Monday, May 5, 2014

Road repair

Last week I noted to a friend while we walked home that I thought a dip in our road was getting worse. True enough, the next day on our way to work there was a big hole where the dip once was. Coming home we saw the hole had been "repaired", ie. filled in with rubble.

Shockingly, this method didn't seem to work as this morning the hole was back, this time with a branch poking out to alert drivers.

 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Paris from a different perspective

Both Jeremiah and I had been to Paris before, and I'm glad we had because this trip was totally different than the Paris I think of. Instead of meandering through the Louvre, sipping coffee with croissants, and seeing the sights at night all lit up, we carried children around, managed oozing Nutella crepes and sought out playgrounds. Not that any of that was bad, just different and a wee bit exhausting.
We bought some good kids books...

watched boats go by...

wondered where all the keys were...

put on temporary Shakespeare tattoos with water from the public fountain...

and rode the carousels ("again please, again?")

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Seeing the sights in and around Rodez

While in France for spring break we got to see some of the beautiful architecture and countryside around Rodez. Cathedrals are of course the thing the see while in Europe, and these didn't disappoint (except from Tegan's perspective since she had to be quiet while inside!). It was equally nice to walk small roads of small towns and admire the cobblestone and stone buildings, such a contrast to the brick buildings of Kathmandu.






Sunday, April 20, 2014

Moving abroad with young kids

Have an infant or toddler (or both!) and thinking of taking your family abroad to live? Already taken a job abroad and are thinking about what you need to plan for your little ones? Though our kids were born while we were already abroad, we have some thoughts on this based on our experiences and those of others we know.
1. Seek out other families already settled in your new country well before you leave - what advice do they have?

If you are going overseas because of a job that regularly places people overseas they should be able to help with your transition. But if you are on your own find blogs/message boards/etc with families already living in the country or town where you will relocate to and reach out. I get emails all the time and do my best to answer questions. Ask them the questions you know you have, but also ask what their day to day life is like, this can give you a better idea of what to expect.

2. Think ahead to what you might need for the next few stages.
Will your baby start eating solids and need baby food? Start walking and need shoes? Will your toddler hit a growth spurt and need a whole new wardrobe (seemingly overnight as is usually the case)? What medicines will you need? Diapers? Training diapers? Once you have brainstormed, try to figure out what will be available in your new country. It's also good to know about shipping into the country and if there are restrictions.
3. People will have opinions about your move, and will probably voice them. Be ready with your response.
We come across a lot of surprise, polite questioning of motives, the "oh your families must miss you", and "I could never do that because..." (which is really often a judgement in disguise). We know why we live abroad and the benefits for our family and share these to varying degrees depending on the individual. Some will never understand. Some will be inspired. Some will live vicariously through you.

4. Make a plan of communication with family and friends.
Find a time that Skype works for you. Set up a blog. Facebook pictures. Email. Do what works for you and the folks back home.

5. Bring traditions from home and start new ones.
Christmas in a country that is Buddhist will never be the same as Christmas at home. Easter will go by without a blink of an eye. And you will have new holidays to learn and celebrate. Make the best out of all of it. Bring things from home or recreate holiday traditions and find some new things your family can do and possibly take with you when you leave.

6. Find other families to hang out with.
It'll help. For everything ranging from figuring out where to buy the good diapers to what preschool options are out there to venting about ____. Support networks are always a plus.
7. Think of some routines for bed and nap time that are not place specific.
Moving abroad will inevitably involve many different cribs/beds/airplane seats/laps/car seats - you name it - both during the trip there, but in settling-in and travel once you get there.

8. Know that things will be different, and different is ok, it can even be great! (Though fried pork fiber for baby? Not great).
Are you raising a young family overseas? What advice do you have?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Aligot

Potatoes, cream, butter, cheese and garlic. Put them all together and you have the weirdly wonderful stretchy dish typical of the area of L'Aubrac in southern France called Aligot. It looks like mashed potatoes on the plate, but you have to cut it like melted cheese to eat it.

We were invited to lunch by our friend's parents and were excited to learn we were having aligot. Of course it was amazing (how could that combo of ingredients go wrong?!) and boy does it fill you up. Remember to save room for the post meal cheese tray and coffee, plus dessert if things are really going your way.

A word for the little ones, I'd suggest cutting it for them, otherwise they risk swallowing a long string and choking.

 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring break in France

Last spring break Jeremiah met a couple while trekking ABC. They stayed with us for awhile before heading to their next destination on their year of travel. I had just confirmed I was pregnant and they too were newly pregnant. This spring break it is our turn to visit them. Their home is near Toulouse, France and is part of her family home and farm. It's been just amazing visiting, playing with babies, drinking great coffee and food (the cheese - swoon).
Tegan got to see lots of cows with their calfs and many chicks. She also got a kick out of seeing mice eating the chicken food after watching Ratatouille.

More to come about the places we've visited, the food we've eaten, and our next stop - Paris.

 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What's your address?

Basically there are no addresses in Kathmandu, nor really any street names aside from the main roads.  There are names for all the different areas of town - Sanepa, Kupondole, Jawalakhel, etc. - and there are main intersections called chowks - Jhamsikhelchowk for example - and there is one main road that loops around - Ring Road.  From there people use a series of landmarks, shops, temples and various descriptors to give directions.  Google maps is kind of effective, though sometimes what looks like a road actually requires an all terrain vehicle and a sense of adventure.
So we have our phones out when someone is on the way to our house to get them the last stretch, we stand on the road to flag them down, we find cab drivers that know exactly where a restaurant is rather than just the neighborhood, we go places with a friend that knows the way, we learn the landmarks, we get lost, and we take the scenic route.