Monday, May 25, 2020. It has been 69 days since Chile's president declared a 90-day state of emergency and the initial sheltering in place began in Iquique. It has been 10 Sundays since we last gathered in person at the south side Iglesia Bautista Fe and the downtown Iglesia Bautista Gracia y Verdad church plants. It was 2 months ago today - but it feels like a lifetime - that we escaped Iquique as a family to breathe in the fresh air at the Los Lobitos beach. And it was 10 days ago that an official quarantine (a.k.a. lockdown) began and even walking two doors down to the cousins' house for weekly family devotions became illegal.
Speaking of which, I am very grateful that God saw fit to bring my sister and her husband and three children so close by for these difficult days. I am thankful He allowed their container of home furnishings to clear customs and be delivered just over a week before Chile's state of emergency began. If it weren't for back-and-forth visits for Spanish classes and video games and television series marathons and family meals during the first 60 days, my kids would likely have felt the stifling pressure of solitude much sooner. Even now, Terri and I can coordinate our police passes for grocery shopping and drive together for our three hours of "freedom," which is a blessing! But I do regret that their family's early months of transition to Chile have not allowed them to truly explore and build relationships, learn the culture and practice the language as they would have otherwise.
This week has been declared a week of vacation from school in our home. Our daughters finished 11th and 12th grades, respectively, in the past couple of weeks (hallelujah!) The timing of Eva's departure to the States and the steps towards starting school at Miracle Mountain Ranch in September remain hazy. Isabel interviewed with OneLife - Lancaster last week to investigate that option after graduation next year. Our three older boys each have a book report due before officially closing this school year, and some transitional assignments to complete between now and August when they join their cousins Ben and Nathaniel under the tutelage of Aunt Terri. We are painting the schoolroom (and by "we" I mean my talented husband with his half a dozen helpers!) The house is all topsy turvy with furniture moved hither and fro and ten boxes of food awaiting permission for distribution to families in need. Silas is spending way too much time watching "You's Tube" and craning his neck at video games over his brother's shoulder.
Today with great expectation I started the day with a new "to do" list and succeeded in fulfilling very little of it. I did, however, expend energy and tears listening to an emotion-filled song entitled "Suitcases" written by a TCK which somehow captures all the feelings. I have been nostalgic of late as I search through pictures for a graduation video for Eva and for a teacher's retirement celebration. So many happy moments with our young children and dear friends now separated by time and distance and life. I am thankful for each one.
Later I will add pictures to this post but for now I will simply hit "publish" and record another small snippet of our family's existence in these unexpected times.