Is it a good idea to take a two-year old on a spontaneous boat trip on the deep water of the Pacific Ocean? This is the kind of question I should have researched on parenting forums—if only I was this kind of mother. I’m not. We were standing in front of the port of Valparaiso, I saw a boat taking passengers and next thing you know I was strapping a lifejacket on Mark.
“This is a great chance to sail a bit on the Pacific Ocean!”
Feng shrugged. “I will wait for you guys. I don’t want to be sick on the boat.”
We left the shore and headed to Viña del Mar. I could see the stretch of beach and the hills from the boat, as well as the deep-blue sea and several giant jellyfishes floating around. We toured around the bay, getting close to Chile’s warships—giant grey boats with canons proudly floating the national flag—and to the freighter ships—“China Shipping Line” from Ningpo—unloading hundreds of containers with cranes.
I loved our tour. Mark did too, especially the cranes and the containers.
After that, we took the city train all the way to Viña del Mar to go to the beach. Viña del Mar is a slightly upscale version of Valparaíso, but it’s nowhere as glamorous as Punta Del Este despite several fancy buildings, dozens of American fast-food chains and a casino. The beach was dirty and the waves too strong to swim. I tested the water—cold. Most Chileans hung out on the beach in the summer clothes—no Brazilians parading half naked here!
The walk along the beach was nice, though and I admired the rows of tall palm trees.
I’m really glad we came to Valparaíso, it was a good decision, despite not having a travel guide for Chile (we weren’t planning to go there in the first place!) or a plan. We discovered a new city and another side of the country, plus we got to enjoy the Pacific side for a while.
It’s now time to head back to Argentina for the final stretch, the pièce de résistance. Am I ready to go home soon? Absolutely not, especially with the daycare issue still unsolved. It bothers me that a year later, we are once again back to square one. Last year, we came back from Mexico to cold Canada without a solution for Mark—and we were starting to need one, as he was outgrowing the baby stage, sleeping less and I needed to work. Mark is now a busy and curious two-year old who needs a routine at home, something I can’t offer him in the dead of the winter when we can barely go outside and when I have to work. I feel completely lost. I feel like Canada failed me, as whiny as it sounds.
I love traveling with Mark and Feng and really, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. We have places to go, things to see and I’m happy to spend days and nights with the guys (although I wish Feng wouldn’t snore and Mark would move less in bed!). But life at home is different. Feng and I are both busy and Mark goes crazy when he is stuck between the bedroom and the living room.
Mark learned so much when traveling. He makes sentences now, he knows how to hold my hand whenever we cross a street, he can sit in his stroller by himself, he can tell us when he needs to pee and he uses the toilet (I have yet to take off the diaper for good for practical reasons when traveling, but we are getting there without stress or pressure!), he eats a bit of everything, he understands the use of money (and ask for coins when he wants to buy an ice cream or a drink!)… This is amazing to me.
I can’t even imagine having to do the “stay at home mom/freelancer at night” gig again. I just can’t. I’m going to kill myself doing that.
We need a magic solution.
Lucky star, where are you?