Life Unparalleled

Loving Life as a Foreign Service Family – Current Parallel 41° 23' N – Barcelona, Spain

January and February 2019


January, home from vacation and thrust right back into real life. Actually coming home is always nice. And Lagos is home for us right now. It warms my heart hearing my kids say that. We didn’t see the kids for almost two solid days once we returned. Tired from a fun trip and glad to be with their own beds and toys. Now that 3/4 of my kids are t(w)eens do I say they still play with toys? What do we call our special entertainment items once we aren’t children anymore?

We are in this odd time warp. People warned me that life in the Foreign service was split into 6-12-6 and I didn’t really understand it. Well, I do now. The first 6 months at a new post you are just so in awe of everything. Trying to figure out a new culture, where to shop, kids in school, different language, making new friends and living without your personal items because they haven’t been delivered yet. It can be an emotional time. Then comes the next 12 months. You have found your people, your work, your stores, your stuff. This is the honeymoon phase, and truthfully it was lovely. Last comes the last 6 months at post. You are preparing for your onward assignment, wrapping things up, desperate to complete things from your to do list knowing that you are leaving people and a place you have come to love possibly never to return. It is really difficult to live in the moment in this life style. So we arrived back in Lagos after our time in Europe and bam!, we are in the last 6 months of our tour here. Wow! I feel like the days are long and the weeks are short. So I am essentially taking pictures of everything, in a tearful way.

Dannica had a very small birthday party after I insisted. Having a December birthday is tough. She invited over a handful of her favorite friends and lots of food was eaten, along with Twister, Just Dance and Karaoke.
Harrison as usual has been really into Legos but his skills have increased significantly in the last year. This is his rusty master sword.
Roger made high honor roll for his Fall semester grades
Dannica made honor roll and received a special award for Drama- Sarah, pictured with her, was her Mushu in Mulan and her mother in Steel Magnolias.
Ben and I continued with being Olivers Cub Scout leaders. We with the assistance of or friend/co-leader got to teach 12 8 year olds how to properly use a pocket knife.
Oliver loves to run and joins me, and anyone else who will let him, in the gym to run a mile or two on the treadmill. It would be awesome if any of the schools he will be attending has a track team. From my research it doesn’t seem common in international schools. 🙁

Roger turned 12 in February! Roger is my little miracle baby. He was a bit of a surprise as he and Harrison are only 20 months apart. When I was about 10 weeks along in my pregnancy I started bleeding. I had two slow trickle hemorrhages behind my placenta. I was placed on bed rest which wasn’t easy with a 1 and 3 yer old. I bled until my last month of pregnancy. Every month I would go in for an ultrasound and they would say the baby was fine but I could loose him any day. He was born healthy at 41 weeks. He was my only baby who didn’t have severe acid reflux. He was so easy and happy. He still is an easy happy kid. He doesn’t really like cake, too sweet, but he loves Jello. So jello for his birthday it was. He had a fun party at home with friends, soccer, ping pong and a movie.

Why am I including this? Because we will have many front doors over the years and I want to remember them.
I have said it before and will repeat it again, compound living has its perks as seen by friends of all ages and genders.
Chicken Pasta Salad with Peas(recipe on this blog) is his favorite, plus chips, soda, popcorn and 2.5 pounds of gummy bears.Dessert was chocolate chip cookies ice cream sandwiches.
This ping pong set was his Christmas gift. It got great usage and Kiva made herself right at home.
Dannica cut about 14 inches off her hair. It was time. She cried and I felt bad for our hairdresser Ahmad, but we explained that she always cries with change. See photo of her getting her school award to see how it turned out.
This is David, he cuts hair for all of the males in the Gordon household and he adores Oliver. Seriously, he is crazy about him. He says he has never seen a boy ask as many questions as Oliver does. We spend the whole time cracking up, as a parent it is nice to have some fresh perspective on your kids. Sometime being asked to explain every.single.thing. you ever say or do gets old. It is nice to be reminded this is a gift.
Ben abandoned me and went to Rwanda for a weekend (separate blog post coming) and I got to lead our scout group for the overnight camp out. It was an experience for sure as some of these boys had zero camping experience. We slept on the school lawn. I very carefully kept my tent zipped and applied bug repellent. I took off my socks when I went to bed and wrongly assumed there were not mosquitoes in my tent. As you can see I was mistaken. I am highly allergic to Nigerian mosquitos. Little stinkers!
Ben and I attended Small World again which is a charity fundraiser where different countries host booths that serve food and drink from their neck of the woods. It is a fun event and fun to spend time with friends.
Harrison has improved greatly in violin this year. He gets up 40 minutes before everyone else is up (5:30am) to practice every morning. I’m proud of his dedication. He hasn’t missed practicing once since he started his early morning practice.
The busy intersections are packed full of hawkers. It is honest work. Ben did a post about it when we first arrived.
These are hard working dudes and I don’t begrudge them a nap. I wish I could nap like a Nigerian, that is a skill indeed!
Trash is always a problem here. Our family is making a huge effort to be as close to minimal waste as possible. No plastic containers or silverware and bringing our own refillable water bottles ever where we go, silicone bags instead of zip locks etc. Living in a country with few resources will forever change how I look at “thrown away”.
I love the mosaic on this old hospital. So many abandoned buildings here.

Time is flying. Only 2 years in a country- whose idea was that anyways? There will be many mixed feelings when we leave our Lagos home. I can say with confidence that we have made the best of a place we were not sure we would love and found things to love along the way.

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