Week in Review 20/4/14

Although we’ve been travelling a lot as a family since 2007, temporarily living in new communities for days/weeks/months or even a year or two at a time, there are certain times where our lives seem to be turning directions on a dime.

This feels like one of those times.  You’ll have to stay tuned to see where life and travels take us!

This past week I shared about Urban Farms Co, passionately engaged in solving world food shortage.  All of us can be tackling the problem, whether we go big scale or we grow our own salad greens in containers on our apartment patios. Every little bit will help.  What are you doing?

We are blessed to have Laars in our family, bringing up the rear.  Though at times he’d like certain members of our family to NOT be part of the family, (and vice versa) we focus on the better things in life and what we can learn from one another.  One of the great things about Laars is his tender-side, the cuddle-right-up-lay-on-you closeness he craves (but when its hot and sweaty, this isn’t so great!) and the flowers he loves to bestow on us.  Another thing is his creativity.  Following after 8 siblings who all have artistic & creative flare he has lots of built in competition but he manages to find his own little niche.

Toveli has her own artistic abilities and interests.  Besides her aquarium, there are these fairy dolls she’s been creating since her Rainbow House shortly before we left Vancouver Island. During our travel she’s been creating Fairy Worlds in deserts and fairy farms on beaches.

Katherine

Katherine

Emily

Emily

And finally, we moved this week and I shared about our newest abode, the apartments.  Settled for a few weeks, then we’ll be off travelling again.

We Just Don’t Fit in One

We don’t mind squeezing….have you seen us in our van, in traveling mode?  Like sardines.  Some people want to peek into our van as we are just about to pull away because they are curious as to how our large family actually pulls this off…  Nine of us in a van with all of our worldly possessions, and not pulling a cargo trailer.  Pulling nothing.

We suck in deeply and don’t exhale completely until we’ve reached our destination!

Seriously, finding accommodations other than our own tents can be a nuisance, or sometimes down-right depressing.  When we aren’t camping for Free on the beaches in Mexico, they want to charge us per head.  Even when we are providing our own accommodations (i.e. tents) and we are just seeking some toilets and a safe place to park our van, they may ask as much as $800 MX, that’s nearly $70 Cdn, for a place to pitch our tent.  Multiple places have each claimed this is  what it costs them for water usage by this number of people.  Gag!!  I’d beg to differ, but I walk away.  We drive away.

We’ve stuck around Ajijic/Chapala for various reasons, but one is because the managers of Hotel Perico are so gracious and accommodating & its cheaper than our gas bill can be when we are in traveling mode.  They bent over backwards to find suitable accommodations for our large family and realizing our expenses were coming out of one pocket they made us a deal we could all agree on.  While they had vacancies they wanted us to stay.

This is Holy Week, the hotel industries busiest week of the year.  They can make better money off of two separate holiday customers than this Canadian family taking up 2 suites on a discount.

With Everette and Mitchell away for 2 months working in Canada, its been wonderful to stay put and safe at Hotel Perico.  But the kids and I packed up on Monday and went down the hill to move into 2 separate apartments (managed by the hotel manager, too, that’s how we came to know about them).

The purple flowers fall down on the van while sweet aromas waft upwards.

The purple flowers fall down on the van while sweet aromas waft upwards.

Parking inside is very tight, but we at least can fit our van through the gate.  However, its a safe neighbourhood where I can leave the van parked on the street right outside my bedroom window.  The neighbours are a mix of gringo and Mexican, and their has been no break-ins.  Neighbours leave their vehicles parked out on the street also.

Parking inside is very tight, but we at least can fit our van through the gate. The neighbours are a mix of gringo and Mexican, and their has been no break-ins. Neighbours leave their vehicles parked out on the street: I can leave the van parked right outside my bedroom window.

One suite is nice and spacious with a fantastic kitchen.  But only one bed.  And the other apartment is 2 bedrooms but much smaller.  So we took 2.   Although they are next door to each other they are not attached.  There is an outdoor storage/patio area and set of stairs inbetween them.  At least we have teens who are old enough to stay in an apartment by themselves at night so this mama doesn’t worry.  I share an apartment with the youngest 4.

We have the suite on the left, plus the suite to the right that isn't in the photo except the front corner.  In between is a patio/storage.

We have the suite on the left, plus the suite to the right that isn’t in the photo except the front corner. In between is a patio/storage.

Swimming pool in the courtyard.

Swimming pool in the courtyard.

Some beautiful plants around the courtyard.  Banana, orange and pomegranate trees are just the beginning.

Some beautiful plants around the courtyard. Banana, orange and pomegranate trees are just the beginning.

The living room in the small apartment rarely gets used, except by me when I need some quieter and cooler space to read.  Otherwise we are always over at the spacious suite.  (I think this will likely become Mitchell's bedroom when he returns)

The living room in the small apartment rarely gets used, except by me when I need some quieter and cooler space to read. Otherwise we are always over at the spacious suite. (I think this will likely become Mitchell’s bedroom when he returns)

Have a look at this studio suite….lots of space so that’s where we hang out for the day.  The kitchen has lots of work space & there are plenteous tables for us to work and play at.

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen Island

Kitchen Island

Living/bed room

Living/bed room

Entrance to toilet room and a separate shower room plus a closet.

Entrance to toilet room and a separate shower room plus a closet.

One of the multiple work areas

One of the multiple work areas

Everette will be back real soon, and then we will be back on the road to explore more of Mexico before our tourist visas expire next month.  But for now we are settled in.  Free internet, a pool, lots of art supplies and the kids seem happy.  Read aloud books at night, a shared episode or two of Supernatural, bowls of popcorn.  Life is good.

