February flew by and March flashed before my eyes. I blinked and they were both gone. As you and your family adjust to a new schedule, a new way of accomplishing tasks, you will find yourself wondering where your time went.
When you move from a warm-climate culture into a cold-climate culture, you will realize that time is a very valuable and non-renewable resource. You will find more and more demands on your time that will force you to become much more scheduled and much less spontaneous. I did not want to fall into the busyness trap, rushed, anxious and tired. But all of a sudden, without realizing it, I became over-committed, disappointed and exhausted. How do I step back, re-evaluate and re-arrange my and my family’s schedule? How do I protect this valuable resource? Allow me to give you a few suggestions.
This is my seventh year to home school and because we lived in rural Honduras, the decision to teach my kids from home was the most practical one we could make. The Honduran public school system was in chaos, with constant national teacher-union strikes that forced children to constantly miss school reducing the school year, some years, to less than 100 days. We also did not have an adequate private school option for our oldest daughter, who at that time was five years old. Our decision was reinforced by the fact that, all the other ex-pats families we worked with home-schooled their children. We also observed the the quality of the kids being educated at home. They displayed many characteristics we wanted to see in our own kids. The homeschoolers around us were polite, smart, talented and able to carry on an intelligent conversations with a varied age group of people. We assessed our family values and decided home school would be the best choice. It was not a difficult decision, so our home school journey began. Continue reading
It took us over 2 months to move into the current house we are renting and it has really been an answer to prayer. I was getting tired of not having a place to put the little stuff that we own. Now that we have a place to call home, the house fills up and the our bank account depletes. We are now proud owners of a couch and we hope to get a dinning table delivered in a few weeks. I almost cried when I went to Sears with my husband to buy a washer and dryer only to find the last box of exactly the same pots and pans (click on Adiós Microwave post) I owned in Honduras! I was so excited!
We had a house rental secured even before we left Honduras. We were only going to stay at my in-laws for about a week and then move to our own place. So a few days before we were scheduled to move, we went to see our soon-to-be rental home only to find that it was not exactly what we had hoped it was.
It was a little over six month before we moved back to the USA that our microwave stopped working due to the frequent power outages in our rural area of Honduras. The timing was just right, though. We were too close to our departure to purchase another one. Having a gas range oven for re-heating food helped when the power was out, too. And even though I missed the microwave initially; I learned to survive without it. Here is how I survived: Continue reading
In our seven years of working among those serving cross-culturally, we have had to see many others leave before us. Some come for weeks at a time and then go. Some, we think, will stay for a life time; and they return to their passport country in a year. The average foreign assignment lasts about three years. No. Living cross-culturally is not easy. There are bumpy, pot-holed roads to deal with, heat, sickness, fear of being robbed, political unrest, etc.. All things people all over the world go through. But the truth is, the reason most people leave their assignment prematurely is RELATIONSHIPS with other expatriates. Relationships are hard. We’ve been there! They are!
Therefore, finishing well in your relationships as you close up a season of overseas work is very important, perhaps more important than how you start. But it will take some purposeful planning and prayer to end well. By God’s grace, we were able to end well. Here are some suggestions: Continue reading
Tokyo airport has got to be the most kid-friendly airport in the world!
Our family took a long trip from Central America to South East Asia for our company’s bi-annual gathering/employee training. We traveled from SPS-SAL, 30 minutes; SAL-LAX, 6 hours; LA-TOKYO, 11.5 hours; TOKYO-BGK, 7 hours, BGK-Chiang Mai, 1 hour (2 ways). Our seats were not all together in the same rows for most of the flights. Most of the flights went smoothly; nevertheless, our recently-turned 3 year old son threw a MAJOR fit on the 7 hour flight from Tokyo to Bangkok (kicking, screaming, biting, hitting – yes, we have been through it all) after waking up from a long nap. It was sad, embarrassing and tiring; but it eventually ended and we were thankful to be on ANA (All Nippon Airways). Continue reading
Nilla is about four years old and was given to us as a kitten by a local friend. She is a good hunter and loves to eat geckos. Being the good outdoor cat that she is, we haven’t had any snakes or mice in our house. She is also our daughter’s pet and we can’t part without her. It is certainly more convenient for mom and dad to leaver her in a familiar environment that is warm and full of geckos. But, when children are about to be uprooted, it is worth the time and money to take their most precious items (and pets) so that they will not be parting with everything they know to be familiar and loved. Here are the steps we’re taking to take Nilla with us: Continue reading