The unexpected outcome of unpacking

After two stressful days of unpacking and moving boxes, my mom and I decided to take a break and go through the fun stuff. Most people (ie, my sister) would take that to mean either their personal belongings like clothes or cooking spices but for us the fun stuff is BABY CLOTHES!

PJs room isn’t anywhere near being done so we decided to just start organizing the stuff into what needs to go into storage (stuff that doesn’t fit) and stuff that we can start selling. It was a lot easier deciding to sell or give away these clothes because PJ never wore any of them. We have a few nice pieces that I kinda wish I could save for any future littles we might have running around here but realistically that won’t happen for another few years. Why keep stuff when I know I’m just going to end up buying new then anyway…

After about an hour of monotonous exchanges of “keep?” “toss!” we came across the boys clothes. When we packed our stuff into storage we still didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl. If you would’ve asked me at any point before 14 weeks if we were having a boy or a girl I would’ve sworn we were having a boy. I wanted a boy sooooo badly but then one day at around 14 weeks I was talking with a friend about the baby and said, “blah blah blah she’s hungry which makes me gag.” My friend looked at me and said, “SHE?!” From that moment on something inside of me just clicked and I KNEW, I knew that I knew, that the little frijolito inside of me was a girl. So much so that during the sex ultrasound (not gender, people) I screamed at Carlos “I TOLD YOU I TOLD YOU I TOLD YOU!” I mean, I’m sure I’m not the only person to do so but hey it happened.

Opening up that box of little boy people clothes my heart just started melting and my uterus was screaming. I remembered all the sweet and tender moments that I was blessed with when pregnant with PJ. My favorite memory of pregnancy was a day Carlos and I spent by the lake at our apartment. I don’t remember the details of the day other than it smelled like rain. We were talking about our future and trying out baby names when all of a sudden we heard this roaring sound heading for us. We saw the ducks start flying toward us not realizing that they were actually flying away from this wall of rain. It was coming so fast we had to sprint from the lake to our first floor apartment to avoid getting wet. The millisecond we reached the door the rain was splashing at our feet. I vividly remember slamming the door shut behind us and laughing together. I looked at my husband in that moment and realized I never loved him more than I did at that moment. He didn’t do or say anything romantic or do any sort of grand gesture to cause that surge of tenderness, but from what I can guess it was the overall sincerity of the moment.

Since then there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of moments like that. Small, insignificant moments where I get this overwhelming rush of love for him. Like the first time he wore PJ in the Moby wrap, when he sang PJ to sleep when I was pregnant, or whenever PJ comes up to him with a book in her hand he sits her on his lap and starts to read to her.

I didn’t know how much I could love my husband until our daughter was born. All over the internet you read these anonymous cries of women all of the world complaining about their husbands that checked out once baby came. They don’t help at all with their children and see any involvement in child rearing as babysitting. But I was blessed with a man that not only loves me but adores our daughter. He has changed and fed her just as many times as I have, he still wakes up in the middle of the night with me whenever she cries, and he never makes it seem like spending time with us is a chore. We were lucky enough that he was able to be with her all day, every day for her first year and a half of life. And his love for her has allowed for my love for him to grow to an unimaginable capacity.

It’s not like I somehow forgot about this and unpacking brought on all these emotions. I’ve always known I love my husband and have been conscious of how the past two years have allowed me to fall more in love with him, but remembering the early days just brought these feelings to the surface in a way that I couldn’t expect.

Although we’re getting rid of most of the clothes due to a lack of storage space I hope to hold onto these memories and one day share them with our daughter. I hope that when she reaches that age of wanting nothing to do with her wacky and annoying parents she can see that all we’ve ever had for her was love. That one day when she’s looking for a partner she finds someone that loves her just as much as her father loves me, if not more.

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Bringing a container full of household items to Uruguay: Our experience.

It’s finally here! Yesterday we were finally reunited with all our worldly possessions and it was/is glorious! Now here’s how we did it.

While thinking about moving to Uruguay we researched their immigration procedure, local customs, and obsessively scoured expat blogs on any information on Uruguay we couldn’t find on Wikipedia. All the information seemed to be the same, they speak their own version of Spanish, their food is mainly parrilla, and as an immigrant you are definitely going to want to take advantage of being able to bring in your own container of household goods. Everyone stated you would definitely want to bring your own beds and furniture. My mom was hesitant and believed that we could probably find something of quality here but luckily we were able to convince her otherwise.

