my parents have worked so hard to bring to the people of Bolivia over the past eight years.

On a side note, everyone we met had to look twice at Anna Kate because of her white-blonde hair and bright blue eyes! She was kind of a novelty. These girls not only had to take a second look, but they wanted to meet her!

One evening in the plaza, they had all kinds of clowns, mimes, comedians, vendors, and artisans all set up for a big festival for the Bolivian Mother's Day. Anna Kate had never seen anything like it!
Uncle Andy showing her around

Anna Kate really wanted one of these balls

So Grandma bought her one!

Anna Kate thought this mime on stilts was pretty neat until we got too close and he wanted to shake her hand!

The highlight was definitely the bubble-blowing payaso (clown)!

Ok, now for pictures of the real reason we went to Bolivia. To see this guy graduate! Did I mention he was the valedictorian and gave a fantastic speech?!?

AK and I with the graduate. Excuse the look on Anna Kate's face. She was not pleased that it was past suppertime and she had not yet gotten to eat!

All of the family members who were able to make the trip! On either side of Andrew are my parents and then next to my dad is his sister, my Aunt Patty.

On Sunday morning we went to church with my family and I was able to play violin in the praise band that my brother helps to lead. He has become quite an accomplished worship leader over the past few years and it was an honor to get to play with him.

This is what Anna Kate was doing all throughout the service...




Since I have been to Bolivia so many times, I didn't really feel like I needed to buy any more souvenirs or trinkets, but I was sent with instructions from Luke to make one big purchase: a Bolivian hammock! We have purchased these before, but always as gifts for other now we have one for us!
The hammock store

So many choices!

Here's a picture of how much Anna Kate likes the hammocks. She spent a lot of time swinging in Grandma and Grandpa's while we were there!

We were so busy with different events the whole time we were there, but on our last day, there were two important things I had to do. The first was to visit my good friend Graciela, the director of the Talita Cumi Children's Home that I have volunteered at every time I have been to Bolivia.
The second thing we had to do was to have a chocolate chip muffin and a fruit smoothie at our favorite coffee shop, Alexanders! I have spent a lot of time there over the past 8 years...with my mom, with Bolivian friends, with my Furman friends who came with me one summer, and with Luke. So I had to take Anna Kate. And she LOVED her chocolate chip muffin!

From L to R:
Mom, baby #2, me, and Anna Kate!

I don't have any pictures to document it since she was in my arms the whole time, but Anna Kate also did fantastic on the trip home! On the way home it was an all day flight, but she took two good naps and the rest of the time she just sat in my lap and read stories, or played with her little toy cell phone! I really couldn't believe how well she did. It was still pretty exhausting and I don't think I'll do another international trip without Luke for at least a little while, but we had a fantastic time! Mom, Dad, and Andy, we miss you all so much already, but we are excited to see you here in SC in the fall!


  1. I can't believe she was good on the plane. Of course she was. Great pics, btw.

  2. Someone doesn't know how to sign out before they comment...

  3. What a great trip and you did a great blog! Congratulations on another girl! The Maddoxes