Category Archives: Parenting

When one door closes…

Courtenay and Marcello at trainMoving to Colombia fulfilled my long-held dream to not only travel to other countries, but to live abroad as well. But just over four years ago, when at age 37 I became a mom – another dream I hadn’t expected to come true – I assumed that living abroad wouldn’t happen. I am so happy I was wrong. Today, I’m honored and thrilled to be featured in Sarah Duncan’s Expats in Colombia series on Sarepa.com, where I share more about how I ended up first in Barranquilla and then in Medellín – and all the twists and turns along the way.

Somehow I find it oddly comforting that life has so many surprises in store for each of us. Never assume it’s over… for all any of us know, it’s just beginning! Thanks, Sarepa, for the opportunity to share my story and my love for Colombia.

Part 3: Ten Ways that Parenting in Colombia is Different than in the U.S.

It’s a rule of lawyers and interior designers that you must have three elements in your argument or decorative arrangement, not two. If both lawyers and home stylists do it, there must be something to it! Okay, that makes no sense, but at least now I feel justified in having divided my top ten list of parental surprises into three parts.

Who's ready to party?!

Who’s ready to party?!

In this third and final installment, we’ll tackle that mother of all stress-inducing events — the event from which all other stress-inducing events are born — children’s birthday parties. Plus, we’ll take a look at language and transportation.

For those of you who missed the first posts (or who need a refresher because it’s been so long!), in Part 1, we explored sticky (ha!) food-related issues. In Part 2, I took you on some child care adventures and exposed my own cluelessness. As it turns out, my cluelessness is a good place to start for this current post. Continue reading

Colombia’s Calling, and BoB is On the Line!

I’m a radio addict. I love listening to a quality radio show while getting ready for the day or doing some chores around the house. And nowadays you don’t even need a radio to listen to the radio! Case in point: Colombia Calling with Richard McColl, which airs on OverSeasRadio.com. Whether you’re thinking of making the leap or are just interested in an on-the-ground take, the OverSeas Radio Network and Colombia Calling are for you.

I was a guest on Colombia Calling on July 15, 2013, and now the show’s available for free in both the OverSeas Radio Network “Colombia Calling” Archive (just scroll down to “Barranquilla or Bust”) and on iTunes (download the podcast to hear the whole show). Continue reading

Part 2: Ten Ways that Parenting in Colombia is Different than in the U.S.

When you and your munchkin explore a new way of life together, adventures in parenting can easily become adventure parenting — when you’re unsure not only how to handle a given situation, but also how to understand the context in which it’s occurring. When this happens, your notions of what it means to be a good parent can seem, or actually become, up for grabs.

Deer in headlights? Pig in headlights? No. Mom in headlights.

Deer in headlights? Pig in headlights?
No. Mom in headlights.

All parents at one point or another find themselves in the midst of “adventure parenting” — no international relocation necessary!

Moving to a different country is just one scenario that can make adventure parenting more likely or more frequent, at least until you figure out the rules of your newly adopted culture.

Part 1 of this series explored three food-related surprises that were in store for my son Marcello, my husband Gio, and me when we moved to Colombia. Here, we tackle that big bugaboo of parents everywhere: child care. Continue reading

Ten Ways that Parenting in Colombia is Different than in the U.S. (Part 1)

On a Colombian adventure.

On a Colombian adventure.

A recent email exchange with a friend made me think a lot about the decision my husband and I made to relocate to Colombia even though our son was only one year old at the time. (Marcello turned two just a few days ago; we have been in Barranquilla about 10 months now.) My friend paid me the wonderful compliment of telling me that I have a sense of adventure and flexibility that she feels is too often missing in today’s parenting. She also said that the most important thing is that our children feel (and are) loved and safe, and that my blog reminds her that it’s great to expose your child to new experiences even if the initial days are a hassle and a lot of things are different.

I agree with my friend – the most important thing is that my son is loved and safe – and I also firmly believe that the benefits of our family’s move to Colombia greatly outweigh the downsides. That being said, I would be totally disingenuous if I pretended that our transition to Colombia doesn’t occasionally bring some of those, “Oh, this is not good…” parenting moments.

In the interest of those with young ‘uns who might be considering an international move or other leap of faith – and perhaps in the interest of clearing my own conscious (Guilty Mama, as the Runaway Mama would say) – I write to share with you a few of the downsides, a few of the upsides, and why I believe the latter win out overall. Continue reading

Driving Mr. Baby – In Colombia

The infamous baby car seat and Gio installing it.

The infamous baby car seat and Gio installing it.

Ah, the baby’s car seat. Rarely does such an accepted feature of toddler life in the U.S. raise so many issues when traveling abroad. Like most parents, Gio and I are extremely vigilant about the safety of our baby. After being informed by a pediatrician friend and fellow mom that motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of accidental death for children traveling abroad, we committed ourselves to using the car seat during our time in Colombia. Continue reading