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Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | Thoughts

   Published : 2021   ||    Format : print   ||    Location : Colombia ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   What was it about the country that kept everyone hostage to its fantasy? The previous month, on its own soil, an American man went to his job at a plant and gunned down fourteen coworkers, and last spring alone there were four different school shootings. A nation at war with itself, yet people still spoke of it as some kind of paradise.. Thoughts : Infinite Country follows two characters - young Talia, who at the beginning of this book, escapes a girl’s reform school in North Colombia so that she can make her previously booked flight to the US. Before she can do that, she needs to travel many miles to reach her father and get her ticket to the rest of her family. As we follow Talia’s treacherous journey south, we learn about how she ended up in the reform school in the first place and why half her family resides in the US. Infinite Country tells the story of her family through the other protagonist, El

A Day in the Life
(Spoiler: it's baby, work, and oh, a baby)

Last year, when Trish hosted this event, I was visiting Toronto and so didn't get a chance to participate. But, in a way, the bigger reason I didn't participate was because I was sure reading and writing about my day was going to be boring. I mean, in those days, the most eventful thing that happened to me was maybe catching up on a favorite TV show or writing a blog post. So, subconsciously, I decided that I didn't want anyone to pity my boring weekday but officially, I told everyone who cared that I was on vacation. And then, I sat down to read everyone else's account of their days, and I saw days that were... remarkably similar to mine. Most importantly, I loved reading these posts. So what I learned was that it may be boring to document one's days but it was infinitely more fun to read such posts. So without further ado, here is my attempt to document one of my weekdays. This day below is Thursday March 17 and is typical of my weekdays.

12.20a Shreya is stirring and wakes me as well. (We co-sleep.) So I pat her a bit and after a few seconds, she is back asleep.

3.40a She is up again and this time, patting doesn't help so I feed her and she drifts off to sleep soon.

6.30a I wake up this time and although I want to be up, my body doesn't want to wake up just yet, so I sleep for five more minutes.

6.50a Five minutes later (what? Is it not five minutes later?), I wake up for real. I now remember that I wanted to record this day, so I quickly scramble some sleepy notes on the morning thus far. Then I head to the bathroom to get 50% ready for work. The baby is still sleeping but beginning to stir. Actually, she woke up as soon as I closed the bathroom door. The husband starts taking care of her morning routine.

7.13a Out of the bathroom... and the baby has not been diapered yet because the husband was actually playing with her instead. Oh well - darling he gets the hint from the scowl on my face and starts changing her diaper. I head into the kitchen and is super thankful for my cup of chamomile tea that my dad has brewed.

7.18a Baby is changed, dressed, and in my arms now. I pamper her LOTS and then take her and my cup of tea to the office room. Rue also follows me.

(You are strongly recommended not to hold baby and tea together because babies love to suddenly extend their arms and touch things without warning. What are you saying about me not following my own advice?)

Let's ppplay!! (I had to cover the bottom racks of the shelves (except one)
because Shreya found too many interesting things over there.

Anyways, the office room is where the husband and I have our computers (well duh) but it's also where we have some of Shreya's toys so that she can entertain herself while one or both of us are busy with the computer. Of course, she much prefers to play with my PC or the printer or our phone cable. Who needs to listen to yet another rendition of Here we go 'round the mulberry bush when there are more fascinating toys nearby?

Her newest game is holding on to us to stand, then continuously dropping something and picking it up from the ground. Seriously, this can hold her attention for a looooooong time.

7.25a The husband joins us while my dad is making breakfast. Yes, I feel very guilty and very lucky that my dad cooks. And also that my husband cooks. Just between you and me though, I am very pleased with that arrangement because I don't really like to cook. I certainly know how to cook but I am more fascinated by books and my baby and my phone and my baby. Anyways, we start our daily Skype chat with my mom and my father-in-law - both of whom wait every day (in India) to watch our girl do her various funny antics, which today includes pulling paper from one of the shelves.

7.30a While the baby is making funny sounds and our family is talking across Skype, the husband gets into an office call, so it's an organized chaos right now. My dad brings me my breakfast (scrambled eggs!) and I try to eat that and also keep the baby away from the printer paper.

7.53a Breakfast is finally done (gone are the days when I could eat quickly). Since the husband is still on his call, my dad volunteers to watch the baby and the dog (because sometimes, they play with each other and I get scared) while I get ready for work (the other 50%). I first pack my pumping kit and then my snack bag. I usually pack my lunch at this point but today, I'm meeting a friend for lunch. Then I dress for work.

8.12a Ready, but one last thing before I leave. I head back to the office room where the Skype call is still going on. The baby comes crawling towards me (I will never miss watching my girl come speed crawling towards me!) and we say our goodbyes to her grandparents. I proceed to then feed her while the husband cuts her nails. Omg they grow so fast!!

8.19a Still feeding the babe but the husband and I start talking about telescopes and planets and eyepieces.

8.28a She is done feeding (she took a little too much time today) and I am out the door. I have a meeting at 9a and 20 minute drive to work, so I need to hope that there won't be any road block this morning.

So far, it's only been two hours since I woke up. #shockedexpressionsfollow

8.57a I am at my desk now (phew) and spend the next couple of minutes checking my work email before I walk into the meeting.

9.00a Meeting starts. This is a stand up meeting and a usually fun one for everyone attending.

