Now that we’ve been living here 5 months, I feel I have a worthy list for sharing. Some of these items have been fetched through my husband’s trips to the US for work and by friend’s visits, but others I still yearn for.
12. Swim Diapers
I did bring a couple pairs of cloth swim diapers, but I fear the day that Titus goes #2 while in a public pool (which we attend frequently) and I have to ask for a bag to put the soiled cloth diaper in. I always have a tinge of jealousy when I see the babies on vacation wastefully changing out of unscathed swim diapers.
11. Bigger variety of clothes/less revealing
I purchased about 10 fitted tank tops in an array of colors from Target before we moved, these have become my daily wardrobe. While I’m glad I have them, I wish I’d packed more options. It turns out, my husband & I go on weekly date nights and my wardrobe was not planned accordingly.
My plan had always been to volunteer, but I didn’t plan my volunteer attire very well. I’m breast feeding so I’m more well endowed than usual and I feel a little self conscious when I’m working at the preschool/kindergarten class I volunteer at and wearing one of my usual tanks. Most of my shorts feel a little on the short side when surrounded by children, so I only have a few items that I feel comfortable wearing in professional settings.
10. Lots of Affordable Bug Spray (some with DEET)
You can buy Off bug spray in a lot of places, but its much more expensive than in the US and we use it several times a day on 4 families members, so we go through a bottle quickly. In fact we use it so often that I keep one in our bathroom, one in the living room, one in the kid’s bathroom, and one by our bed for middle of the night use. Often times I spray myself down, only to shower 20 minutes later and need to reapply. We only brought one bug spray containing DEET and find the heavy artillery necessary for happy hours or dinners on the beach so I keep that bottle in our diaper bag.
Another item you can find here, but the price is so high I haven’t been able to justify the purchase. It kills me to know we have a great 4-slice toaster sitting in our storage in California. We shipped a giant box to ourselves here and I wish that I had put that toaster in the box!
8. Board Games
Since we don’t watch TV and Azalea is getting older, I wish we had more family activities. I’ve looked a few game stores in Managua, but they are so expensive I won’t buy one just on principle alone!
7. Waterproof Mattress Cover
Its hard to feel comfortable training your child to sleep through the nights without diapers or Pull-Ups when you do not own the mattress they are sleeping on.
Our family really loves music, but we have no way to blast it other than the speakers in our computers. Our first home did come with speakers and we didn’t realize how much we used them until they were gone. Definately something we’ll pick up next time we’re in the States.
We don’t actually ever watch TV, but I did pack our DVD player and kid’s movies so it was nice that our first home came with a small TV. We also packed our Chromecast which allows us to project Netflix, YouTube and some other sites onto the TV. Our home now does not have a TV so we use our computers, but we don’t have any way to watch the DVDs right now.
4. Head Lamps
After our move I realized how useful these are when there’s a power outage and you’re using your cell phone’s flashlight app to illuminate the generator while yanking on the cord to pull start it. I believe I own two of these somewhere in a box in our storage.
3. Baby food
I made 90% of my daughter’s baby food and had planned to do the same for Titus here, but what I hadn’t planned on is how limited the food options are here. I feel like I feed him the same things week after week. Making sure he’s being introduced to variety of foods has been hard. For some reason the only baby food jars you can buy not only contain sugar, but also are made of the same fruits sold in every market. I don’t need banana, apple, or fixed fruit pre-made! The major grocery store La Colonia just started carrying the Sprouts brand of squeeze pouches, but I think they were about $2.50 each and the contents aren’t worth the price.
2. Good Shampoo & Conditioners
The water here has a lot of minerals in it and so after only a few weeks my hair started feeling brittle. I asked some of the other moms what they do and someone said they only use really good shampoo & conditioner (among other things). The thing is, I haven’t been able to find good quality shampoo & conditioner. I hear some of the salons carry it, but I fear the price tag so I never looked.
1. Good Kitchen Knives
My husband and I both agree that this is #1. The knives here are terrible! We were lucky to have two great knives at our first home and they got used not only for cooking, but also as steak knives at the table. I purchased some steak knives when we moved into our new home, but I believe our butter knives may be sharper. Thankfully our friends brought us two knives when they came to visit, but we could definitely use more.
What other moms say:
I asked some other moms living in Nicaragua & San Juan del Sur what they miss or have asked friends and family to retrieve, here are their answers that weren’t already on my list: sports equipment, video games, projector, food processor, slow cooker, mixer, Cream of Tartar for making play dough, spices, maple syrup, a favorite candy or treat, crib sheets, nursing tops and bras, surf board wax, & sunscreen sticks.