Category Archives: ART

Photography: Day Colors of the Desert in Uyuni, Bolivia.


Intriguing Rock Formation… not a Plant, Though!


A few days back, I’ve shared images here of the sun setting along the desert in Uyuni, during our trip through the largest Salt Flats in the world- the “Salar de Uyuni”. Now, sharing some images from the desert under it’s daylight colors…


Inspirational post:



View from the Salt Hotel Luna Salada, in Uyuni. Images are the result of my dear husband’s endless patience and search for natural beauty. Photos are unaltered.

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Posted by on April 26, 2014 in ART, BOLIVIA, FAMILY, photography, TRAVEL


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Photography: [Big] Kids, Salt & Fun, where the sky and ground merge!



Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers. It is located in the Potosí and Oruro departments in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes and is at an elevation of 3,656 meters above mean sea level.



The flats, located in Southern Bolivia near the country’s Tunupa volcano, and our recent family vacation destiny, make up the world’s largest salt desert.



The Salar was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. It is covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has an extraordinary flatness.



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Photography: Sunset Over the Desert in Uyuni, Bolivia.



View from the Salt Hotel Luna Salada, in Uyuni. Images are the result of my dear husband’s endless patience and search for natural beauty. Photos are unaltered.


Posted by on April 21, 2014 in ART, BOLIVIA, FAMILY, photography, TRAVEL


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What Drives Me Crazy?

Oh, boy!

If you asked my husband, he’ll clearly tell anyone, I don’t need any triggering reason to go insane… <3 He’d state that in a very loving way, and yet, he’d say it!

The ‘little voices in my head’ would likely echo his statement. But I firmly disagree: it’s hard for me to lose my cool, although, a few things would definitely make it to the list of ‘strong reasoning facts’ that drive me crazy… This morning I was cruising thru the WP ‘inspirational’ suggestions, and found Krista’s topic, on ‘She drives me crazy’. In my case, “She” has morphed into a  list of well-balanced reasons, which I should name ‘boiling point checklist’ :

  •  Somebody over here, another ‘inspired blogger’, came up with a masterpiece on how useless the so-called “inspirational images” from FB [and why not, from other social media channels?] are – I could not agree more with him. That said, thank you very much RichyDispatch for getting me all fired-up for this writing prompt! You’ve become my instant Monday Hero! :o

  • Still on the “social media” subject, another boiling point disclosure seems to be the way people describe themselves/their achievements/their fantastic lives on the ‘social scene’…. is it me, or, pretty much everyone else out there seems to have the smartest children, their overachiever spouses, the greatest and best paid jobs? Maybe it’s just me, but this constant display of ‘my grass is greener than yours’ gets old very quickly…

  • Leaving the social media aside, now let’s move to another common boiling point-trigger: The School Moms. Oh, my! This is for the many parents out there, especially the ones who try to get involved with their kiddo’s school activities. I’ve got a question for y’all: have you ever had any issues with [not of them, but they've got representatives all over the world] the PTA mafia? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, there’s no need to worry, and it also means you haven’t had any bad experiences with the before-mentioned group – for the ones who understand my pain, that’s enough said!

  • Different scenario, now: the work place/social gatherings:

I’m born and raised Latina, so I believe I’ve got a pass to share my two cents on this. In most of latino countries, people never miss an event; they’re also, never on time! I try my best to get all my household act together before heading out to work. I’m currently living and working at a latino country – the perception of regular/expected work hours seem to differ from one person to the other. And why? Latinos don’t believe in a set time, for anything! [again, I can speak out my thoughts 'cause I was born in Brazil, and when I last checked, it's part of the colorful/wonderful Latino community!]. 

You wanna plan a dinner starting at 8, remember to tell your guests dinner is scheduled for 6. Most people will be there at/around 8:30. It’s a good technique, and you don’t stress out.

You’re throwing a birthday party for your toddler, and it should run from 2-4, don’t expect the lovely little ones [and their respective families] to depart before dinner time. That said, get your post-birthday-dinner ready for the tardy ones – they’ll likely overstay, and they’ll surely be hungry!


Do these type of issues make my blood boil inside my veins? 

 Just a little bit… :o


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[Weekly Writing Challenge] The power of its name…

It came to life on March 2011, almost exactly three years ago…

And it’s got a life of its own.

Some suspect it may have a mind of its own, as well… Its words are provoking, but never arrogant.

Its shared thoughts often tend to bring out stimulating conversations. But what is ‘it’?

What’s its name? Does it have any?

It’s got an individual identity, and yet, it’s got a social side. Quite a social face, some would state. It’s public and yet, it’s got its private features.

It’s an experiment, a challenge, a tale. It’s fed by others and it feeds itself. It’s lifeless and it’s dynamic.

What’s its name? It’s got one single title, which refers to the result of the modern transcontinental growth our society is witnessing; something spectacular, something that can never be taught or learned or fully understood by anyone who hasn’t actually experienced it…

Its name is powerful and profound.

The name was given before its birth, while the female mastermind behind its creation craved for a way to express the desire to share with the world her incomprehensible experiences living life as a nomad.

And while always a migrant, she raises worldly citizens under her wings… Citizens that will display hybrid cultures, being the product of mixed backgrounds, histories, cultures and languages.

This self-maintained creature, repeatedly mentioned here, is an escape mechanism, a tool, a voice to a parent’s cries for advice.

The voice given to this ‘quasi-mythical’ creation has a name, Third Culture Children, and through the lines of this blogging journey, the creature may have become as powerful as its creator; in an ironic and totally expected outcome.

Its name brings many meanings, and the notion of children as artefact of hybrid cultures goes beyond the physical explanations words may provide.

It’s the name given to this blog, representing the interface between the creator and the creation. It’s a living strategy to share thoughts, feelings and questions.

The name, although powerful as it should be, may never surpass the strength of the concept embedded on it – the definition of a child as a positive product of multiple influences, a TCK, a citizen of the world, ready for facing and overcoming life challenges… <3


Posted by on March 17, 2014 in ART


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The Jesuit Mission of Santa Ana de Velasco, La Cenicienta Chiquitana…


An extraordinary discovery was made in 1972, at one of the old Jesuit missions of Bolivia. There were 3,000 sheets of Baroque music in a trunk kept in the priest’s lavatory and used as toilet paper. Most of it was by an almost forgotten Italian-born composer called Domenico Zipoli (1688-1726). “How on earth did Baroque composers end up in South America to produce this extraordinary fusion of classical and local traditions that is still being discovered?” Question asked by Simon Broughton – worth a read, for sure!


