Moving to a different country is hard. No matter how much you researched the place you’re moving to, there will be things that take some getting used to. There are the obvious challenges for expats, finding a place to live, being away from friends and family, starting new jobs. But I was surprised by some of the little everyday challenges I encountered with regards to the more mundane daily routines. Here are the five surprising everyday challenges I faced as an expat when we first moved to California from Toronto that I did not anticipate:
In Flying With Kids Part One: In The Airport I mentioned that the kids have been on 8 flights total already this year. Add one more flight to that because we booked our tickets and we will be in Toronto for the holidays! I’m very excited to see our friends and especially our family. This time Booboo will be 14 months old, which from experience is the toughest age to fly with. Our crankiest flight with a toddler was when Lulu was about 18 months. All she wanted to do was walk around but she was still a lap infant and had to be held the whole time. I have a feeling Booboo will object even more to being restrained. I have to remind myself that we know what we’re doing, we can do this! If you’re flying with kids this holiday season, so can you with these tips!
This December will be our third winter living in California. This will be the third year that we will be travelling back to Toronto for a real winter and to spend the holidays with our friends and family. It will have been a whole year since we’ve been back and I can’t see everyone! I always think I’ll have plenty of time to catch up with everybody but once we’re there, time just goes by so fast and it’s never enough (isn’t it always the case when you’re having fun?). One thing I definitely don’t have time for when we’re there is shopping for gifts. We will be arriving in Toronto just a few days before xmas and the last thing I want to do then is brave the malls.
Heading to the airport with kids? This post is for you!
At one and four years of age both my kids are already pretty experienced airplane fliers. They both had passports before they were 2 months old. Just this past year alone we have taken 4 trips by air with them (that’s 8 flights total). I remember how nervous I was the first time we flew with a baby – when my first daughter was 3months old. I thought of all the horror stories of how terrible it is to have kids screaming on flights and how terrible the other passengers and flight crew are to the parents of these kids. I thought of all the times I’ve heard a friend gripe about parents who “aren’t doing anything” to control their child in the airport or on the plane.
I was a nervous wreck that first time at the airport and on the flight, but now four years and countless flights later I am much more confident that my kids can handle the flight and that if for some reason they cannot, I will be able to handle the situation.
Ever since Lulu got to The Defiant Fours I’m finding that she pushes my buttons in entirely new ways. I continue to be amazed by her every day. She’s thoughtful and sweet and, for the most part, pretty reasonable for her age. She is also clever and curious and experimental and independent. These are not bad qualities. In fact I want to encourage them as much as I can. I want her to grow up with that amazing combination of curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. I want her to ask questions and try to find answers – even if it isn’t easy. We try to encourage her to solve her own problems, discuss solutions and come up with ideas. I’m glad that it’s working. But it’s also kicking my butt. I picture myself becoming a pathetic mom cliche. I hate it.
As this week wraps up, so does my parents’ too-short visit to sunny California. Being away from them has been one of the hardest parts of living here. My parents are amazing people, amazing parents and amazing grandparents to my kids. I love seeing my girls interact with them and the happiness on my parents’ faces at the wonders that are their grandkids. I love having them around and whenever they visit they are incredibly helpful to me as well. I got to sleep in until 9am this morning and when I got up the kids were fed and the breakfast dishes were done. In fact, now that I think about it, I haven’t done the dishes this whole week!