MEXICO: Life Lessons – Chickens Do Cross the Road

MEXICO: Life Lessons – Chickens Do Cross the Road

Ernspiker fam-102RS

As a wife of one and a mom of four, it seems like I am always learning and discovering! I know I am not alone. Let’s just admit it: The world is a big place, life is a lesson, and children can be the best teachers.  Normally my series, Life Lessons with Mexico Mom,  is hosted on Los Gringos Locos, but today I am posting here on World Moms Blog.

Here are my insights and experiences as a Mexico Mom for this week:

Life Lesson 80: Wheelchairs and topes don’t mix.

Tope is the Spanish word for speed bumps. We have lots of speed bumps in Mexico. I think it is because there are many children and families without vehicles that walk everywhere. During the month of May my parents are here with my dad’s wheelchair and ramp attached to the rear of their SUV. Dad was driving through town on his first day here and didn’t see the giant tope in the street. I swear he almost lost the wheelchair and ramp on that tope. The batteries for the wheelchair popped off and landed in the street. We stopped, along with a nice biker who helped us pick up the batteries and put them back on the wheelchair.

Life Lesson 81: Chickens do cross the road in Mexico.

We have the cutest family of chickens that can usually be found in the median of our busiest street in Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico. One of the window-washers brings his chickens with him when he works. The chickens free range on the grass in the median, which is very large and more of a park area with trees, flowers, and benches. One of the chickens has a little chick that follows her around. You can see them crossing the road and stopping traffic. It’s a hoot!

Life Lesson 82: Before you rent a home in Mexico, make sure it’s from the owner.

We are renting a home and apparently the dueño, or landlord, is not the owner. Honestly we don’t know all the details and the whole deal is a bit shady, but we are moving for the fourth time in 18 months, today! I am going to post the whole story, or at least our side of it, very soon on my blog. Stay tuned for this crazy story of renting a home in Mexico, coming soon!

What life lesson did you learn this past week? Please share it with us below. We want to hear your thoughts from around the world!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Tina Marie Ernspiker.  Tina can be found blogging over at Los Gringos Locos.  She is also on Facebook and Twitter.  

Photo credit to A. Hurst Photography

Tina Marie Ernspiker

Tina lives abroad in Mexico with her husband and four children. She is active with homeschool, travel, and her Bible ministry. Tina loves photography and writing thus she blogs. Come join her adventures!

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PHILIPPINES: 3 Ways to Be a More Intentional Mom

PHILIPPINES: 3 Ways to Be a More Intentional Mom

more intentional momI have a (rather embarrassing) confession to make: Lately, I have been guilty of being that mom who seems “addicted” to social media (gasp!).

You know, the one who finds herself reaching for her phone when she wakes up in the middle of the night, and immediately checks her Facebook feed. (*Sigh*)

The one who won’t look up from her phone when her child is talking to her, excited to share her latest creation, because she’s too busy reading what her “friends” have shared online.

The one who seems distracted during playtime and read-aloud time, because she is thinking of what she should post next on social media.

Yup. That mom.

Although I don’t consider myself as “badly addicted” as others might be (cough, cough), reading this CNN article about how you can check if you’re addicted to Facebook made me rethink how I have been spending my time online. I am ashamed to admit it but I sadly found myself checking off most of the items on the list! 🙁

Because of this, I’ve decided to declare to the world (fittingly, through this post, because, well, this blog represents people from all over the world, yes?) that I am going to do my best to be a more intentional mom…specifically when it comes to my use of Facebook.

Here are three things that I plan to do:

1. More Facetime, less Facebook.

I will have more “facetime” with my kids — more looking in their eyes when they speak to me, more kisses on their cheeks, more playtime and reading time. Basically, more “face-to-face” communication. 🙂

2. Limit access to my phone.

This may be a bit challenging to do, since I also use my phone for work, but I think I really need to do it. I plan to place my phone in a bag or closet during the times when I should be focused on the kids, like during mealtime, “learning time” or playtime. I will resist the urge to check my Facebook notifications, because they usually are not about anything urgent anyway.

