Friday, January 30, 2015

Lame title

So, we have been busy. We're a busy bunch (too busy to think of a good title)!

We've been here for five months now. Five months, you say?! That's right! We've now been here a week over five months. It's hard to believe that it's been that long already. In one month, we'll already be done with one-sixth of our time in Jamaica. The other five-sixths have potential to go by very quickly.

So, in case you're wondering what's up...

Out of the six of us, there are only two at home during the day.

Johnathan has been busy managing in the Consular section. He enjoys his job, his co-workers, and his local staff quite a bit. He's continually making me jealous of them because he cooks for his team meetings. His current team isn't very big, and he wonders what he's going to do when he moves to a bigger unit in the section next year. He has an amazing garden growing in our backyard. We're constantly using tomatoes, lettuce, dill, and other things from our garden.

Sara (yeah...I do third person sometimes) has been busy with her Housing Assistant job. For a month, her coworker was on a well-deserved vacation, and she handled the job of two people. Sometimes she did it like a rock-star, but there were times where she wanted to just give up. She's learning that being in the GSO section is hard work. She's learning that she prefers to not work in Management section jobs, but is going to make the best of her situation. She's been playing Dungeons and Dragons on a monthly basis with some friends.

Malachi's second semester is going very well. He's been enjoying school more, has more friends, and is even enjoying math this semester (this kid really gets fractions!). This semester his after-school activities include Lego-Yuh Mind Robotics, and he's continuing his private drum lessons. He's been rocking the Skylanders game on the Xbox, as well as the Lego Movie game.

Simon is killing it in pre-school this semester. He brought home some homework last week and was so excited to do it. In fact, on Monday he asked Johnathan to make him some homework (I think he wants to be like his brother - we'll see how long this lasts). His birthday is coming up soon and he'll be five - yes, five! As crazy as that sounds, it's true. He's asked for an alien-themed birthday party. So we're trying to trying to figure out an alien-themed birthday party for kids who may not know what aliens are.

Coen stays home with Lucy and chills out with her. He plays on his own, as well as helps her in the yard, or in the house. He loves to help anyone with their task. Last night he wanted to help me with dinner, but I was dealing with a very hot pot of food, that was splattering. The answer was no. Poor Coen. He's so excited to go to school this fall. I had been worried about him and going to school. He has introvert tendencies, and at someone's birthday party wouldn't sit at the table to eat with all the other kids. I thought - how is he going to go to school?! But I think he'll do well. He's been wanting to go for so long, that I think he'll jump right in.

Lucy is doing well. She has a church community that she likes, and she has two close friends. On Sundays sometimes she goes to the mall with her friends for lunch and shopping. She's also often on the phone with friends in the Philippines. She seems to be happy, and I really hope she continues to be.

Everyone has been struggling with allergies and colds to some degree. I hope that as the rainy season ends we'll have fewer sicknesses (and fewer mosquitos!).

We're liking it in Jamaica and are looking forward to the next five-sixths of our time here (sorry for the lack of photos - we're too busy living life to take them!).

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Routine Stuff (mostly)



So, every week I'm in a meeting for my section at work. It's the unit heads in the section, plus a few other special people. I'm not a unit head. Apparently I'm special. When we're at the meeting and someone doesn't have anything to contribute they usually say something along the lines of "Just routine stuff."

And that's how I feel about my blog. Our life is mostly routine stuff right now. This is part of the reason why I haven't blogged much lately. The other reason is that we're busy. We're really busy, but it's with work, and school, school activities, and seeing friends, and day-trips to the beach (today we went to a beach that's only about 45 minutes from home, it's not super-nice, but I've been to worse (and it's only 45 minutes from home!).

We did something that is both routine, and not routine. John and I went to Negril (the farthest resort town from home (only 3.5-4 hours away, seriously...if you love beaches, you must live in Jamaica)) to celebrate our anniversary. Last week we'd been married for 13 years (we've been together now for over 17 years - what?!). It's amazing to me that he's stuck with me for that long. This is not routine, because it's not common for us to ask my in-laws to come down for 10 days so that we can go away for six nights. It is routine because we have celebrated the last five anniversaries on an island. True - the last two have been on an island that we've lived on, but they're still islands! 

My  view on of my days.
Most other days looked similar to this.


Another thing we're doing right now that's not routine (but still sort of is), is Malachi getting his Epilepsy testing done. This year we're doing blood (routine), EEG (routine), and MRI (not routine). We've taken the blood (end.of.the.world.people. it was actually pretty torturous for him), and we did the MRI yesterday - yay for Saturday hours! This was his third MRI, and the first I've been in. He went under for his first one - and I was pregnant. John went in for the second one - because I was pregnant. This time I wasn't pregnant, so I went with him. I expected the noise, but I wasn't expecting him to have a hard time with it. But the machine is big - and really, really noisy. He had ear plugs, and then two layers of padding outside of his ears. He got really nervous, and about ten minutes in he started crying from the ear plugs. He said they hurt. The technician (who was amazing with Malachi), fixed him up and Malachi made it the last 40 minutes like a champ. He was so brave, and mature. I was so proud of him.

