The Magical Checklist

The first month in Puerto Rico was such a whirlwind my brain barely made it out unscathed. But in the second month, things have slowed down enough for me to actually breathe and start to assess how things are going.

One of my personal goals going into this move was that I wanted to read more. I used to love reading but since becoming a mother I have done nearly zero reading for pleasure. The first book I decided to read was The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking, which gives a scientific breakdown of the six factors that determine a person’s level of happiness. I have been on mommy autopilot: not feeling unhappy but not feeling full of joy either, so I wanted to encourage some personal evaluation. By the end of this book I was left feeling less neutral and more on the unhappy end of the scale 🙄 but I suppose it may prove useful that I know what I need to work on.

Fancy beach toy planter for the succulent the girls found, with my new happiness manual!

To spoil the book lol, the six factors are: togetherness, money, health, freedom (specifically free time), trust, and kindness. Now when I’m trying to figure out if I like it here in Puerto Rico (and also thinking back on Pennsylvania), I use these factors.

Do I have a community? Not yet. I was hoping to meet some like-minded families from the girls’ Montessori school, but I’m learning that just because you pick the same hippie school doesn’t mean you have much more in common than that 🙄. And my best friend isn’t here to parent/eat/explore/sleep/laugh with me, so that will always suck *sigh*.

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions but in having few wants.” -Epictetus

My husband works too hard for his money. But we have enough to try this big adventure, so we are comfortable in this aspect. Still hoping for that bag of cash to suddenly appear at my doorstep though 😉

I try my damnedest to make sure my family is healthy. Uriah and I like the 80/20 idea of healthy: we have veggies with breakfast everyday, but we also like to get wasted and eat a whole cheesecake from time to time 🤷🏽‍♀️. But the girls live 99/1–they are little and their bodies are just developing. They have their whole lives to eat Burger King, but for now their treats are unsprouted crackers with real cream cheese. However, it is much harder to find (and to afford) healthy living here, so I’m a little stressed about the lack of diversity in their diets now as opposed to in PA. I’m also worried about air pollution and mosquitoes and too much chlorine from the swimming pool *first world problems*.

The book talks about how humans can become captive to their cars. I feel that a lot of my freedom is stolen by my car. I drive a minimum of 80 minutes a day–that’s just for school. I could easily add an hour or two to that if I have errands. Their school isn’t even far from home, it’s just all.this.traffic! As a SAHM I technically could lay around all day but I still have so much stuff to do that I am always working–all those from-scratch meals aren’t gonna cook themselves; I spend 4X as much time washing dishes now that I’m dishwasher-less; frequent trips to the beach means more cleaning (the sandy house, and the kids, and all their sandy hair 😩). No, I don’t work outside of the home. Still, no, I don’t have a shit ton of free time.

Do I trust that my kids are getting a better education now than what I was giving them when I homeschooled? Do I trust that my car won’t break down or that I won’t get into an accident? Do I trust the electricity here? Do I trust that another hurricane won’t rip through? I do not have loads of trust in Puerto Rico (but we just met? 🤷🏽‍♀️😆)

Getting a new tire due to the roads that I do NOT trust!
Getting a new tire due to the roads that I do NOT trust!

People on this island are very kind, that is true. Strangers often begin conversations with “Mi amor.” My exchanges are always quite short since I don’t speak Spanish, but I’m sure if I did then the kindness would only increase. However, it’s the kindness that you give out to others that really brings happiness to your life. That is something I must work on here. I keep to myself because I cannot hold a conversation, therefore I am missing out on chances that I could be kind to others.

So I’m honestly struggling in so many ways. I (and Uriah back in PA) am in this weird limbo right now, with nothing being accomplished except for the main thing: cultural immersion for the girls. I am not finding that magic I always read and hear about that exists in Puerto Rico, but that’s fine–because E & Z are! They are having a great experience so far and have finally starting spitting out some Spanish here and there! They love school and the beach and our new tradition of lighting a candle at every dinner (per the suggestion from Lykke!) My hermosas flores are happy, and that will always make me happy!

3 Replies to “The Magical Checklist”

  1. Great put on stay at home moms. Many think because you dont work you can just twiddle your thumbs all day lol smh. Praying you find friends asap!

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