Perks to Living Overseas with Kids

*Day 2 of 31 days Traveling & Living Overseas with Kids

**All stories are true

 

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Traveling & adjusting to living overseas with young kids can seem hard

and it is

but there are some perks!

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You are pushed out of your comfort zone daily.

Yes, I see living outside your comfort zone to be a positive not a negative.

Not always is it fun, but the confidence and the trust you gain from it is worth the stressors.

Whether it’s figuring out how to turn left on a road that never has a break in the median,

or you have to hand the cashier all your coins so they can find which coins are needed,

you will be stretched and reminded of how insufficient you are.

Or what about wanting to communicate to your kids’ teachers but you can’t speak more than a few sentences in Arabic?

Lots of hand gestures and smiles go a long way!

(And of course sending in baked goods.)

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You are forced to learn new recipes and routines…

…wilted lettuce means a new radish salad with soy sauce dressing (one of our new favorites!),

…vegetarian tacos with sauteed halloumi cheese (a type of cheese I’ve never encountered),

…Picking up packages involves walking about 5-10 minutes, hoping the post office is open and willing to hand over mail

(don’t get me started on mailing packages, I try to avoid it.)

…Wholesome snacks aren’t as readily available so I come up with my own including muffins,

homemade popped corn & hummus & veggie sticks.

 

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Your kids see you struggle and mess up,

they witness how you laugh about it

(or get frustrated over it-been there, done that),

they celebrate the successes

and help you throw away the stinky sour yogurt you accidentally bought.

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31 days of Traveling & Living Overseas with Kids

*Day 1 of 31 days of Traveling & Living Overseas with Kids

**All stories are true.

 

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This past January our family of 6 handed over 30 pieces of luggage to an airline representative

and left the States for a temporary 1 year assignment in the Middle East.

My husband’s job requires him to travel the region

and while we have to pay our own way,

the kids and I join in whenever possible.

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It’s apt to come up and so I’ll explain now.

We have many reasons why we pursue traveling internationally with kids.

We desire to instill in our children how vast & small the world is……

There are so many languages, so many ways to live, but all of us need

Jesus, food & water.

To educate us on other cultures, foods, daily practices, landscapes & opinions…

…floating in the Dead Sea in Jordan,

enjoying stretching Turkish ice cream,

watching women carry luggage on their heads in Egypt.

We want to increase our children’s self-esteem and confidence in

who God made them to be….

This comes from daily interactions in a foreign language,

going to a school where the primary language is Arabic,

and of course bartering in different languages.

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We want our kids to develop a love for others different from us…

We have done this through giving a beggar our to-go food,

laughing over mistranslations,

recognizing beauty in all humans as they are His image-bearers.

We want to grow our patience…

-standing for hours in airport lines (or waiting for an airport to open!)

-walking all day searching for a single shop within a medina

-finding King David’s cave in Israel after climbing beyond our comfort range

-smelling the tanneries in Morocco

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We want to remember that the Holy Spirit lives within us always

and our eternal home is in heaven…

So when we don’t know the language or our riyad has bugs in the curtains

we can remember whose we are and where our true home is.

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Some of the countries we’ve visited are:

Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Morocco, Spain & Jordan.

And there is more on the calendar in the coming month or two.

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These next 30 days I’ll draw from my experiences (good & bad),

to hopefully give you a realistic account of traveling internationally with kids.

And on an ending note, my friend gave me permission to stop if this type of writing schedule is too much for me.

Hopefully I’ll stick with it and meet some new friends! 🙂

 

And What Gets Me Planning the Next Trip

  

The authentic, delicious, seasonal ethnic foods

   

Acquiring amazing skills at bartering as we buy quality items


 Actually witnessing the process to creating these items

 

Checking out views like this.  

 
Getting our kids to be ok with walking all day and sweating buckets 
   
Having multiple excuses/opportunities to enjoy special treats 


The kids picking up special gifts from vendors which become the trip’s sole toys.

 
Living out incredible experiences like watching snake charmers  
 

And forging stronger bonds between us all.
 

From our ears & mouth

   
Hallmark:

“I want to go to heaven right now.”

Me: “why?”

“So I can see Moses.”
“Scoob, you walk so nicely. I’d like you to come to my birthday party! You can eat all the cake!”
“I waved to him and he waved to me. We’re both sweet!”
“My tongue feels like it’s going to break.”
“I guess my curiosity got out again.”
 Singing a made up song: “Buffet”

Polar Bean: “Faye isn’t coming here!”

Joyfull: “No I said buffet like food!”

  
 
“You drink water then you gargle.”

Our Top Spots for Israel

In no particular order is this list of our favorite locations in Israel.

1.  Tel Aviv has great international food, a very active community and opportunities to do a lot outdoors. There’s the beach, parks, running trails, walkable neighborhoods, outdoor dining, flea markets & Carmel craft market to name a few.

The food is fresh, well-made, fun (we went to a chocolate restaurant for dinner!), exceptional fresh squeezed fruit juices and outstanding Israeli fare particularly for breakfast.

    

Tel Aviv is like a smaller New York of the Middle East.

2. Dead Sea and local beaches

When you visit you are at the lowest point on earth. That’s cool enough (or should I say hottest because it does get warm) but on top of that  you get in the water and can’t swim underwater but only bob up and float.

 

Crystallized minerals on Little Man

     

There’s a lot to enjoy here with the beauty surrounding the sea but a few things to be aware of.

You get out and you feel oily. I can’t describe it but you just feel yucky. I thought it would be like salty and gritty but the combination of minerals makes it a oily post-experience. But you also have salt crystals on your body, it’s wild!

If you have any cuts or open wounds, they will sting but it might not occur until afterwards or later on in your swim. We had a great time until our kids started fussing about the water burning, 15 or 20 minutes into the visit.

3. Sea of Galilee & Nazareth

Beyond the Biblical and historical  significance of this region, the beauty is incredible.

There are many short drives to a lot of sites. Cana (Jesus turns the water into wine), Tiberius, Mt. Of Beatitudes (Sermon on the Mount),  Nazareth, Mt. Tabor, Capernaum & Bethsaida.

Learning how to thread the wool

Below is the place believed to be Peter’s home and where Jesus spent the night.  

   The Sea of Galilee and the surrounding hills are beautiful!

Pack food as you may find yourself without restaurants depending on the time of day or location.

4. Ein Gedi is an oasis among the Dead Sea desert-like land. King Solomon wrote of it in Song of Solomon  and mentions of the Henna trees of Ein Gedi.

This is also the location of David’s cave and where he cut off  part of King Saul’s robe.

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The kids had a grand time being out in nature and using sticks for walking.

If we lived nearby, we would go there often!

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Warrior Pose in David’s cave

 

It was beautiful  and warm. Be prepared for sunny weather and wear clothes accordingly. There’s several fresh waterfalls and pools. It was a delightful way to cool off.

5.  Jerusalem, we can’t forget this rich in history city. Via Dolorosa is the path Jesus took with the cross. Mount of Olives was also a significant stop. An hour trip outside leads you to Bethlehem.

Though this city is divided between Armenians, Muslims, & Jews, it’s a  relatively friendly and fun city. Be aware of the situation and mindful.

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We followed the footsteps of Jesus as he was arrested and carried the cross.

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Shopping markets

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Where they believe Jesus’ body was crucified

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Inside the church built over the crucifixion site

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Beautiful church!

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An altar for Jesus’ tomb

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The wailing wall-West Wall inside Old City Jerusalem

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Panoramic view

IMG_0222Garden of Gathsemene

This trip was wonderful and we were so thankful to go on it! I know this is such a thrown together post but it gives our highlights!