3. Be more intentional with Facebook posts.

These tips on how to defeat a Facebook addiction reminded me again that, like many other things, Facebook is not necessarily an “evil” — it’s how we use it that leads to problems. So I think I’ll revisit my “One Word” for this year, and use Facebook less for “socializing” and more for inspiring and helping others.

For starters, I think I’ll focus more on sharing encouraging and inspirational posts on my Facebook page, rather than checking my personal Facebook feed all the time.

So this is what I plan to do. I hope that these action steps will truly help me to be a more intentional mom! (If you can relate to this post, I hope you found it useful — here’s to being more intentional with our kids!)

Do you have more tips for beating a Facebook addiction and being a more intentional mother to your children? Please share them in the comments!

 

Tina Santiago-Rodriguez (Philippines)

Tina Santiago-Rodriguez is a wife and homeschool mom by vocation, a licensed physical therapist by education and currently the managing editor of Mustard, a Catholic children's magazine published by Shepherd's Voice Publications in the Philippines, by profession. She has been writing passionately since her primary school years in Brunei, and contributes regularly to several Philippine and foreign-based online and print publications. She also does sideline editing and scriptwriting jobs, when she has the time. Find out more about Tina through her personal blogs: Truly Rich Mom and Teacher Mama Tina.

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LESOTHO: Empowering Women at Work

LESOTHO: Empowering Women at Work

MPHOI grew up in a family full of dynamic, resourceful, and strong women. My grandmothers were both widowed and had to raise their children (one had 6 children, the other 9) with nothing but agricultural produce and handcrafts. My mother and aunts displayed the same tenacity in their lives, and I witnessed similar characteristics in other women in my neighborhood and social circles.

This sparked a debate in me. I was baffled: “With such a healthy heritage of Basotho women, why do we have so few in leadership?”

My personal search for an answer to this question led me to explore avenues commonly considered to be reserved for men. I wanted to be a medical doctor like my father and grandfather, which led to me compete with my male counterparts from primary school through to university. I managed to earn a number of over-achiever certificates, but my dream of being a medical doctor did not materialize. I ended up with a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in biochemistry and psychology.

After graduation, I entered the telecommunications field. I soon learned that the corporate world, like school, tended to reserve certain roles for men–including most senior offices, despite the high level of educated women in our country.  Of course, this is not unique to Lesotho, but a global phenomenon.

Perhaps not surprisingly, there is a gender gap in mobile phone ownership in developing countries as well. (Men own more of them.) When I was presented with a project to reduce the mobile phone gender gap, I ran with it! With the eradication of the mobile gender gap, women will be enabled to participate in the global economy while improving their livelihoods.

The project focuses on women working for the company, women in the community, and the company’s female clients. Internally, a network of women was formed in order to inspire leadership, achievement and accountability among women. The Sisters’ Circle meets monthly and holds quarterly workshops to work towards this.

Externally, I am very excited about the creation of an internship program. Our goal is to give female graduates work experience, build a talent pool for the company, and help to bridge the skills gender gap that might otherwise hold these women back.

I wish to see more, if not all, major employers in the country adopt a similar projects so that our women believe in themselves and realize that that they have what it takes to lead organizations and governments. Ideally, empowering females should start in the classroom, so our daughters know and believe that they are equally able as our sons to become doctors, telecommunications executives, or whatever their heart and head desire.

What does your place of work do to empower women?

This is an original post to World Mom Blog by guest writer Mho Mosotho in Lesotho.  She is a colleague of WMB contributor Dee Harlow.

Photo credit to the author.

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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WORLD VOICE: Graduation Wishes For the World

WORLD VOICE: Graduation Wishes For the World

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 6.14.29 AM

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Is it what you are doing now? Did your dreams back then involve making the world a better place? Do they now?

