Together 24/7 (I repeat 24/7)
While in Argentina, we used to spend a lot of time together because Arturo and I worked independently and the kids were attending an alternative school where we were able to actively participate of our children's education, so we weren't one of those families who don't see each other during the whole week. However, as much time as we used to spend together, there is a big difference to being with each other during the 24 hours of each day, being together, really together.
Our daily routines change as we go from one place to another, the same goes for what we eat, where we sleep, who we interact with, what language we speak, everything changes constantly.
Luckily, since I am kind of like the Miss I love my home kind of person, we make a home out of every place we go to, we learned that a 'place' is not the same as a 'home' and that each place where we go, we make it our own even if we're there for a day, we make it our own in all respects. When the kids get to any hotel, guest house, Airbnb house listing, any house listed in Couch-surfing, or wherever place where we are staying, they lay out their toys and their clothing, it seems to come naturally to them to do so. Wherever we go they have their own areas for their things and that immediately makes them feel 'at home', because as life is, it is us four and only the four of us and wherever life finds the four of us together, that's our home.
Sometimes the space is limited and we squeeze into it however we can, at other times we have ample space, and we've come to learn that whatever the layout of the place where we stay is, we manage. I must say that on some occasions (I should say that it happens quite often), Artur has to sleep on a sofa, or by the foot of the bed. Those are things that I think we'd never consider doing, aren't they? yet, here we are doing those things, enjoying doing those things, hating doing those things, living those exact things, but what's most important: here we are.
While in Bali, particularly, we got to enjoy living in gorgeous houses, however while in Singapore we lived in a room of around 160 square feet, and while in Japan we lived in an apartment of approximately 320 square feet. We've come to learn that wherever we are if we feel happy and put our best foot forward, everything seems to go with the flow, however if we're upset, tired and hungry we must brace ourselves and run for cover, getting the better of us.
Through this trip, I reaffirmed that we carry our 'baggage' wherever we go. If you think that going away on a trip you get to leave behind any problems, well, the answer is no, everything comes along with you and comes to the surface and into the light quite easily, and I think that's something good, (if you want to look at the positive side), because you get to stare at those things 'in the face' and that in itself is an opportunity to face and work through those problems.
We've faced things and have said the things we had never before said to each other as a couple, things about our families which we had not been able to see before, we hated each other deeply and then loved each other ever more deeply again.. We went through very difficult moments as a couple, as parents, as human beings, but most importantly we saw ourselves individually and were able to look at ourselves and see our own imperfections and assertions while learning to love even those imperfections; and do you know what? that's all part of that process of being together during 24/7, that leaves no other option but to resolve whatever comes up. Everything must be worked through one way or another.
It no longer is 24/7, because we've come up with a new rule that consists of setting aside two hours each day for each of us, individually, to do whatever we want. For instance one of us may choose to take a yoga class, or go surfing, do a sport, or go for a walk, whatever we feel like doing. We don't always follow this rule, it's not a rigid arrangement, we sometimes spend whole days visiting places, or traveling somewhere, but we do try to keep it a part of our routine as much as possible.
What really helps is for us to keep in mind that this is not a vacation, we are living our lives this way today, we don't know about tomorrow, really, so we keep that in mind as we try not to run from one place to another like a tourist would, instead we live the moment in the 'slow lane', we take it all in slowly, we 'own' the moment in time that we live, so we get to own and keep that moment deep inside each of us. Our children need their space and their own timing too, their play space and their time to play, to feel they're bored, to feel at home; so we don't get to do everything we'd like to do, at least that's the case for me because it's as if I had ants in my pants sometimes, and I'd like to go more places sometimes. We really do have to choose what to do and when, for instance now that we are in Chiangmai, Thailand, we are living as locals. Right now the kids are riding their bikes with their friends from the building where we live, Artur is off playing golf, and I get to have this moment to myself too. So right now, we're each getting that precious alone time and special time we all need, just like the air we breathe.
So, you see, being together 24/7 has lots of cons, but I can't begin to tell you about all the pros it has. perhaps it's because I'm going through that time to myself that fills me with peace, but for real, these three men of my life mean everything to me, even when some days I do need time to disappear and have time to myself, I'd die without their smiles in the morning, without overhearing their brotherly conversations, without their amazed faces. Being together is the best and discovering the world together even more so, as long as we each get to have some time to ourselves. As my dad used to say: 'first each person becomes themselves, and only then you can be together.'