Thursday, February 16, 2017

Oh my, what kind of Spanglish is this?

My good Friend Annabelle organized a month long series on her blog The PiriPiri Lexicon called "A-Z, Raising Multilingual Children". I chose the letter O because it's one of my favorite letters and I bring you my post called "Oh my, what kind of Spanglish is this?"


My kids and I speak Spanglish, with some other words mixed in that we have picked up along the way in Asia. I call our language Asian Spanglish. My youngest one prefers English over Spanish and I'm pretty sure that's because the only people that speak Spanish to her are her dad and me. When she is with her brother they switch back and forth endlessly usually speaking a good ole Spanglish mix with some Thai words and even Indonesian words thrown in for good measure.

There are lots of instances I remember when they mix the words from both languages and sometimes change them to suit the verb tense. I am always reminded of one time when my first daughter was a tiny baby and we were living with a British family in the Peruvian Andes. We were having lunch at their long kitchen table and someone came to call for the mum. She answered matter of factly; "Tell them we are almorzaring and to come back later".

That little sentence struck me as the reality of the way her kids were living, speaking Andean Spanglish; which is quite different to my kids Asian Spanglish. Her kids grew up with a mix of British and Australian English and Andean Spanish mixed with Quechua. Her kids have amazing accents when they speak Spanish! My kids, specially the little one speaks a kind of English that I can't fully place, it's so neutral and mixed at the same time.

The way she says "mommy" at the end of a sentence for example is extremely British sounding, but when she's just waking up she calls "mamaaaa" in a more Latino tone. My son's English has a distinctive South American twang which I love hearing. He is so good at switching back and forth.

Just now coming back home from the Supermarket my daughter said "You won the ascensor maawwwmieee" because I arrived at the elevator first. When the kids want to drink coconut water it really depends where we are; In Thailand they will say "mamá quiero nam mah phrao" or "agua de coconut". Here in Sri Lanka it's "quiero un thambili mamá!" or me asking them "Do you want thambili"? 

Every time we talk we are switching back and forth and mixing words around to suit the moment. May daughter can't roll her r's so she's specially funny when trying to speak big words in Spanish like ferrocarril and carro rojo.

I wonder what other Spanglish mixes they will have as we keep moving around the world and collecting new words. I'm sure it will be entertaining at least. The fact that my daughter has a Peruvian passport but has never been to Peru (yet) reminds me of how I have an Italian passport but can't even speak Italian. 

What language mixes do you have at home? Had you ever though of different dialects of mixed languages like "Andean Spanglish" and "Asian Spanglish". I made those up, you are welcome to use them. 


My kids speak Asian Spanglish, my oldest daughter's first language was Andean Spanglish. My kids' accents are insane and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I am not Mafalda, I love soup

During my childhood, if I wasn't doodling on a piece of paper or playing with friends or cousins, I was reading Mafalda comics. Mafalda is a little Argentine girl who hates soup, and makes a great big fuzz over it. Whenever I think of soup and specially of someone not liking it, I think of Mafalda.

I am not like Mafalda because have always liked soup, all sorts of soup. My absolute favorite is Pumpkin Soup but only the way my grandmother made it, if it's made any other way then I don't like it. Most of my childhood was spent in Peru and I had my share of soups; from my nonna's red minestronne to Peruvian green menestron and Sopa de Olluco with charki to Adobo in the mountains at dawn and many many more.

I can't pick my favorite Peruvian soup but if I had to pick one to eat right now it would be Sopa Criolla. The best flavor for any winter day with beef broth,  angel hair pasta milk and a fried egg. 

Every restaurant will have this soup as it's a staple for any menu.

