Saturday, February 02, 2013

The Cocktail Party, The Birthday Party, and the Decision

Its been a weekend full of firsts.  I went to my first embassy cocktail party.  Dave and Sophia went to their first Venezuelan kids' birthday party.  And Dave and I made a big decision.  I guess its not our first big decision, but its the first time we've felt decided on this issue.

The embassy cocktail party was last night, and the fancy golf club nearby.  Dave and I were going to go together, and were looking forward to the date night - me in a cute little dress, the girls at home with the housekeeper, all that.  But then we fired the housekeeper, and since I still have the cute little dress, Dave stayed home with the girls and I went with our neighbor.

The party was fun, with free-flowing wine, lots of cheerful chatter and some really tasty h'orderves.  And the evening intensified the small town feeling of working in an embassy.  I knew enough people to keep myself busy and moving through circles all evening, which was lovely.  And I kept chatting with someone who knows my husband, or whose spouse I'd already worked with.  Putting people together on a work level, a social level, and a family level is interesting.  These people are the folks who manage my housing, manage my shipment, manage our social events, manage the alarm system, and also manage plenty of desk jobs and window jobs like Dave's.  I think I can handle living in a small town community within a larger city.  I think this is going to be fun.

Jesse, my neighbor and date, and I left starving - not nearly enough little appetizers.  So I also got to stop for street food last night.  I'm not sure what pepitas are, but they settled well after the wine and the windy roads.

Two of Sophia's classmates shared a birthday party this afternoon.  Now, from the windows of our apartment, I feel qualified to say that Caracas knows how to throw a party.  Most weekends, we hear music through our windows from mid-afternoon to late at night.  Neighbors will rent the party room of their building as well as the backyard, hire a dj, rent a bouncy castle or a dance floor and keep the party going for hours.  I didn't get to attend these 6-year-olds' birthday party, but Dave reported back.  Captain America and his sidekick (Sophia said she had beautiful lips, but felt skeptical that Captain America only speaks Spanish) were hired to do gymnastics.  A trampoline and a bouncy castle were installed in the backyard.  A hot dog stand, a doner kabob stand, and a crepe stand were installed inside.  Plus, plenty of candy and pinatas and a dj playing what Sophia called "rock star style music."  It lasted much longer than 2 hours that she stayed.

And then, after a really delicious chicken dinner and getting the girls to bed, Dave and I seriously discussed my work options.  And we've made a plan.  A: I am not going to work in the embassy while I am here.  These are my last 2 years at home with Annika, and I don't want to miss them.  B: I am not going to hire a new housekeeper.  Housekeepers and nannies are a bargain here, but still a significant chunk of the monthly budget.  We can save quite a bit over the year, even if we hire someone to clean and iron once a week.  C: I am going to buy the instruments and apply for a license to teach music classes here, beginning in the spring.  This gives me a project, and provides enrichment both for Annika and for our community.  If I only teach one class per week, I will break even financially about halfway through our time here and have the opportunity to give my child these classes and a good social outlet.  If the opportunity arises, I will be able to add classes and be fully profiting from each additional class, piling on those savings.

I am comfortable with this plan, if not excited about it.  We drained our savings living in Virginia for the past 2 years, and so the primary goal of our time here in Venezuela is to rebuild those savings as much as possible.  This plan seems to nicely balance living thriftily and also prioritizing my time with my girls - time that is already disappearing like sand.

1 comment:

cl03 said...

Great decision!!