Friday, December 14, 2012

in a rut.

there are so many things that i just have a really hard time dealing with. my cultural-frustration threshold rises and falls depending on how much sleep i get, how often i have to deal with ridiculous messes, and the weather. (no really. life is complicated here in the rain. it kills my ability to be understanding).

lately, i've been in a rut. the cashier can't ring up my item and suggests i just forget about it? normally it wouldn't bother me. i'd make a snide comment and move on. nowadays? i'd call the manager and make a complaint. the concho stops at every corner and beeps, waiting for non-existant passengers? normally, i cherish the extra time to catch up on my novel-reading. nowadays? complain loudly to the driver about how late he's going to make me for work.

the rut lasts a few days (or weeks) and then something happens to snap me out of it.
i do live in a tropical paradise, afterall.

i was hoping the christmas cheer would do the trick, but with a new fiscal reform in store for the new year - raising taxes and prices of the "family basket", people are less cheerful than they normally would be.

so, this weekend i'm going to force some cheer on us all - christmas music all around, decorating the house and getting ready for visitors. it helps that i won't need to take a concho for awhile and yesterday finished most of my food shopping for at least a week.

any suggestions to raise my cheer?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

our little garden

notice the lack of plants along the path


note the blue cinderblock seat
 the first thing amalio started doing when we moved in august, was to plant things in the desolate backyard.

the front and side yards have grass (a rare entity in this caribbean nation) and look nicer than the rocky backyard. but. amalio wanted to be able to plant and not have to cut the grass (with a machete or garden sheers) every week.

there are a few problems with putting so much into the backyard. the first being that the house is ALWAYS a mess. it gets neglected. but, who wants to stay inside when they've got this much beautiful space outdoors? beyond that, though, the house isn't ours. so we're not going to pour money into something that we might not be in for awhile. (our plan is to stay in this house for a long time, but who knows... the owner has like 17 ex-wives and one might show up someday wanting her place back!) we also haven't had a ton of time. so, we're working on it a little bit at a time, re-purposing things we have laying around or that we can get easily.

the green blocks are the new fat girl chair!

the first thing that i did, was to pull these two cement "benches" out from some corner and put them to use under the avocado tree. we picked up some used tires at the tire shop down the street, bought a few plants  and made a little sitting area.

two benches weren't enough, so we piled up some cinder blocks for seating. this past weekend i swapped the wobbly blocks out for the new "asiento de chica gordita" - a fat girl chair! it could be a love seat if you are willing to share

i also got to know our machete last weekend digging out a rut for the cinderblocks lining the mini-gardens. i tried just laying the blocks out but they looked ridiculous, so i dug them in a little bit so they weren't towering over the flowers. i was sore for two days, and since i liked it so much, i did it again to make another mini-garden. amalio then got the impatiens and some other flowers into place. now the back of the house isn't so lifeless.
we've got quite a bit left to do - but it's coming along nicely and it's a good project to get us off our butts in these winter months (ha!) hopefully we'll get the wall painted during vacation and another raised-bed type garden out there and then we'll wait for everything to come into bloom!!!