The five things I didn’t think I’d miss…

1. Gallon milk

At this point I just miss milk that comes in a jug. And that’s that I don’t even drink milk. But having a 17 month old and a husband who is obsessed with milk in his coffee have made me miss it so much. In Uruguay, as I’m sure it is in other parts of the world, milk comes in a bag. Sure, they have pitchers for you to place the bags of milk in but seriously it’s just such a pain in the butt. You gotta worry about accidental spills and if something icky touches the bag while it’s waiting to be opened. It might just be me but seriously I hate it.

2. The Home Depot

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re currently remodeling our house in Uruguay. Our contractor does all the work but asks us to go buy the materials. No problem, right? Wrong. The way construction supply stores, also known as “barracas,” work in Uruguay is that you take a number to be attended. When your number is called you go up to the person attending and tell them what you need. Here is my problem. You are not allowed to view the product you are ordering. If you don’t know the different brands they have they’ll just give you whatever you want. You might get the most expensive thing or the cheapest thing depending on who the sale person is. Obviously I’m not a contractor or a construction worker. I don’t know what I’m asking for but if I have a list and it is in Spanish and you salesperson are working in a construction supply store SHOULD know what it is that I’m asking for. Don’t give me a blank stare when I say, “Hello, this is an itemized list of what I need. Thank you.” I miss being able to just walk along those aisles, staring blankly at a bunch of stuff I don’t understand wishing that someone would help me but in the end being on my own. Because honestly if all you do is stare blankly at me and are unsure on how to answer my questions then I’d rather shop on my own than deal with your sub-par customer service. My failure in picking the right thing pisses me off a lot less than having to deal with your crappy service and haphazard disinterest in dealing with an “extranjero.”

3. Shopping

I miss shopping without depending on someone for help. I’m not talking about the normal greeters when you go into a store. I’m talking about everything you want to look at is kept behind a counter and you need to interact with people to see what you came for. What if I don’t exactly know what I want to look at? What if I just want to window shop? Are you going to take the time to show me every item behind the counter? I don’t think so. (For more complaints about shopping and dealing with crappy customer service I refer to read #2 again.)

4. Mail

This is probably the most ridiculous thing on the list but seriously I miss going to the mail box and seeing a huge stack of junk mail waiting for me. I miss Saturday mornings at home drinking coffee and perusing through the weeks advertisements and magazines. It could be that we haven’t lived here long enough to really receive mail but from looking at my neighbors I’m guessing that mail in Uruguay is strictly reserved to packages and bills. Magazines are something you just buy at the newsstand and even then Uruguayan magazines aren’t the same as American ones (obviously when your population is coming in at nearly 4 million you don’t have the capital as one would when trying to reach let’s say ~100 million).

5. Driving automatic

When I first learned how to drive a stick shift I was SO EXCITED! It was one of the things on my bucket list and it took me about five months to accomplish it (I took driving lessons once every two weeks so it took me awhile). However, after about a year of driving I can honestly say nothing annoys me more than driving stick shift. I hate how sore my legs get after driving in the city. I hate constantly using both feet to stop and go, stop and go, stop and go. What I would give to just be able to put the car in drive and not have to worry about anything else except not hitting anyone or anything.

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CAIF: Who, what, where, and why?

So much has happened the past month that I don’t even know where to start. The construction on our house is almost done. Right now we’re waiting for the floors and kitchen to be installed and we should be done. I’ll make sure to post pictures once everything is done.

Last week PJ and I started going to CAIF. Now I’m sure you guys, like me, are wondering what exactly CAIF is.

CAIF is a government run daycare that employs psychologists to work with parents on ideal parenting techniques. They start off with pregnancy classes to prepare for arrival of baby. Once baby comes they go to a Mommy and Me class once a week (what PJ and I are doing now). At two years old the child can start attending CAIF for either four or eight hours a day without their parent. All of this with little to no cost to the parents.

In order to get into the CAIF Carlos and I had to fill out a questionnaire along with an interview with the head psychologist to assess our views on parenting. The questionnaire was filled with questions you might expect such as what is your highest level of education and what do you do for a living. But it also had questions I thought were odd such as what type of roofing material does our house have and do we have well water or are supplied by the water company. The interview was filled with even stranger questions. But I think what surprised me the most during the interview was when they asked us our views on discipline and hitting our child. I’m aware that there are parents that use violence as a way to instill discipline, however I never thought it would be an issue when dealing with a bunch of one-year olds.

Playing with a new friend! This was her first day.

We had our interview in November 2014. The CAIF runs the same as schools, open in February and close in December. But like I said, once your child turns two you get free childcare until they start school at age four. Who can really complain?

PJ and I started going last week and so far so good! We’re there for about two hours every Tuesday and it’s divided into play time, craft time, guided discussion, and snack time. Paloma has had a lot of fun running around and playing with other kids. She’s one of the older ones by about two or three months but it’s so strange to see the developmental difference between a one year old and Paloma at 16 months. She LOVES climbing the fake stairs they have and staring at herself in the mirror.

Childcare is such an issue all over the world and I LOVE that Uruguay has addressed this issue by providing free childcare to parents in need. I remember when I was pregnant and living in the States I had this internal debate on what I would do about childcare. What I would spend on childcare and what I would make from work did not make financial sense. However we really couldn’t live without my income. Luckily we’re not in a position now where childcare is a necessity but it’s good to know it’s available whenever needed.

Can always count on PJ to steal the balls.
Paloma enjoying CAIF too much to pause for a picture.