Apart from its beautiful church (the most indigenous of the mission templos, as it was built entirely by natives without Jesuit assistance or direction), Santa Ana is famous for its music. The church’s organ and diatonic harp (the latter of which was built by native hands) are still functional, and during restoration, thousands of missionary-era musical scores were discovered.

Music played a special part in all aspects of life and in the evangelization of the natives. Realizing the musical capacities of the Indians, the Jesuits sent important composers, choir directors, and manufacturers of musical instruments to South America. The most famous was probably the Italian baroque composer Domenico Zipoli, who worked in the reductions in Paraguay. Fr. Johann Mesner and Fr. Martin Schmid, two Jesuit missionaries with musical talent, went to the Chiquitania. Martin Schmid built an organ with six stops in Potosí, disassembled it, transported it by mules over a distance of 1,000 km on a difficult road to the remote mission of Santa Ana de Velasco, and re-assembled it there from hand. It is still is use. The Jesuits used musical lessons as a first step to the Christianization of the natives.

Now, we’re on 2014: Directly from the Mission in Santa Ana, although quaint, discreet, a favorite for our family, because of its humble beauty. A bonus added to our visit to the Mission Jesuitica de Santa Ana de Velasco? Listening to a real play on this simple, yet so magnificent organ. Enjoy as much as we did!


And guess who just decided to sit down and play a bit for her [so-very-proud!] children – after the very-gracious young girl Antonia finished her piece? :o You guessed right! Thank you for joining us on this beautiful journey through art, music, history and emotions!


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‘Saudade’, the untranslatable word for missing something or someone…


Hoje, eu sinto Saudade. I believe it’s related to our constant nomadic mode, moving every so often… I miss a place and a time that may not exist anymore… But please, don’t get me wrong! It’s not a ‘sad feeling’ – I live the happiest life I could’ve asked for: the dearest husband, my loving kids, pursuing our dreams…

We’re on the ‘home stretch’ right now: less than 3 months to depart post… again… pack-out… again… Today I realized I’m a bit tired of this, but I also know that, with a little time to adjust [again!], it’ll all be fine, at last. But right now, I’m feeling saudade… and we haven’t even left yet! What a crazy feeling,  crazy lifestyle… and right now I’m asking myself: ‘why did we decide to do this?’ And I know there are no answers for this rhetorical question – once you join or decide to move along with this Foreign Service life, you’ve signed off on all the perks, advantages and challenges that come along with it – and we did sign it… and we’ve read thru the fine print… and we’ve discussed the pros and cons… But, although we’re extremely satisfied with our life choices, today… I feel Saudade… Saudade of a stable lifestyle… saudade of a time we didn’t have to move, change, adapt and adjust… Saudade of not having to tell our children they’ll have to leave their school friends behind, and should be excited for making new ones… at the new school… speaking a new language…

Oh well, thanks to my dear Portuguese language, I’m able to express my current feelings using one single word – and not bother trying to clearly translate it – “Saudade” – my March 11, 2014 pure self!

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s one of my favorite words in Portuguese – ‘saudade‘. It’s an expression with a lot of emotion and deep sense of compassion. There’s no comparison to this word in English; and definitely, doesn’t carry the same degree of emotion involved… Few other languages have a word with such meaning, making saudade a distinct mark of Portuguese culture.

Olavo Bilac

Olavo Bilac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Considering I went deep into my thoughts, I went out looking for ‘ closer definitions’ of this unique feeling, which according to my father’s quote of Olavo Bilac, ‘represents the presence of the ones who are absent..‘. I simply love this quote, since I was a child. Back then, and still living in Brazil, I couldn’t really perceive the true meaning of his words – ‘how can somebody/something be present, and yet, absent?‘How could I miss something I’d never experienced before?’


Saudade (Photo credit: Fábio Pinheiro)

Today, as a grown woman, I understand my dad’s words, and they’ve become a part of who I am, and how I carry myself through life. I need to feel ‘Saudade‘, it’s a requirement to keep living, we all need to be linked to our past, and we need to long for people, moments, places and emotions that were part of our development as humans. Saudade makes us more humane, more grounded, more prompt to learn through our emotions…


Saudade (Photo credit: A Sheep in Man’s Clothing)

So now, going into the ‘formal definitions': the Urban Dictionary describes the word as used to “explain the feeling of missing something or someone. It is used to tell about something that you used to have (and liked) but don’t have anymore”.

(Portuguese: “yearning“), Saudade was a characteristic of the earliest Portuguese folk poetry and has been cultivated by sophisticated writers of later generations. 

Missing Naples

Photo credit: Wikipedia

“The famous saudade of the Portuguese is a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present, a turning towards the past or towards the future; not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness.” (In Portugal, by AFG Bell, 1912).

Chega de Saudade (album)

Chega de Saudade (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Portuguese word ‘saudademeans, broadly, to miss someone or something. But the English miss doesn’t begin to convey the intensity of the Portuguese word. It can cover the sentiments understood in words such as “longing” and “yearning,” as well as “homesickness” and “nostalgia”; in fact, it is all of those, and many more. Although saudade first appeared in Portugal somewhere around the 15th century, there is something about it that is particularly suited to Portugal’s New World child, Brazil, where I come from. Everything there, including feelings, is intense. We [Brazilians] never say “I love you” casually.

In Brazil, when you say it, it means a lot.

And, then, you feel saudade:o


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{Weekly Writing Challenge} The Sound of Silence.

The Sound of Silence: Welcome to the Jungle.

Enjoy the silence, I ask you – and let it take over you…

I’m opening the doors to the silent voices in my head.

Welcome to the jungle, I’d say…

The jungle is quiet, and yet, it’s not. Its creatures keep moving, and talking, and chanting…

“Welcome to the jungle we’ve got fun and games”

Do we really? What’s fun about our chaotic minds? Unstoppable creation? Endless fiction?

We are the people who can find whatever you may need

But the people remain silent. How can they offer me what I need? Do they understand me?

You too, enjoy the silence, and its unique sound. The sound of things falling, the sound of lives turning, the sound of minds creating…

The sound of silence – the silence in the jungle in which we’re all trapped in – ourselves.