21. Sopa a la Criolla

I found this great recipe for you at

LimaEasy's Recipe for Sopa a la Criolla

Ingredients for 3 to 4 servings

  • 250 g beef steak (or ground beef)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 glove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon aji panca paste (or powder)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 l beef stock (or water)
  • 1 big potato
  • 80 g angel hair pasta (or thin spagehtti)
  • 50 ml evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking oil
  • 2 slices of white bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • garlic salt


Cut the beef in very small cubes (or use ground beef), chop the onion, peel and press the garlic and peel and cube the potato. Prepare beef stock, so it's hot when you need it in just a few minutes.
In a heavy saucepan heat a splash of oil. Add beef and let brown. Salt and pepper the meat. Then add the onion, the garlic and the aji panca paste to the beef. Stir for 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and the oregano and stir for another 2 minutes. Pour boiling beef stock (or water) into the saucepan. Then add the potato cubes. Put the lid on, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, prepare the croutons. Cube the white bread and sprinkle some olive oil and a little bit of garlic salt on top. Mix with your hands. Heat a skillet and fry the bread cubes from both sides until brown. Set the croutons aside.
By now the soup should be nearly done. Add the angel hair pasta to it and let cook for 3 to 5 minutes until al dente. Then break in the eggs, stir once or twice and allow the yolks to becoming hard. Turn off the heat. Incorporate the milk and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Serve immediatly garnished with the croutons.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I'm getting tired of Curry

Oh Curry, ambrosia of Asia. I'm getting tired of you.

I can't be sure if I am getting tired of curries in general or just the Sri Lankan style. Definitely prefer to eat curry with chopsticks than with my hands, or rather with a spoon while everyone else gets their hands right in there with the spicy stuff.

Let's review my life, curry by curry in chronological order

In Peru:
Pollo al Curry: Chicken legs cooked in yellow curry powder served with rice. Definitely not spicy.

In Australia and back in Peru:
Chicken Curry: Chicken legs cooked like a stew with curry paste, not sure if Indian or Thai or what. A bit spicy but nothing major.

Chicken Curry with coconut milk: Same as the last one but with coconut milk.

Finding out that there were three kinds of Thai curry; yellow, red and green.

Love affair with curry begins!

Eating Indian Food at an Indian Fair and really enjoying all the different curries. Minimally Spicy, probably because the cook though it was best for "foreigners".

Eating Thai Food in a restaurant and trying green curry for the first time. Minimally Spicy. Didn't care much for the tiny green eggplants but no big deal.

In Thailand:
Green curry, red curry, yellow curry, I WANT CURRY!
Finally started to taste how spicy curry could be, but Thai curry has a "fresh" taste that even if the spiciness gets overbearing it is still delicious.

Tried Japanese Omu Rice with brown curry. Interesting...

In Indonesia:
Indonesian curry is ok, Rendang being the best of them. But they just aren't Thai Curry.

In Sri Lanka:
We weren't even there yet and the waiting area to get on the plane in Bangkok smelled like curry. Arriving in Colombo, the first smell was curry. 

Sri Lankan curry is not made from paste like in Thailand, but instead with roasted powders. The flavor of curry leaves and spices and chilli are extremely overpowering. No matter what the curry is made of, meat, vegetables, fruit, the chilliness takes over the flavor and you need more and more rice to be able to eat it all.

The local Sri Lankan staple is Rice and Curry, wrapped in plastic and newspaper, eaten by hand and then left to pick at by the crows. Finding a nice curry is not an easy task, spicy (tasteless) curry is everywhere.

Curry for breakfast, curry for lunch, curried snacks, curry in the air, curry on the ground, curry for the crows, curry in the bread buns, curry in the elevator.


I am tired of curry.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Thinking of getting new sneakers?

I have been looking at the Reebook store every time I take the kids to school in the morning. When we were looking for new sports shoes for Big Kiddo we found some great ones at Reebook and I started drooling at the adult ones.

My old sneakers are getting to the point of no return and I think it's time to get new ones. Have you been thinking of getting a spanking new pair of sneakers to kick off the New Year? You can save money on a pair of Reeboks with coupons.

I wouldn't mind getting my hands on these classic beauties:

Or maybe some rocking tights! The ultimate yoga pants for the yoga I will probably never do. The last tights I had were also reeboks and I wore them for so long I loved them. They weren't as cool as these though, I think it's time to go all out and get some patterned ones. 

Hey, maybe if my tights look great I'll start doing sports again. Yoga is probably the best idea but I'm so lazy. Funny though, I love sports gear even if I don't do sports.

If I was living in a place that was colder I'd definitely go and get some rocking hoodies cause who doesn't like putting her hand in those wonderful unipockets! I've had hoodies in all colors and I love them when they are oversized! I never had them with the thumb hole and I think I'd really like that. I want to move to a cold place so I can start wearing hoodies again!

