Change is in the Air
"Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ~ Lao Tzu
You might have noticed I've taken a bit of a blog vacation of late and I must say it has been wonderful for all of us. You know that on our ultimate family adventure we love the luxury of unplugging and slow travel, always avoiding travel burnout. For us, more than anything, this trip around the world is about freedom, love and time together.
I have been writing this blog as we've traveled the world for over seven years, which is VERY old in blog years and VERY old for a world traveling RTW digital nomad lifestyle. No one was doing this when we began and I had no idea that we would be doing this so long or I'd write this much. Time really does fly when you are having fun, but we are very different today than when we began. Mozart is no longer a five year old and we've been blessed to experience so much of this planet together, so we're very much at home in the world ( no matter how odd it is sometimes).
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with blogging, I love to share and inspire, but I don't always care for the time it takes. Like most things online, there is always more to do. I am always trying to find that perfect balance of doing just the right amount that I enjoy and makes our readers happy. I wrestle with myself to do less, but I'm a creative type with lots of passions and enthusiasm for life, so it is not uncommon for me to bite off more than I can chew.
Recently, catching kidlets reading classics obsession, I borrowed and reread her David Copperfield ( Dickens favorite book and some what autobiographical).Since it was written in 1849 ( and still so good!) it kind of amazed me that he found as his fame as a writer grew, it just gave him more work and more mail to answer. Of course, I will never be a Dickens ( one of my heroes) or a famous writer, but I can see how that still works today and why I wouldn't want to be a famous writer or biggest blogger.
Writing or blogging was never on my list of things to do in life. I retired early to travel and am now 61, so I only want to do fun things that I love. One of the reasons, I pulled back on the book publishing deal I was offered, was thoughts of the book tour and other things that would go with it. Having gone down that kind of rabbit hole with my acting career, I am more hesitant now and have different views on what success is and for me, that's about family now first and foremost, free time and freedom to do as I please.
No one else is doing extended travel or family world travel with a piano and violin, focused on education with monolingual parents raising a fluent trilingual/triliterate global kid. We've also been on a long healing journey since I broke and paralyzed my arm for a year while biking the Danube in 2009. The healing secrets learned led to healthy food big changes which adds a new time element and focus.
We really appreciate our steady readership and the many beautiful emails we get daily from those who have been touched and inspired by our journey. We never expected that as part of our around-the-world trip, but it's been a blessing to share what we learn along the way. We are so grateful for the many amazing heart-focused folks we've met, both online and in person, thanks to this blog.
I still have tons to share and have many half done blog posts waiting in the queue. Since it takes much longer to write about than actually do, I have only written about and shared photos and videos of about 1% of our travels. So much to share, so little time..if I also want a free life.
WORLD SCHOOL CHANGES
Our primary reason for being in Asia is to help our child become fluent in Mandarin, so she has been going to a Chinese school in Penang as well as a recent dip into a Chinese school in Beijing ( similar to what we did in Spain for language immersion).
We were so proud when she recently won the Chinese Elocution trophy at her Chinese High School in Asia (the first time a Caucasian won it in the 63 year history of the 1000-kid school).
That and our trip to China, helped us realize that we are almost complete with her Mandarin fluency goals, so we decided to take a hiatus from the school for now. If you know Chinese you can see that she has come a loooooong way between this video taken when we arrived and her latest. Her Mandarin reading and writing is even more impressive and we are grateful that we started this growing up trilingual in the womb.
There have been great things learned through the school (besides Mandarin) from Chinese cultural immersion to life long friends, chorus, environmental education, performing, winning a singing contest, finding her talent for public speaking, becoming a monitor, new organization skills, discovering her leadership potential, skipping from 4th grade to 7th grade, devouring the library, being interviewed, Asian tutors,being different, physics, Algebra, Geometry etc in Mandarin, learning to be a test taker, lots of autonomy starting at 10 in a large, 33 acre high school campus and much more.
She is an impressive kid who has thrived/risen to the top in a very challenging environment and it has strengthened and enriched her as well as adding unique experience to her one-of-a-kind life. We are very proud that she took it from everyone staring at her on the first day at her school, ( she was the only Caucasian) to winning 3 trophies and being a top student.
