I forgot how hot southern summers could be here. I have been hearing peoples’ complaints and thinking to myself, “It can’t be worse than the Honduran North Coast.” It can’t be worse than a sunny, hot, humid, breeze-less day with no electrical power to allow your ceiling and floor fans to cool you off for a few seconds. It can’t get any worse than that. But, once upon a time, it actually felt worse… at lest to me.
A few Saturdays ago while husband took the kids on an outdoor adventure, I stayed home to enjoy a quiet morning. Then I decided to drive to a trail along our city’s river for a 45 minute jog. It was around 10:30 a.m. when I began; but twenty minutes later, I was exhausted! I arrived to one of the bridges, slowly picked up my legs to cross it, walked halfway across the bridge when I realized I was too tired to keep on going. That is when I decided to turn around. I did never made it to the other side of bridge or jog the 45 minutes I had set my mind to jog.
I miss my full time house help: 8 hours a day for five days a week. She cleaned, washed clothes, prepared lunch, loved and cared for my kids. Oh… I was so spoiled! Sometimes I ask myself: Why did we move to the US?
It is culturally acceptable even for lower-middle class families to hire full or part time help in the home. For foreigners, it is almost expected. Labor is cheap in the developing world. Work is also scarce, even for highly educated people living in urban areas, not to mention people who live in rural areas. I needed to run a home in a hot, humid and dusty environment where floors needed to be swept and mopped daily and clothes and sheets got moldy – not to mention we did not have a dishwasher nor air conditioning, and had to hang clothes to dry on a line because electricity is really, really expensive. That was my “old normal.”
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.
Even though kids can be very resilient and are quite adaptable, it can still be very hard for them to part with friends. This is why we decided to allow each child to wrap up their time in Honduras by giving them the opportunity to say goodbye to special people in their lives in their own unique way. They were able to choose (1) who they wanted to invite to their party and (2) what type of party they wanted to have.
Each party was different; but they did have a few things in common:
- They were all very simple. Since the purpose of each party was to spend a memorable time with friends -and I’m not a very good party decorator-, we went “all natural” with the decoration. We used what we had and spent money mostly on food, disposable plates, forks, napkins, etc.
- There were blank note cards and markers for guests to write a special message to the parting child. If the guest was a child who could not write, I asked the child’s parent to write for them. We loved collecting the notes at the end of the party and reading the special messages from friends.
Below you will find a picture and brief description of each of the three parties we had: 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