How about you? What's your favorite sports gear? Do you even do any sports? wink wink

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Kidloland App and Christmas Songs

Download the app at the Apple Store, Google Play and Amazon App Store
Your kids will thank you specially if they are small. 
My kids are proof.

Kidloland is an educational app available for iOS and Android that is easy to use and keeps little ones entertained. The app is geared to kids younger than 5 but the older kids might want to watch along too!

My kiddos have been using the Kidloland app for a couple of weeks, and every time they sit to play with it they have a great time picking if they want to hear a story or play a game. There is so much to do in Kidloland that they always find something new.

I was impressed as to how many different options there were to play with and the graphics are quite entertaining. 

There are games, stories, songs, phonics songs, abc songs, activities, popping games, classic songs like row your boat and the wheels on the bus.

My oldest little on is 6 so he gets tired faster of the app, my daughter is 4 and she stays on longer. I would totally recommend this app for little ones, it's entertaining and educational all in one.

Just last night my kids discovered the christmas songs and have been playing them over and over. Some of the songs are part of their christmas concert so they were happy about that.

We have played the 12 Days of Christmas on repeat for a few hours now. Their favorite part is of course fiiiiiive gooooldeeen riiiiings. That's my favorite part too. The illustrations on the video are cute to follow and full of color. Small Kiddo also likes the Jingle Bells song and saying "hey!". 

What I really like about the Kidloland videos is that it has the singalong words at the bottom so that parents can actually sing with the kids. I sure don't remember all the words to the songs but having the letters there helps a lot, and the kids learn faster as well.

I have to say my kids much haven't delved into the phonics and abc's parts of Kidloland, I think it reminds them too much of school. For homeschool families though, this is a great addition. I had a look at it on my own and it's quite entertaining like the rest of the app. 

There is one thing though, since there are so many possibilities of play inside the app, you have to download it by pieces as the kids go along. This is great if you have good internet but if you don't then you can only use the ones you already downloaded. For car trips, parents would have to download all the little bits first so that the kids can use the app freely.

I would definitely recommend buying the full version as there is so much more to see and learn, it's easy to use for little fingers and the music is attention grabbing.

Download the app at the Apple StoreGoogle Play and Amazon App Store

Kidloland gifted us a subscription of the app in exchange for a review, but the thoughts are all my own.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

My new glasses from the

When contacted me about sending me a free pair of glasses in exchange for this blog post, I jumped at the opportunity. Why? Because finding a nice pair of glasses is either difficult or ridiculously expensive, and I'd never had an excuse before to write about wearing glasses so I figured why not. Read my review below my little story and then get an awesome 50% discount with the code at the bottom of this article.

A story of my eyesight and my love of frames

The first time I put on seeing glasses was when I was fifteen and the greatest thing I noticed about the world was how the big trees had lots of leaves and were not just green blobs sitting on top of other brown blobs. An aunt of mine owned an "optica" on Av. Petit Thouars, really close to my grandmother's house and I remember it was called "Optica Cientifica". I got all my glasses there until more modern opticians opened up around the city.

My first pair of glasses were round and black. For years I went back and forth with contact lenses and frames but now I wear mainly glasses. My eyes tend to get dry quite fast and contact lenses become uncomfortable quite fast. When I wore contact lenses I would wear all sorts of sunglasses.
I have had many kinds of frames throughout the years. I have a box in storage with old frames that I don't want to get rid of because they are so pretty. I have a pair of antique wire frames that I used for over a year until I changed for a pink and yellow model.

When I was traveling back and forth to Argentina I got all sort of fashionable frames and even had two seeing frames at a time that I could switch back and forth with. Then I stopped wearing contacts altogether and went back to frames full time. We left Peru while I was sporting the pink cats eye frames. On a beach day in Thailand I had to choose between holding on to my baby or to my glasses when a wave came our of nowhere and covered us completely. I hope you guessed that I held on to the baby!

After that it took a long time to find another pair I really liked. I had been making do for a couple of years when I get an email from a company that sold glasses online who wanted to send me a pair of glasses! Thank you for my new thin tortoiseshell nerdy chic glasses!