So there we were wondering, now what? We had never done this before and didn’t know what to look for in a company. While in Miami we searched high and low for an international shipping company willing to take on our case but NO ONE would return our calls or was remotely interested in doing business with us. We decided we would just put all our stuff into storage and deal with it when we got to Uruguay. Maybe we would even find a moving company here that would help us (spoiler alert: we didn’t).

After living here a year and some change my husband and I went back to Miami to buy a few more things to put into storage before we would start our extensive search for a company to ship our things. During that time I started asking questions on the Uruguay Expat Facebook group (warning it is a private group so you’ll have to request to be accepted but they accept everyone) about the process of shipping ones container. We found out that in order to ship it WITHOUT having to pay a ridiculous 60% import tax was to ship it within the first six months of being in the country. Ummmm…WHAT?! We had already been in Uruguay for over a year. We couldn’t afford to pay 60% tax. A kind, well informed member of the group then informed us that a loophole around that is if you leave the country, even to lets just say Argentina for the day, and return the six months starts all over again. Thank God!

Once we got back to Uruguay we met with a few moving companies here in Uruguay and while everything seemed okay we didn’t take any steps in shipping our belongings. One day I got a message from a woman in the group and we started discussing shipping containers and all that and she shared the name of a company a friend referred her to. Ocean Star International was the name of the company. I decided to shoot them an email and see what happened. We talked to a sales representative named David and he gave us a good quote on door-to-door shipping. All we had to do was give some basic information and they would handle the rest. Since all of our belongings we already packed we were able to save some money. At the time we were teetering between using OSI and another company but OSI really fought for our business not just with competitive pricing but their amazing customer service.

Once we paid they came to our storage facility, emptied out our THREE storage lockers, wrapped our furniture and loaded everything into the shipping container. They were there from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Those guys are troopers and super heroes! From there it was sent to Port Everglades and all we had to do was wait for it to get to Uruguay. OSI has a company that they work with in Uruguay that helped us over here called Grupo Mudanzas del Sur that were great. They answered all of our annoying questions and were overall just so helpful with everything. It took a little over a month for our container to get to Uruguay and get through customs (I’ve heard some horror stories of customs agents trying to get money out of expats bringing in household items but we were blessed that ours didn’t even open our container).

When it came time to unloading the container they made sure they had 7+ guys on deck unload. They were so patient with us as we went through our manifest to make sure that each box went into it’s appropriate house. They were very respectful not only of our belongings but also of our home. I’ve had my fair share of run ins with movers and many of them have been crass and rude during the loading/unloading process but these guys were amazing.

Here are somethings you should know:

  • While bringing in a container prior to receiving permanent residence you have to pay customs (aka “la aduana”) a security deposit for your belongings. They do this to assure themselves that a person isn’t bringing in a container for business purposes. You receive your deposit back once you have official residency.
  • BRING FURNITURE! I cannot stress this enough. Uruguayan furniture is a lot of China factory rejects. They’re wobbly and awful. Trust me. SERIOUSLY!
  • Pack condiments/spices. Lots of them. Things like ketchup and mustard while not necessarily expensive are sometimes hard to find in large quantities. It must be the American in me but I don’t know how to live without a 64oz bottle of Heinz ketchup in my fridge.
  • Bring sheets/towels/pots/pans/anything kitchen and bathroom related. Yes they do have them here but again the quality is just awful.
  • If you are a family, or even just a young couple and plan at some point to have a child, bring baby stuff. Baby stuff is SUPER expensive and you’ll really wish you had things like a baby swing or decent crib. I got by without them but I can seriously tell you I cursed every day I didn’t have a baby swing. Bring bottles, pacifiers, toys, DIAPERS and WIPES. Even if you end up not using them someone will buy them because seriously they’re so expensive here.
  • People will tell you to bring appliances but if you come from the USA I wouldn’t bother unless you can get them with 220V (hello eBay!). If you come from anywhere else on the planet then YES BRING APPLIANCES (i.e., TVs, food processors, blenders, DVD players, Blu Ray, XBOX, Wii, WHATEVER JUST BRING IT).
  • DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS! I can’t stress that enough. It took us so long to get our stuff here because we were so apprehensive at first to ask for help. Things happened when they were supposed to but I could have avoided an uncomfortable year and a half if I just would have ASKED QUESTIONS.