If only our 2 men were here with us.

 

 

Speaking of the Boy

Rhino Boy

Rhino Boy

Laars has high regard for the feel of something.  He’s a very tactile boy.  Sitting in a room waiting for his mom he will sit on the floor and run his hands continuously over a textured wall.  Or he will lie down on cool tiles, or place barefeet on cold surfaces like the back of a leather couch, or a cold appliance.

So he loves working with modelling clay, and is constantly cutting up paper into a kazillion pieces.  Sometimes they are bigger chunks that he can re-construct into some form of beauty.

Little Pink House

Little Pink House

A Boy & His Flowers

DSCF1016

If we aren’t careful, Laars will pick all of the pretty flowers that grace the grounds of Hotel Perico.  Ever since he was big enough to toddle solo to pluck a flower, he’s been picking flowers for his mama and sisters.  He’s usually asking me, “Will you marry me?” with that Laars smirk I love so much.

Today he reached up and asked if he could rub my cheek, just because.

So I have these beautiful flowers beside my bed, a gift from Laars.  I also have the same kind, a single flower, that I had pressed under the weight of a book.  When he gazed upon the flatness he demanded to know why I had sat on it!

God, I love that boy!

A bouquet Laars gave to Toveli, just because.

A bouquet Laars gave to Toveli, just because.

Urban Farms Co

Our family has had an interest in local food supply for a long time, and before we hit the road for our most recent journey we attempted our own garden in our backyard utilizing discarded wooden pallets from coffee shops and lumberyards.  Mitchell had a hoot ripping, cutting, hammering so we had several raised beds in hopes of growing greens.  We managed to make some salads from our garden, and lovely iced teas with lemon verbena while we visited with friends and family on the patio.

But it seemed evident that neither Everette nor I were born with green thumbs.

But green thumbs aren’t necessarily required when it comes to solving the food crisis and the issues of starvation around the world.

I’m thrilled to direct you to Urban Farms Co, an innovative company “bringing affordable aquaponics systems to the marketplace….offer(ing) financing options for small to large scale systems.”

Today they shared the Why behind Urban Farms Co.  Check it out on their Facebook Page.  CEO/Founder/President Cliff Ford shares why it is he has built Urban Farms Co in the past 3 years, what’s the passion behind his involvement in the food industry. We can each be a part of the solution for growing global foods locally.

Whether its utilizing vertical space (growing outside OR inside your home) or just horizontally.  There are tons of innovative ideas to get you started, in containers, in water, on small patios or rooftops.  Let your imagination  soar and start producing food for your own family and your community.

Living Walls: Not for food but still good for the environment, the Semiahmoo Public Library boasts North America’s largest living wall with it s environmental benefits of energy saving features, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and providing “a balanced ecosystem that is an urban oasis for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. The living wall helps to insulate the building, purify the air and transforms the grey concrete into hundreds of shades of green” declared Patrick Poiraud, Principal at Green over Grey – Living Walls and Design. (Note: this is in my teen-hood hometown where I graduated high school, got married, and birthed our first 2 girls.)Semiahmoo Public Library But not all living walls are just environmental or cosmetic.  Check out this commercial building in Tokyo by Pasona Urban Farm where the plants “includes fruits, vegetables and rice that are harvested, prepared and served at the cafeterias within the building.” “…Tomato vines are suspended above conference tables, lemon and passion fruit trees are used as partitions for meeting spaces, salad leaves are grown inside seminar rooms and bean sprouts are grown under benches,” explains the designer. “The main lobby also features a rice paddy and a broccoli field.”

And then there’s even aeroponics!  No soil, no water.  Misting!!

OMG, can you imagine if this were to become prevalent through the world?  Living food growing within feet of where we work, play and live?  Imagine less trucks clogging highways, transporting underripe produce picked before its prime. I’m really liking this.

A big problem with a lot of these growing systems is the expensive components to create the structure.  That’s a huge part of what Cliff Ford and his team tackled when coming up with their business plan and the duplicatable aspect of their farm proposal.  If you are seriously interested in partnering with an innovative company who has an affordable aquaponics systems (1/4 the price of their nearest competitor) get in touch with Urban Farms Co.  Tell them Everette and Karen from Acrobatic Thoughts sent you.

Week in Review 13/4/14

I’ve had a crazy week. One of those life altering weeks when one conversation leads to another, & the choices we make send us down roads we hadn’t imagined we would ever be traveling.  My mind whirls with possibilities so I can’t sleep at night.  I should probably take up some form of art to express the thoughts and feelings I can’t put into words.  Or won’t.

Our children are always creating.  They have grown up with materials at hand so they can express themselves or their ideas through paint, or coloring, or cutting/pasting/taping.  This week the modelling clay has been leaving its mark everywhere, and Anders spent hours upon hours creating his military men behind walls ready to blow up the opponents.  I wonder what’s going on in his head?

As travellers I always enjoy reading posts about the expenses of living or visiting other locations.  I was reminded of a YouTube video I saw ages ago, about the cost of living in Mexico, particularly in San Miguel de Allende, so if you’re curious why so many gringos come to Mexico check that post out.

I took the kids on a field trip this week to an International Baccalaureate school.  (There are 1,438 IB schools in the USA, 330 in Canada, and now 95 here in Mexico & I was surprised to discover there’s 61 in little Ecuador!).  We were taken on a tour not only of the school, but to see the Aquaponics system they have as part of the school.

Sailing Airship

Sailing Airship by Maret Johnson painted in coffee

One just never knows where you’ll end up, nor how you’re going to get there.  The lesson is to Enjoy the Journey.