A photo posted by Graphic Designer + Artist (@oranavelarde) on

My honest review of buying eyeglasses online

On the first try of picking out the glasses, it was a bust. It turns out the prescription glasses are ordered online through an american company but the actual product comes from China. Sri Lankan post isn't so great and they can't track all the numbers. Needless to say, the first pair got lost. It took me a few months to realize what had happened, but then it was all ok after I talked to the representatives about it and started the process again. The original pair I had wanted wasn't available anymore so I picked my second choice,  a thin tortoiseshell rectangular frame that suits me better then i thought it would.

The frames with prescription lenses came in a cute plastic case and a good quality cleaning cloth.

I noticed quite quickly that the frames were not very sturdy and slipped off my face. With care the frames will be fine, and then slipping off I managed to fix quite easily at the optician in my neighborhood, she folded the legs a little bit to fit behind my ears better.

I was happy that I had my prescription with all the details like pupil distance in an email from a previous optician in Indonesia. I imagine that to order these kinds of frames online you need to get your eyes measured first and some opticians only do it if you are going to buy frames for them.

I've never had prescription sunglasses but it could be interesting. has prescription sunglasses too, apart from the regular clear ones.

Discount Code for you my Crazy Little Followers

If you are looking for some new glasses, then you should definitely consider ordering some new one from  Make sure you have a prescription to send them and also make sure you give them the right address as I think that my first pair didn't make it because there was something wrong.

Get yourself some new glasses by using the code GSHOT50  as you check out. Enjoy!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Each Peach Pear Plum. A book as old as me

I have been meaning to write this post for years. I am not sure why I never did. It's one of those things that you think, I'll get around to it eventually but then life takes over.

There is this book that I love called Each Peach Pear Plum.

Currently we have a hardback cover that I found out of serendipity in a Bali bookstore between princesses and transformer sticker books.

Right now I'm on the second copy of this book, I'm not sure where the first copy is but I think it's hidden in between all the other hundreds of books at my father's house.

Have you ever played the game "I spy"? If you have then you will love this book with classic fairy tale characters like Mother Hubbard and The Three Bears.

Small Kiddo loves finding Tom Thumb and Baby Bunting's pacifier.

The frog had it!

The Ahlbergs

Janet and Allan Ahlberg is easily my favorite artistic family. A writer, an illustrator and then a baby that became an illustrator. 

Back in the late seventies, Allan Ahlberg was married to his first wife Janet and they wrote and illustrated such classics like Each Peach Pear Plum, Peepo and The Joly Postman. 

In the back of the book Peepo, Janet illustrated the family inluding the family cat and it's just the loveliest thing you've ever seen.

I get a kick out of how the first printing of  Each Peach Pear Plum is 1978, the year I was born. Together the Ahlberg's published 37 books together and every single one is a beautiful piece of art. The most popular of all of the books is definitely Each Peach Pear Plum. Allan Ahlberg said in an interview for the Telegraph UK;

"If I had stayed in my little terraced house in Leicestershire, I could have lived off Each Peach Pear Plum for the rest of my life."

I Spy

A classic game played with children, I Spy is the premise for the Each Peach Pear Plum book. Each page has a prompt to find someone in the illustration. The Ahlberg's created a fictional place where Cinderella lives with Mother Hubbard and Tom Thumb, The Three Bears hunt in Robin Hood's forest and the Wicked Witch falls in the brambles with Jack and Jill.

Kiddo's love finding all the characters and all the extra little things that are illustrated in the pages. That is one of my favorite aspects of Each Peach Pear Plum and the Ahlberg family books; the detailed illustrations with incredible depth and story. 

"Each Peach Pear Plum
I Spy Tom Thumb"

He's up in the tree reading a book!

Your kids will love it

If you haven't yet discovered Each Peach Pear Plum or any of the other Ahlberg family books, wait no more! Not only will your kids love them, so will you. They will stay with your kids for years and will become the most important books they've ever had. I can assure you of this.

What could get any better than a plum pie in Mother Hubbard's Orchard with Cinderella, Jack, Jill, Robin Hood, Tom Thumb, The Three Bears, The Wicked Witch, Mother Hubbard and Baby Bunting? Ok, maybe the last page where the rabbits and birds eat the leftover crumbs.