“Welcome to the jungle we take it day by day”

Enjoy the sound of silence – the silence of a day going by, without you even noticing… The sound of time passing, the sound of aging without living…

“Welcome to the jungle it gets worse here every day”

The silence is taken over by the voices in my head… the little voices chanting their fears through their lyrics… the silence is gone… the voices are all the jungle has now.

Welcome to my jungle, unveiled by the false silence and the powerful voices that only exist in my mind…

[Started my morning on a fantastic beat… from 1987, to be more precise… thank you very much for the inspiration – words and thoughts are based on Guns & Rose’s hit, creating the sound of silence in my head, broken only by the little voices that follow me around…]

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Posted by on February 18, 2014 in ART


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The mysterious Calle Jaén in La Paz: a place for urban legends…

Calle Jaén

No ghosts were seen today at Calle Apolinar Jaén, in downtown La Paz… Despite the legends, myths, stories from long-time residents and local business owners… This morning, there were no wondering gnomes, nor widows, searching for lonely bachelors, too enebriated to find their own way… This morning, the bright and warm colors covering this street’s colonial houses offered nothing but a pleasant welcome to the two of us, on our last-minute decision on visiting one of the most famous streets in La Paz – la antigua Calle Kaura Kancha…


Today, the street so used to host commercial exchanges, is now a hotspot for the bohemian crowd visiting La Paz – it’s a must-visit sight for expats in search of learning more about the Paceña culture, its stories, its fears…

We found Calle Jaén, just after a short walk from the city center and Plaza Murrllo, and we confirmed it’s one of most charming colonial streets in the city.Museo Murillo is on this street. This old mansion was once owned by Pedro Domingo Murillo, a hero of the Bolivian republic, and now houses furniture and items from colonial times. The buildings and cobblestoned street are preserved, without traffic, and attract visitors for the soothing atmosphere. This morning, husband and I had the opportunity to enjoy the peace and quietness from Calle Jaén – apparently, the ghostly tales do not come to life on Monday mornings… :o

While walking along Jaén, we visited the Museum of Musical Instruments, and an art gallery, displaying several pieces from the Mamani collection – the warm, earthy colors and textures, as well as the unique musical instruments inventions made up for a delightful beginning before we headed out to our other sights: the San Francisco Church and Plaza, its informal market [for some well-deserved craft shopping!], and a peek at the Mercado de Brujas [Witch Market]…

Definitely, one of the best ways to spend a morning off-work: learning, experiencing, living the Bolivian culture – a tale at a time… :o

And, little bit in Spanish:

El lugar más mágico de La Paz, la calle Jaén, ubicada en el casco antiguo de la capital, calle empedrada de misterios que se esconden detrás de las paredes de sus casas coloniales. Según cuenta la leyenda, en la calle, entonces llamada callejón Cabra – Cancha, se han venido produciendo fenómenos paranormales con los condenados desde tiempos coloniales.Los fantasmas, duendes, almas en pena, ruidos infernales de carruajes tirados por caballos y cadenas arrastradas por el suelo, sembraban el pánico en los habitantes.

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Posted by on February 18, 2014 in ART, BOLIVIA, expat, foreign service, photography


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Talent Show: “Thriller, by our Five-Year-Olds”.



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Showing Support: The Pachamama Documentary Film Initiative!

Just a brief introduction, for now. Recently contacted by one of the ‘masterminds’ behind the initiative, Alice Rowsome…

[Excerpt from PachamamaFilm Website]:

“Pachamama is a unique feature-length documentary, produced using primarily ultra-wide angles lenses, that will give you a rare insight into an indigenous population living in the Bolivian Andes, the Kallawayas.

Having been affected by climate change for nearly over a decade, the Kallawayas have found inspiring ways to deal with their changing environment”. 

But what is it really about? Go take a look here!

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Posted by on January 27, 2014 in ART, BOLIVIA


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Photography] Visiting the Inca Ruins in Samaipata, Bolivia.

DSC_0131 DSC_0132 IMG_1424 DSC_0133 DSC_0134 DSC_0135 DSC_0136 DSC_0137 DSC_0138 IMG_1429 IMG_1432


Posted by on January 26, 2014 in ART, BOLIVIA, TRAVEL


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[Photography] 65 ways of Sucre, Bolivia.


2013 was ending, and our traveling family was in deep need of a quick trip before the new year rang in…

…it had to be to a kid-friendly place, not too far from our home, La Paz, and yet, a place that offered great sights, tons of history, tales and stories to write home about… We were looking for a visiting site that wouldn’t break our end-of-the-year budget [between the Christmas holidays and the New Year’s!].

We found it – Bolivia’s historical capital, the [sweet!] city of Sucre, whose name, coincidently means ‘sugar’, in French [completely unrelated to this blogpost, but a nice send-back to my high school French lessons!] Again, nothing to do with our trip, so, forgetting now my long-lost French lessons, and back to our reality – family life, parenting & traveling!

All that said, our family of 5 headed out to Sucre, a comfortable, affordable short flight from La Paz, right after Christmas Day, for a long and well-deserved weekend.

This post showcases several images we were able to capture with our constantly-switching-hands camera. More yet to come: a visit to Sucre’s Dinosaur Park, the largest one in South America – but I’ll leave it for later… too many beautiful sites/snapshots to enjoy for now!

And, if curious about things to do in Sucre [according to the Lonely Planet, there are some 112 items to add to any expat visiting list!], feel free to hop over to another friendly site, from a Twitter follower, @SucreLife, and get insider tips, info and advice on traveling to the “White City”[]

Read more:



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Understanding the Bolivian Traditions: ‘Día de Todos los Santos’.



All text here [in bold], including the explanations, traditions, etc, may be found on the website: “Bolivia Bella”[], except any ‘notes’ added by myself and/or inserted as comments. Thank you very much, Bolivia Bella! :o

Dia de los Muertos (or Dia de los Difuntos) means Day of the Dead, which in the Catholic faith is also known as All Souls Day. In Bolivia it takes place on November 2 after the celebration of Todos Santos (All Saints Day) on November 1st.

[Note: During the first week of November, we were fortunate enough to partake at a ‘Todos Santos’ ceremony at work, with a throughly explanation, even enjoying a nice meal [lentils & meat] at the end of the presentation!]

Prior to this day, both the public and the city governments begin preparing the cemeteries for this holiday. Usually the city governments begin cleaning and fumigating the cemeteries while individuals and families hire bricklayers and painters to repair and paint individual tombs and family niches.

