Month: March 2014

Comfort in the Discomfort

Before I moved here, I heard stories of these parties or visits that would last hours and hours, and my first thought was always, “I’ll never survive.” Seriously, that sounded like a really bad dream. How could you possibly sit in a room for hours upon hours, drinking tea and speaking a different language?! And yet, that has become a reality and one that I have come to not just survive, but enjoy.

This, beingcomfortableintheultimatediscomfort, seems to be the theme of my life for the last couple of years. Also, the idea of comfortable is so relative, isn’t it?! I sometimes look at my life and think, “if this were happening to me in America, I would be SO UNCOMFORTABLE! Never, would I Ever!” And yet, I tend to live so out of comfort that there is no box for what “comfort” should be. Case in point, This baby party I went to the other day. I’ll just give you a play by play.

If you follow me on instagram, you will know that I was invited to a baby party (basically a baby shower, but after the baby is born) last week. I was going on day 3 of single-parenting, day 2 of potty training Hannah, and it was at 5:30 on a Thursday evening (dinner time after a long day at school for the big kids). If I’m honest, I decided to go because there would be free food and I was too lazy to cook. 🙂

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I knew this party was going to be a late one. But like I’ve said, I’ve gotten used to hours and hours of sitting. So picture this: I walk into a room FULL of beautifully dressed woman (who have obviously spent a good portion of the day getting ready), a band is playing over a loud speaker (so loud my kids covered their ears the whole time), people are dancing and here I am with my brood of crazies, a too-big long skirt, grey shirt and cardigan, and my needstobewashed hair in a bun. I know 1 person in the entire room, and I am the only foreigner. If I actually took a second to step out of my life for a second, I’m not sure it could get any more uncomfortable.

Let’s just say that when I lived in America I was not quick to put myself in situations where I would be out of place. I liked to know my surroundings and the people who were going to be a part of them. I was very very rarely the “new” girl in anything. My family had lived in my town for 5 generations, I went to the same school for 13 years, there was never really anything “new” about me or my life. Even when I went to college, I roomed with my friend from high school and slowly worked up the nerve to have conversations with people I didn’t know. I don’t think anyone would have pegged me as a “shy” person, per se, but I have always dealt with debilitating insecurity that kept me from doing things that were out of my beautiful comfort zone. And then years later, I was lovingly pulled away from “normalcy” and “comfort” into this crazy neverincontrol life.

And yet this crazy life, this “new girl” thing has become my normal, everyday life and I have learned to love it. Somehow, the sitting for hours and the only-white girl and the crazy kids and the trying to speak a different language and the trying to dance but looking like a fool, has become my normal and I don’t just love it, but in the midst of it I’m so full of JOY I’m brought to tears. (just so you know, there are also been plenty of times that I am brought to tears because I’m so overwhelmed with the fact that I can’t speak the language, know the culture, made a fool of myself, etc…It’s not always a huge joy party…but I try to hold onto the joy moments, so that it’s easier to keep going in the  ijustwanttocrawlinahole moments.)

So I think my definition of a “Good” Party is really different then it was a couple of years ago. Yes, we sat a lot and yes, we were there for 4 hours before we actually ate dinner and yes, my kids’ bedtime was 10:30 that night, but somehow the fact that I should have been uncomfortable, but wasn’t, made it the best party I’ve ever been too. Oh and the dancing the night away was pretty awesome too!

IMG_1511(Just in case you want to see what a typical party is like, I took a little video so you can experience it!)

Baby Party

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Ode to My Buta Gas Tank

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Dear Buta Gas Tank,

Usually I am a big fan of you. You allow me to make food for my family, have a hot shower and most importantly, make coffee in the morning. But every once in awhile, you make me so crazy I could lose my mind. I just have one question for you. Why do you ALWAYS wait until my husband is traveling to run out of gas? It never fails. It’s as if you two made a funny little pact and set up a little camera to see how well I would react. Do you know how unfunny it is to haul 3 kids to the store in order to drag your 75 lbs self back to my house by myself? And then, once my nerves are pretty much completely fried, you except me to unhook the empty one and attach another one to my stove. Do you know that this takes almost superhuman strength? Why, you ask, little buta tank? Because if I don’t hook it up correctly and it is leaking, there is a chance it will explode and set our house on fire. I can’t really handle that type of pressure in my life. I have way bigger fish to fry; my kids just poured milk all over the floor.