Need convincing? Here's a video...

* Interview with Allan Ahlberg for The Guardian
* The World of Allan Ahlberg for The Telegraph
Both great reads

Because you are a book lover....

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Tale of Accessories

We went to the Good Market on Saturday for the weekly mendhi tattoo for the kids. They got rose and rosella juices, messed up their mendhi a few times and had the usual meltdowns. On our way out we went past the wooden toy stall and got a little farm animal set. Right in front of the very attractive trains and puzzles was a new table that had never been there before.

It caught my eye pretty quickly with the minimalist display and quite original looking wooden necklaces. The kids wouldn't let me look at the pieces properly, "I'm hot, I'm thirsty, my mendhi is messed up". After some fixings of all sorts, we made it back to the accessory table and I saw some really simple and pretty earrings. When I see something I like that might be a suitable accessory for me, I try it on. If it looks good it stays on and doesn't come off for years. These pretty and delicate earrings are from Squared Designs and I have a feeling I will get a wood necklace next week.

I came home and took a photo of the earrings cause I was surprised that I had actually got myself earrings, something I haven't worn in about 15 years. The last earrings I wore were a pair of nipple rings I found abandoned in the house I rented in Cusco. Yes, I cleaned them well before using them. I only knew they were nipple rings because I asked the people that had been staying with me. The girl who used to wear them got tired of the constant nipple strain and left them behind. They were perfect surgical steel hoops and they stayed in my ears for about four years until I got tired of them.

I sat down and wrote about 1000 words about jewelry.....

And then that happened.
It was really long, and detailed and maybe a little winded. 

The idea for writing this article came from the conversation that started after I posted the photo on Instagram and Facebook. A friend blogger shared a post she had written about her life through her earrings. It is a beautiful piece, you can read it HERE.

I have only one worn two accessories for many many years, one for almost 20 years. My glasses and my lip stud. Now I have earrings and two rings. I like the change.

A photo posted by Graphic Designer + Artist (@oranavelarde) on

Why do I like these rings and how did I get them? 

For many years now I have been wanting to get a big tattoo on my back of an Erawan (a three headed elephant). I made the art for it even, but I still haven't found the time or the artist for it to become a reality. On a visit to the Barefoot Cafe in Colombo, I saw the elephants ring and realized that I had to have it. The first piece of real jewelry in five years. 

The other ring I saw for the first time on Instagram while in Bali but I still hadn't made any money with my biz and there were no paypal funds. I kept seeing the ring pop up on Instagram until finally I was able to buy it. It was made in Australia and shipped to Sri Lanka, with quite a bit of customs troubles to receive! 

I love this ring. It was made specially for me, Leonie makes every ring when its ordered. The elephants ring is great but you can tell its massively made. These two rings have a lot of meaning for me and I expect to stay with me for years to come.

And if you love jewelry you might like these books! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Buddhist Full Moon and our Blue Moon baby

Sri Lanka is the only country in the world that regards the full moon day as a public holiday. A full moon day is called Poya and is the most important day of the Buddhist Lunar calendar every month. I can't even begin to explain how amazing I think this is. I am one of those people that feel the moon in all its stages so the Lunar Calendar in Asia really speaks to me.

I associate my kids with the moon they were born on. Teen Kiddo was born on the day where the moon is new and thin and overhanging the ocean underneath Venus early in the evening. Big Kiddo was born almost on the same moon, only two days later in size. My two new moon babies, eternally growing and waxing to cycle and back again.

Small Kiddo is a different story altogether and it's funny how sometimes things in your life make a cycle on their own, just like the moon. 16 years ago I tattooed a blue moon on my wrist to remember an important night. Many years later I realized that it wasn't what happened that night that was important, but the blue moon in itself. 

Blue Moon Baby

We arrived in Bangkok knowing that Small Kiddo would have to be born by cesarean, what I didn't know was that I was going to have to pick the day she would be born. This was very hard for me, because I believe in a person's fate according to day and time they are born. Suddenly the astrological outcome for my daughter was in my hands.

I had seven possible days to choose from and I ultimately chose August 31st, not only a full moon day but also a blue moon! Yes, I did read astrological charts for all the seven days and the 31st of August was the most auspicious. Back then I had not learned very much about the Lunar calendar and how Buddhists use it to make life choices. Although I had done exactly that!