On Dia de los Muertos indigenous customs mix with Christian (Catholic) religious beliefs. Families visit the tombs of their dead with a feast, which they prepare the night before. They spread out the feast in the form of a picnic, setting places for their dead relative at the “table” as they wait for the souls of the dead to “arrive”. If the dead person is a child, a white tablecloth is used. Black or dark cloth is used if the dead is an adult. The table is also adorned with candles and photos of the dead. Some believe the dead return to Earth to see if they are still being remembered by their families and friends.


Often families hire bands or take other forms of music with them. They also pay children to recite prays at the tombs. Many believe God takes pity on the prayers of children or the poor, more than on the prayers of those who are not in need. Families sometimes also sing or hire someone to sing.

Many people don’t take the feast to the cemetery. Instead, they spread out a feast at home and guests who visit are offered all the favorite foods of the dead.

Many believe death is not separated from life. So they await the dead to show themselves. It is said the dead arrive at noon, and depart at the same time the next day so at noon on the next day, another great feast is held because the dead need a lot of energy to return to their world. Anything out of the ordinary that takes place during the feast is taken as a sign that the dead have arrived (even the landing of a fly on food can be thus interpreted).


The dead are always present but on this particular day, they either come down from heaven to join their families, or rise to heaven. November is springtime and also planting season on Bolivia. The rainy season begins and gardens and trees begin to bloom.

In Western Bolivia, according to Andean indigenous beliefs, the “table” is usually set in three levels: the Alaxpacha (heaven), the Ak’apacha (earth), and the Mank’apacha (hell). The preferred foods of the dead are taken into account when preparing this feast and the foods are set out in a certain order respecting the ecological layers in which they are produced (sky, earth, underground) as indicated above.



Many of the Andean cultures belief in the importance of reciprocity. The living feed the dead, whose bones are drying under the November sun, and the dead intervene with the earth to ensure she provides rains, which begin in mid-November, and eventual harvests are abundant.


Before the arrival of the Spanish, the dead (who at the time were embalmed) were taken out of their tombs. Friends and family members would dance with them, walk them around the cemetery, eat a meal with them and then put them back in their tombs. When the Spanish arrived they forbade this ritual. So today, a family member often dresses up to look like a dead family member and appears at the family reunion at the grave. He or she takes part in the feast that has been prepared and asks how the family has been over the past year. Sometimes the “dead” person gives advice to the children.


When the day ends, the children take palm fronds and chase the person in the costume out of the cemetery just to be sure the soul of the real dead person doesn’t give in to the temptation of inhabiting their body in order to remain among the living.

Another important ritual is the baking of tantawawas which are sweet breads made into various different shapes. Some of the breads are shaped into babies (wawas) and faces are either decorated onto the breads or little clay heads and faces are baked into the bread. In addition, other breads are shaped like ladders (so the souls of the dead can climb up to heaven), stars, crosses, or angels with wings to help children and babies to rise to heaven.



Posted by on November 20, 2013 in ART, foreign service


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Catching up with October: Part III – Book Characters at School!

We’re already half way into November… Lots have happened: our FS family got our next post assignment – so grateful, the stressful bidding season is over, and we’re happy we’ll be heading out to Brazil!

October catch-up – Celebrating Book Week in School!


Posted by on November 19, 2013 in ART, BOLIVIA, children, photography, school


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Catching up with October: Part II – ‘Dia de las Brujas’ in the Neighborhood!

We’re already half way into November… Lots have happened: our FS family got our next post assignment – so grateful, the stressful bidding season is over, and we’re happy we’ll be heading out to Brazil!

Bolivian culture is full of celebrations and traditions: the Todos os Santos Day, with the ‘apxata’ and the waiting for the spirits ['ayayus'], but I will leave it for later.

Right now, need to ‘catch up’ with last month – due to bidding season, our focus completely shifted towards our imminent future. All good now. :)

October catch-up – Trick-or-Treating in the Neighborhood – who thought Bolivian wouldn’t have that?! :o




Posted by on November 16, 2013 in ART, foreign service


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Catching up with October: Part I – Halloween at the workplace!

We’re already half way into November… Lots have happened: our FS family got our next post assignment – so grateful, the stressful bidding season is over, and we’re happy we’ll be heading out to Brazil!

Bolivian culture is full of celebrations and traditions: the Todos os Santos Day, with the ‘apxata’ and the waiting for the spirits ['ayayus'], but I will leave it for later.

Right now, need to ‘catch up’ with last month – Dia de Las Brujas [Halloween in 3 ways], School Book Week… and this couple’s 10th wedding anniversary. Due to bidding season, our focus completely shifted towards our imminent future. All good now. :)

October catch-up – Halloween at work, for little kids, and big, big ones!

marine house1


Posted by on November 13, 2013 in ART, foreign service


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I’m a Mix Tape Masterpiece!


Click here for image source – gotta be true to the sources, right? :o

You may think it’s because I’m different… I know I’m not from here… but who is? We’re all from somewhere else…



Born in the sunny city of Rio de Janeiro… likely born to be wild… a restless, yet love-searching, soul…


Because of my parents line of work, moved from place to place quite often, growing up in the capital of the country… an intriguing city, sharing love-and-hate relationships with its citizens…


I’m a nomad, a traveler. A verb, rather than a noun…


But one day, met my better half… the day had come for love… and again, a foreigner to me, but one who changed my life completely…


And the rest… is pretty much history! A story we’ve been writing together… :o


Making a mix tape [remember that?!]: (or playlist, for the younger folks) that tells them who you are through song.

Acknolegdment: original inspiration coming from


Posted by on October 6, 2013 in ART, expat, FAMILY, humor, music


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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 39, 'Saturated': the Quena Case].

The Quena Wood Case

Saturated. With colors. My offer for this week’s photo challenge, still sharing bits and pieces of the Bolivian culture, through the 52 Bolivian Sundays Photo Project! :o

This photo was taken during one of our recent hikes, just outside La Paz, through the Valle de La Luna unique geological formations. Flute players, Andean musicians usually come over and greets adventurers and pass-byers with their art… in more ways than one!

This beautiful wood case is commonly used to carry the Quena set, the traditional Andean flute. Note the unique wood work inside the case, all the colorful faces, carefully design to represent different Bolivian pueblos.

The quena is a South American wind instrument, mostly used by Andean musicians.

