Category Archives: Banana Republic

The ‘best’ month in Paradise

Mid April until mid May is my favorite time in paradise. The weather is as hot as it gets here (33C/92F), the sea is warm like a bath tub, we have hardly any rain and the storage lakes on the island are still halfway full from the downpours during the peak of the rainy season, it couldn’t be better.

However:

1. Starting today ‘Timan’ is on school holiday for the next three weeks. In one way it’s very nice, I get to play (and snuggle :-)) with my son and maybe I get to sleep in until 7am. On the other hand however this isn’t good at all because I need to keep the little tot occupied or he will keep me on my toes the whole day long. Since many months we live in the era of ‘no-I-won’t-nap-ever-again’.

2. I’m not used to this anymore. After not even 3 short months I got so used to my free mornings I usually spend lounging on the couch, chatting with the neighbors, shopping cleaning the house. But luckily we have the perfect activity right next door. Ok, ‘sort of’ next door.

3. And this is the plan: Day #1 we go to the beach. Day #2 we go to the beach. Day #3 we might go to another beach (just for a change). But on day #4 we go to town. And on day #5 we visit Gromi. Day #6 we make a trip to the playground and stay there forever some hours. On day #7 we’ll go to the beach (again). And then we’ll start from the beginning. I just hope the weather is on our side. Sigh.

4. One thing I know for sure, ‘Timan’ can’t stay at home for more than 1/2 day. He needs an activity that involves running around, jumping and more running, burning energy, doing something physical. Any activity which doesn’t necessarily involve me every second of the day would do it and I’m starting to wonder how I’m going to survive these three weeks. How did I do this before? So fast did I get used to these 6 hours per day for myself.

5. But this week I was enjoying my last ‘free’ days for several weeks.

6. A friend came to the island and gave me some CDs with children songs and audio plays in Swiss. Songs and plays I remember from my own childhood. Since ‘Timan’ is singing the whole day, I’m sure he’ll like them and will pick up some songs in no time.

7. We went for another appointment to the dermatologist, the one I was not happy about the last time. This time however she was totally different. Maybe I’ve done her wrong in the past, because at that point she was not used to the way of life here (which is so much different then anywhere else. Deep down it still is a banana republic). We had a good talk and she completely agreed to the way I was handling ‘Timan’s eczema (double dosing one antihistamine and follow-up with another one at night, both in case he ate an allergen). She also told me about the local pharmacists who refuse to follow the doctors orders but rather ‘follow the book’ concerning prescriptions, even if the particular prescription is the norm in other countries. So we ended up laughing together and making fun of the locals like two expats living in a foreign country. Anyway, that’s what we both are.

8. Yesterday, to celebrate the last day of school, all the kids in preschool went to the local playground in town and I went along to snap some photos. I never thought it would be so difficult. They run and run, all of them, all at the same time, with no direction in mind. The playground looked like an anthill. I tried to make some group shots but 3- and 4-year-old kids are not able to stand still long enough, let along able to look into the same direction, all at the same time, not even for maybe 3 seconds.

Never before I ended up with so many crappy photos.

But all the kids had a great time and that’s what counts. 🙂

Wish me luck for the weeks ahead, enough coffee for the early morning hours and enough wine for the 5pm-frenzy or the overtired-after-dinner-tantrum.

But in the meantime I wish everyone a great weekend.

For more of those important lessons life is teaching you, head over to ‘Life Ever Since’:

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Life is good

All of a sudden my days have so many hours. I still can’t believe it, it’s just wonderful. Oh, life is good. 🙂

Every single day since years I’m getting up at the crack of dawn, but starting this week I am free, I can do whatever I want, whenever I want (for 6.5 hours per day). I’m still getting up at the same time though, but I don’t mind. Oh, life is good.

1. This week I relearned to drink my coffee totally relaxed and in peace. There was nobody who constantly pulled on my legs, was whining about this and that and wanted me very urgently – meaning this very second – to build a ‘bobblebeckerbus’ with LEGOs. Oh, life is good.

