Isaiah and I went back and forth on whether or not we should make a visit back to the States during our 27-month assignment as Peace Corps volunteers in Paraguay. The decision made itself clear when my two best college friends announced they were with child and were expected to deliver within two weeks of each other.
Allow me to momentarily digress for any math whiz kids out there: 9 months before their January deliveries equals April, which is when both of these friends and their hubbies were visiting us in Paraguay. Timing doesn’t work out perfectly, but I can’t help but think the aura of your favorite people all together at last is good for more than just the soul.
Back to the main story. Isaiah and I carved three weeks out of our time in Paraguay which wasn’t difficult since most of our projects had come to a pause for the summer anyway. We mapped out our trip like this:
Week 1: Isaiah and Allison in Sacramento, California with friends Kate and Will
Weeks 2-3: Isaiah with his family in Colorado; Allison with her family in Iowa with a trip to Indiana in the middle
It’s too bad we weren’t able to spend time with each others’ families too, but in order to enjoy some leisurely time with them instead of constantly traveling, we decided this divide-and-conquer schedule was our best bet.
With swollen ankles, feet, and legs (I guess that was just me) from a long night and day of traveling (7 hour bus ride to the airport, 7.5 hour flight to Miami, 6.5 hour flight to San Francisco) we glided down the escalator to see some of our favorite and closest friends in the world. And lo and behold, they had a nearly 4-week old baby girl with them. And it was theirs! I’m pretty sure I screamed and Isaiah probably whispered sweet nothings to his long-distance pal, Will, as we all embraced and met baby Jo and saw our friends as a family of three for the first time.
I decided not to give you the minute-by-minute rundown of our whole time together because I already miss them so much. What I will do is keep things mushy and say that it was an incredible visit. I was impressed and proud watching my two friends step up to the parenting plate with both incredible strength and honesty.
At 4-weeks in they admitted they hadn’t uncovered quite all the secrets of successful parenting, yet they dove in and were finding their way and making it work like the capable champs they are. I loved being witness to that stage.
Oh Jo. Jo was the greatest. My arms felt empty whenever she wasn’t in them. She slept and cuddled and made funny noises and even her cry was adorable. Some of you probably think that’s mean, but it’ll be all right. Plus Isaiah and I had quite the luck since at the end of the day we hopped into a cozy bed and left the parents to Forest Gump’s night shift (where you never know what you’re going to get). Even as we were there Jo was bursting through her previous sleep records, so she tried not to be too hard on her parents.
My favorite part of all was that Kate and Will, the other royal couple as they are sometimes called, were still Kate and Will. Their love and admiration for their new daughter was so apparent, but they remained their true selves: fun, funny, frank, authentic, and up for a good conversation or an outing or both. They were still our same dear friends.
We had a blast. We toured their town, walked to the park, ate at so many incredibly mouth-watering, delicious restaurants, and played board game and yard games alike. Sometimes even with Jo.
We attended their church (which left me in tears to feel that good after a service instead of like a total inadequate sinner), grilled, and Isaiah and I were in awe of the never-ending options and variety at the grocery store.
While shopping my eyes stopped on the familiar (but different) sight of yerba mate, tereré edition. The traditional cold drink of whose invention Paraguay takes credit has hit the US market.
We even squeezed in an official photo shoot for Jo. She liked it while she was sleeping (not pictured).
Now do you see what I mean that even her sad face is stinkin’ cute? Our days in Sacramento flew by and suddenly we were at that airport once again, this time to say goodbye. It’s not really goodbye; it’s just until the next time. I’m already looking forward to it.