And here, a little bit of ‘cultural’ background:o

The quena (Quechua: qina, sometimes also written “kena” in English) is the traditional flute of the Andes. Traditionally made of bamboo or wood, it has 6 finger holes and one thumb hole, and is open on both ends or the bottom is half-closed (choked). To produce sound, the player closes the top end of the pipe with the flesh between his chin and lower lip, and blows a stream of air downward, along the axis of the pipe, over an elliptical notch cut into the end. 

Quena is mostly used in traditional Andean music. In the 1960s and 1970s the quena was used by several Nueva Canción musicians, this use was in most cases for particular songs and not as a standard instrument but some groups such as Illapu have used it regularly. In the 1980s and 1990s some post-Nueva Canción rock groups have also incorporated the quena in some of their songs; notably Soda Stereo in Cuando Pase el Temblor and Los Enanitos Verdes in Lamento Boliviano. The quena is also relatively common in World music.

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥



Posted by on September 28, 2013 in ART, BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL


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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 38, 'From Lines to Patterns'].

Lines and patterns through the traditional Andean Aguayo…

Today’s challenge is inspired by Evan Zelermyer‘s stunning urban, abstract, and architectural images from his “Shape, Line, Texture, Pattern” post published earlier this week. I’d love to see your interpretations of these elements, so grab your camera, get outside, and snap a great shot of shapes or lines that you stumble upon, or a cool texture or pattern that catches your eye.

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥


Posted by on September 23, 2013 in ART, BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL


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Until when I’ll say ‘Sorry, I’m busy’?

Somebody once told me ‘life is what happens when you’re busy doing other things’

Now, that I’m older, and hopefully more mature, I completely relate to the quote,

And I regret all the moments I told someone: ‘Sorry, I’m busy’…

Was I really busy?

Or was it just the quickest and least painful excuse to refuse myself from:

Being there for my growing siblings, and not simply pretending to act as their stand-in mother’. I regret I was too busy to ‘taking care of them’ instead of being the sister and friend they needed me to be;

I’m sorry for always finding reasons not to talk to parents over the weekend, even though they were thousands of miles away and hearing my voice would have given them a great deal of joy;

Going outside with one of my children, and engaging in some made-up fantastic adventure, only because I was finishing up a work piece;

Being patient with my husband after he’d had a tough day at work;

Being there for a friend who tried to share the challenges and misfortunes of a declining relationship;

Now I realize that the dishes can always wait in the sink, the laundry will go nowhere if it doesn’t get done, but my kid’s childhood is too precious to be wasted way;

I discovered that listening to a friend in need, returning a phone call, sending a  ‘just because’ greeting card to a long lost classmate are way more valuable than any work deadline to be met.

I now understand the importance of enjoying a glass of wine at the end of a rough day, with the one I chose to be my partner for life is priceless – especially when he allows me to partake into his difficulties. I’m grateful I can be that person for him, listening, advising, finding a solution together.

I learned I can’t be busy when life calls in; life can’t be happening around me while I’m occupied with mundane chores; life needs me to do my part…

I hope to live every moment of my present and future, thoroughly, and will be glad to tell life: “It’s okay, I’ll take your call, I’m not busy…”

Post in response to the Daily Prompt, “Sorry, I’m busy”.

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Posted by on September 15, 2013 in ART, FAMILY


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Muito Obrigada!

thank you cloud

Muito obrigada! A habilidade de poder escrever, entender e comunicar em várias línguas tem sido uma vantagem sem preço para toda a minha família. E para tanto, sou muito grata. Obrigada pela possibilidade de compartilhar um blog cuja principal língua é o Inglês, e no entanto, ainda ser capaz de manter o Português da minha origem brasileira, com meu marido e filhos.

Obrigada pela possibilidade de usar no trabalho, uma terceira língua aprendida, o Espanhol.

Languages have become part of my life. I need communication tools in more ways than one, and for all they ways I’ve been [mis]using languages, I’m very thankful. Muchísimas gracias por la posibilidad de comunicarme con otros en un país tan distinto del mio  – Bolivia. Gracias! Thank you! Obrigada!

In response to the Daily Prompt 'Thank You'

Posted by on September 12, 2013 in ART, LANGUAGE


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Daily Prompt: Luxurious

Concha y Toro


Luxurious… or guilty pleasure? You be the judge… I already know my answer! ♥

Concha y Toro

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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in ART, TRAVEL


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Eleven months in Bolivia: “Color me Wonderful!”

In Bolivia there’s always an excuse to bring out colors – by nature, in an incomparable way, or through handmade artwork. Our family of 5 has been at post for exactly 11 months now – enjoying life, watching our kids grow surrounded by new friends, improving their Spanish communication skills, and delighting ourselves with the inherent beauty this country has to offer.  Here’s a small sample of past 11 months in-country:

The majestic sky covering our home, the city of Nuestra Señora de La Paz:    



The fearless colors of a group of bikers cruising the “World’s Most Dangerous Road”


Despite not having access to the ocean, Bolivia hides some wonderful secrets, like the scenery around the Lake Titicaca


The unique, multi-color display of beauty… not found in many places like here. Where tradition, religion, faith and pride meet!


The perfect combination between blues, greens and earth tones!


The respect and appreciation to others, shown by people from all over the world:

mi corazon con Boston 2  

Our 11th month in Bolivia is ending, sealed with happiness, joy and our warmest greetings to our friends and extended family – wherever they are, please enjoy a bit of our “colorful home“…♥ Now, off to our second year at a great FS Post Assignment – thank you all! :o  


mama mia


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♫ “I wanna know what love is…” ♥

Love Notes

Taking advantage of this being “Mother’s Day” weekend, and inspired by a recent Daily Prompt suggestion, I’ll try to answer this tough question, and yet, illustrate the ‘response’ with a few musical memories… See if you can catch them!

We each have many types of love relationships — parents, children, spouses, friends. And they’re not always with people; you may love an animal, or a place. Is there a single idea or definition that runs through all the varieties of “love”?

Obviously, I’m not the first one who thought about this song ♫ when we saw the title for the prompt… and being a Foreigner myself, it couldn’t be any more fitting! :o Who doesn’t love a good play with words?

But, in fact, What’s Love?   – thought I “had a way on this, but still missing several connecting dots in order to finely tune down my ideas on love!