During our year in Bali, I loved seeing the Full Moon ceremonies at the temples and the beachfront in Sanur where people would go and watch the moon rise. The full moon days were not holidays in Bali, but they sure were important! Every full moon had a special story to tell, and particular meaning. These Buddhist full moon celebrations are the same in Sri Lanka with the added 
holiday bonus.

Auspicious Days

According to the Lunar calendar, some days are auspicious and some are not. Some days are good for wedding celebrations, other days are good for starting business. Other days are better left alone and not given any importance at all.

By following the lunar calendar you can seemingly control your fate and I think that's quite interesting, don't you? it's not only the general auspicious days that you can follow but every person has their own days where thing should be or not done, like doing business or going to the temple.

The Balinese calendar was quite a treat to look at, I never fully understood it but I still loved having it around. 


The most important of all the full moon holidays is Vesak, celebrated in the fifth lunar month. Vesak is loosely called Buddha Day because it commemorates the day in which Gautama Buddha was born, was illuminated and then died. The same day, celebrates all three. 

The Blue Moon cycle in my life and it's tattoo is not the only coincidence, Vesak also has made an appereance in my life and I find it all very auspicious. I wrote this in Facebook a few weeks ago when enrolling the kids in school. Moons, Lotus Flowers, Tattoos, Southeast Asia and more.

I've written about these things before, here is some further reading;
My life in a Lotus flower

I included some books here for you to look at if you are interested in this subject. All items bought through these ads give me a little percentage to keep this blog running!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Being half Argentine does not mean you inherit football

Big Kiddo was born right in the middle of the 2010 World Cup. He was hours old and a game was on the hospital room telly at 6 am. The first two weeks of his life he was surrounded by football (futbol in Spanish). I rather like this anecdote of his birth, but that didn't mean that he would have football in his blood!

For months I have been trying to figure out what after school activity I could put the kids in so that they can burn off some steam and get some exercise. I decided on football because there is a lot of running involved. What I forgot to do, was teach my kids HOW to play football to begin with! 

Messi who?

Whenever someone asks where we are from I say Peru, Small Kiddo says Bangkok, G says Argentina. As soon as they hear Argentina, they ask Big Kiddo if he plays football, if he knows Messi. Big Kiddo is always oblivious to these questions, we aren't exactly a football family if that is such a thing. 

I realized this week that since we haven't lived in South America for years, he never experienced the football games with friends in school, or the games in the park with the kids in the neighborhood. Even if Peru isn't a football star, the game is still played regularly in schoolyards and in front of houses. I never thought to explain football to either of my kids, I forgot that you don't inherit futbol through your blood.

Running around

Small Kiddo had football first at 4 pm, she was put with a small group of little ones that were just starting to learn how to play. She did great! Big Kiddo was put in a larger group of older kids that already knew the game and were quite competitive. He did not do so well. He was more confused than a polar bear in the rainforest. Big Kiddo loved that comparison and got a real kick out of it. 

Today they have football again, but we are putting Big Kiddo in the smaller group with his sister. I think he will like it better. He seems quite happy about the change. Big Kiddo might not be a football fan but I'm sure he will enjoy running around with a ball and his sister by his side.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Summer Wakeups and School Training

Holiday Factory

For two weeks my kids are attending a day camp where they do crafts and dancing and cooking. Trying to get them into a routine for camp is similar to getting them into a routine for school.

Every night I try and get them to sleep early, explaining to them how if they sleep early they won't have a hard time getting up. They don't seem to understand the concept. The usual fall asleep time is 10 pm and that is way too late. Alarms don't work with them, I have to shake them awake. By the time they are finally awake they are so angry to be woken up that they start whimpering and usually move on to full on yelling in desperation.

I have to figure out how to get them up without the stress and bad feelings. Any suggestions are welcome!

Yesterday i posted this on Facebook...

It's been one month of summer holidays and the kids go to sleep so late that I end up falling asleep with them and then the next day they wake up at whatever hour. I have one month to get them into a better routine for when school starts.

Sri Lankan school starts at 7:30 am, which I think is absolute insanity. Why on earth does it have to start so early? Then they are done by 12:30? In the summer they are capable of waking up at 9!

