A New Week

I was waiting for so long
For a miracle to come
Everyone told me to be strong
Hold on and don’t shed a tear
Through the darkness and good times
I knew I’d make it through
And the world thought I had it all
But I was waiting for you
Where it was dark now theres light
Where there was pain now theres joy
Where there was weakness, I found my strength
All in the eyes of a boy
                                                             Celine Dion

We’ve been here exactly one week. The day broke bright and early. Aodhan asked for his backpack. He asked for his hat. He asked to go out. I asked him to have breakfast. I told him that if he cannot behave, if he cannot control himself, we cannot go out. I told him I am content to sit in this apartment for two months and not go anywhere. I told him that I will go out and have a good time, and that he will stay here with no backpack for as long as it takes. He had feijoada for breakfast. I asked him if he wanted to go Plaza Aramas to see the cathedral. He said he did. He jumped up and headed for the door “Let’s go” he said. “Yes”, I said, “let’s go”. “I need my hat” he demanded. I decided this was not unreasonable, and I gave him his hat. “I need my backpack” he demanded. “not until my bite marks start to heal” I said. We went back and forth for a while. I would not give in on the backpack, and he really, really wanted to go. I finally decided to call his hand. “I’m going downtown. You can come or you can sit here all day.” “I’ don’t want to sit here alone all day, it’s boring”. I left. Aodhan ran after me, and was down the stairs and almost completely outside the gate before he turned back. “I can’t go without my backpack”. His head hung down and he looked so sad as he dragged himself back up the stairs. I walked away. I gave him a chance to follow, but after a few minutes, I knew he couldn’t. I went back to the apartment. Aodhan was cuddled up on the sofa with Alicia. I forgot something I said, and rifled around in a drawer. “I want to go” Aodhan begged. “Then be strong, you do not need your backpack”. We talked about the fact that he had drawing supplies in a plastic bag, and that he was strong enough to leave his pack here, and that it would be safe, and that no one was touching it. After a long time, he came with me. 
He bounced gleefully across the park and down the street. He knew exactly where he was and how to get downtown. Four years had not faded his memory at all. I tried to get on a minibus with him, but he just stood there arguing that he wanted a taxi. I got off, and said, “fine, now we walk”. He wanted to go across and visit the park and the house where we used to live - it is very close to where we are now. We saw the park. It was all just as we remembered, except that the all the streets in the neighbourhood are ripped up for repairs. We went around the corner to where our old house was and our old house was in tatters. The apartment was being gutted, a new floor was being added, a cement mixer, a jackhammer, workmen... Aodhan was dismayed. We went on to go downtown. Finally Aodhan broke down. “I want to go home, I want my backpack, you can’t stop me, you can’t make me”. I held him against a park fence until he settled down a bit. He was really hurt by the old apartment being gone and I knew he had to get it out of his system. I told him I was not going to stop him, I was not going to make him go anywhere. I told him that I knew how sad it was that the old apartment was gone, and acknowledged his feelings. I let him go. He raced half way back to our home before he stopped. He made a little story in his mind that I was going downtown to buy him more little trucks. I didn’t disuade him, but I didn’t agree either. He said we should go to the mercado (market), and asked if we could get a combi (minibus). I flagged one down and we got on. It turned near the park where I had held Aodhan against the fence. He lunged towards the doors of the bus. “We have to get off. The bus is going the wrong way”’. He leapt off. I followed. I stopped him and told him we were not going back to the same market, we were going to another one, a bigger one. He finally believed me. I wished we had stayed on the combi, because it would have taken us very close, but the walking was probably good for us. We walked towards the market, and I only had to grab him and keep him directed towards it a few times. 
He was excited when he saw mercado San Camillo, and he raced ahead. Luckily nothing there had changed. He raced upstairs to the third floor, where they sell the live animals, a place that he thinks is a pet store, or mini-zoo with friendly animals. He went downstairs and outside to see the kittens and puppies. He went back inside and bought half a kilo of strawberries, which he shared with me. He bought a second half kilo and shared again. Sharing is difficult for Aodhan. We went in many little malls and shops and I found a lovely big basin for my laundry. Aodhan did not find any trucks that were the right size, so we never had to have the discussion about not buying them. 
We walked down past the cathedral, and on towards the falafel place, which I told him had moved. I also told him that we are not eating there because he can’t give his plates back. He took us down some other streets and on to Plaza Vea, our old grocery store. We looked around and he even let the guy check his plastic bag on the way out to make sure he hadn’t stolen anything. He walked down Aveneda Marina all the way to the go-kart place. It was of course closed. Aodhan wanted me to take some photos of it anyway, and he wanted to come back in the evening. We took a taxi home. 
We ate some feijoada, and I made chili con carne. I told Aodhan that the one way he could get his backpack back was by putting his bathing suit on, and letting me wash his hair in the shower. I reminded him that now I knew how to get hot water in the shower, and that I had not realized that there was only mountain icy cold water last time he tried. This was not, I assured him, the same as having a shower. This was just me washing his hair while he stood in the shower stall with the water running. He thought about it. “Really, he asked?” “Yep”, I replied, “really”. He said ok, and he put his bathing suit on under a little bit of duress, let me take his dirty sweater, and stood in the shower and let me wash his hair. He then, upon request, took the soap, asked me to not look, and washed the rest of his body.
I told him that in order to earn go-karting, he would have to wash his dish when he was done eating. Aodhan had three big bowls of chili. He didn’t want to be done. He took a lot of time, but finally acquiesced and washed his bowl. I made him do it twice, because he didn’t wash it right the first time. Talk about putting salt on a wound. I am a mean army sergeant. 
I asked Patricia and Yesenia if they wanted to go go-karting. Yesenia said her boys love it, so off we went. Unfortunately both go-karting places were closed, and we ended up just going to Yesenia’s and watching a movie. We will try again tomorrow night.
Aodhan came home very tired, and wanting to go to bed. He wanted to keep his pack with him in bed, and I reminded him that he can’t wear his pack in bed. He said he would only put it on one arm. I reminded him that if he put it on two arms, I was going to have to take it away again. He looked scared and nodded, and assured me that he would never do that. As I closed the door, I heard him slipping the pack back around himself. I flung open the door to his terrified face. I grabbed at the pack and he screeched that he wouldn’t. He took it off. I left him alone, but when I came in to bed that night, I could see he was wearing it again. In the morning I took his pack away from him, and kept it until after breakfast, until after he had washed his dishes and thrown his mango pit away (an enormous step for him). He didn’t even try to put his pants over his pj’s. 
While wrestling away the backpack and tossing it in my locking room, I accidentally locked the door with the keys inside. It was very early. We both had to wait until after breakfast etc. The landlady gave me the whole set to borrow to unlock the door, and the upside of this is that she also said I could have the key to the other room so that I have a place that Aodhan has no access to ever, for coats, sweaters, anything I want to keep away from him.
It was a beautiful day.

