Everyone who meets her knows that she’s special. Nurse by day, and rockin’ musician by night; she’s respected and loved all over the world for her many talents. How lucky I am to know her, and to be married to her.
We’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the world. One of our favorite things to do is to try new foods and explore new cultures and recipes. As part of our daily routine, we break in the afternoon for a ritual we call “cheese-o-clock.” A small break where we make a snack and spend time together. We want to share some of these experiences and recipes with you! CheeseOclock.com is coming soon!
**This post is about events that occurred last Friday (May 13, 2016). Thanks for reading this flashback post.**
We had one of the most meaningful programs of our tour, on Friday. We played a concert and led a discussion at a physical rehabilitation center for children, called Teletón. The children and the staff told us that they loved the music, and that seeing me play guitar was a big inspiration for them.
One boy commented that seeing us together as a band, and the husband-wife relationship that Lesleigh and I have, was very moving to him. He said in his country it isn’t common to see someone with a physical difference in a relationship with someone without one.
It was a moving, heartfelt moment. I paused to think about his statement, and about how I could respond…
I told him that in my experience, I hope and think of most people on some level that attraction to someone else and the friendships we have, are more linked to the character of a person, than to the look of a person. Be a good friend to others, and be confident in who you are and the way you were made, and the rest falls into place.
After the concert and discussion, we had a meet-and-greet with the children and staff. One generous attendee was being discharged that day; before she left, she gave us a beautiful piece of artwork that she’d made. We’re looking forward to displaying the art piece when we get home, and will think of the wonderful Teletón community every time we look at it.
Post-concert photo with the wonderful people in Villarica, Paraguay
We arrived in Asuncion, Paraguay on a humid, rainy Sunday afternoon. As we walked down the jetway, we were met by our new team, Mabel and Jazmin from the local U.S. Embassy.
Mabel was holding a sign with an American flag and my name on it, and she navigated the airport with speed like I’ve never seen before. She knew all the staff at the airport, and led us directly to the window where we acquired our Paraguayan visas. We breezed through customs, all the airport staff said “¡Hola Mabel!” as we went by, and we were met by a Suburban to take us to the hotel. It was really something.
When we checked into our hotel, there was a small lizard in our room. The front desk staff came to take a look and said he was harmless. Lesleigh and I stood on the bed with a garbage can and the local info binder from our room, and ushered the lizard into the bin. Ben got some footage of Lesleigh and me corralling the reptile. It’s nice to be working as a team on and off the stage.
Post-lizard capturing adventure, our attention turned to a less-exciting necessity of lengthy travel… We were in dire need of laundry facilities (which we’ve been seeking since Belém, but we haven’t had a day off since we started the tour). We prepared our two weeks of dirty clothes and walked through the streets to a local laundromat service.
It’s not self-serve or coin operated, it’s a service here, so we were apologetic to the friendly, forgiving owner of the shop as she counted our socks and underwear with us. We are adjusting to the extreme exchange rate (approx 5,600 Paraguayan guarini to $1 U.S. Dollar), so our 27,000 guarini laundry order cost us $4.82. We are very grateful to the kind-hearted woman for her much-needed service.
I’m writing today on a van ride in the Paraguayan countryside. Our evening event last night was a four hour drive from Asuncion to Villarica. The city was celebrating its 446th anniversary, and our live concert in the Plaza de Los Héroes was part of the festivities.
There were colorful lights and banners of red, white, and blue (the colors of the Paraguayan flag) throughout the park and city. We spoke with people before the show, who spoke only Spanish, and Lesleigh and I felt proud to be able to communicate with them. Our time spent on long car rides drilling Spanish verbs on the Duolingo iPhone app while on tour in the States this spring, is paying off.
We were warmly received in Villarica, and after the concert we were invited to a reception at a local art gallery. Our hosts gave us three beautiful, handcrafted wallets that are made of leather and the local woven threads.
On our way to our concert at a local school today in Coronel Oviedo, we just stopped in a local craftsman community. We were told that under a former dictatorship, people who performed certain jobs or services were made to live in communities together. The community of Yataity makes one-of-a kind clothing. It was an amazing stop. Thank you for reading! More soon.