Life as an expat is exciting and fun. It is an adventure. Learning new languages, eating new foods, making friends from all over the world, traveling to interesting places, and seeing the world are just a few of the perks. On the downside, is also that it is a life full of excitement and new experiences. It seems we are always busy. All the errands take much longer than in the US. So much of our time is spent in the car getting from one place to another. One expat friend, who is part of a Vietnamese/Swedish/Australian family, sent me this text message the other day. (After I vented about being 100% fed up with how long everything takes in India) "Remember: one task a day! That's my motto here in India. Multi tasking is not an option. Just dashing in for a quick job does not exist...." She's so right. If I get multiple things done in the day, it feels like such a reward. Maybe after we are here longer I will have a better system down, but for now it's one task a day.
On Dan's side it is quite the same. He is dealing with cultural differences in the business environment also. Many of the offices don't open until 10:00 am. He often has conference calls to the US at all hours of the night since we are nine and a half hours ahead of the corporate office in Detroit. He leaves for work at 730 am after putting Rachel on the school bus and often doesn't get home before 730 pm. This with a commute that is under 15 minutes. The upside is that his job is always something new, always a challenge, and he is meeting some great people.
So....how does this relate to family time? We have come to really cherish our family time. The weekends are just for us and we try not to pack too much into them. This weekend we swam, splashed in puddles, had take out, went to church, took naps, and most important played Monopoly. Rachel is really into the game and is learning how to count money. She is talking about "mortgaging property" like an landlord. On Saturday afternoon she set up the board and had it all ready. Even Rebekah gets into the action and usually lasts for half or a little more of the game. If it's Saturday, it must be Monopoly, and it's all about family time.
I love how the girls are listening so intently as Dan explains.
Disclaimer: I don't actually join in the game. It's a little embarrassing to say but I don't have the patience Dan does. Playing with a three and seven year old is often too much for me. I do hang out in the room and read or watch tv while they play. Then I supply the treats and entertain the little one when she has had enough.