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. 

Vesak

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!



Tuesday:
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.

Thursday:
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. 


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop - June, July 2016


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:
Crafty Moms Share on Multicultural Kid Blogs
A MultiAsian Family Life
Living Ideas
Castle View Academy
Peakle Pie
Crazy Little Family Adventures
Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes

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:

For my feature I choose the post by jo jacks about cave paintings. As they planned a trip to the famous Lascauz Cave, the kiddos learned about the famous ancient cave paintings with this activity. My kids also love doing this activity even thought i never matched it up to a learning experience. I will sure do that next time! Great post jo jacks! See you in the linky!

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



Sunday, June 5, 2016

Stop Stalling and write Six Sentences



Stop trying to turn on the motor, you will drown it.

But we've been stalled here for so long we have to do something or we will never get out.

We need to fix the motor's emotion sensors, it's too anxious to start up today.

You're right, it needs a dose of something.

Stop stalling and give it some love.

Open up and revive yourself.









Wednesday, June 1, 2016

"Non - toys" that kids love. 10 Bloggers share



During the weeks previous to our move to Sri Lanka, all our things were spread around and ready to be either packed, thrown away or given away. As is to be expected, the kiddos destroyed my semi perfect piles on a daily basis. 

They especially enjoyed tumbling book towers to make stepping stones over an imaginary lava lake. Thankfully I find this game a lot of fun, I showed them how to play it in a hotel in Penang. We didn't take toys on that trip and our room had a book case full of fiction novels for guests to trade in for their already read books. Every time they see a tower of book, they turn into magic stepping stones.

While I tried to pack, I started remembering all the other times  my kids have been entertained by playing with things that aren't actual toys. A lot of the time the toys that we do have are simply abandoned or broken. The most fun being the art of spilling it all from the toy baskets. Kids rejoice in the the feeling of "making a mess". 



Just in case you're wondering what other non-toy games my kids are playing; following are the best we have had lately.

A balloon and pump. Let it fly!

Blow up the balloon and then let fly around the room as it blows out the air. Guess where it will land, or try and hit someone in the head with it. This game can last weeks, since balloons are quite easy to find in the shops. Recently the balloon game has evolved into filling them with different sort of things like rice and beans. As of today, finishing this post, we have filled a balloon with air and rice, creating a great little shaking instrument.

Rubber Bands and random pieces of plastic. 

Big Kiddo can spend hours making rubber band shapes by knotting them together or making chains. He once made a slingshot with a piece of broken plastic from another toy, which then turned into rubber band art since the piece of plastic had portruding bits where the bands could be bent and wound up. Some got really elaborate!

Toothpicks and Sponges

These are an endless source of fun. I used to hate it when the kiddos would grab all the toothpicks in the restaurants making a mess but I gave up eventually when I realized that they were entertained making shapes and if the table had a placemat they would poke through and make constructions. The latest game was poking a sponge with hundreds of wooden toothpicks. That lasted a few days and was great fun. I am still finding toothpicks all over the house.

Sponges are another favorite. They get cut into little pieces with plastic knives, they get turned into constructions, piles, little rows along the floor tiles, they are wash sponges for dolls and even sponge rain! 

A photo posted by Making Art to brave the storm (@orana.artist.in.disguise) on

Kitchen Utensils

Big Kiddo for some reason loves playing with kitchen utensils. I have lost track of all the plastic strainers, funnels and measuring spoons he has lugged around everywhere. his latest obsession is a blue silicone baking brush. He tickles us with it, gives us toe massages and shakes it quite amusingly. Writing this I remember my youngest daughter playing with wooden spoons and ladles when she was just a baby.

My kids are not the only ones

I knew that we couldn't be the only family that has this kind of non-toy playing amusement and I asked my fellow MKB Bloggers to tell me what kind of things their kids play with that aren't necessarily toys and I got some great responses. Without further ado, our Multicultural Kid Blog's kiddos and their non-toy games!