Amidst all the high school and college graduations happening each week during this end-of-school-year season, I had the privilege of attending a small and sweet 5th grade graduation ceremony. During the celebration, we heard a few sentences from each child about what they wanted to achieve in their lives. To me, it was a heart-warming and inspiring experience because their answers were so different than the answers I used to hear from my pre-schoolers and their classmates. By 11 years old, my daughter and her peers have begun to see more of the world and be exposed to the problems of their communities and their planet.

When my kids and their friends were pre-schoolers, their answers to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” tended to involve jobs that were most visible to them: teacher, fireman, doctor, mommy, basketball player, etc. The 5th graders who crossed the stage this time were much more worldly than they were just six years ago.

These children have obviously been discussing thorny problems such as peace, global warming, and poverty. Kudos to their teachers for starting these conversations in class! Certainly, some kids still wanted to be doctors and athletes. Those are still great goals to reach for. But I admit that I got a bit teary eyed to hear a wide range of choices represented by the kids. Here are my favorite quotes from the celebration:

“My contribution to the world is going to be working at food shelters. I would like to work in other countries where food is most needed. I plan to go to medical school to become a general practitioner. I will care for sick people at the food shelters as well.”

“I plan to find a fuel for cars that doesn’t use gasoline. I will get my degree in science and engineering to help me research fuel alternatives. I will keep trying and perservere until I find a greener alternative for our environment. I am hoping to explore solar powered fuel and fuel generated by a high powered small windmill inside the car’s engine.”

“In my lifetime I hope to contribute to the world by changing laws so that we are helping and not hurting foreign economies. I will get there by writing letters to Congress and lobbying.”

“In my lifetime, I hope to contribute to the world by making the world a peaceful place. I will get there by explaining to people that we need to work together instead of fighting one another.”

“In my life, I hope to have a happy family, a career as a writer and have a reputation for being a kind and generous young woman I hope to be a person that makes a big change in this world and who helps a lot of people. I will accomplish that by starting to help people today.”

The kids are old enough to start understanding the challenges of our time and still young enough to be idealists unaffected by the Negative Nellies of the world who will eventually tell them “it can’t be done.” My wish for these children is that they will keep dreaming their dreams, get the education that will refine their ideas, keep thinking both locally and globally, and – above all – keep being inspired by the world’s problems and not be beaten down by them. I also hope that parents, teachers, and other adults in their lives will be inspired by their optimism and help them to build a world in which we can all survive and thrive.

IMAGE CREDIT MARK RAMSAY / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

This is an original post written by Cindy Levin for World Moms Blog. Cindy also writes at Anti-Poverty Mom.

Cindy Levin

Cynthia Changyit Levin took her first advocacy action in 2001 with a hunger event at her church. Years later, after resigning from her position as an automotive engineer to raise her newborn daughter, she searched for a way she could better the world from home while caring for infants. She returned to advocacy and is now a dedicated volunteer activist with RESULTS, Shot@Life, ONE, and Bread for the World. Levin involves her young children in her advocacy activities, including face-to-face lobby meetings with members of Congress, letter-writing, and classroom advocacy projects. She shares what she has learned about advocacy through her Anti-Poverty Mom blog and training other activists with RESULTS. Her op-eds and letters-to-the-editor have appeared in Chicago area newspapers as well as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Washington Post, the New York Times and the international Financial Times. Levin has served on the Board of Directors for RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund and on staff with RESULTS Educational Fund as a fundraising coach for grassroots volunteers.

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USA/POLAND: Transitions

USA/POLAND: Transitions

We are ready for Poland, countdown calendar and all!

We are ready for Poland, countdown calendar and all!

A year ago, we were preparing to leave Thailand after four years. We’ve now been settled on the East Coast of the U.S. for ten months. And in two months, we’ll depart for Poland, where we’ll spend three years. That’s two international moves for our family of five in nearly one year.

All of these transitions come easily for my husband and me, since we chose careers that we knew would involve us transiting the globe every few years. But how will it affect our children? The youngest (newly one-year old) is too young to know what’s happening yet and lucky for us, the other two (ages three and five) have been good about going with the flow so far.