2. This week I relearned to use the bathroom all by myself. What a pleasure. Oh, life is good.

3. This week I relearned to enjoy cleaning the house while whistling to a melody on the radio.

4. Actually this week I relearned to listen to whatever music I wanted to hear. Oh, life is good.

5. This week I relearned to be myself again, hmm, at least for those 6.5 hours per day. Oh, life is good.

6. This week I had a happy little son walking home with me in the afternoon, telling me about the things he was doing and who and what he was playing with. Oh, life is good.

7. This week I relearned to have fun playing with blocks and LEGOs and cars again, because the dinner was already made. Oh, life is good.

8.  This week I relearned to stay very calm. I really was a good girl, I didn’t freak out, I didn’t give a spiced answer and I even forced a smile when the tw@t of a dermatologist laughed and said ‘Oh, is this your first child? He he he, that’s why. And eczema has nothing to do with calcium deficiency. No, he he. But here in the tropics a lot of children have skin problems. It may go away eventually. And your son is looking fiiiine.’ Sure, now that the eczema has gone – because of the calcium supplement and wet wraps – he’s fine. He wasn’t fine though when I scheduled the appointment a few months ago.

(Dry coarse skin, dermatitis, hyperpigmentation and eczema can be a symptom of Hypocalcemia (calcium deficiency) according to the Cleveland Clinic and it looks as if this was a reason (or maybe the reason) why ‘Timan’s eczema kept flaring up.)

After she finished laughing she gave me a three-month supply of Cetrizine (antihistamine) and Hydrocortisone, just in case the rash would come back. And yes, this was after I told her that I was successfully trying to get off the steroids. Having specialists from other countries with not much experience who are pushing certain medicines to make it easy for them, these are the beauties of a free healthcare system. 😦

Luckily I got ‘Timan’s eczema under control, I found the triggers, without a doctor. Oh, life is good.

9. This week I didn’t care about those downsides in Paradise, the sometimes rude behavior people show here, because ‘Timan’ is healthy and happy, the Hubs is healthy and happy and the Mommy is healthy and happy. Oh, life is good.

10. This week, today, I’m finally going to the beach all by myself.

(source)

I wish everyone a great weekend.

For more of those important lessons life is teaching you, head over to ‘Life Ever Since’:

P.S. I’m not the only person complaining about the public healthcare in this country. Everyone here makes the same experience. It’s sad, but if you don’t have to pay for it, you wont get the service either. Unfortunately there are not so many other options, private specialists are rare.

But for now, life is good. 🙂


The mysterious rash

The nice time of the year, you may call it ‘summer’ and others call it northeast monsoon, is over and the next season, the southwest monsoon has begun, strong and cold winds are coming from the south. That’s ‘winter’ here in Paradise. Temperatures drop to 29C/85F and it’s supposed to be dry. Well, it is kind of dry and because it doesn’t rain enough we might run into a severe water shortage soon. But nevertheless the air is filled with humidity and feels hot, hotter than during the ‘summer’-time.

Because of all this ‘Timan’ developed a Prickly Heat Rash and I treated it accordingly. But the rash behind his knees got worse, got infected because the tot was scratching, and one Saturday morning it looked really bad. So I sent my two men to our local clinic’s ‘casualties’ to get a treatment. They came back with an oral antihistamine (allergex elixir, ‘Timan’ refused to take it because it’s deep red, like blood according to him) and a cream for fungal infections (Clotrimazole). I was using Clotrimazole a couple of times when ‘Timan’ had a diaper rash and it used to work pretty good.

Not this time with Prickly Heat though. My poor tot kept scratching behind his knees, the pimples got bigger and spread over this leg. The following Friday we went to our private Pediatrician, it’s the only way to get a decent diagnosis and reasonably effective medicine. Of course you have to pay for it, and of course we are more than willing to pay.

One important thing I learned about our Paradise is, that if you have a choice, do not use the public health system. In those local clinics you have to wait for hours, get to talk to a doctor who probably knows less than you for not more than 5 minutes, get no explanation you might understand (not because you don’t have enough brain cells, but because you don’t understand what he’s telling you very fast with his Indian accent) and if you have to come back for a second treatment, you will not talk to the same doctor again. Everything is free of charge, also the medicines, and therefore they are not the best, but the cheapest on the market. Oh, I forgot to tell you, sometimes they run out of them as well. But it’s the only place you get a medical treatment during the weekend.