Here is my opportunity to try: I did not marry my First Love ♫, and because, like many, was always seeking for the perfect combination of Love, Trust and Honesty ♫, I was able to discover What Is This Thing Called Love ♫

Love Changes everything ♫.  We’ve become more than a couple, we’re a family, and with each child, we now wholeheartedly understand the meaning of Timeless Love ♫… There are different kinds of love, and we love each person in our lives, in a different way, no more, and no less… Simply different. Fortunately, there’s no single Meaning of Love ♫. But there’s definitely, Not Enough Love In The World ♫ to all the ones that need it!

That said, if I may leave a bit of advice, as somebody who’s constantly experience love, from my family, friends; from the one I chose to be my partner for life, the one who’ve given the most precious expressions of love – our children – here it is: “Put A Little Love In Your Heart“ ♫, and all will be well… ♥

Happy Mother’s Day, to all the moms out there! And much, much love to us all! :o

For the "non-Portuguese speaking world", inside the heart you may find the word 'Mãe', which means, "Mom"... too perfect, right? :o

For the “non-Portuguese speaking world”, inside the heart you may find the word ‘Mãe’, which means, “Mom”… too perfect, right? :o


Posted by on May 11, 2013 in ART, FAMILY, LOVE, music, photography


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{Weekly Writing Challenge} Their future, through the door…

IMG_4656It’s about 2:30 in the morning, and I see her coming in. The little body walked through our bedroom door, and I hear the sound of the so-familiar tip-toeing business… 

Her half-asleep self, messy hair, teary eyes, tell me she’s lost her sleep, and has come seeking comfort and protection in her parents room… not an uncommon event, and like any other night, I guide her towards the bed. She lies down next to me…

We hug, cuddle, and while asking her the reason for her sadness, I’m told she’s afraid.

My five-year-old tells me she’s had a dream, and in the dream she felt lost, lonely, and didn’t know where to go for help, nor who to talk to… She tells me she’s afraid of growing up, and in becoming an adult, leaving us [her parents] behind, like what I did, in her words, ‘when I left my  mother, and became her mommy’…

I let her know it had just been a dream, and that she was safe with me – her father and I would always protect her. I then, confessed I also used to fear the unknown, and often times, was too scared to think about it…

I told her that when I was her age, I used to fear growing up, and being left by the ones I loved. At her age I also began understanding the meanings of life and death, and all the events in between…

IMG_4645She’ll never have to feel lost or alone. We’d always be there, for her, for her big brother and her baby sister…

I told her the Future is something amazing, it’s like a dream you have no idea it’s coming, until you close your eyes at night, and let your mind take over your body…

By then, the teary eyes were gone, and through the fade light in our bedroom, the little girl hesitated in opening up a smile, which she finally did… I felt her comfort, her confidence, her trust. I knew she understood she didn’t have to fear for the unknown.

The future is just part of a sweet dream all of us experience… when we close our eyes, and let our minds take us through the bedroom door… into the unknown… :o


Thanks for the inspiration! :o 

{Backstory} This week, the inspiration comes from walking through a door… imaginary, or a physical portal… 



Posted by on May 8, 2013 in ART, LOVE


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“Here I go again!”: dancing to ABBA’s Mama Mia.


This 5 year old not only decided she could dance to the ABBA‘s Mama Mia and ‘designed’ her very own ‘moves’, but also, despite not convincing any of her classmates to join her in this ‘Artistic Adventure’, went onto stage ‘solo’, cheered by a full international school auditorium… The youngest one to perform at the school… and yet, the bravest! ♥

Pretty gutsy, right? :o 


Posted by on May 3, 2013 in ART, BOLIVIA, children, music


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Life through photography: the sky over La Paz, Bolivia.




One of these weekends, our son spotted unique formations in sky. Husband was quick enough to get the camera and register the view through our window… The very peculiar sky over the city of La Paz, in the neighborhood of Achumani, place we’re calling home… ♥



Posted by on April 21, 2013 in ART, BOLIVIA, I SPY, photography


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Snapshots of Artistic Expressions in La Paz. Part III: Mujeres Artistas.

Sharing here a few images from the exhibit, at the Galeria de Arte Alternativa – by the neighborhood of San Miguel, La Paz – with art pieces [paintings and photography], courtesy of one of the participants, Mrs Susan Scanlon – my deepest appreciation to her as a wife, committed mother, artist and friend – thank you! ♥

Con un total de 40 obras realizadas en diferentes formatos, técnicas y con una amplia variedad de temática, esta muestra estará abierta al público paceño hasta el 22 de marzo.


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Just another regular day in my life… Can you relate to it?

Kids driving me up the wall is actually, a source of inspiration
Who’d have thought of that?
Just decided to express [using a simple comic strip]  the way I usually feel – do you really believe I sometimes try to hide from my own kids???
That wouldn’t be something a Real Mom would do, right? :o
More of my random thoughts’ on parenting here… recently revisited… :o



Posted by on February 21, 2013 in ART, children, FAMILY, humor


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On your fingertips: stylish mom in a snap… what’s hot in Bolivia for the Carnaval?

Bringing out  fantastic idea, since it’s CARNAVAL weekend all over South America, and Bolivia is no different!

I simply love, love any type of ‘finger nail artwork’. And Bolivia, like any other Latin country, is probably one of the best places to exercise this passion! ♥

How to be a full-time mom of little kids, capable of helping them with homework despite the baby’s high pitch crying, not forgetting to devote some attention to the hubby, and yet trying to look good and stylish according to the ‘Latino’ trends? ? I know, pretty hard, right? We all try to be the “perfect woman-wife-mom”, fully committed with school activities, extra-curricular schedules, reserving some quality time for the growing family, keeping up with friends, being a committed professional…

Sometimes, it’s just too much… And then, you remember: you’re still a girl, and you’d like to (once in a while!) to look good, trendy, fashionable, stylish… not for your friends, your partner, your colleagues at work – but for your OWN SELF. The question: how? You don’t have a whole lot of time for any pampering, and you’re not willing to spend a lot of money. Hummm…

The answer: just give your hands/nails a make-up… a few minutes later and, voilá! The beauty of living in South America is that one is over-exposed to whatever is trendy/hot…. Why not try something new? And, I gotta say, I went for the nails thing… why not a different color a week? Below, a few suggestions from Paloma Cuesta:

Why not go for something different, just for the fun of it? And be a “very trendy & cool busy mom”, even if it’s only for a week! :o Below, a few images, courtesy of the artist Carla Llanos:

Imagen: Uñas Tips con Gel

Imagen: Uñas Acrílicas

Imagen: Uñas Gel con Acrílico

Imagen: Uñas Acrílicas, diseño blanco y negro

Imagen: Uñas, Encapsulado Flores Secas

Imagen: Uñas, Encapsulado Flores Secas

Imagen: Uñas de Gel, Cristales

Imagen: Diseño en Uñas de Pies

What about some stylish toenails? Feet deserve the same amount of TLC… and fashion! :o


Posted by on February 9, 2013 in ART, Fashion, photography


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Nuestra Señora de La Paz, seen from above…


A few snapshots of the capital of Bolivia [Plurinational State of Bolivia], the city of ‘Nuestra Señora de La Paz‘, and we’re looking at a population of over 800 thousand people, just in La Paz. 

