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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 look back at the past three years

On December 20th of last year, my phone buzzed to wish me a happy blogiversary. It had been 10 years since I had started this blog. As in the past two years, I wondered if I wanted to archive this site. I thought it a pity that I had hit a milestone and yet, wasn't blogging anymore. However, I was still too attached to the idea of blogging, even if I wasn't actually doing it, and I didn't want to obliterate my 7-year treasure trove of experiences and opinions in here.

When I had first started blogging, I was a grad student going through an existential crisis (translation: I was doing anything and everything but working on my thesis). When I hit pause on the blog in 2017, I was mom to a 2-year old and had just changed jobs and moved to a new city. Through my blogging life, I had graduated, landed a job, seen my brother through a terrible sickness, got married, adopted a dog, lost my mother-in-law, bought my first house, got promoted, welcomed a baby, lost a dear uncle, and moved to a new city and state. 2017-me was a very different person from the 2009-me. The demands on my time were more than I could handle.

And so I took a break. Except I hadn't planned to take the break. It just happened, y'know?

If there's one thing I always resisted during blogging, it was taking an unplanned break. The blog may be silent for a week or two but I would still be planning or preparing my next posts. So after that last post I put up in April of 2017, I was honestly still working on my next post. Except that this time, the days went on and on, and I never got around to publishing it. About two months in, I wondered if it would be wise to at least post that I was going to be on a break, but then shrugged the hilarity of such a post - "Hi there, thanks for stopping by. I'm actually going on a break. See ya."

At the time of my break, I had just started a new job, which was very different from my previous job. I was in a newly-created role facing heavy expectations to transform a team going through a cultural and organizational shift. It's what I wanted to do. It also took a lot more of my energy than I had anticipated. More often than not, I came home, tired and with zero energy to do any creative thinking, or reading.

Work wasn't the only thing keeping me busy. My daughter was entering an age where she wanted to do more, was ready for more experiences, and coincidentally also needed extra attention. While I loved every minute of this, I won't lie - some days I just yearned for the clock to tick 8 pm, which meant we could start the bedtime routine.

So anyways, enough justification for why I took the break. I can promise that it was very much needed, appreciated, and helpful. I've also missed not blogging. In some ways, it was a huge part of my identity and then suddenly, it wasn't.

So, what was I up to during the past three years?

Meet Krish...

... my now 20-month old. Just writing that here makes me realize how long I have been away! Krish was born in May of 2018 and is and has been quite the boisterous kid. He's naughty, fun, mischievous, and very quick to learn new words. He loves to hang out with his sister and mess with her best-laid plans. She doesn't mind though. Sometimes. Interestingly, Krish is at the age Shreya was when I paused blogging. We've gone a full circle there.

Speaking of Shreya, she will be a kindergartner this Fall. She's at the age where she's using many words and phrases she's heard from the adults around her. Some of them sound hilarious, coming from the mouth of a four year old! Just last week, she was looking at a mess of paperwork in the office room and saying "Looks like a massacre here". I have no idea where she learned the word and I didn't dare ask her what she thinks it meant.

A trip to London and nearby

Last year, we took two weeks off work and routines to make a trip to London, Cotswold, and Edinburgh. It was one of the most amazing vacations we had ever taken, and had us yearning for more. We spent more than a week in the city, visited the Warner Bros studios (Harry Potter Studio Tour!), Stonehenge, Cotswold, Edinburgh (this beautiful city for literature lovers), and many many more. Since Shreya loves Peppa Pig, we took her to the Peppa Pig World (yes - a theme park for Peppa Pig fans). Krish was too young to remember any of it but he kept up his best spirits.

Waltzing on a cruise

Around this time, two years ago, we went on our first ever cruise. There's something about vacationing in the middle of the ocean on a liner that appeared to have everything you need. It's too easy to leave all your worries at the shore. I loved the experience, but probably wouldn't do it with too little kids. Shreya enjoyed some aspects of the trip but she was also going through a clingy and whiny phase at the time. At the time, I was five months pregnant with Krish and other than staying away from the only part of the ship where smoking was allowed (the casino), there were no limitations or restrictions. I'll tell you though - all of us adults walked out of the ship at least ten pounds heavier.

Those were just the big highlights of the past three years but of course, as with anyone else, there were lots of ups and downs, highs and lows. There were days when I was very busy at work, then come home, have dinner and get ready for bed, only to repeat it all over again the next day. And then there were days that were too good to be true, everything went perfect, it was a no-stress day, and brought a lot of hope. However, it wasn't until a few months ago, that my routines started becoming more predictable, that I didn't bring work home, that I've actually been able to thrive and relax. That's when I started thinking about coming back on here.

So here I am, hopefully for a decent long period. I don't quite know what I would expect here yet, but I'm going with flow for now.

Linking up with The Sunday Salon (Readerbuzz)