The apartment that we used to live in is being gutted and the building is being turned into a church. How totally surreal...

They are even adding a second floor and stairs in our apartment!!! The part that was covered in wood was open to the sky before. My bedroom was at the very back.

At last Mercado San Camillo hasn’t changed at all.

Even the upstairs is the same. All the little stores seem to still be thriving, despite the five new shopping malls.

The traffic in Arequipa. Still the same, although, people seem to pay more attention to pedestrians now. I even saw “Do not drink and drive” advertisements in Bolivia. I even saw people in the front seat of cars use seat-belts occasionally! Of course, cramming seven people into one of those little yellow cars is still ok.

Aodhan downtown in the courtyards behind the basilica.

Aodhan in Plaza de Aramas

Aodhan with his plastic bag back pack (since his was removed). At one point his sharpener fell out of one of the holes, and I picked it up as we crossed the street. Aodhan was really grateful and said thank you many times. He is carrying our new laundry tub/basket

odhan on the touristy pedestrian street behind the cathedral. Yes, of course we paid this lady to pose with her poor little baby llama, which will probably be her supper soon. 

One of the small churches that was decorated for some festivity.  

One of the many little walking streets into a little residential alcove.

Aodhan in front of the go-kart track

The bridge that was designed by Eiffel - yes the same one that designed the tower in Paris. 
He designed quite a few things in South America.