‘Timan’s pediatrician, the one who sent him to the hospital because of his stomach problems, treated his rash with oral antibiotics, topical antibiotics, an ointment with a low hydrocortisone content mixed with calamine and some tincture to dry out the prickly heat part. And advised me to come back by next Thursday if the rash is still there.

After the weekend I also noticed little pimples on his belly, the small of his back, his knees and ankles, his elbows and his cheeks. So I started to give him an oatmeal bath 4 times a day and I had the impression it was  improving a little bit. But after the course of antibiotics and creams the tot’s face still looked like this:

His legs improved a lot but still looked like this:

Yesterday we went to see the doctor again and she started treating the rash with more Steroids, definitely not my first choice of treatment. But it’s getting better, a big relieve. Now the tot is taking 4 oral medications (Predine, Cetirizine, Polariamine, something to soothe his gassy tummy caused by the antibiotics), his Vitamins and I’m still applying the Hydrocortisone/Calamine cream.

The more I thought about it and researched on the internet, the more ‘Timan’s mysterious rash looked like an Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis to me. But what was the trigger?

There were no changes in our life, nothing, except the water in the two reservoirs on the island is getting less and less every day. And the little it rains doesn’t make a difference.

Could the tap water have triggered ‘Timan’s rash? Maybe the local PUC changed the chemicals to treat the water. And again I went online to find out more. Maybe they changed Chlorine to Chloramine (both of them are toxic and can cause skin rashes) and failed to inform the public I missed the public announcement in creole because ‘Timan’ was babbling into my ear during the evening news?  I tried to find out, but didn’t get an answer on the phone.

I still hope it was not the water and just the change in humidity. Because I have enough of the water problems in the past. (But that’s going to be the subject for another post).

How are you treating Heat Rash so it doesn’t turn into a secondary infection with a toddler/preschooler? Do you have experience with preventing and treating Eczema without the use of Corticosteroid Creams?

Linked up with ‘Sunday Funday’ by Adventures in Mommyhood, hop over and link up your favorite post of the week:

Let’s go by bus, ok?

“Mommy, I wanna go by bus.” – “Mommy, let’s go swimming, let’s take the bus.” – “Mommy I wanna eat Samosas in town, we go by bus, ok?” and so it goes on and on. Someone really likes to get around on our island. By bus of course.

It’s actually the easiest and cheapest way to get to a place here in Paradise. It’s definitely the common way to move around when you are a woman, a child or a woman with a child. The men however easily hitch a ride. Sitting at the road (next to the bus stop) and waiting until somebody is picking you up is not like the hitchhiking I know from Europe. And sitting or standing in the back of a truck (I’m talking about big trucks now), which is the common way men usually get around, neither. It’s as if a friend is giving you a ride because everybody knows everybody (well, sort of). But women don’t do that, we might get a ride too, but usually only when we actually do know the driver (or his dad, brother, cousin or second-cousin) and we’re getting to sit inside the car or the truck.

So back to the bus ride the little one is so fond of. ‘Timan’ is in his truck-car-boat-bus-any-kind-of-vehicle-phase and the bus is the one he likes most right now. He’s still a toddler and changes his mind quite often, but with the bus he seems to stick. Maybe because it’s big, maybe because he can sit close to the driver (sometimes), maybe because there are many people to look at, maybe because the bus goes fast and makes jerky movements once in a while, I don’t know.

I’m serious, a bus ride in Paradise can be quite an adventure for non-residents who use this transportation for the first time and are not used to it. The roads are narrow and winding and sometimes there is just enough space for one car, not two cars, let alone a car and a bus. The door usually stays open because of the heat. During rush hour even the narrow middle alley is cramped with people standing there. And you have to hold on to something, otherwise you will stumble at the first turn of the road, you won’t fall down though, there is not enough space to fall down, no kidding.

