Thursday, May 21, 2015

Traveling to Paraguay

We’ve almost been in Paraguay a week, yet I’m just now getting around to writing about our journey here. I’m going to try to do a better job keeping up with writing about our time here (otherwise I know I’ll forget something!).

In speaking with folks prior to making the journey, I mentioned that my biggest concern was actually getting to Paraguay. Not that the flights would be unsafe, but that we’d be traveling over two days (about 15 hours total in planes) to get to Paraguay with three young children, but especially with Luke who is only 20 months old. I know people do it all the time, but we hadn’t done it, and the thought of the 9 hour plane ride with my 20 month old was intimidating. (The longest flight I’d ever been on was about 4 hours prior to this trip). 

Our journey consisted of flying from Austin to Orlando, spending the night in Orlando, then flying from Orlando to Sao Paulo, Brazil, and finally flying from Brazil to Asuncion, Paraguay. All in all the kids did great on the flights, and the hardest part was sitting around waiting for our last flight in the Sao Paulo airport because the kids were exhausted at that point and our flight was delayed.  We also didn’t take into account that in the Sao Paulo airport we’d be bused from our airplane to the gate, and then back again to the next flight. It was a little difficult to get around with the kids (and all our carryons) on the buses. On the way home, I’m sure we’ll pare down how many items we’ll be bringing as carryons.

But, we made it! Coming into the country was a breeze. Trent and I traveled to Washington D.C. a few months ago to get our visas, so that was taken care of ahead of time. When we passed our paperwork over to be examined when we were entering the country, the man processing us didn’t even say a word to us. Very different from our experiences sometimes going into Jamaica where they often question us quite a bit about exactly where we are staying and what we are doing there. Two brethren whom we'd only met over the internet were waiting for us (very late at night/early in the morning in the pouring rain) to take us to our hotel. The brethren here have been so hospitable and loving toward us!

Now that we’re here, I’ve got other things to be intimidated by - like the language barrier and getting around on the buses. But I’ve also got much to look forward to - like making and strengthening relationships with the brethren in Paraguay.
Being dropped off at the airport in Austin

Spending the night in Orlando

 On the 9 hour flight from Orlando to Sao Paulo

On the 9 hour flight from Orlando to Sao Paulo

In the Sao Paulo airport

On the flight from Sao Paulo to Asuncion

The hotel where we stayed over the weekend until we could move into our permanent place. The owner was a Frenchmen who spoke (at least) French, English, and Spanish.