Yesterday was Jake's 17th birthday. We celebrated by going out to eat a delicious steak lunch then last night we went bowling. Joe killed us all. I pretty much stunk other than one strike. After singing "Complianos Feliz" we tried out a Bolivian birthday tradition on him by mashing his face into his cake. The rest of the family decided they didn't want the 'nose piece'. Jake was thrilled with his gift: a cell phone and 80 bolivianos worth of credit on it. Until we get our carnets (think: legal alien resident cards), we have to have pre-paid cards with our cell phones. Minutes cost a bit more than in the States. One minute is about 1.2 bolivianos (about 15 cents). The other kids bought Jake speakers for his ipod from La Cancha. He loved those too since he is permanently attached to his ipod. Now maybe he can detach and plug it into an outlet other than his ears. Paul and Grandma sent Jake money and he's considering all kinds of options where he can spend it.We believe we have a house (again). Maybe the third time is the charm. It's here central in the city in the Cala Cala district. We will be able to walk to language school, the Saturday market, the grocery store, movies, restaurants, and the bowling alley where maybe I can improve my game. We are excited about the prospect of all that walking (really). That's one of the things about we love about living here. Joe and I have both already lost 5-10 pounds even though we are thoroughly enjoying all the good food to be had in Coch.
Next week our 4 oldest boys are going to a Christian camp with the international church here in Coch. The camp is near Santa Cruz...a six hour bus ride away. While they are gone we hope to take the younger kiddos to a nearby park. The parks here are interesting. There are some that are open to the public, then there are nicer ones that you must pay to enter. However, even the nicer ones have playground equipment that hasn't been seen in the US since the rise of the tort lawyer...metal slides that are 12 feet tall, at a 70 degree angle and they end 2-3 feet off the ground. It's amazing the velocities that even small children can attain given those variables. They also have iron monkey bars over concrete and all kinds of jagged metal on various see-saws, swings and other equipment. Now maybe those tetanus shots are finally paying off. The kids are oblivious to all the hidden dangers and enjoy themselves just like we did on all the same equipment when we were kids. Now we know where it all went.