It has been a whirlwind of a year! Even though it has been incredible, there have also been some lows. When you move your household and/or travel with kids, there bound to be highlights and lowlights. Just like with normal life. That doesn’t change just by moving somewhere new.
Upon reflecting about 2017, it might have been the busiest year of my life. It was hard in a way I haven’t experienced before and brought about some of the biggest changes I’ve ever had (after having children, of course). It was also one of the most exhilarating years of my life. I’m still in awe about living in Mexico. I still can’t believe this is my home and it still makes me smile. Still, the time has come to say goodbye to 2017.
Learning another language is difficult. I write about this subject frequently. There is a purpose.
If someone speaks to you in broken English, it has required a lot of courage to do it.
I didn’t expect to celebrate Halloween once we were living outside of the United States. I had heard that there is trick-or-treating in the neighborhoods here in central Mexico, but it was mentioned in an offhand way, in passing, and sounded like it wasn’t a big deal. Obviously, the Day of the Dead is the big and special holiday at this time of year in Mexico. So, why am I writing a post about celebrating our first Halloween in Mexico?
Most days, if everyone is dressed, fed, and teeth brushed, I’m feeling ahead of the game. Getting everyone’s hair brushed is like a bonus in the game of life. Not required, but boy, it looks nice! My daughter prefers to wear her hair down and loose and I don’t try to tame that preference, because it isn’t my hair. The only thing I insist upon is that it gets brushed somewhat regularly. Up until now, that’s about as much as she’d let me play with it, so I haven’t even tried any special hairstyles.
In Mexico, I’ve made an observation (it’s a generality, not an absolute). So many kids have amazing hairstyles. Boys and girls alike, even in casual settings like the mall, are styled and gelled. The girls’ styles are often intricate. I wonder, “how do they do it?”
Because this seems beyond my capabilities.
My grandmother died yesterday morning at age 100. Obviously, given her advanced years and also her declining health, it wasn’t entirely unexpected. Though, you do always think you have just a little bit longer.
Our relationship wasn’t a close one. She had a tough life. Born in 1917, she was the oldest of 6 children (outliving all but one sister). My great-grandmother died when my grandma was only 13 years old and she raised her siblings. What that entailed was quitting school and taking on house cleaning work to make their lives a little better. She lived through both World Wars and countless others, and also the Great Depression. This cemented her frugal nature and has definitely had some bearing on me, as my dad is also frugal.
Grandma was practical to a fault and often tactless. She always told me how fat I was while I was growing up. While I have many memories of her, there are two strong memories that stand out in my brain at the moment.
I love dressing up for Halloween. Last week, I posted 15 Easy Halloween Costume Ideas for Travelers & Expats, because even though I’m an expat and parent, I still want to dress up in a Halloween costume! Guess what? I found more amazing ideas that will (mostly) travel really easily, while still being neat costumes.
After all, it’s more fun to dress up if the Halloween costume is pretty cool. These costumes are pretty cool, punny, or both. If I could be all the things, I would. A mermaid version of Carmen Sandiego? Count me in.
Halloween is a holiday that really appeals to my theatrical side. I still dress up, even if I don’t necessarily go all out nowadays. Here are some fun costume ideas, because even expats and travelers need ideas! You may already own most of the costume. Most are practical and can be worn again after Halloween.
As always, please be aware that there are things that could be very offensive in other cultures. I strongly recommend researching customs in the area you are living or visiting before dressing up. When in doubt, don’t. For expats living in and travelers going to the USA for Halloween, almost anything goes. The costumes below travel well!
Before I became an expat, there were things I was certain were true about expat life. I thought I’d move to Mexico, meet my new best friend right away, become conversational in Spanish in 3 months, and go skipping off into the sunset of a perfect life.