Today, I write this blog as I sit on my flight to Guatemala City. I apologize for my absence. It has been a busy month or so as the kids and I prepare to take a gap year from school. Yes, a gap year! Not in the traditional sense of taking the year between highschool and college, but that we would begin the journey of exclusively homeschooling for a year. Although we have been a part of a wonderful hybrid school that allowed us to get our feet wet with homeschooling, they provided a rigorous, well-rounded classical curriculum, which I printed out and used weekly. This will not be the case this year, since we have decided to free up some time to do some traveling and see family before an upcoming adventure.
As I prioritize how we will spend this time, family and Spanish were the two top priorities. Our first destination was to Guatemala. This is my birthplace, and the place I moved to in my twenties for an adventure overseas before I got married. The place where my heart still has deep roots to the people, places, smells, and the culture. I have been fortunate enough to take my family back numerous times, but this time was extra special.
You may have seen some of our pictures posted on Facebook or Instagram. We had an amazing experience. As usual, Guate did not disappoint! We spent our days slow flowing with a blend of family time, sightseeing, and getting to know new friends. We traveled from the capital, a large cosmopolitan city, to the coast to relax on the black sanded beaches of Monterrico, to the quaint colonial town of Antigua. I’ll be sure to add a post about traveling to Guatemala with kids soon. It chock full of adventure and learning.
Now, back to that adventure I spoke of…..the conversation began a year ago over a family dinner, which included about 30 of the people closest to us. Yes, our extended family is large and close. I had spoken to my sisters-in-law about feeling the drain of life. I had found some balance for my children and myself by beginning at a hybrid school, and opening my own business, which provided flexibility to enjoy being with the kids. My husband on the other hand, spent his days in a job that he loved, but was leaving him absolutely depleted. With wanderlust pulsing in my blood for the last ten years, we had stayed put, for careers, for stability, for the kids. Now that they are almost 11, 9 and 6, I saw a light at the end of my tunnel beckoning me towards adventure. All I had to do was convince my very responsible cautious husband to take the plunge with me. It turned out to be easier than I anticipated. Amidst the chaos of conversations criss-crossing the dinner table, I said, “We should move, find simplicity.” I wasn’t even directing the comment at him, and he responded, “Ok, where to?” As I think back to that moment, it was as if life had been put on pause. I couldn’t believe we were both in the same place about this part of our lives. We hadn’t even really discussed the possibility, yet right then and there the decision was made, and a few weeks later, he announced to his boss his plans to resign a year from July.
Since then, many things have had to happen to prepare our family for this move. We don’t even know exactly where we will go yet. One of the decisions we made regarding our last year in Houston was that we would take a gap year from school. My husband continues to finish out his last year, but the kids and I are on the go, for example to Guatemala. We will take a few more trips this year, like next week to Denver. I mean why not, my husband had a conference there, it’s G’s birthday, and tickets were only $40. The perfect opportunity to see a new part of the country that is beautiful this time of year and reconnect with old friends. The beauty of it all, with the kids in school, we never would have even considered it. Our declared gap year, allowed me to look into flights, and realize what a beneficial learning experience it would be.
Since we aren’t able to jet set consistently, when we are in Houston, we take the time to EXPLORE. Every Wednesday, we get out and experience all that Houston has to offer. We are blessed to live in a diverse city with plenty of green spaces for exploring, museums for discovering, and cultural activities to grow from. Keep an eye out for posts about exploring Houston as a bilingual family.