The average elevation of the city, Bolivia is 3,829 meters – making one wonder about how we find a way to adjust to ‘life in the high altitude‘… But we do, and we’re currently loving it!


These are photo shots taken from El Alto, just outside the city, overlooking what seems to be a ‘toy city’, where houses and buildings resemble ‘building blocks’… Above we have, La Paz, during the day, and a snapshot of the city, at night, below. Enjoy!  :o



Posted by on February 7, 2013 in ART, BOLIVIA, photography


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Snapshots of Artistic Expressions in La Paz. Part II: The Fighting Cholitas!

Like many others, I need colorful and fun experiences in my life. A good way to cope with the intense life of the foreign service [moving every so often, and raising kids along the way]: find ways to ‘dive into the local culture, learning about their traditions and what moves their hearts! :o

We’ve already been posted in Bolivia for exactly 6 months, and I’m always on the lookout for interesting stories, traditional eventss, unique ways that represent the Bolivian Culture. The first post was about Art in La Paz through paintings. This time, a group of friends was taken to El Alto, just outside La Paz, for a Sunday afternoon experience with the Fighting Cholitas‘! A unique experience for many foreigners visiting Bolivia, and a great fit for this week’s photo challenge!

In order to ‘educate myself’ a bit, I did a brief research on these famous women, and the easiest explanation comes from Wikipedia:

The Fighting Cholitas are a group of female lucha librewrestlers who perform in El Alto, Bolivia. The Cholitas are part of a group called the Titans of the Ring, which includes both male and female wrestlers. The Titans perform each Sunday for an audience of hundreds at El Alto’s Multifunctional Center.

Like the general population of El Alto, which consists almost entirely of Aymara and Quechua residents, the Cholitas are indigenous. They wear braided hair, bowler hats and multilayered skirts in the ring.

Now, less talk and more images. Starting with our short trip leaving the city of La Paz, towards El Alto, the ‘grand stage’ for the Cholitas Performance!

The ‘way to travel': our Cholita Wrestling Bus, personalized tickets, snacks and souvenirs!

The ‘performers’… or should I say… ‘the fearless fighters’ and their loyal fans? :o

These women aren’t like the men in their spandex outfits and masks. They’re Cholitas,  indigenous Bolivian women in their traditional Aymara Indian clothes. The outfit includes a layered skirt buoyed by petticoats, a shawl with long swinging fringe and a bowler hat adorned with gold pins. It’s what the women wear in, and out, of the wrestling ring.

Cholitas wrestling is an ever-growing business. Hundreds of tourists, and Bolivians, line up every week to watch the cholitas beat on each other. But why the fascination? “It’s something spectacular, something never seen before to have a cholita in the ring,” a common opinion shared among us, astonished and somehow, confused (?), members of the Sunday audience…. :o


Posted by on February 4, 2013 in ART, BOLIVIA, humor, photography, sports


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Snapshots of Artistic Expressions. A visit to the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in La Paz.


Art galleries in La Paz have been springing up like cactus flowers after the rains.

Many are within an easy walk from one another. Is there a better way for getting to know the beauties (and resources) this colorful city offers?

Now, that I’m comfortable enough to walk around the city, I’ve begun a series of posts about art in the city, this one being the result of an afternoon visit to a current Art Exhibit at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo ‘Plaza’in La Paz.  Oh, the temporary advantages of being a ‘stay-home-mom’!

Got some free time to explore, what about nicely educating yourself on the country’s history, art and endless man-made beauty? I’ve got, and I’m slowly educating myself... through art and history! :o

[All images provided here were taken by me - with permission].


Still curious for more?

Find below a list of gallery websites, and/or related resources:

Bolivian Painter Claudia Soria
Online gallery of paintings by Bolivian painter Claudia Soria.

Bolivian Painter Emma Rosario Imana de Murguia
Biography of the artist and some art work samples (Italian).

El Retorno de los Angeles
Amazing online exhibition of Bolivian baroque paintings (angels, archangels, virgins and saints).

Galería de Arte y Cultura de Bolivia
Art and culture gallery. Paintings, masks, enbroideries, books, and videos for sale.

Jorge Crespo Berdecio
Artist in metal work, serigraphy, xilography, and lithography.

Jorge Hurtado’s Fine Art Gallery
Works in fine arts, illustration, and graphic design. Nice site.

Mamani Mamani
Collection paintings catalogued by theme: mothers, flowers, archangels, birds among others.

Marcelo Videa – Surrealismo Apechurrado
Surrealist art. Paintings, drawings, sculptures, and ceramic.

Orlando Arias Morales
Creative ecstasy in the works of Bolivian painter Orlando Arias Morales. Portfolio.

Paula Lopez – Art Gallery
Resume, exhibitions and pictures.

Pedro Portugal
Bolivian artist. Paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and murals.

Sanjines Art 
Website for Bolivian Artist and Photographer Marcelo Sanjines.

Culture, architecture, and arts center. Paintings, sculptures and books.


Posted by on January 23, 2013 in ART, BOLIVIA, expat, foreign service, TRAVEL


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Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 3, 'Beyond']

IMG_5569With at least a post a week for 2013, which I’m calling “52 Bolivian Sundays”, I keep moving forward with the plan to share my [photo] impressions about our surroundings, the culture we’re currently calling ‘ours’, the place we’ll call home for the next year and a half…

IMG_5570Today, for the third Sunday of 2013, I’m sharing one of photo I snapped during a recent visit to a local Art Exhibit in town. The photo responds to the weekly photo challenge, “Beyond“, trying to answer to: “Do you have a photo which invites the viewer to look beyond?”

Leading the readers through the story in the photo. What do YOU SEE BEYOND the picture? :o

This is s very powerful picture, an oil painting, part of this months current Art Exhibit at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo ‘Plaza’, in La Paz [more images from my visit to the museum to come later this week, after we return from our family escape to the Lake Titicaca!].

