Saturday, April 18, 2015

Never stop learning, even on “spring break!”

My three oldest kids sing with Cantus Youth Choirs, a phenomenal community choir that serves the Treasure Valley of Idaho, and this year, they got to go on tour to Anaheim, California. The Cantus tours are always a blast and this one was no exception.  Julio tagged along with the kids on a couple of them before and since this year’s tour included Disneyland, we decided we’d ALL tag along and turn it into a family vacation.

We packed up and left a few days ahead of the Cantus tour buses, so we could squeeze in some extra time in California and see some friends and family.  We threw the kids in the mini-van and drove to Anaheim in a single day. Yes, we are insane.

Prior to the trip, Julio had told me about a TED talk by Navi Radjou about the concept of jugaad—a Hindi word for creative problem solving within extreme limitations, and how the corporate world in the West can benefit from this principle of doing more and creative things with less. After watching the talk myself, I really wanted to buy Mr. Radjou’s book.  It arrived the day before we left, so I brought it along and read it aloud to Julio as we went.  It’s funny how when something is on your mind, you find it everywhere. 


As we were reading this book, we had a couple of opportunities to come up with some jugaad of our own—first, the sun was glaring down into the car, making Neenie very hot and uncomfortable. We used a blanket pinched between the car head rests (and later, a different blanket pinched between the windows and doors) to make a sunshade. Jugaad!


Then, the rubber gasket for the windshield came loose on the driver’s side and started flapping.  Julio tried first to fix it with electrical tape, but the tape was no match for flying down the freeway.  Since we were in the middle of nowhere, Julio had to roll down the window and hold the windshield in place until we could find somewhere to stop and fix the stupid thing.  Since it was coming onto evening and we were only halfway to California, Julio stopped in at a truck stop and bought some yellow duct tape. It held!  Jugaad!

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Our first couple of days in California involved a trip to the beach and a day at Knott’s Berry Farm.  The kids and I had never been and Julio had told us it was full of roller coasters, but I wondered how much fun it would be for the little kids because they were too small for most of the rides.  I was kind of grumpy about going at first, because I was afraid I’d get stuck having to sit with the little ones all the time while Julio and the big kids got to go have fun on all the crazy rides. I’m so immature and selfish, I know. But, of course, Julio had already scouted the place and made sure we did a lot of swapping kid duties—and it turns out KBF has some fun rides for the smaller set, too. So everyone got their roller coaster fix!


We expected the place to be packed, as it is “spring break season” but the crowds were thin—enabling us to go on our favorite roller coasters again and again.



This was Neenie’s first time at the beach.



The kids had a ton of fun splashing around and playing in the sand. We brought most of the sand from this beach home in our clothes.