What a welcome we had in Cochabamba! It was heart-warming and amazing to finally meet up with Christian, Pamela, their families and friends and our Finnish companions..Lauri and Viivi made their way to Bolivia from Ecuador, some flights were canceled and luggage lost and they finally flew twice over Cochabamba before getting final connecting flight to the city. I came on a night bus from La Paz, and Tuula, Anni and Niina arrived on a 30h flight from Europe. Jaap was a surprise arrival a couple of days later from the Netherlands. So our ways met in this central Bolivian city..
First encounters with Chris, Pame and their siblings and parents; surreal, was the word to describe the feeling..! We talked about this trip the first time over two years ago, and now we were actually here. The wedding came in the plan later..of course we felt we had something to do with it: we knew about our upcoming travels and were setting subtle and less subtle hints about the possibility of a marriage while we are visiting. J Truly the reasons for getting married are only in depth known to those two, and just as well it is. But they did wish to unite, with each other and with their families and friends, through this ceremony; and that is just a lovely thing.
The week has been full of coming and going in Cochabamba. The happy couple and their families have had quite a bit to organize and run around. We offered the help of our twelve free hands and six clever heads, but it appears staying out of the way was in most occasions the best thing to do.. I hope we haven’t been too much of a trouble, but it actually seems to have been the contrary; it is most enjoyable to get to know the families a little bit, the places where Chris and Pame have grown up and lived, to meet people who this far only had names and stories around them in our heads, and we could now put faces to them..
We have been culturally active visiting the old center, one of the highest Christ statues in the world, and a carnival rehearsal in the streets. We started to blend in with the local friend-population, which is extensive..and we’ve been eating! That is a prominent feature in the days. Food, various delicious and grand meals a day.. they do say that in Cochabamba people just love to eat. It has been so enjoyable though, these encounters over meals, tasting new foods and feeling much love around the meals and people enjoying them.
The wedding itself.. Many beautiful and strong feelings, laughter and love filled the night. The mothers and the couple themselves maybe were under some slight stress before the big night, but the party was a great way then to release the pressure! Our “gringo-friends” company took part in a catholic wedding for the first time. There were more than 300 guests.. It is almost hard to imagine how one goes about organizing everything for such a massive wedding and get-together. But things worked out so well..! The party venue was fabulous, there was much dancing and drinking cola with various strong alcohol – getting drunk clearly was rather a goal than a side effect, there was just a little bit of food.. 😉 Well all of this is just the setting; the couple seemed to enjoy themselves, on their special night and that is what matters. And all the guests seemed to enjoy. Dancing continued until late night, and there was a little after party.. Much love in the air the whole night! We could just express our gratitude to the families and love to the soulful, beautiful couple. And to Tim and all other friends who contributed to a lovely electronic greeting-message, from people around the world; shown on big screen, it touched many hearts. Doesn´t matter how far you are from the people you love, the feeling can still be felt from beyond a distance..
It is always just one day, one moment, such a thing as a wedding. When one has committed to it, it perhaps is being planned for a long time and much of what one does is to prepare for the moment.. and then it takes place and turns into a memory. But so often a beautiful one. I hope and know that the families and the couple themselves are happy and also relaxed now.
For their families it seems to be a bigger thing in many ways; for Chris and Pame, what would change really.. it was one natural step in their relationship. They´re still just their same lovely selves.
How amazing it was to be a part of this in any case. And we are so thankful for all their hospitality. Now the sweethearts are enjoying their honeymoon in the great company of – us!! Their choice. 😉 we will give them some privacy…
It is truly pretty good to experience La Paz together, relaxing, enjoying and surviving the altitude. After, back to Cochabamba.. to spend the Christmas with the families away from home.
To each and every one, I wish a wonderful and happy Christmas time!