But not far from my mind is how their opinions on this transient lifestyle will change over time, especially as they begin to develop good friends and fondness for certain places.

When I look back at our time in Thailand, it evokes a sense of nostalgia for me because it was the place where both of my daughters were born, where my son spent his first four years of life, entered his first school, and made his first friends. My children developed a strong affinity for Thai food, were comfortable living and walking the streets of a big city, and became spoiled by monthly trips to the beach. Every day was a swim day. Travel to cool places such as Bali, Hong Kong, and Australia was easy. The Thai people were welcoming and friendly, and loved interacting with the kids, and as a result, my children developed a strong sense of confidence and ability to easily and comfortably interact with others. Thailand was their first home and I believe, will always be a big part of who they are.

Catching a ride on a street stall food truck in Bangkok

Catching a ride on a street stall food truck in Bangkok

My husband and I talked to the children a lot about our move back to the United States in July 2014. When we packed everything up, said our goodbyes, and headed for a three-day layover in Hawaii, the kids were adjusting to the concept that the U.S. was not just one place, but a place made of 50 states. As we made our way from Hawaii to California, Michigan, and Virginia, our four-year old kept asking us when we were going to get to “America.” Soon after that, we invested in a large, magnetic USA map and had a geography lesson or two at home. The kids were thrilled with the discovery that in “America” there are water fountains in parks and airports (and that you could actually drink the water from them), that a mailman delivers mail to your house every day, that people who live in houses have neighbors, back yards, and can do things like set up lemonade stands or invite friends over for a night of s’mores-making.

What is this white stuff?  Discovering snow in the U.S.

What is this white stuff? Discovering snow in the U.S.

And then there was the discovery of seasons, snow, door-to-door trick-or-treating, fall festivals with pumpkins, hay rides, and mazes, spring festivals with strawberry and blueberry picking, summer carnivals, and of course, Disney World. And to top it off, they’ve had a wonderful year of connecting with family. They have developed strong bonds with grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Sleepovers at the grandparents occur on a regular basis.

And now, ten months into our time in the U.S., when we are just settled, comfortable with our home, our neighborhood, our friends, the schools, the rhythm of the seasons, and happy to be near family, we are getting ready to head overseas for our next adventure in Krakow, Poland. For several months we’ve been prepping the kids for the move – talking up castles, countryside, dragon festivals, skiing, and Polish bakeries. We’ve been listening to the Frozen soundtrack – my daughter’s favorite – in Polish. We’ve been practicing our hellos and thank yous in Polish. We’ve been talking about our new schools, how we’ll get to school, where we’ll live, and where we’ll visit. Although I’m not sure that they fully comprehend the concept of starting over again, they are excited about the move. It is fun to share in their enthusiasm.

Sometimes they ask us what’s after Poland – a question for which we don’t yet have an answer. As I think about the next three years, I know that the kids will be exposed to new experiences that will continue to shape who they are. It’s fun to be in this together, our family of five.

So when does this get hard? When do they start lobbying to stay in one spot and resist leaving friends, schools, and places behind? When do they tire of the transient lifestyle? When will it be hard to garner their enthusiasm for yet another move? And how do we as parents support them, empathize with them, or even determine whether the regular moves are still the best thing for our family?

These questions cross my mind every once in awhile, but until that time comes, we’re going to continue to enjoy the new places, activities, cultures and friends that await us, remembering the people we’ve met and the places we’ve lived along the way are all part and parcel of who we are and how we approach life.

Have you and your family always lived in the same place? How do you deal with transitions?

This is an original post to World Momst Blog by Loren Braunohler, currently in the United States and preparing for a move to Poland. Photo credit to the author.

Loren Braunohler

Loren Braunohler is a former U.S. diplomat turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. She is a world traveler who avoids the cold (don't ask why she is currently in Poland). Former assignments have included Mozambique, Venezuela, Australia, Sudan, Thailand and Washington, D.C. She enjoys running, although she probably enjoys sleeping even more. Loren blogs about her family's international adventures and parenting at www.toddlejoy.com.

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