A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
I think it would be really funny if there really were a National Handshake Day... But today, I refer to something we do in the foreign service. It happens twice a year (en masse), and I'm sure it happens at other random times, too. These are the days we plan for, study for, and agonize over for months at a time. This is the day we get our onward assignment.
Just to give you an idea of the thought processes and intensive study that goes into this, I'll tell you about how we prepare for this at our house:
Beginning a year or so before bidding season...or maybe a little earlier...we start to get curious and Devin prints off the projected bid list. We pore over the list and start to look at some of them that we've looked at in the past...or that we've not heard much about. We do a lot of research and usually end up with about 20 places that we're curious about. This lasts for MONTHS.
After a few months of our perusing, we bring the kids in. This is where it gets REALLY fun! I use it as a super mega awesome Geography course. We SCOUR the list the Dev and I have made up. We research the history of each country--the things to see and do, the weather, the current events, the people, the culture, the customs, the language, the church/religion, EVERYTHING. By the time we're through, we are experts on pretty much everything we can know about that country without actually going there. This also lasts for months--we really take our time and dig in. Every time one of those countries pops into the news, the kids see it and we read all about it. It's so much fun!
From these studies, we all work together to pick our top 5-10. This takes many months as well. Devin and I feel very strongly that our kids need to be a big part of this, as they have to live there, too! If they are part of the choosing process, then they own it, and they're much more keen about going and participating.
This year, we thought we had our choices nailed down by May. We were pretty confident with our choices. However, we tend to have this little issue...we think we have things all planned out, and then, right at the last minute, things change. Ah well. This time was no exception. We were sitting with some friends soon after arriving back here from our long summer break, chatting with some friends about the upcoming bidding, and brought up a post that we knew was on our list, but we hadn't really considered much. They talked about how much they LOVED it--best post they've been to! So, we started to look into it, and some really amazing things happened. We felt very strongly that this was a place we needed to look into further. There were just SO many things that happened after that, there was no question in our minds that this is the post for us! It was incredible! I LOVE when that happens! Let me tell you--God cares about where we live--where we go--what we do!
Now that you have a slightly better idea of the horrors that await us every few years, and the huge amount of effort that we go to figure out where we need to be next, I'm sure you're wondering where we're going! Well, this year, this was our narrowed down final list (in alphabetical order):
Bolivia (La Paz)
And instead of just naming our future home, I'll share some lovely stock photos:
Life is just so strange sometimes. Up until a month or so ago, we were going to Europe. End of story. Now, we've got our handshake to South America. Never a dull moment. Ever.
Halloween comes early here... Today we had party number one! Enjoy some highlights:
These kids worked SO hard on their costumes! Josh made Andrew's Rebel hat and his own Star Lord mask from floor mats and hot glue!!!!!! Andrew won best costume overall!!!! Peter was a smoke detector that had low batteries--so funny! He had a little LED light that he could blink and he would squeak just like it! Claire was Professor MacGonagal. We made that witch hat this morning with pink poster board and covered it with black material using double sided tape! Ha! And I made her little glasses with craft wire! It was SO much fun to make and gather all this! Devin and I were Mavis and Johnny from Hotel Transylvania. Good times! I used my black eyeliner as lipstick. It's driving me crazy, though, so I'm going to go wash it off right now!
I'm a lover of reptiles. I admit it. I know it's weird, but I just like them! This is a baby monitor lizard eating a slug in my backyard. I think it's super cool! The best was when a bird came down and tried to take away the slug! Ha! The lizard won. Way to go, my reptilian amigo'
My lovely picture of the day...our new friend snake slithering along the top of our backyard fence! Woohoo! The birds were going CRAZY around him, which made it even cooler to watch! They were chirping and screeching away! Neat!
I love our co-op. Every Friday we get together for some fun hands-on activities--this year we're doing simple/powered machines with Legos, and arts & crafts with Zeeniya...and we usually get in some documentary time and a little outdoor fun, too. It's so nice just to get together, though. I think all the kids appreciate the time with other kids who are raised similarly, and I KNOW we as moms love the time to chat and compare notes...and remember that we're not alone in this crazy endeavor! It's a ray of sunshine in our week!
Peter loves to make little hideouts. He created this little fort for himself one morning when he woke up extra early (4am), so that he could turn on the light and read without bothering his brother. It was very sweet of him to consider his brother when he made this...however, the problem came when he loved it so much, that he started waking up at 4am regularly on purpose so that he could read quietly in the dark. I'm happy he likes to read now. I'm happy he sees the benefits to waking up early. I just am not happy with the seriously grouchy little kiddo that I end up with by about 4pm. Good times. Happily, the fort is still up, and he now gets up at around 6am again. Sleep is good.
It's really important to me to always look on the bright side. I do consider myself a positive person and I always try to find things I love instead of things I'm not particularly fond of. This is part of the reason why I'm trying to post things I love about Sri Lanka as we're leaving. I'd like to leave here feeling sad--and not feeling like I should do a happy dance because I'm finally being released from prison. But, there are times when we just have to be realistic. Not everything about this place is glorious and wonderful, so I'm going to be mixing my posts up. Sometimes I think it's important to share the things that are not so wonderful. It's probably more healthy AND it's those not-so-wonderful things that honestly make the best stories!
So, today's 'good story to remember' is BUGS. And not just any bugs, but WEEVILS. Ugh. They are infesting our food storage. We have a really lovely storage room that we keep very cold and dry, using an A/C and a dehumidifyer around the clock. But, the wheat and the oats are falling victim. It's so gross. It was especially bad today. Devin made granola for the kids for breakfast. They were so excited! We were all sitting around eating, the kids had filled their bowls with granola and drowned it in milk...and then they noticed all these little black things floating around. *shiver* They had all been eating ravenously...and then I watched them all stop and turn green! Peter, bless his heart, says, "Dad thought he picked most of them out..." The other kids were so mad! "You knew there were bugs and didn't tell us??!?" "Well, Dad thought he picked them all out..."
Ha ha ha! Oh I won't miss the heat and humidity and the BUGS that penetrate all our 'defenses'.
Did you find Mr. Creepy-Crawlie in Claire's oatmeal?
Who Am I?
As a Stay At Home Mom of 4 wonderful children, I have the amazing opportunity not only to home school them, but to do so in many different places! I am married to the most amazingly wonderful (and handsome) man in the whole world! Together, we seek out, every day, that Joy in the Journey that makes life exciting!
by Dan Brown
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