Tuesday he's going in for the EEG. We have to sleep deprive him, so he'll sleep. The sleep deprivation won't have to be too strict. This kid falls asleep almost every morning on the bus.

Other than our vacation, and Malachi's somewhat routine Epilepsy testing, life is "just routine stuff,"


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Awesome Weekend

Satruday we went to John's boss's house for a party they were having for some (all?) of the newcomers. It was a BBQ/pool party. We brought the kids' swim stuff and let them get in the pool. Unfortunately for the people who were there for the BBQ it started raining - hard. It did stop long enough for most of us to eat, but then started up again. I sat at the table that the Deputy Chief of Mission (currently the Charge d'Affairs because we can't get our Ambassador confirmed) and her husband sat at. It was fun to talk to her, it was all very easy, she's nice. It's so nice to be at a smaller post again where the mood is calmer and less formal. We left the party after Coen (the youngest) pulled a candle down and got wax all over his head. Well, we left after the Consul General's wife, Lucy, and I cleaned most of it out of his hair. But of course, it was raining. So Malachi started crying because he didn't want to get wet after he'd dried off from swimming in the pool. We were a tired bunch at that point. :)

Sunday we all got up and moving early. We had a plan to go to a beach at a resort called Frenchman's Cove. There was a large group on a bus, but we decided to drive. And I'm really glad we did. Our drive was about half the time of the bus. On the way Coen had to poop, so Johnathan stopped and took him to the grass on the side of the road to poop, but Coen just cried and wouldn't poop. So then we got back in the car and when we were about 30 minutes from our destination Simon vomited. We thought this might happen because he did it on the way down from Baguio (a small city in Northern Luzon (the island we lived on in the Philippines)). So we came prepared with bags and wipes. However, Lucy couldn't get the bag to Simon quick enough because she was holding Coen who was sleeping on her. Luckily for us (less so for Lucy), Lucy brought a blanket and it caught most of the vomit. Eventually she got him the bag, Johnathan stopped and he finished in that. We cleaned him, Lucy, and the car up a bit and then made it to our destination.


I couldn't help myself. 

And it was wonderful. The beach at the resort was small, but beautiful. The sand was white and fine. There were only tiny little shells that didn't hurt to walk on. It wasn't a rocky beach, only some seaweed toward the shore. Beyond that, it was glorious. Next to the beach was the mouth of a river. The river runs right to the ocean, and at the mouth of it, is another little cove with very shallow water (except a tiny spot that's deeper than I am tall), that was perfectly calm and perfect for the kids to play in. So that's what they did. They spent hours in the mouth of that river. They loved it.


The dark part under the tops of the trees is where
the mouth of the river was. 

Since we were at a resort, there were waiters and we had access to their restaurant and bar. The food wasn't half bad, and the rum punch was good! We were there with quite a few friends, and it was a really good time. The bus left and then we left, and we took a different route home. The kids all slept for a while, and then after waking up I was scared that Simon would get sick. He didn't though! He lasted the whole way home and the whole evening without vomiting (woohoo!). I felt especially good because I was the one who drove home.


Look at the beautiful colors! 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Busy, busy, busy

My silence the last three weeks is not due to being unhappy (my usual reason for staying quiet), but for actually being very happy with my schedule. We're definitely in the swing of things in the Roy home.

Have you seen or heard the Pharell Williams song called Happy? If you haven't you're missing out. The overall message of the song is perfect for me, and I'm clapping along right now, for sure.




My alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m., our ride gets here before 6:30, and we get home between 4:30 and 4:45. Some days I don't take my lunch 'til after 2:00 because work is so busy. My job is great, and I'm so happy I have it. Being able to work is one reason why I'm so happy these days. I love feeling like I'm contributing to the family this way. I'll be honest with you here, I'm a much happier person when I work. The time I spend at home after work is much more quality than if I'd stayed home.

Malachi has after-school activities almost every day of the week. Those days his ride and our ride arrive at almost the same time. I give him a bit of time to play and then he has to start his homework. A break from that for dinner, and then more homework. Then shower, maybe time with us to chill and then it's bed time. I usually have time to watch an episode or two of whatever John and I are watching at the time and then it's time for bed.

And I've been happy. Very happy. I felt like smiling on the way home from work on Friday. It would probably have freaked out the motor pool driver because I was the only one on the shuttle that evening, so I didn't, but I could have. I've been that happy.



