Thursday, June 16, 2011

The first few days

From my (Melissa's) perspective:
Well, with almost a day of travel and all of us not going to bed until 4 am on the morning we arrived, we thought it would be good to get up, take a shower, have some breakfast and then get the ball rolling. Nope, no water. Wasn't planning on that. Actually, we did have water at 6 am when I randomly woke up and thought I had a good night's sleep only to find out I slept for 2 hours and it was super bright outside. But I choose to go back to bed, and then wake up at 8 to now water. Whoops!

Most of our first day here we didn't have water. That kind of makes for a small challenge with kids. We went out to eat for lunch and dinner with the team since no one had any sort of food other than breakfast (the stint team that is hear graciously got us all breakfast food for the first few days we were here). So that was nice not to have to run to the grocery store right away. Problem is, I still don't totally know where to get groceries. I mean, Christian, a Venezuelan staff guy took me the other night because we were barely getting by on what we had, but it was a 10 minute drive and, let's be honest, I'll probably get lost if I try to go there again. Oh well. I think there are some small places close by. I have a few weeks to figure it out. :)

The kids have been doing ok. Leah is a super trooper. She's been sleeping really well and eating pretty well here. I haven't been able to give them much fruits or vegetables since we got here since I forgot to buy vinegar at the store, but they're surviving off of bananas and other things. Noah has had a pretty hard transition. He understands that this is weird and he doesn't understand why we live with 2 other people (we're sharing a 3 bedroom apartment with the other 2 staff women on the project, so there are 6 of us in the apartment). He likes them both, so enjoys playing with them or asking where they are. Luckily our apartment complex has a little playground type area that we can go to when both kids are awake. There's a pool too, but we're not sure if we can actually use it. Noah is pretty excited about it though. It even has a kiddy area.

I'm feeling pretty disconnected from the project. Our apartment is far enough away from everyone else that it makes it pretty hard to be involved with 2 kids. But 3 nights a week, everyone will be at our place for dinner, so that is good. And I'll get on campus to meet with students at least once a week. And we have a family night where we go out and do something fun, so I'll be able to touch base with people here and there. Sometimes I just feel like there's not much purpose in me being here. Though I am in charge of all the money, so it's probably good for Bart and Claire (and the students) to not have to worry about all of that stuff.

Julieta, Christian's wife, and I have been able to touch base a little. They have a 2 year old and a baby due in August so it's nice to be able to connect with someone who is in a similar life stage. I'm really looking forward to being able to spend time with her.

I honestly haven't seen Bart much. It's pretty strange. I feel like I just need to get out and explore but Bart doesn't like that very much. He worries that it's not safe. It is, at least during the day. I went out by myself with the kids the other day to meet up with everyone for dinner and a few people kind of freaked out. I mean, what am I supposed to do? Stay cooped up in the apartment all day long every day? No way!

Oh and the apartment. Let's just say, bachelor pad. Gross. This is how dirty it was. Leah is crawling and the tops of her feet and her knees where constantly black. DISgusting. So we (I) decided that I would pay someone to come clean the place on the 2nd day we were hear cause I just straight up could not handle it. It's better now. And it's such a strange apartment. The guy has enough toilet paper to last like a year. Sweet. Don't have to buy toilet paper. He has like 20 tooth brushes between 2 bathrooms. He has 2 plants, 1 of which is looking pretty bad, but the other 1 looks perfect. He has a strange porcelain doll type thing sitting between the plants. I'll take pictures and post this stuff. Don't worry. Oh and he has like 20 empty bottles of alcohol sitting on the high shelf in the kitchen. And that's not mentioning the numerous pictures/figures of Mary/Jesus or something of the like. He also has a tv in every room and an empty fish tank which Noah got pretty excited about cause there was a car in it. So weird.

Oh, and he had a dog. Dog hair everywhere. I'm used to it already. There isn't a vacuum here so what can you do? There is absolutely nothing childproof about this place. We have to lay the stroller in the kitchen area so Leah can't get in to everything because there are no cupboard doors or anything. And there are knives, spoons, tools, pots, pans and many other things she could get into. Hoy da. We do have hot water though and air conditioning. Both are pretty darn amazing. So it could definitely be worse. Oh and the blanket on our bed.....Pooh. One big gigantic Pooh. Noah loves it. This place screams bachelor pad, yet not at all at the same time. I really don't get it. But we're here and it's working for us. And I kind of have to laugh even as I type this. The joys of living in another country.

So this has been a book. Sorry. It's been a lot of what I expected and yet a lot of what I haven't expected. But we're making it work. Noah is picking up a little Spanish and everyone that sees our little gringo kids either smile or say something in Spanish. Most of the time I just smile cause I have no idea what they're saying. I think there will be a lot of that this summer. Me just not knowing half of what people are saying. That's ok. As long as I know where home, food and the bathroom are, I'm probably good.

Out like trout.


bill kuch said...

I loved the Hoy da Baku

makenzie15.5 said...

i will probably comment on every one of these. love that I can picture most of this happening. I love and miss you. (write me a book and email me)