What a fun week I had! It started on Monday with Marco's birthday. Gabriel, Marco, and myself headed to Señor de Huanca church in San Salvador in the Sacred Valley. Marco wanted to pay his respects to the patron saint he believes in and we attended mass. There is a room around the back of the church where a rock that has an imprint of the picture of Señor de Huanca in it. Unfortunately, because it was touched way too much, the church decided to cover most of it up so only a little piece shows. The walls around it are covered with thank yous and pictures and testimonies from believers. It is quite impressive. Apparently it is so busy during the day that Señor de Huanca is celebrated in September.
The story of Señor de Huanca dates back to 1675 when the Spanish were using campesinos to do mining in the Cusco area. One campesino named Diego Quispe made the brave decision to save a fellow worker when he saw that his coworker was being whipped. Unfortunately, that meant that Diego was to receive harsher whipping the following day. In the attempt to avoid the whipping and torture, Diego opted to flee and hide in the mountains of Huanca. During his hiding an apparition of Jesus Christ being whipped caused a spiritual awaking for Diego as he was filled with the spirit of God and Jesus Christ who told him that he was to help the people of the town nearby. Later after getting a local painter to help recreate the apparition the picture of Señor de Huanca was created. Many people in the Cusco area worship Señor de Huanca and it is very common to see taxis and buses with banners in their vehicles that say "Guiame Señor de Huanca" or "Guiame Señor de Huanca" especially because this image is also associated with the travel and the road taken by Jesus Christ during his torture by the Romans. With that in mind it makes sense that people who are in constant travel mode in taxis and buses would ask for a blessing from Señor de Huanca.
After mass we headed to Pisac where we ate lunch at a place in town and then took a dip in the pool. Even though it was pouring outside the pool was actually pretty warm. It isn't heated right now but apparently it will be in about a month. The price is going up 5 soles but there will be a jacuzzi and a heated pool. Upon arrival in Cusco we stopped at my place and I present my maracuya pie to Marco. I also gave him a Looch t-shirt which is a Peruvian brand. The designs are awesome. The particular shirt I gave him was a map of Peru with drawings of the different ruins and places throughout Peru.
After our pie eating we headed to the main square where Gabriel had a Sundae from McDonalds. We then shared a pizza from Marengos in Plaza Regocijo. We decided to go buy some food for Pepe and on the way Gabriel picked up a 3 in 1 DVD of the Paranormal Activity movies. He then proceeded to invite me to watch them with him and Marco. It was super sweet. I accepted and we went back to Marco's where we watched the horrible Paranormal Activity 3. It was nice to spend the entire day with Marco and I know that he had a great time with two of the people he loves most. He was happy to have spent his birthday alcohol free as well.
Marco's birthday wasn't the only birthday we celebrated this week. On Friday Gabriel had his 9th birthday. We had lunch at El Paisa, a well known Cevicheria and Criollo Restaurant in town. I gave Gabriel a pack of 24 colored pencils and a drawing tablet. He was so excited! He keeps a journal in which he draws his days instead of writing them. It's super cute. After lunch we headed out to look for a gameboy type console for Marco to buy for Gabriel. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful. We also managed to bring out the doubt an emotions of Gabriel in regards to Marco and my relationship. Marco thought he had explained it well to his son but it is one thing to explain that daddy has a girlfriend but it is another thing when the child actually sees his dad holding hands and giving his girlfriend a quick kiss. Needless to say he was not happy and after I left he opened up to his dad explaining how he felt. There are a ton of emotions that run through a nine-year-old's head and it is also difficult to grasp the fact that mom and dad are with other people. I think every kid always has the fantasy that their parents will get back together. The most important thing is that Marco told him that no matter what his love for his son will never change. It is also important that Gabriel has space to talk and let out his feelings about the situation. It is healthy and because of it he will be able to move on a lot easier. Apparently, his feelings about PDA of his dad and myself didn't mean that he didn't want to hang out with me. The rest of the night he asked if I was going to come and play video games and eat cake with them. I was flattered when I heard that. Overall, it may not have been Gabriel's favorite birthday but it will definitely be a memorable one.
On Saturday I was invited to lunch with the boys and Gabriel and I played his Wii-type console. I am so incredibly happy that his son and I get along. It means a ton to me and I know it means even more to Marco. The significant other of a parent can be a nightmare for the kid and vice versa and knowing that I am incredibly happy that it is not the case with us. I am sad to see him go tomorrow but he might be coming back in August for vacation if Marco and him don't stay in Lima for the week. We shall see. Either way I have no problem hanging out with Gabe. He's a great kid.