Getting Orientated

Last couple of weeks have been busy busy busy

We were totally pampered by the hospitality of the South

The people here had thoughtfully put together a week and a half program to orientate us to living in the United States

The group of us, mothers and wives from some 40 over different countries, was a melting pot of different languages and cultures

Every morning the Dad would go to work and I would pack the kids with me and drive half an hour to meet up with these ladies

The kids were taken care of while we sat through a morning of lessons

They fed us every scrap of information we needed to know

From fixing a child car seat to what to do during a tornado

They brought us around in iconic yellow school buses to tour the local supermarket and introduced to us every single thing a domestic queen needed to know to run a household

It was informative, educational, fun and social

The last time I attended an orientation was more than 20 years ago, during my uni days

Even so, it didn’t last that many days

Last weekend, one of the American family invited us to their lake side house for a party

The house was huge enough to accomodate about 80 of us and the place was tastefully done up and immaculate

Unfortunately my handphone battery ran out and I only managed to snap a couple of outdoor pictures

The kids had a blast jumping in and out of the lake

while the adults chilled and hung out in the huge yard and partied till sunset

It was a beautiful and wonderful experience

I don’t think I’ll ever get a chance to attend a party like this back home

And I am certainly looking forward to more new experiences here




So we are loving our huge yard
Throw a towel and some snack, we are ready for a picnic
The kids roll on it, they run bare footed, get dirty and they love it

It’s hard to avoid bugs and creepy crawlers with a yard like this

My 9 year old has a thing for bugs
He cried when his praying mantis died and got really upset when he had to let go a beetle because we couldn’t figure out what food to feed him
He thinks lizards are friends and ants should be left alone

It would be inappropriate to call these bugs because to him, they are harmless and friendly
It is not ok to hurt the bugs and they are usually left alone

Now, things are a little bit different over here

With the weather warming up, everything starts to come out of hibernation and like I mentioned before, everything seems bigger here, even bugs
The same type of beetles aren’t tiny and cute
They are huge and angry and crash into the doors when it gets dark as if trying to get inside the house
The mosquitoes all wear black and white socks
and look like mutant cousins of Aedes

Then yesterday, while running bare footed, playing catch with the Dad, my 3 year old ran over an ant nest
Within seconds, both his feet were engulfed with red fiery ants with black bottoms
They clung on and chewed at his feet furiously while he jumped, screamed and cried in shock and fright

The Dad quickly rushed him to the water point to have the ants flushed off with the gushing tap
It took us some time to finally calm him down, get him to bathe and sit down for dinner
It was then that the Dad started breaking out in hives and his joints, back and neck area were soon covered with red angry bumps, itching and flushing hot
It was only after some medication from the pharmacy that the swells and bumps started to subside
We suspected that he had an allergic reaction to the ant bites earlier on (which is like never before in his life)

This morning I rushed down to the Lawn and Garden section and hauled back the most lethal weapon I could find
I reached home, ripped off the cover, put on the spray gun and went right on to do what usually the man in the house would do

I found 2 nests and had both of them wrecked with a red brick and flooded with my new venomous poison
I could almost hear myself chanting ‘Kill’em All !’ while the kids watched on

Fangs out, war’s on
This would be the day where my kids remember that
Bugs ain’t no friend no more


P/s: We just found out that these were fire ants and read this
It’s gonna be an arduous task getting rid of them
Wish me luck !


Father’s Day Weekend And A Virgin Hike

It was Father’s Day weekend
And I have to confess, I wasn’t aware till I logged onto Facebook
It had been an eventful week, with schools tours, driving test and a morning of garage sale misadventure
I was worn out and all I really wanted was to stay home and chill, Father’s Day or no Father’s Day

And when the event keeper didn’t do its job, no one else did
Nobody really knew it was Father’s Day, not the kids, not the Dad
So nothing was planned and I got to take a late morning nap while the boys cooked lunch

I had to admit, I would have kicked a big fuss if it was the other way round on Mother’s Day
But the Dad, he is of a different species
Far more unfazed by the unimportant and focusing on the things that truly mattered,
it naturally made him a better parent and a partner easy to love

A good lunch and a power nap did wonders to my system
and I agreed to a trip to Lake Martin, with the possibility of an afternoon hike
The kids were thrilled when they heard that we were going for a hike

It took us an hour to get there, a quiet and almost deserted piece of forested hill surrounding a lake
In the silence of the forest, we could hear occasional echoes of laughter from holidaymakers who were there to enjoy the cooling lake
Some were out  boating, others were jumping off from floating decks behind their lake side houses
We were about the only people who were there to hike

We did a 2 mile trail littered with dried twigs and pine cones and smelling of fresh pine through and through
We loved it

The trail brought us to the bottom of the hill, right next to the lake where the boys spent a long time picking up twigs, studying spider webs and soaking in the sounds of the forest

It turned out to be a quiet and unhurried Father’s Day weekend, just the way I needed it to be, doing what we love to do



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