I found this (post below) in my Drafts folder written in May 2016. I did not realize until now that I never published it. It was one of those days–I was being whiny and I had to let it out through writing and then…maybe I caught myself, felt ashamed and decided against posting it. Haha. But I have decided now to post it anyway. Let’s say I just delayed the gratification. But I did redeem myself at end of the article.
It’s funny to be reading this now when we’ve already left the island. 🙂 But I am so glad we took everything in stride (some of the time, we didn’t haha) and we were able to “survive” the challenges.
Today, I will keep it real. I want to sit down, write and WHINE.
I have been dying to do this since, well, since I’ve had things to whine about.
But I am glad it took me a long time to do it because this time, when I’m actually going to do it, it will be for a good reason.
Let me begin the whine fest-
- It has not been easy–this almost nomadic life of ours. Q is 6 years old and he has moved homes 6 times (this means temporarily leaving our real home to adjust to Daddy O’s work). I can be an adventurous person and being always on the move can be fun but there is something about my space being constantly disrupted that just makes me want to go…
I tried to process why this is so and I realized that it is not so much about our “home” being a different one every year or so but that moving around too much is doubly challenging because we are homeschooling. When my space at home (and Q’s study area) where I work and create has a different look every so often, when books and files are moved around several times, I lose my focus and I feel I am not very productive. I do not handle interruptions and changes very well. But we have to move. Sometimes I feel I have very little choice in the matter.
2. We travel for hours and in different modes of transportation to get to places (esp to the city) not to mention boat trips to the mainland getting cancelled when there are weather disturbances.We are affected by strong winds during typhoons which we are not used to. We are not able to cut down on expenses and save up because, instead of Q and I just staying put in our very own home, we are here in the island with Daddy O paying for rent, buying new sets of houseware and furniture, spending on travel fares and paying for hotels when in the city, etc.
Q asleep in a pension house
stuck in a port
aboard ship bound for home
in a ferry bound for the mainland
3. We do not have the comforts and necessities here that we have back home especially necessities like good hospitals, comfortable transportation, educational places that could supplement and support our homeschooling like museums, libraries, bookstores, art and music schools, good sports facilities, etc.
4. We do not have our little home library within reach. Other much-needed school materials were left behind because shipping them all here is just out of the question.
5. We are trying to cut down on our use of the airconditioning in our rented rooms, so the unbearable island summer heat is frying our brains.
6. Most interesting of all, we are right smack in the middle of a town whose culture, owing to the many shady foreign tourists coming in droves, is slowly and evidently becoming loose. Raising a child in this kind of environment requires a lot of vigilance.
There. I’ve listed them. That actually felt good, therapeutic even. 😀
BUT despite my long list of whines (that wasn’t even all of it!), I have my boys. We have each other. We roll with the punches. We are together, not apart. And we have faith that God will protect and guide us. When I am anxious and ungrateful, I remind myself of this. Thinking about other people’s miseries, I should actually be ashamed of myself for even complaining at all.
It’s no fun to be around me when I start complaining. Ask Daddy O. 😀 I know that the more I complain the more I attract the same undesirable situations over and over again. So I try to be more aware of my thoughts and my speech. This may sound cliche but yes, I am now more intentional in cultivating “an attitude of gratitude”. Gratitude does allow you to see things in a different and much better perspective. This helped me deal with the challenges that came with our moving around a lot.
Daddy O and I have our priorities straight especially when it comes to family and parenting. From the very start, we vowed that we should try not to be apart unless it is highly necessary. We really do not need to be moving homes so many times, you know. Q and I could opt to stay in our home city and Daddy O can just go home during holidays and we can just Skype! But NO, we don’t want that. That for us is not the best way to grow together.
So, now, here we are. We three musketeers are cramped in rented rooms in the island (because the rate of house rents here are based on the paying capacity of foreign tourists, therefore, atrocious for us “locals”.)
Island homeschooling.Q loving his fort that his dad built for him.
A family growing and learning together and making memories no matter the circumstance… that’s what’s more important. When I said earlier that I have “very little choice” in our moving around a lot, that’s actually not true. I have every choice. And I choose to have my family with me even if we will live in a tree. 😀
We have been in the island a year now. We have one more year to go. I am still adjusting, after all this time. I still feel that I might have a nervous breakdown any day moving around in a tiny living/work space not to mention the daily battle of putting up with neighbors’ noise (making noise seems to be a local custom around here) and shady landlords. And, oh, the mess and clutter created by my perennially busy 6-year old inventor. I do love his creations but it’s not easy to deal with mess in a small space. But I can now reel myself in and not easily unleash my whining. When I take a deep breath and say a prayer of thanks, the whining is tamed and silenced. Thank God. So, I try to focus on the upside—
Aside from our family being together, we live near the beach! The breath-taking beauty of the beach here just melts troubles away. We don’t easily get the colds and stuff like that here because the sea breeze is a natural healer. The air is always fresh and the seafood is also fresh (and so affordable!). Because there are not many distractions, we are more physically active here. We take walks, we swim, play frisbee and lawn tennis and ride our bikes. The three of us are also able to connect with each other more deeply. Life here is simple and laid-back. We have made new friends and a lot of new experiences. And the most valuable thing of all, Daddy O’s humanitarian work has allowed us to look and examine our own lives with much introspection.
doing Math in the beach
Q doing Greek Myth on the floor of a friend’s house in the island
keeping island life fun
Daddy O and French friend, Philippe playing backgammon
Q with Daddy O at work
Writing this article made me think of 3 important things:
First, to remind myself to be grateful and that our “sort of nomadic” life has many good and wonderful reasons.
Second, we (Daddy O and I) must always be conscious that our priority (family being TOGETHER) remains on top and that we should live and adjust our life around that priority.
Third, to remind myself that learning not only happens in a physical space like inside the home. Learning happens everywhere and the best learning occurs in the real world. And our homeschooling can be done anywhere, even under not-so-ideal conditions.
Many friends and relatives say that we are lucky that we get to live in paradise and our backyard is this:
our expansive backyard
Well, that’s true. 🙂 Although I also tell them that it’s different when you actually live here compared to just spending a few days on a holiday. I say that not to put a damper on them but to be realistic. But it’s the same everywhere. There is a downside and an upside wherever you find yourself in the world. And if I think about it, real paradise is not really the place where you live. Paradise is that beautiful thing inside you that feels like home and never loses its charm. And that beautiful thing, that paradise, that home for me are my boys and my life purpose.
Love and executing love, especially for your family, is not always a smooth ride. There are challenges but you know that at the end of the day, you have chosen what is most important to you and as for all the hardships, you just take the bull by the horns.
sticking together wherever, forever
Probably the next piece of rambling article I’m going to write will already be written in our new home. Yes, we are moving again (long story short: right now, we live in a compound with crazies, so we have to move). The 7th time since Q was born. Still in the island though (our 3rd home in the island), but in a bigger space this time. No longer a shoe box but a house. A gated 2-bedroom house with a porch and a garden. Yey! And we are so excited! I guess this is the blessing that comes when I stop (or bring down) my whining. 😉