BUT we are eclectic homeschoolers, worldschoolers, unschoolers, freedom-loving life long learners by nature and attachment parents, so there are also things compromised when we make the choice to dip into schools for language immersion. With every choice, there are always pros and cons. Time spent in Mandarin immersion, means less time for other things.
We moved recently ( photos coming) to a new apartment in Penang ,which meant we had to go from getting up at 6am to getting up at 5am, six days of the week for her school. That alone was not fun and all of us prefer to homeschool which also allows us more free time to travel and be together. As older parents, we know how fast a childhood goes and we don't want to miss one second...one of our main purposes for our travel lifestyle. Immersing in school steals some of those precious hours and we are so happy to have them back.
We are grateful we started this school at ten for language advantages, but now it is time to change, at least for a while. We will see how it goes, but so far, so good.
We've got an excellent Chinese tutor that comes to the house 4 times a week, thus Mozart is already far, ahead of her class in school because she can do one-on-one learning at her own pace ( since she already has extensive Mandarin experience ...as I don't think this would work as well in the beginning stages, but is great for refinement stage).
We're looking for a volunteer position where she can immerse more in conversation too ( besides her Mandarin-speaking friends here). We hope to complete at least up to 6th grade level in reading and writing in Mandarin before leaving Asia, but that shouldn't take too long.
This leaves lots of extra time for self led play, making things, art, drama, entrepreneurship, explorations, knitting,creating, sewing, hugs etc., as well as English passions like Chemistry, Algebra and Geometry ( easier in English rather than Mandarin writing so she can progress more quickly as she is quite the math whiz as is her dad who helps her), singing, piano, violin, composing, reading great Classic Literature, writing,and time for Spanish pursuits as well.
She has joined a new Choir and is preparing for a performance, learning acting at the Actors Studio and preparing for a performance, as well as joining an environmental nature club and learning volleyball with a nearby international school. She is also rapidly devouring their library.
This really works well for our family, and we are gloriously happy, but alas it gives me MUCH less time for the blog than when she was in school.
Add to that my turning into a fermenting, kefir-making, cooking, broth-making, primal baking, veggie chopping, paleo ice-cream making, real food advocate and frugal, sustainable, homestead kind of gal now, who is spending extraodinary amounts of time in my new kitchen creating delicious, healthy food for our rather strict diet to cure cavities ( details coming) means I find myself behind in all other areas including the blog.
So the blog will have to slow down a bit while we adjust to this new schedule and I catch up. My health is almost 100% now and I am looking forward to sharing more with you about travel health as I have just gotten some blood tests that show the progress thanks to the diet changes.
I've also lost about 35 pounds, although I have much, much more to lose, so I need to keep time for that goal in my schedule ( which also means less time sitting and writing to avoid bloggers butt). I try to do more online things standing now, since studies show us that sitting is deadly.
I am loving learning all these new things by doing, like this photo of a delicous Mango Clafouti that I baked changing Julia Child's classic recipe to paleo-healthy for us with a tropical twist ( made with mangos, coconut milk, pastured eggs, organic raw honey and coconut flour. that I make from scratch! Recipe coming!) We are trying grain free ( to avoid phytic acid) along with our raw goat milk plan, so I've needed to explore new recipes and ideas.
Every day I am doing things that simply amaze me like making sauerkraut, baked beet chips, delish roasted turnips, homemade fermented mayo, making my own coconut flour, fermented salsa, fermented cabbage juice, kvass, DIY deodorant, DIY kitchen cleaner, kefir cheese, dehydrating, DIY shampoo, banana bread, ice cream, primal coconut muffins, etc etc. I love it all and want to share recipes with you..but the time steals away.
We also are trying to get our books done, starting with the one about curing gum disease and moving on to many more including some on camping Europe and a series that Mozart wants to do for kids about every country she has been to. There are still a ton of posts about Europe, China, Hawaii, Australia, Florida, Bhutan and more I want to share as well as more trips around Asia.
So hang in there while I try to figure out how to do all of this at the same time!