9.18a Meeting ends and I deal with a colleague who is new to the team and happens to be a dour and sarcastic character. Aren't they the best?

9.22a Then I deal with another colleague who loves to talk and won't take the hint.

9.30a Finally, I start my real work.

9.55a I take a break from work to talk to the friend about our lunch. We decide to meet at 12p. Then I continue working.

10% Happier

11.15a I head downstairs to the lactation room for the first of my two daily pumping sessions. As much as I am glad for the pumping technology, I hate to pump. It's also difficult to pause work and go for a pumping session. Anyways, I start reading 10% Happier while I pump away. About 70% done with the book.

11.38a I am done pumping but now I suddenly remember that I am supposed to be recording today, so I quickly get all my notes in. Thankfully, nothing much happens at work anyways.

11.41a I pack the pumping kit away, then run upstairs to grab my handbag so that I can leave for lunch. I have a feeling I am going to be late.

Whizzing past some beautiful greenery

12.05p I just about reach the place. I definitely underestimated how long it takes to get to this restaurant. My friend is waiting already.

My friend and I meet up almost every week (usually on Fridays) for lunch. Both of us studied at Virginia Tech and joined my company at the same time. He has since moved on to another company but we kept our custom of having weekly lunches. Sometimes, we have other friends join us, but this time it's just us. We are eating at Corner Market - a Farm to Table restaurant that also has an adjoining grocery store. I love their Chicken Tacos and almost always order those.

We place our orders and then proceed to browse the store while we wait for our food.

12.20p Food is here. Woohoo tacos! Did I tell you how wonderful they are? Unfortunately, I was too hungry to remember to take a photo, so feel free to imagine the tacos as you wish.

12.55p After a nice chat and lunch, we decide to head back to work. My friend leaves while I buy bread from the same place. Their bread is ah-mazing!

1.13p After weaving through the lunch time traffic, I reach work and try to catch up on whatever I missed while I was out (Not much).

1.45p I decide to get some tea because my lunch has made me sleepy. While I brew my tea, a colleague stops by and we get talking about wells and water pipes and pipe corrosion (yep, topic of the day).

2.05p After a long and enlightening conversation about water systems, I am back at work. Most of my work today has been analyzing some issues - not usually a lot of fun but needs to be done. I'd rather write some code.

3.15p In the middle of analyzing another issue (this one was an interesting one), I realize I am 15 minutes late for my second pumping session. So I drop everything and run to the lactation room. (This is why I really don't like pumping. It's hard to drop everything.) On the plus side, reading time! 10% Happier continues.

3.47p After pumping, I look for a friend who had invited us to his place on Sunday. However, he was not at his desk, so I go back to my desk instead.

4.45p I decide to take a short break and open Feedly. However, I don't get too far with it because at 4.50p, I continue with my work. Today is one of those days Feedly is not going to happen.

Dead Mountain

5.20p I decide to head home. I lock my PC, then stop by the lactation room to pick my pumping kit. I walk to my car, start it, and then open the Audible app on my phone. Time for Dead Mountain.

5.50p I reached home and start smiling immediately thinking about my girl. I love to creep up on her and see her reaction when she sees me. Today, she was in her jumperoo and babbling some nonsense. But as soon as she sees me, she starts jumping ecstatically. This is always so rewarding to see. I pick her up, mumble some nonsense back at her, and then start nursing her. (If I don't nurse her as soon as I get home, even if she just ate, she will let her displeasure known.) While I am nursing her, I read more blogs.

6.15p Nursing done and we head out for a walk - my dad, the husband, and me with with the babe and the dog.

Our neighborhood street in the evening

7.05p Reached home after a walk made short by the fact that Shreya got cranky quickly (usually she humors us for at least half an hour) and that we met some neighbors and stopped to chat.

7.08p Once home, I hand the babe to my dad and proceed to take a much needed shower.

7.20p Shower done, so I pick the baby from the husband and proceed to change her diaper. Then we go to the living room and have some play time. She is already rubbing her eyes so it won't be long before she is sleepy. My dad is preparing to make dinner and although I have begged him to leave that to me, he hasn't yielded. I will continue to count myself lucky to have parents who insist on cooking!

It's Dr. Seuss time!

7.40p The husband leaves to buy groceries. I decide to read a book to the baby. Today it's Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. She's still rubbing her eyes but continues to be active.

8.10p I help my dad with dinner. We are running very late today. I stand and eat while my dad holds the baby. (Thinking back, I don't know why I didn't sit and eat but oh well.)

8.56p We are all finally done with dinner. The baby has finally started nodding her head. That took almost two hours!

9.01p An hour before now, we are usually in bed but today, I hand the baby to my dad. She has mostly fallen asleep. The husband and I step outside with our telescope to peek at Jupiter and the moon. We just got our new eyepieces today so we have high hopes. We do see Jupiter and four of its moons. It's moving so quickly that we have to keep adjusting the scope. Then we take turns looking at the moon. It's so much more beautiful through a scope!

9.40p Back inside and the baby is already asleep. I soon follow suit, whip up my phone, type these notes, and proceed with reading 10% Happier. I don't last long though and by 9.58p I have turned my phone off and gone to sleep.

Whoo! And that's a wrap. I don't know if it is any bit interesting to you guys but it was a lot of fun writing this up. I know this is something I would like to do on a yearly basis, because it's fun to compare how things change. Have you recorded your day? If yes, let me know - I cannot wait to read about it.