Wednesday, October 2

A Simpler Yet More Complicated Life

I read this article today and thought its resemblance to my life was uncanny. For a moment, I thought about sharing that article with everyone (which I kind of just did in the first sentence of this post). Then I decided, why not add a personal touch to it and write my own post so you can know a little bit more about our life overseas? I don’t always share the little things of our day-to-day life because I don’t think they would interest you. However, when clumped all together in one spot, it’s really quite humorous.

This morning, I woke up before the sun, sweating thanks to yet another power outage.  For the past month, power outages have been happening 2-3 times a day for hours a time. Did a natural disaster happen recently that wiped out most of the power lines? Nope. It’s just how we roll these days, apparently. I fumbled to get off our air mattress and climbed around Little Man’s crib in the smallest room of our house, also known as my husband's office. “Why were you all cramped together in one room and sleeping on an air mattress”, you might ask? Well it all started when we bought a slightly used AC for Little Man’s room because his other one didn’t cool down his room one bit. Turns out, that AC decided to quit on us too. We moved him into our room so that he could get a good night’s sleep. Then our AC broke (we think because of a termite problem), which left us one last room with an AC, the Mr.'s office. But now it shall be known as our little, cool oasis in the middle of a sweltering, hot heat wave until further notice.

Speaking of the termites, they’ve already destroyed the electricity for the bathroom in the back of our house, which also just so happens to connect to the bathroom in our bedroom. The way our house is wired, it would most certainly be condemned in the U.S…possibly even burnt to the ground so they could completely start over from scratch. Thanks to the termites, I have a lovely power cord strung across my laundry room and into the window of our bedroom so that we can get power for the washing machine. Make sense? Of course not. And yes, we have a window in our bedroom that gives me a lovely view of the area where our washing machine is. It’s an absolutely breathtaking view.

A hot mess. But don't worry, the wires aren't hot, just exposed. Would you believe it? I can't find one single idea on Pinterest on how to make exposed wires blend in with your home decor. 

I use a battery-powered lamp to light up the bathroom at night so that my toddler can have a bath in his inflatable ducky bathtub. I’m pretty sure that bathtub is meant for ages 6-24 months. He’s a hop and a skip past that age range but we’re still rockin’ it. Bathtubs are a luxury around here, folks! I also use a bike pump to add air into the tub on a regular basis because it has a small hole somewhere and slowly deflates. I think this is because of a rat problem we had not too long ago. Don’t worry, I put a brick over the drain so we wouldn’t have that problem again.

The other night, at a friend’s house, she pulled out what was left of her Tostito chips that she brought back from the States. The chips resembled the crumbs you would find at the bottom of a chip bag (and possibly even toss out). She heated them up, poured them into a bowl, and placed it on the table. We savored every last bite of those delicious chips from a far away land.

Speaking of which, it’s not uncommon for one expat friend to ask another, “Hey, while you’re in (insert name of any country with a very Western-influenced grocery store), could you pick me up some pretzels and some cans of condensed soups? And if you have time, could you pick me up some birthday-themed napkins, cups and plates? If you don’t have time to do that, no worries, I think I have some colorful plates leftover from Easter. They kind of have birthday-like colors…”

A little bit of sage in beef makes it taste like sausage. A little bit of almond extract in Coca-Cola will fool you into thinking you’re drinking Dr. Pepper. Plain yogurt with some baking soda makes for a decent substitute for sour cream. Another sour cream alternative, whipping cream with lime. These are the important things you learn in life and you write them down into the sacred book of substitutions. Chances are, you’ll be using that book a lot. Word to the wise, if I see your pin on Pinterest and it says "only 3 ingredients" and one of those "ingredients" is a can of Pillsbury crescent rolls, we're over. Done! Finished I tell you! Ok, I overreacted. But that won't stop me from having a mini-rant in front of my computer screen every time I see a pin of similar nature.

Last Christmas, I carried my oven over to a friends house so that we would have more space to bake treats. I’ll let you process that for a moment.

It’s a gas-powered, stove top oven that heats twice as hot in the back than it does in the front. If a recipe needs 25-35 minutes to bake, I’ll be taking that dish out in 15 minutes flat.

When going through checkpoints in various airports throughout the country we live in, chances are you are going to find 4-5 people doing a one-man job. For example, you have the guy that takes your money and hands you some receipts that he’s stapled together. You’ll walk 2 feet to a guy that will request to see those receipts and he’ll put a little stamp on it before allowing you to proceed. You’ll think to yourself, “That was pointless”, as you stuff the receipts away while walking to the next checkpoint. Did you think you were done showing those receipts?? How silly of you. Take those receipts back out and hand them to the girl who needs to tear off the receipt that was previously stamped. Continue on your way, holding those sacred receipts in your hand because you aren’t about to dig through your baggage to find those again. Hand them over to the final person who throws the receipts in a pile of other receipts that will inevitably go straight into the trash. Also, don’t expect that same routine next time. They’ve got to keep things interesting to keep you on your toes.

I walked passed my son’s bedroom today and saw him helping our house helper tuck his clean sheets onto the mattress of his bed. I smiled as I saw her dark, hardworking hands next to his fair, chubby knuckles and thought to myself, “His childhood memories will be so much different than mine.”

This is our simpler yet more complicated life.

To view more posts in this series, click the image below:


  1. You are my neighbor at Playdates with God and oh my how glad I am you are!! I have no idea where you are because I haven't read anything else yet on your blog...but I will. This was so much fun...I relate in so many ways to your post and enjoyed every minute of it! We lived in Latvia, Eastern Europe for 15 months and paid $10 for a bag of Oreo's one day, repented later but enjoyed every last one of them. We had a store that occasionally received a few American items but they were outrageous. Campbell's condensed soups? $4. each. One day they had Dr. Pepper in 2 liters and we nearly knocked the clerk down to get to it. No lie. My little oven was just like yours and my first time baking I didn't realize it was also next time I got out the instructions...they were in Russian. AAGGHH!! And I was just like you, everybody was PINNING everything at home and I was foaming at the mouth for crescent rolls! Well one day we walked into a specialty store and guess what? Pillsbury Crescent rolls! I nearly died...they were $5 a can for four rolls...again...back to repenting for spending our missionary money...God forgave us and we kept preaching the Gospel!

    Thank you for your story. I will certainly pray for you...I love your is sooo much like my very own and I have to admit I miss it. I had to come home for health reasons and surgery. God bless you!!

    1. Thanks you so much for coming by and commenting. It's good to hear from those who can relate :-) I've definitely OVER-paid for quite a few items but sometimes it keeps me sane. I still have one can of Dr.Pepper hidden from my view deep in a drawer that's leftover from the last time a grocery store randomly had a small supply. I don't know what kind of day I'm saving it for but I'm sure I'll know when that day comes :-) I found myself complaining about the house we live in and all its many problems, but in the same moment I knew I would be sad when the day comes that we will eventually move out of it. The structure of the house is not going to last but the memories made in the house will :-) Thank you most of all for your prayers. Those mean the most!


I love hearing from readers so don't hesitate to leave a comment! I always try to reply back in a timely manner. If you'd like to be notified when I reply to your comment, be sure to check the "notify me" box. Thanks!