“But, mommy, you’ve never read to us in a long time!” Anyone who knows me knows that this, at any given moment, is purely false. Yet my six-year-old will plead with me about reading, singing, having time for Legos, etc., by telling me that, “never in a long time,” has he done it. He has a flair for the dramatic – even going for the pleading voice and often dropping to the floor to show me just how serious he is. Of all of the things that he says incorrectly (none of which I will ever correct), this is perhaps my favorite, right up there with, “not that very much.”
Dramatic as it may be, I assume he really does pay attention somewhat to when things happen – a scorecard, of sorts. How many days has it been since I sang, when was it his turn last with the favorite toy, etc. We have now passed the halfway point in our Puerto Rican adventure. We moved here saying we’d try it out for a year and see what happens. Now we are in the throes of trying to figure out what’s next – will it be a year for all of us? Will my boys head back early and leave me to finish working? When is the right time to leave? For now, we can share what life has been like thus far – our own little scorecard, perhaps.
Never in a long time have we…
- Been in a bookstore – Or a library – one that smells like ink on pages, with a kids’ section, and maybe a coffee shop. Closest we’ve come is driving an hour, asking someone at a mall and being told that the Borders in San Juan is closest. It closed years ago. The idea that we can drive 2 hours in any direction and not find a bookstore is puzzling to me, but downright confusing to my kids. (Update: at the time of publishing we had finally found one of the few non-textbook bookstores on the island. It was a magical moment.)
- Cut our hair – The boys are embracing the beach lifestyle and prefer to keep their locks longer now. I am simply on a mission to see if mine can get past my shoulders.
- Stayed out past 10:00 – There are a couple of places with doors open late, but it’s pretty quiet past 10 p.m. If you missed picking up milk for your morning coffee, plan on getting up a little early.
- Traveled more than a few miles on our daily route – This has perhaps been most interesting. Everything we need, even the beach, is within a few miles. Sometimes it feels extremely convenient (like when you have to pick the kids up from the same school at different times), other times maybe a bit claustrophobic.
- Paid more than $5 for an activity – From the kids’ free tae-kwon-do classes on the beach to my $5 kickboxing classes at the gym and free fitness classes available every morning, we have been very fortunate to find cheap ways to participate in group activities. The exception would be sailing classes, but at $10 an hour it’s still a phenomenal deal.
- Gone more than a week without putting our feet in the sand – The privilege to top them all is surely the ease with which we can visit the beach. The hardest part about eventually returning will be the distance it puts between the ocean and us.
This leap into the unknown has left us with a lot of learning and even more reflections. We’ve become a part of a community that welcomed us with open arms, learned what works for us and what doesn’t about living in a small town, had alternative educational experiences and, most importantly, slowed down. Never in a long time have I been so grateful for such a leap.