When the term “plumbing” takes on a whole new meaning

Dale during our hike to the peak of a 14,200 foot mountain where he proposed to me.

Dale during our hike to the peak of a 14,200 foot mountain in Quito, Ecuador where he proposed to me.

Dale and I went on our first developing country vacation when we had been dating for six months and had known each other as long. We loaded up our backpacks and trekked around Ecuador for eighteen days. Jungle, mountains, volcanoes, and rain forest were all terrains we ventured into. We never knew what was in store for us, especially when it came to toilets, readily available water, and quality of food. Even though we were still in the beginning stages of our relationship, we had to take it to an entirely new level because of these unknowns: we were no longer bashful about internal plumbing discussions.

Something you learn quickly when you travel in developing countries is that any problem with your internal plumbing system is a very bad thing, so you consistently have discussions about how things are going. This is quite a drastic change from the modest life we lead in the States where you take for granted that your water and food is safe to ingest, and internal plumbing is a topic you skirt around at any given moment, even to the point of being embarrassed to admit you have to use the restroom.

We recently discovered that having a baby is a sure way to bring these discussions State

Playing with my new friend in the Amazon.

Playing with my new friend in the Amazon.

side. How our ten-week-old son does from one diaper change to the next has already been the source of many a tense, silly, and memorable moment. At times, it’s as though his very well-being and our ability as parents is completed linked to his internal plumbing. Too little, too much, too light, too dark, too thin, too thick . . . there are so many opportunities to analyze his health based on output alone, they can keep us in active discussions for hours each day. Luckily, our little guy is oblivious as to how frequently his plumbing is referenced in our house.

What funny stories do you have from international travel or being a parent?


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