The drivers go very fast, almost racing the bus while trying to keep the schedule and after a very short time in service most of them look like they were in use for years (both of them ;-). Even though you don’t see a lot of accidents on the road, they do happen, probably quite often. Luckily major accidents do not happen a lot though, but if they do they are usually very bad, with a bus rolling down a steep slope for example. There are some lines they are prone to this because of the terrain and it’s better not to use them during main traffic hours. On TV we see and hear almost every day how to behave while using the public transportation (I think I mentioned the term ‘Banana Republic’ before, didn’t I?), where to sit and stand, what to do or not to do, normal things you would think everybody knows and does. And over the years I can see that slowly, slowly people start to comply.

When we go to town ‘Timan’ and I just have to pass by the bus terminal, so the little one can indulge in the whim of watching busses as many as he likes.

And on the way home, again by bus of course, he might be able to sit close to the driver if he’s lucky.

If the bus is not too crowded my tot gets to see everything up close, and right now I think this is what he wants to do in the future, when he’s ‘big’.  But then again, he’s a toddler and he’s allowed to change his mind. Especially on this matter he can and hopefully he will change it many times in the years ahead.

Do you also have some ‘different’, sometimes a bit dirty, very crowded and maybe even a little scary means of transportation your kid likes to use all the time? And what about your tots future plans? Or maybe your little one wants to do Mommy’s or Daddy’s job?

The frenzy

Around 11pm Saturday night the diaper content hit the bucket, or the fan in our case.

Oh, don’t you worry, we did not get raptured or anything like this. Far from that. And diapers, we don’t use anymore, either.

It was our neighbours. Again. All of them.

And the reason was quite simple: On Saturday was election day in Paradise.

But anyway, long story short, I didn’t really care who was going to win the election. I thought that nothing was going to change and that’s exactly what has happened. Nothing against the former and newly elected president, he certainly did some good moves in the past years. And it’s definitely a hard job to pull the Paradise out of the state the country was in for some decades, but as nice as it looks from the outside, the core is still a little messy (I don’t use the word rotten, I am nice girl, you see). In my eyes it is and stays a ‘Banana Republic’ even though they try hard to get away from that image.

Who knows if this post will get me thrown out of the Paradise, it has happened to people in the past. But the past is over and the Paradise is heading full speed into the future, we hear this all the time, don’t we? But don’t worry, I will (try to) keep you posted if I get thrown out or end up behind bars. 😉

The problem I had with this election was the way it was handled, the way candidates were talking about each other, on TV or print media for instance. I saw them badmouthing their opponent in the past and during this election period it wasn’t any different. I don’t think that’s the right way to lead a campaign. They had rather given out printed information about the goals of every candidate and party in one manifest, and with all information together it would be easy for people to compare and choose their candidate.

But the even bigger problem I had with the followers of especially one political party. Yes my dear neighbours, I am talking about you. I know that probably all of you are just doing what everybody else is doing, nicely putting one foot in front of the other and follow the leader, living with the sheep-syndrome, so to speak.

That’s your right, you can do whatever you want … just not at midnight in front of my bedroom, for the second time in three weeks.

Every time this happens I am getting really edgy and just a little furious and I really have to think twice not to run outside in my PJ and start throwing eggs. But I am a nice girl. Instead I learned to brew a cup of tea to calm me down, eat some chocolate I got from my parents, squeezed some ear plugs into my ears, put a pillow over my head and went to bed. And tried to sleep. And counted the sheep waking around in front of my bedroom. And finally I drifted off …

… and woke up again.  My mommy sence kicked in. ‘Timan’ called, he called twice during that night, no wonder when he has to sleep inside a dance club, poor little one. I heard him calling from far away, “Mommy, Mommy got to go pee pee”, so to the bathroom we went. Kids are so easy, I guided him back to his bed, he climbed in, lay down and fell asleep, right away. In the middle of the dance club full of sheep.

The next morning, Sunday morning, the neighbours started off around 7:30am with their usual campaign songs on full blast. Mid-morning, finally, they went to town, to cheer the old/new president and drive with him around the island.

And once again peace was back in Paradise.

I sincerely hope it stays like this, but just in case, I will get another pair of ear plugs, children size, for ‘Timan’. The Hubs shall deal with this on his own, anyway it’s his country, his culture. I am just a bystander with a supply of ear plugs.

Maybe you want to send me some good vibes from far away? I’d really appreciate some support. 😉


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