Photo by: ovenbird1
I wonder if all the kids have a hard time getting up like mine do. If they actually get up at 6 am and sit down for breakfast and have the patience to get their hair brushed and put up in a braid. The white uniform of the local schools is always so white, how do they wash them? They probably boil them.

This morning kids woke up late and one wanted to go to camp and the other didn't. When we finally made it to camp, one kid was without shoes. The one who wanted to go originally did not want to stay and the other was clinging to my neck like a drowning deer.

I managed to leave them and get home to get this blog post written while I supervise people cleaning my ceiling fans and tops of cupboards.

Our schooling journey

The kids are now going to a pretty standard international Cambridge school in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. The academics are quite intense and my son's handwriting has improved exponentially. I am not sure if I believe in school having to be so tough but the kids seem to like it. 

In Bali they went to a Montessori school and it was all very different. You can read all about our schooling life and how it has been changing HERE.

I used to say we were worldschooling but things have changed a bit. With living in a city and me working from home, the activities we do together with the kids are actually quite normal for an expat family, or any family for that matter. 

I am sure that soon enough things will change again and we will be doing another kind of schooling. Just to keep things interesting.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

Welcome to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop!

The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place where bloggers can share multicultural activities, crafts, recipes, and musings for our creative kids. We can't wait to see what you share this time!

Created by Frances of Discovering the World through My Son's Eyes, the blog hop has now found a new home at Multicultural Kid Blogs.
This month our co-hosts are:

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place for you to share your creative kids culture posts. It's very easy, and simple to participate!
Just follow these simple guidelines:
  • Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook. Please let us know you're following us, and we will be sure to follow you back.
  • Link up any creative kids culture posts, such as language, culture, books, travel, food, crafts, playdates, activities, heritage, and holidays, etc. Please, link directly to your specific post, and no giveaways, shops, stores, etc.
Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop
  • Please grab the button code above and put it on your blog or the post you’re linking up. You can also add a text link back to this hop on your blog post. Note: By sharing your link up on this blog hop you are giving us permission to feature your blog post with pictures, and to pin your link up in our Creative Kids Culture Feature board on Pinterest.
  • Don't be a stranger, and share some comment love! Visit the other links, and comment. Everyone loves comments!
  • The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop will go live on the 3rd Sunday of the month. It will run for three weeks. The following blog hop we will feature a previous link up post, and if you're featured, don't forget to grab the button below:
Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop
Here's my favorite from last time:

On this occasion I am featuring a linkup post about books to learn about Ramadan. Before I moved to Asia I knew very little to nothing about Muslims. Now I have Muslim friends and I love to learn about what their lives are like.

30 Days of Ramadan.

Thank you for linking-up, and we can't wait to see what you've been up to!

Friday, July 15, 2016

I am a white latina

When we go to the park sometimes I get to chatting with other parents or moms. My kids don't look like the other kids and that always brings along the usual question, "Where are you from?" When a lady wearing a black burka starts talking to me I find it quite amazing how I can see her smile with her eyes.

Most of the time here in Sri Lanka when I say Peru, they understand Beirut and ask if I'm from Lebanon. My son has darker skin than me and dark curls so the possibility of being Lebanese does not surprise them. When I repeat Peru, South America they are usually at a complete loss.

I have been asked this question, "Where are you from" ever since I can remember. 
Depending on the place I am, the way I am asked and the reactions are always different.

The "where are you from" question started in Miami when I was 9 years old, but as soon as I could speak English the asking stopped for a while. It wasn't long before I went back to Peru and my Limeño accent was gone, I was blond and white and looked like any other gringa visiting or living as an expat. Not only that, I went to an American School and spoke English all day so it wasn't so much of a shock when every Peruvian that didn't know me, asked the fated question.

"De que país es usted, señorita" I fondly remember having discussions with taxi drivers while showing them my ID and them arguing about how I was probably nationalized and not a "real" Peruvian.

For four years I lived in the city of Cusco in the Andes Mountains and worked at an Aussie Bar. My boss was a beautiful dark Melbournite from South African descent. Not once but twice a day we would get asked the fateful question. If it was not asked then they would assume that I was the Australian and she my Inca princess employee. It got old very fast.

