18 May 2015


Vagabonding now is different.
Much, much different.

Oaxaca is beautiful. The colonial feel of the cobblestone mixed with the brightly colored buildings and edgy street art on every other corner is something so very different. Our neighborhood is old, but seeing a revival of sorts. We have a lavanderia, a tortilleria, and, claro, a barbershop bar called Barberia Krampus. You read that correctly - a barbershop where he does haircuts and close shaves and you can have a cold beer. There are coffee shops, a wood-fire pizza restaurant, an organic grocery and cafe, and more. Our apartment is nice, furnished, and the perfect mixture of small enough that we can always see our mischief-making son but still have separate rooms. We are trying to live in this small corner of the world.

"And there are a new kind of nomads, not the people who are at home everywhere, but who are at home nowhere. I was one them." Robyn Davidson

Everything is an adjustment. We are acclimatizing, getting used to, transitioning. And it is so different this time around. This time I have to account for a husband, for a son, for a daughter. For nap times, for feeding, for snacks, for toys, for time outs, for bad behavior, for good behavior, for language school, for homework, for playtime, for sunscreen, for sunburn, for bug bites, for owies, for water, for bedtimes, for all of the things.

The weather is hot. The Spanish often goes over my head. The time zone change, the culture shift, the food differences, the apartment hunting, the street vendor browsing, the taxi driver conversations - these are all things that I know, that I love. But it is a different world when you have a family. If it were just Marko and I, there would have been changes, but they would have been minimal. But a family nomadic lifestyle is an entirely new world.

I am slower to absorb this culture shock than I have been to others.

It is hard to figure out how to best go about immersion when you have to tote around a little red headed girl who can't walk. It is hard to imagine browsing in a mercado when you have to worry about your two year old disappearing into the crowd. It is hard to keep track of snacks and of meal times and water bottles when it's not just your stomach that informs you of the need. It is hard to think about which papers and which toys you will need at the immigration office in order to best satisfy the government and your two year old. It is hard to wear your four month old daughter in 30 C heat.

It is much easier to prioritize in familiar place with familiar people and familiar things. But it is, for me, much less rewarding.

Yuriko, Cynthia, Juan, Delfino, Rosi, Jomas, Eduardo, Pedro, Rosa y Lola - this is the beginning of community. It takes time to build, it takes hard work. It is inconvenient, it is exhausting, it is frustrating. But it is worth it. And it is better to do with a family. They create opportunity, both to explore and to rest. They create a loving safe space to be yourself in. They provide moments of the utmost love, joy, frustration, anger, hope, laughter, strife, wonder. And I am so glad to be here with them.

I couldn't do it without them.

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