Traveling with a baby is not easy.

But it is so much fun.

The first few days here were a bit stressful and crazy. Settling into a new house, a new place and a new environment. At the beginning, sleep, figuring out food and scheduling were all hard too.

But so worth it! Just to see her face every time she sees a chicken walking across the street, every time she hears a roster, to see her walking around and stopping to pick a flower or grab a mango from the ground, to see her playing with kids and making new friends! Such an awesome experience for her!

She is loving it! She loves nature and here we are so in contact with it. Surrounded by it. And she loves playing with other kids. It is so easy here because they are always out of the house, in the street, in the market with their moms, playing with their siblings outside! And they are very friendly too.

Also, the fact that , until recently, Ramona was the only “mulunga” (white) kid in town has the effect of making her seem different - and everyone wants to interact with her! It’s so sweet but kind if bizarre too! Foreigners are more common in Manhiça (because of the research center) than in other Mozambican towns, but it’s still special to interact with people from such a different background and culture.

In this trip, some things I’ve learned about traveling with a toddler are:

  • It seems crazier when you imagined than when you really do it! It’s like everything else. Anything new seems difficult until you do it, and then you realize it’s not that bad! It’s crazy how we can adaptable we humans are (especially children), and what seemed so weird at the beginning, now feels so normal!

  • It’s very important to be flexible, mostly at the beginning, to leave them time to adjust and get used to the new place.

  • Bring some of her stuff from home. I have noticed how nice it is for her to have her cup and plate here with her, to have her “Nina” doll to sleep with, some of her favorite books and toys, etc. I think it gives her a “not everything is different” feeling that helped her.

  • Be open-minded to the fact that everything will be different and that is not going to be easy! I had some hard days the first week, where I felt like, “What am I doing here? This is crazy!” But there’s always the transitional period until you figure out your new life in the new place. Change is never easy. And we are still figuring it out, but it is much nicer now that I know more people and I know the place better!

  • Slow down. As I wrote about in another post, life with a toddler can be stressful at times but it can also be very enriching if you learn how to follow their rhythm.

  • Be creative. Here we don’t have all the “stuff” we have in Barcelona. Ramona doesn’t have all her toys, there are no toddler-mom activities organized or story-times at the library, etc. So we are trying to be creative with our time and resources. She plays outside a lot, in the sand, with water, with the neighbors. She is becoming such a helper at the house, doing the dishes with me (aka playing with the water and cups), sweeping the floor (she thinks the broom is the best toy), etc.

  • Explore is our new favorite verb :D

And a mix-match of pictures…

Beijos amigos! :D