I spent a year in Buenos Aires where my nationality was something almost uncomfortable. I looked like any Argentinian but did not speak like one, causing confusion with whomever I met. When I said I was from Peru they would look at me as if I were an alien from Mars and answer always the same things; "but you have teeth, your hair and skin are light, you are not short and stumpy!"

These comments felt extremely offensive to me. Not only were they being horribly discriminative towards the native Peruvian but also to me because those people are my friends, my coworkers, my family. It was worse when the dark, short and stumpy Peruvians encountered me in Buenos Aires, they would say things like "la limeñita blanca". That also got old very fast.

I have to admit that while I lived In Cusco, there was a discriminatory feeling towards people from the capital. The co-owner of the Aussie Bar was from Lima but he didn't like it when they came into his bar, he only wanted foreigners. But the right kind of foreigners, not Israelis. He was pretty discriminative about all of that and it made me and a lot of other people uncomfortable. I am sorry for ever having played along with him in the jokes about how Limeñas ask "Tienes sanguche de pollo?"

I am Limeña, a white Limeña. I don't exactly speak like one but my family is from there so I guess that's what I am. I don't particularly feel like I fit in most of the time when I'm there but I think this happens to a lot of white Limeños that have lived abroad. Unfortunately a lot of them are also very racist towards natives or anyone darker than them.

I have many times wanted to not be from there, to run away from that reality but I think I have to stop pretending. That's just who I am.  A white Latina who travels the world with her kids that don't even remember Peru, one of them has never even set foot there. I'm sure she will have lots of stories to tell when she's older about being "Peruvian" and the ever repeating question;

Where are you from?

She has started answering that she is from Bangkok.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

I have this thing with Ginger Beer

The change of the century didn't bring along the end of the world but it did bring along something special for me. A few months after the Y2K anti-phenomenon, I traveled to Australia with my daughter. 

There are lots of things I liked about Australia but the greatest discovery of all was ginger beer. In brown glass bottles and chilled to perfection, the tang and spice were perfect for the heat and summer humidity. I fell in love at first taste.

For years after that I craved ginger beer off and on, always hoping I would drink it again. Through the internet I found the places in the world where it was available, essentially the United Kingdom and any place colonized by them.  If any friends traveled to those places I would ask for a bottle or two of the delicious concoction. My favorite was Bundaberg from Australia but any brand would do. When I was pregnant with my son, I had some serious ginger beer cravings and a friend filled half her bag with two liter bottles all the way from London. I was so grateful!

Many years later my family and I moved to Thailand and the first thing I looked for in the supermarkets was ginger beer. I knew there were lots of Australians in Thailand so there had to be some ginger beer somewhere. I found a couple of bottles off and on in the Expat Supermarket but you could never be sure if they would have it that week.

In Bali, I found a supermarket that had a hidden shelf under the canned beer where they stocked little bottles of a nice ginger beer, it came in a glass bottle and I bought as many as I could whenever I went there. Once in a while I found Bundaberg in the expat areas and those were the good days.

Nothing prepared me for the ginger beer in Sri Lanka.

We arrive in Sri Lanka at 2 am and were very thirsty. There was a little fridge in the lobby of the hotel where I noticed a brown plastic bottle with a label that said EGB. I picked that one because it looked alright, opened it and drank. Lo and behold it was ginger beer! And it was pretty good! That's when I knew I would like Sri Lanka.

A few days later we ate at a restaurant where they served homemade ginger beer that had sediment and raisins! It was the greatest ginger beer moment of my life. Thankfully the woman who makes this ginger beer also sells it bottled in green glass bottles and it didn't take too long to find where. 

I am thankful for Ginger Beer!

What is ginger beer you ask?
First of all it's not alcoholic, so you can drink as much as you want. If you have never tried ginger beer, image the taste of ginger ale multiplied by 100. Ginger Beer is made with a ginger culture, fermented to make a base that you can use over and over. Homemade ginger beer is the best but it doesn't last as long as manufactured ginger beer. 

You can make ginger beer at home if you are familiar with growing cultures and yeasts, I have never tried. 

ginger beer, ginger, fizzy drink, asia, sri lanka, crazy little family adventure, orana velarde