Eolia's kids from Le Cite de Vents love playing outside, collecting sticks and jumping in leaves! I remember as a kid, building little constructions with sticks, stones and leaves. It really is hours of fun if you get creative. I love the little girls' smile of complete happiness.


Fariba's children also love balloons! Well can you blame them? They really are quite a bit of fun. They also love boxes turned into cars! 

Annabelle from The Piri Piri Lexicon created a play-wallet for their kids to play with during a roadtrip. I hear it was a great success. Her little one enjoys passing bottle tops through paper roll tubes taped to the wall. That's genius. It reminds of when in Phuket Big Kiddo and I once made a great big marble race with plastic bottles taped to the wall.

Stephen from The Head of the Heard wrote a blog post about how his son learns new languages by using the smartphone. After the usual toddler adventures on the phone, like game apps and youtube, Mr.t discovered Whatsapp and has conversations with relatives all over the world. He sends emoticos, photos and even videos! He is learning so much, and so is his dad!

Ilze's daughter from Let the Journey Begin played quite happily with a flashlight for a few days. She discovered about how the light changed from far away and up close, how different it looked in the dark and even how to wake up her little brother still inside her mom's belly!


Olga's daughter from Milk, Crafts and Honesty has a box of seashells full of endless enjoyment. She loves to play a matching game putting similar seashells together. She has even wrapped up the box in colored paper to give to her parents as a gift.


Charu's son really enjoys building castles out of books! I am sure that with a full library he can build a great big city!

Diedre from Are those your Kids loves it when her kids turn boxes and blankets into adventurous boats and comfy beds.

Tortuguita's children from Mama Tortuga are also big fans of sticks and seashells, the all time favorite of kids all over the world. Lately they have also been really interested in gardening and learning about plants. Win win right there!

Blogger and educator Lana, has a great collection of articles about Creating with Spare Parts! There is something for everyone in this collection. Your kids will love to create all kinds of things.


What about your kids?
What non-toys do your kids love to play with? I'd love to hear about it. Share with me in the comments!



Sunday, May 8, 2016

We moved again, come Instagram with me.




If you would like to see more of our "Expat Anthology" posts, click HERE!

It has been about a month since we arrived in Sri Lanka and I finally have the mind space to write about it. A little bit before we left I changed the look of Crazy Little Family Adventure, not knowing that soon we would be moving again, I now know it was some kind of serendipity. After the change I had little time to finalize the look of things and that should all be coming soon.

One year in Bangkok, two years in Phuket, one year in Bali have prepared us for a pretty clean relocation. But there is more, Sri Lanka has an energy that none of those other places had, here I feel at home. Feeling at home helps, it helps arrange my emotions in a different way.


The other day my husband and I talked again about how he is the travel brain and I am the home brain. Sri Lanka makes me feel like I can be homey. I can take care of us in a better emotional space.

Even if the move was pretty well oiled, it still caught me off guard and all the new business projects I had going got put on the back burner and I had a hard time getting back on track.

Orana Creative, my artistic business alter ego is my way of taking control of my creative future but lately this blog has been getting unprecedented attention. I thought I was leaving this blog behind but now I know that it has a lot more potential that I could tap into.

Moving again has also given me new ideas to write about, travel stories, food stories, educational stories about the kids and their new school.

I think it's time to write more family stories AND run my business together.

If my Instagram presence is any indication to this idea I believe I am doing the right thing. I am running three accounts that are a team. Instagram is the only thing I have managed to keep alive this entire time and I think it has also been a process of discovery.

Have you been following all three of my accounts? You really should be.

  

@oranavelarde is the account where you can follow our adventures and this blog. This account was dormant for a long time and I was trying some creative things with it. I decided to keep this one personal and more geared towards our real life. The other two accounts are more creative and you should check them straight away.

@orana.creative  is the account for my business where you will find social media tips and inspiration for your own creative process as a blogger or small business owner.

@orana.in.disguise  is the colorful account of my artist brain and all the artistic things we do together with the kids.

PIN FOR LATER!

Best of Worst