Monday, August 6, 2007

Sharon: Montezuma's Revenge

That’s what it’s called, isn’t it? One second you’re happily lounging in a beach-side café, mulling your good fortune while a very nice local woman minds your child back at home, and the next second you’re racing toward the door marked “Womens use mens.”

Jules and I don’t feel so good today. It’s no big deal, more weakness than anything. I know it’ll be over soon, and I’m glad we have almost four weeks left. But I sure am grateful that we had Lady to watch Jules this morning, and that Max took the kids to the beach this afternoon.

This is such an amazing place, and Khalida and Asan are such amazing hosts. They must get so tired of their constant stream of houseguests, but you’d never know it. We feel so at home here, so welcomed and comfortable.

It’s a very large space, and that helps. There are two buildings, sharing a common open-air living area, making a giant U-shape (if I can ever find high-speed wireless, I’ll upload photos for y’all to see). Khal and Asan’s rooms are on one side, and ours are on the other, with the living and dining areas at the middle. For me, it’s an awesome experiment in communal living, the kind of co-housing arrangement that lots of us in Austin fantasize about. And, boy, does it work. Four adults watching four kids is SO much easier that two adults watching two kids, especially when the kids are the same age and play together.

[A little aside: Liam PLAYS with Fiona. It’s insane. You’d never believe it’s the same kid. Fiona is widely regarded as bossy and headstrong, but Liam seems to love her (yes, Freud, go to town). She pesters and pesters until he can’t say no anymore. It’s absolutely delightful to watch, him cornered, Fiona animatedly directing him in some game, or him running around the house in his own world (pretending to be a planet, or singing a song) while Fiona follows behind, playing “with” him without him even knowing.]

Anyway, being here makes me think a lot more seriously about the communal living thing. It’s really as great as you might imagine. We carpool the kids to school. We play with them in pairs, while one person folds laundry or makes dinner. Every meal is so much more festive. The dads can chat over beers while casually watching the kids play. There are kinks to work out, sure but overall, it sure feels good to share family life with such good friends.

Oh yeah…Kristen asked if we have water and electricity, and the answer is yes…and sometimes together! It’s nearly impossible to believe that water pipes come all the way out here, but they do. The electrical cables are just strung through the trees. It’s amazing. As for them being together, it’s the notorious Costa Rican system (and maybe lots of place have it, I don’t know) of heating shower water through electrical boxes. Don’t tell those hair-dryer label people.

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