I hope that this helps some of you who may be thinking of moving to Uruguay. Now that our things are here I’m hoping that things are a little bit easier for us. I may have missed some steps so please feel free to ask me whatever you need. If any of you reading have gone through this process and have experienced something different please share.

Our new normal: an excuse for me to whine about first world problems

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Carlos got a new job. He’s currently working for a company that outsources customer service to Amazon. The hours are less than ideal (12:30pm-8:00pm) and the commute is awful (four hours daily) but we’ve been making it work. I will admit though it has been rough for me to get used to not having him around.

I know that 99.99% of stay-at home moms do it alone. They keep house and do the child rearing without the help of their partner. And the first few days without Carlos home, I didn’t know how they did it. PJ was throwing tantrums left and right, she wouldn’t eat, and all she did was run around yelling “DADA!” But after the first three or four days she got used to it. She started eating again and was more affectionate. She definitely is still throwing tantrums but it’s because we’re limiting screen time and she is not happy. Damn you Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for being so appealing!

However, now she barely acknowledges Carlos when he comes home from work. He gets here about twenty minutes before bed time so at that point she’s cranky and just wants to run around. He’ll walk in through the door and depending on the day she will either smile big for him or just pretend he isn’t there. I’m hoping it’s just a phase and she will be more excited to see her dad as time goes on. Luckily since he’s starting his official schedule this Sunday, he will be able to spend the good hours with her before work and not only get to see her for ten to twenty minutes.

What’s been most difficult for me to adjust to is not having help when things around the house get tough. Since we live with my parents I’m constantly cleaning, running their errands, doctors appointments, cooking, etc. I’ve spent the past two years doing all of this with Carlos by my side and now I have to do it alone.This is an issue that everyone goes through but right now I feel like I’m standing at the base of Mount Everest being forced to climb it completely unprepared. I’m trying to find my rhythm but it’s proving to be difficult. I’m praying that once our house is finished I’ll be able to be a bit more organized.

These are tiny things to be complaining or stressing about but in my currently very tiny life bubble, it’s what’s happening in our lives right now. Next week our shipping container gets here and I promise to write a post on how that all went. I was going to write it earlier but seeing how not much has happened I figured I would write just one post. I can’t wait to sleep on our bed and our nice sheets and wear clothes I haven’t seen in over two years. I’ll probably be swamped for a few months trying to organize everything getting here.

Releasing my past: Unfriending on social media

I’m one of those people that can’t let go of the past. I allow it to eat me up inside, slowly invading my daily thoughts, and I allow it to prevent me from enjoying the present. Sadly, I’m one of THOSE people. The ones people make memes of telling them to let go. Like most things in life, it is easier said than done.

For people like me, social media makes it even more difficult to move past it. You have this constant window open to peak into the lives of people who have left your life. Checking in on their every move and constantly comparing it to yours. And in my case it was one girl who made me nuts. And not because she’s living a better or worse life than me. We’re both stay at home moms, our daughters are roughly the same age. And in the end we both are both happy. At least, that’s what I can gather from the glimpses of her life I’ve seen through social media (ie, Instagram and Facebook).

A few months ago I had this encounter with God where I realized in order to move forward with my life, I needed to completely separate myself from her. I’ll spare you the details of how I came to this revelation but just know it was enough to get me to block her on Instagram, Facebook, email, etc. Now, I didn’t do this out of anger or jealousy but because it was in my best interest. I was becoming obsessed with whether or not she would “like” something I posted or if she would comment on a picture. If she didn’t, I would let it ruin my mood and thus affecting how I was interacting those I live with. Talking about it now, I realize how RIDICULOUS it is to have allowed this to control me.