I don’t want to be mean and I know I shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds me, but please please be more considerate next time.

Love Always,

Jackie

P.S. I have to say that a little part of my thanks you, because I now have a legitimate excuse to eat out for the next 2 nights.

Barcelona

It’s been almost 2 weeks since we returned from Barcelona, I think it’s about time I posted some pictures.  We are so thankful that we have the opportunity to travel every once in awhile. When we first moved here, we had to leave the country every 3 months for Visa reasons, and while we don’t have to do that anymore, I still get that itch every 3 months to change surroundings, get a breath a fresh air, and then return refreshed. I count it a huge blessing and privilege to live overseas and among such wonderful people, but it can be stressful and exhausting and sometimes we just plain need a break. So I’m also thankful (again) for RyanAir for inexpensive flights, so we can travel as a family for relatively cheap.

Because this season of life can be so tiring with little kids, my motto is usually, “If what I’m going to do is more exhausting then just entertaining my kids at home, you will probably find me at home.” But somehow traveling with three littles has almost become easier then taking them to the park. Jay and I have become a well-oiled machine. It’s basically me and the kids, and Jay and the important documents. I don’t think I ever touch a passport when we travel. Honestly, I don’t trust myself. (I would probably set them down somewhere while I was telling Cole not to scale the counters in the airport and forget to pick them back up.)

We also rent an apartment in the city we are going to as opposed to a hotel room. Before we moved overseas, I had never heard of such a thing. But it is usually way cheaper, and way more convenient for a family of 5. The apartment we rented had 2 bedrooms, bathroom, a full kitchen and a living room. So we only ate out 2x, because I could cook everything at home and we could make sandwiches for our lunches when we were out and about. (the website we usually use is www.homeaway.com) I would encourage you to look up something like that the next time you are traveling! (there are places all over the US too!)

Anyway, onto the pictures. (If you follow me on instagram, some of these will look familiar!)

 We told the kids they had to ride in the luggage part of the bus from the airport into the city, and they believed us. 🙂Image

My Sweet girls. I’m planning on them always thinking I’m a cool. (at least I can pretend, right?!)

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McDonalds breakfast. You can say what you want, but there is no other breakfast like it.

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Movie Time! There is a movie theater that shows Original Version movies a couple of days a week!

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We tried to be as American as possible. 🙂 Dunkin Donuts.

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We went to the zoo, the aquarium, the science museum, but all my kids really wanted to do all day, everyday was chase/feed the pigeons. I was just waiting to get pooped on. Anyone else think birds are weird and gross?! Obviously not my kids.

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This picture pretty accurately describes my three. Hannah, aka. squishy face is always goofy and laughing. Lydia, aka. the responsible oldest is always making sure everyone is ok and obeying. Cole, aka. the eater is always hungry and begging for food. ALWAYS.

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 A boat picture for Uncle Joel.

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 Another Uncle Joel boat picture.

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Aquarium!

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Oh Jay and the sun fish. His new love.

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We are not normal. It’s what happens when your dad is awesome and creative.

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(I put this on instagram, so sorry if you’re reading it again) I really toiled over which kind of mom I wanted to be when traveling. Did I want to be the chic, boot-wearing European mom, or the sporty, practical “i’mgoingtobechasingthreekidsaround” tennis shoe kind of mom?! I brought both, and let’s just say I wore my boots once and thought I was going to die. My feet and back hurt so bad. I have never been more proud to be a tennis shoe wearing, non-trendy mom. That whole fashion over comfort thing is way overrated in my book. 🙂

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Who knew that a swing set could bring so much joy?! to both the kids swinging, and the parents sitting on a bench drinking Starbucks.

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One of the coolest things we saw. Every Sunday afternoon, this orchestra performs outside of one of the main cathedrals, and the crowds of people form circles, join hands and start dancing traditional spanish dances. It was amazing.

ImageThank you Barcelona for giving this crazy family some relaxation and fun!