Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Past the honeymoon stage

Well, we're past the honeymoon stage. Things are going great for the most part! But I think in general all of us tend to write about the exciting and fun things we are doing and we tend to not write about the frustrations or challenges.

So, not to sound whiny or complain (we're all aware what a great opportunity this is) but here's a post dedicated to some of our challenges or frustrations at this point in the year - just so you don't think its all super easy all the time.

The question: "What is challenging for you?"

1) I don't know.
2) Not school...its not that hard anymore...well, still a little hard.
3) It is a really long school day.
4) I don't like climbing up the hill everyday (to our house)
5) Its kind of sad that I can't find a swimming pool
6) I miss chicken pesto tortillas
7) I miss rain

1) Some of the different stuff at school, like making up stories for class
2) Talking Spanish is still hard, but understanding is easier
3) Missing all my family and friends
4) Its hard to find stuff to do at recess

1) I am still struggling with Spanish because I'm inside working in English during the day and speaking English at night at home (Theo just suggested we switch to Spanish at night!)
2) It was challenging to get UPS and its subcontractor to process my new work computer out of customs... it took about 5 weeks and only after daily phone calls from us

1) I love that we're going without a car this year, but I get super tired of hauling groceries up our stupendously steep hill everyday (milk and orange juice are the worst- sometimes I splurge and pay for a $2 taxi). Perhaps, we are eating more.
2) It's starting to get cold here and I can tell I'm going to miss central heat big time - not to mention our electric blanket (we may have to splurge on the latter item since we can't do much about the former)!
3) Again, love that we're helping the planet with no clothes dryer this year, but sometimes I'm afraid our jeans might mildew before they dry.
4) We all miss family and friends - no question. I also miss the intellectual stimulus and gratification of my work. I don't miss the stress though.

Well, that's it. I have to say everyone has done great with rolling with things. The kids haven't complained about not having their toys or bikes or a yard or even cheddar cheese! Probably the most challenging part for the kids has been adjusting to school here, both socially and linguistically. For Dan and me, it's probably been about finding ways of building meaningful connections with folks and the community here. But that's the fun of challenges, figuring out how to overcome them. We'll keep you posted on our progress.

Laura and gang...

p.s. Oops, can't talk about our challenges without mentioning the bane of Theo's and my existence- the ever present fleas in Valparaiso and the resulting flea bites! Ouch.


  1. Hi Guys,

    I was relieved to find your gripes and challenges are rather minimal considering the huge changes you've undergone. It sounds like the elusive computer has finally surfaced, and I'm glad for that. Speaking of cold weather the temperature here is 36 right now and some snow was spotted a short while ago. It won't stay on but still-- snow on April 27!

    I met with Grandma Jackie today and sent a few things with her to take to you. She's very excited and I shared what little travel advice I could give (eg. if you take an overnight bus, make plans early enough to get the reclining seats). Better yet, fly!

    Saw a fascinating movie at Macalester tonight--"The King of Kong" about world champion Donkey Kong players:)

    Love, Grandma Mary

  2. O.K. The fleas ... that's bad. The rest of it is just chickens on the bus and blaring bachata! Disfrutalo. I know you guys are making the most of it, I am proud of all of you and look forward to hearing more of the highlights.

    Peace and love, Sito

  3. The community connection thing is a big one here as well. It's tough going from a community where you know a lot of people and have different circles in which you run and landing somewhere where you don't know anyone. Maybe this is compounded by issues of language and custom. We don't have the language issue here, but there certainly isn't a open-arms / open-door thing going on. It works, though.



  4. It's the bad that makes the good that much better! I love hearing about your adventures! Tell Grace I will trade her rain and snow for a little sun! I've had flea bites (mexico) so I sympathize! Forget the milk and OJ, how about those bottles of wine? Miss you! Heather

  5. First things first--have Theo and Grace learned to dance the cueca? My Chilean coworker Luis Gomez gave me a cd of cuecas and Victor Jara tunes I love. Hey Daniel! To learn more castellano when I was in Ecuador I listened to songs that almost brought me to tears like "Gracias a la Vida". Here in "Beantown" at the train Station Sal from "Guate" plays "Pa Chile me voy, cruzando la cordillera!".Hope to visit you down there! Viva la cueca!
    your "pana",
    Chuck from "Chucktown"