Travel::Kids::Tech::Foreign Service

Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

The world, she has changed…

Tech in this post: Nintendo DS, Little Professor calculator, iPad, iTouch

Little Professor math toyWhen I was Mal’s age, my two big Christmas presents were an AM/FM radio shaped like Snoopy and a Little Professor calculator (which was really a math game).   My husband says he got a Texas Instruments calculator.

Mal’s big present this year was a Nintendo DS.  I was expecting it to be something like a GameBoy, but it’s actually more similar to an iTouch.  He can play games, sure…but he can also take photos, edit those photos, listen to music, chat with friends, and to some limited extent surf the Internet.  This means I get my iPad back.

Now, the price point of the DS is probably higher than that of the Little Professor, but even so, there just wasn’t anything like it available.  Mal’s been playing Brain Age Math all day, which highlights the difference; among other things, he writes the answer by hand on the touch screen and the DS recognizes it.

I wonder what mathy computer tool his kids will get for their 7th-8th Christmas.


Feliz Navidad

Christmas in Caracas is very silent.  The usual traffic and hordes of people are absent.

This is possibly because Christmas Eve in Caracas was totally nuts.  I don’t know if Papa Noel drives a sleigh to give presents to the Caraqueno girls and boys, but I’m going to bet he does not, because the fireworks were a seriously intense anti-aircraft barrage.  It was similar to Berlin circa 1945, but with car alarms.  Giant commercial-grade fireworks were being set off from right across the street – I’ve never been that close to the launch point or the explosion point.  And it wasn’t just the one launch; fireworks were erupting from all the mountainsides and across the valley.  They really went nuts at midnight, so we assumed Mallory was awake, but he was determined to stay in his room Just In Case…it was okay as he could watch fireworks from his side of the apartment too.

I don’t know what the local wildlife made of it; when the first bottle rocket started earlier in the day, the pigeons freaked out and headed out.

While the fireworks were impressive, what we really love are the sky lanterns.  Usually one or two are launched each night from the park across the street – it’s a mirador (lookout, viewing place) over the city and a romantic setting – but at midnight they were going up from the mirador and from all over the mountainsides.  It wasn’t a big cluster like in Rapunzel or photos of destination weddings, but it was more beautiful and personal for that.


Cardboard Christmas tree with catOur family Christmas was nice.  As most of our stuff hasn’t arrived yet, we don’t really have any Christmas decorations, so right after we got here a week ago, Mallory and I made a Christmas tree from the heavy cardboard air freight boxes.  Mal said “I don’t think Santa’s going to buy that,” but I explained that it’s not supposed to fake him out, it’s just supposed to show that we are trying to be in the Christmas spirit.  We found a star ornament to move to the top of the tree on Christmas Eve, and covered the cardboard in wrapping paper.

Mal found another box and drew Christmas lights and reindeer on it and labeled it “Santa, please put presents here.”  He set it under our little tree and Inanna promptly moved in.  Either she thinks she’s the best present ever, or she’s determined to make sure the big man does right by her boy.

And he did – sometime between when the fireworks petered out around 2 am and when Mallory woke up at 6 am, we were able to fall asleep.  We woke to a pile of presents and a quiet city.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Let’s hope the power stays on

Our apartment has a front door and a back door.  The front door is an elevator.  Literally.  There’s a call button inside our foyer, and when the elevator arrives we open the door and enter.  There’s no shared landing, and the elevator is key-controlled.  I guess they do this in some NYC apartment buildings also.

The back door, with its Alcatraz-level security gate, opens onto a small landing we share with the other apartment on this level (they have their own front door elevator on the other side).  The trash chute and the stairwell are accessed from this door…and only from this door.

So I hope you understand my concerns about the fact that the security gate sealed itself shut two days ago, effectively locking us in the apartment except for the front door elevator.  I’m really glad they didn’t shut off our power, as we are stuck until after Christmas.




Mal attended his first diplomatic function yesterday, one of the embassy holiday parties.  It was a small garden party of Americans and Venezuelans, and quite lovely.  He is is learning to respond “Bien” when someone asks him “Como estas?” and to wish people “Feliz Navidad.”  He also learned how to manage a buffet table and got all hopped up on imported Dr. Pepper.