But before I go any further I think I should actually talk about who she is and why I was letting her eat away at my soul. For my sanity I’m going to refer to her as Stacy. Stacy and I were best friends throughout middle school and high school. Like most friends we had gaps during that time period where we weren’t close seeing how we went to two different high schools but I always considered her one of my best friends. Eventually I transferred to her high school and we picked up our friendship where it had left off. Spent almost every day after school together, went on family vacations together, and planned our senior year classes so we would be together all day every day. However when college acceptances came around we didn’t get into the same colleges. I remember being on the phone as we signed online to see if we got in, Stacy got on first. Rejected. Two seconds after she spoke, my acceptance letter popped onto the screen. I didn’t know what to say other than they hadn’t updated my page yet. When she found out that I got in, and that our other best friend and I would be rooming together freshman year, our relationship changed.

She started distancing herself and doing things on her own. She wouldn’t respond to my texts as quickly and always seemed to be busy whenever I wanted to hang out. Once freshman year came around I was too busy to really let it get to me. I came home frequently because of my boyfriend, and now husband, but I always made time to see her while I was in Miami. I noticed her changing, things she normally wouldn’t have done or said were starting to creep up and I didn’t know how to handle the change. Eventually we got into a full blown fight and we stopped talking. Months and eventually years went by and not a word was heard from her.

Fast forward five or six years, she added me on Facebook and Instagram. Getting those notifications knocked the wind out of me. At first I just let the requests just linger in my inbox but eventually I accepted the requests. Was this her reaching out to rekindle the friendship? Not really. She kept her distance, never “liking” a post or commenting on something I knew she would find funny. We ended up getting pregnant around the same time and I reached out. Letting her know that I was happy for her and her partner and hoped all was well. Radio silence. When her daughter was born I sent my congratulations and told her I knew she would be a great mom. Radio silence.

And then, the day came. She commented on a photo of PJ. I was floored. I responded. And then she responded. A few responses later and we were actually having a conversation. Eventually we transitioned into email, and then Facebook messaging, then WhatsApp. We made plans to see each other when I was in Miami on vacation. She messaged me to have a safe flight. And then, it happened. Radio silence.

I was confused. I was hurt. And ultimately, I was angry. Why spend months talking and reaching out to only disappear? I don’t know. I emailed her, I called her, I texted. Nothing. She stopped liking my posts, she stopped responding to my comments. I felt like a crazy ex-boyfriend. I was so confused. Eventually she started commenting again but it just wasn’t the same. The damage had been done. It had been around six months of me just obsessing if today was the day she would “like” or comment on a post. I had enough. I wasn’t going to let her control my thoughts anymore. If she can’t SEE the pictures or posts, then she can’t “like” them and I can’t obsess over them.

At first I felt like a 16 year old girl unfriending someone because of a petty disagreement. But it worked. I stopped feeling a weight on my shoulders every time I posted something. I didn’t feel anxious whenever I got a notification on my phone. I felt light and airy.

I’m in the wrong for allowing her approval to control my life, especially at my age, but at least I found a healthy solution to free myself. I know I’m not alone in this struggle. We live in a society where friendships are largely cultivated and maintained on the internet. When a relationship is over in the real world, you avoid that person. You avoid going to places you would normally find them. You pick a new grocery store, go to a new gym, hell if you were giraffe in the Sahara you would find a new watering hole. But online how can you really escape them? I don’t know who invented the unfriend or blocking feature on social media but the world thanks you for giving us a way out.

Catching up: New job, new home, happy us!

The past two weeks have been big for us. Carlos just got a job, the house will be done in the next two/three weeks, and our container of household goods should be getting here by April 18th!

Overall things have been good with us. Carlos is working for a company that outsources customer service to Amazon USA/Canada. He seems to like the job enough and it’s helping pay off his student loans so we don’t depend on my parents anymore for that. It also gives us a little bit of money for savings. We decided to have a Disney savings “account” and then a savings for emergencies.

News on the house remodel…WE’RE ALMOST DONE! We started construction in January but had to wait a year and two months from when we bought the house for approval to start construction so we’ve been living in a two room (not two bedroom, but seriously two room) house for the past year and a half. To say we have been going a little stir crazy is a total understatement. I have to try to find “before” pictures of the house so that the “after” pictures will have a greater effect.

I plan on writing a more in depth post on the process we had to bring in our container of household goods but seeing how this is Holy Weekend I’m going to spend it enjoying my family. Let’s just say once that container gets here it’s going to feel a lot like Christmas for us! I’ll make an effort to write that post this week whenever I get a chance. Paloma has been teething and that has created a fussy unhappy baby.

God bless and Happy Easter!