On a side note: I just entered "happy" as one of my labels for this post and was sad to see that it's the first time I've used that label in the almost seven years I've had this blog. Maybe that should change. (sings) Because I'm happy...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

New-house problems

We had cable, internet, and phone set up when we got here. This is the best GSO initiative that I’ve ever heard of. Seriously. Whoever thought of this was genius. I loved that on our first night, after our sponsors showed us around and I got the kids to bed, I was able to log online and tell the world (and my hubby) that we were safe and sound. I don’t think I actually did that – but I could have! I did get online and communicate with my hubby – but not the rest of the world.

We have a brand new house. Like…new-build new, not new to the housing pool new. I’m excited that we have a new house. We had old-house problems with our previous FS houses. This one won’t have old-house problems. Yay! However! We have brand-new house problems. Some of them, I don’t think are very urgent and I can wait until John gets here and can put in the proper service request (e.g. the fan in the dining room doesn’t have a remote and I have to climb on the dining table to use it), but some of them were urgent (e.g. no hot water, electrical in some parts of the house not working, etc.). I was able to talk to the person who’s currently covering my job and she was able to get guys to the house to fix the more urgent problems.

One of them was that our dishwasher didn’t have water going to it. That was an easy fix. Now the dishwasher stops mid-wash and doesn’t restart even when you touch the “resume” button. I’ll send the poor woman an email and let her know. I’ll also let her know that I don’t really consider this an emergency, just more of an inconvenience.

Last night I was skyping with John, who is on a work trip in upstate NY, and I could only think of negative things to tell him about the house. So I had to keep chanting things like: think of positive things, think of positive things. This house is smaller than my last, and it has almost no storage, and our house in Manila had a ton of storage. Those things are big to me. Not to mention we went from a gas stove to electric. I hate electric stoves.  

BUT! I know that we’re going to love this house. We’ve spent the better part of the last three days in our house, and it’s already starting to feel like home. I can’t wait to make it ours even more with paint and our stuff and wall hangings. We’ll get our kids to make some great art work and hang it somewhere to show it off.

And one day soon – one of my children will call this place home – and mean it.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How to survive your first 24 hours at Post without crying:

First things first (and something that's only luck-based): have great sponsors. Even good ones will be ok, but great ones are the best. We have great sponsors.

Second: make it as easy as possible to sleep. Sleep is very important to happiness. I was afraid kids would wake up scared in the middle of the night. So, instead of people sleeping alone, people slept with a partner. Four people, two beds, almost everyone slept well through the night (let's be honest - parents with a kid in bed don't actually sleep great when the kid's feet are in their backs).

Third: Drink water! Don't get dehydrated!

Fourth: Improvise! Don't have a cup to wash your little kids with? Cut the top off the 1-liter water bottle that you just finished off and use that instead.

Fifth: Bring a Lucy! Everyone should bring a Lucy (my amazing and wonderful helper from the Philippines who moved here with us) with them. Her presence has been very important to my happiness today.

Sixth: Take a deep breath when you see the first grocery bill. And remember - you are stocking your new home with essentials that you won't be buying every time. This obscenely high grocery bill isn't going to be the norm. And also remember to fill out the COLA survey the next time it goes out because holy crap are things pricey here!

Seventh: Remember the good. Every time you have a negative thought about your new place (this house is a lot smaller than my last one, I have no storage here, my list of requests for GSO is getting kind of long), try to remember the good about the house (I have four bedrooms for the first time in my life, the master suite is huge and I have a soaking Jacuzzi tub in it).

And finally - finish the first day off with a bath. A really nice bath in your really nice Jacuzzi tub.


Because you've just survived the first 24 hours at post without crying. For the first time. And that is definitely worth celebrating. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Getting close

In less than two weeks, I’ll be arriving at Post. This is both exciting and scary. Not too scary since it’s the third time I’ve done this, but a bit scary none-the-less. Our social sponsors have been great so far, and it sounds like they’ll be great once we arrive. I would like to be the kind of newcomers that are really independent, but it sounds like Kingston is a need-to-drive- everywhere kind of post, and we won’t have a car for a little while.

I’ve been looking at photos of our house. It’s so fun to have a blank slate of a house to start with. We have painting ideas (some things we want are different from what the other person wants...we’re still discussing), we’re excited to put up our wall art. Some of the pieces are new to hanging because we just framed them before we left Manila. We have some big walls to fill, and that’s exciting.

We might have to start investing in rugs. We don’t have any rugs to bring around with us. On the other hand - we’re just around our weight limit already. This is unfortunate and sad for me. I would love to make more furniture, buy some heavy artwork, buy some rugs. All of that sounds like a lot of fun.