The image has many possible meanings/interpretations, although I believe there’s not doubt about its powerful impact/reaction… The picture portraits the image of a kid, maybe in despair? And, at the same time you find yourself looking at the helpless face of this boy, you discover the image is being ‘ripped off’ from its reality, which brings us to the questions:

‘Is it all real?‘Is all the pain portrait here, simply an illusion?’ Is the image a symbol of a lost childhood?’

What about you? What are you seeing beyond the painted image? ♥

Original posts from Photo Project:


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Snapshots of Artistic Expressions in La Paz. Part I: Paintings.

Quenua Tree [oil on canvas]

My most recent creation, showcasing the love affair with a unique tree – the Andean Queñoa, from my front yard!

Like many others, I need color in my life. A few years back, I discovered a good way to cope with the intense life of the foreign service, moving every so often, and raising kids along the way – through artistic expressions. We’ve been at our new posting for a little over 2 months, and I’m getting back together with my passion: painting. I’ve been learning, touring galleries, listening to stories…

Art galleries in La Paz have been springing up like cactus flowers after the rains. Many are within an easy walk from one another. Is there a better way for getting to know the beauties (and resources) this colorful city offers? Now, that La Paz is our home, and I’m comfortable enough to walk around the city, I’ve begun a series of posts about art in La Paz, this initial one is about ‘Painting’, bringing up a list of resources for other visitors/expats, like myself. Also, this month I’ll resume my painting classes – something I’d stopped while back in Brazil when  my baby girl was born (2010). Here in La Paz I already got one canvas out, but still feel the enormous need to improve my skills, and learn more techniques… Oh, the temporary advantages of being a ‘stay-home-mom’! Got some free time to explore, what about nicely educating yourself on the country’s history, art and endless man-made beauty? I’ve got, and I’m slowly educating myself... through art and history! :o

[All images provided here were taken by me - with permission - at different art galleries throughout the neighborhood of San Miguel, La Paz].

Feeling very proud of my 'creations', right now...

Here, 3 of my “creations”…

Find below a list of gallery websites, and/or related resources:

Bolivian Painter Claudia Soria
Online gallery of paintings by Bolivian painter Claudia Soria.

Bolivian Painter Emma Rosario Imana de Murguia
Biography of the artist and some art work samples (Italian).

El Retorno de los Angeles
Amazing online exhibition of Bolivian baroque paintings (angels, archangels, virgins and saints).

Galería de Arte y Cultura de Bolivia
Art and culture gallery. Paintings, masks, enbroideries, books, and videos for sale.

Jorge Crespo Berdecio
Artist in metal work, serigraphy, xilography, and lithography.

Jorge Hurtado’s Fine Art Gallery
Works in fine arts, illustration, and graphic design. Nice site.

Mamani Mamani
Collection paintings catalogued by theme: mothers, flowers, archangels, birds among others.

Marcelo Videa – Surrealismo Apechurrado
Surrealist art. Paintings, drawings, sculptures, and ceramic.

Orlando Arias Morales
Creative ecstasy in the works of Bolivian painter Orlando Arias Morales. Portfolio.

Paula Lopez – Art Gallery
Resume, exhibitions and pictures.

Pedro Portugal
Bolivian artist. Paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and murals.

Sanjines Art 
Website for Bolivian Artist and Photographer Marcelo Sanjines.

Culture, architecture, and arts center. Paintings, sculptures and books.


Posted by on January 5, 2013 in ART, BOLIVIA, expat, foreign service, TRAVEL


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2013 arrived in style… 80s Style!

So, 2013 is here… and we got to celebrate it’s first hours surrounded by great music, yummy food, good friends, all of our kids, who joined us for the midnight celebration (yeap, kids were too excited to fall asleep, or even, take a short nap!); while we all watched the fireworks happening throughout the city of La Paz…♥

Earlier, I’d shared that a couple of our expat friends here had decided to put together an 80s party to welcome the New Year! Everyone had a blast, and here are some of the images from the last day of 2012, and the very first hours of 2013.

That’s what the New Year’s Celebration brought out! The best? Definitely the 80s hair styles… look at what people came up with! :o
Someone else who wrote about ‘Style’ for the New Year? Here!


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Saying ‘Goodbye 2012′ in style. 80s Style!

Celebrating the arrival of 2013, and bidding farewell to a dear 2012… All with style – 80s style! Could there be a more fun way to do it?

Screen shot 2012-12-27 at 10.45.17 AM

[A confession, thank you very much, Robert Smith, for not only making my high school/early College years bearable, but also for helping me endure my recent parenting years, as a mother of 3 little ones…

Only another tired mom would understand the calming and motivational power of an 80s song…



:o Especially if, that same mom is ready to give up on her first-grader’s homework on a Saturday morning!

Somehow, the 80s music finds a way to ‘reach out to me’, and bring me back to reality… Not in high school anymore… the sleepless nights are not due to some term paper or exam…

now, the short nights usually come from a crying kid with fever, or, another one having a nightmare; or simply, missing my well-deserved beauty rest by having a couple of extra ‘bodies’ in our bed… every single night, since 2005! ♥

But well, that’s the path we chose, and the 80s music have always helped me thru ‘tough times’… ♥ My favorite, without question, The Cure

80s Party 06

Wonders that only a blond wig can do! 5 years later, 3 kids, 2 more countries under the belt… the forties have arrived… let’s see what type of hairstyle this mom will bring out! :o

80s Party, 2007Let’s see what the New Year’s Celebration brings!

Now, not only I’ll go to a party with ‘my guy’, but a handful of other ‘accessories’, which will include a 7-year-old boy, who loves 70s & 80s music; an almost 5 year old girl who loves to dress up [like her mother!] and is ‘addicted’ to dance… and a 2-year-old girl, which’s still a bit young to define her style… time will tell…

80shairThat said, getting these bad boys out of the closet [I mean, the leg warmers! mine are pink with white stripes], making sure the hair will be ‘par’ for the celebration, check the clothing colors [lots of them, and they better be bright!], accessories, make-up… and head to the party humming my favorite tunes!

NOW: on my way out to the local market, trying to find some ‘miracle hair products’ for tomorrow night’s bash! :o

 Happy New Year to all of us! 


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise.

Caught by Surprise!

Surprised when we were asked by the Cooking Chef to come up and show our ‘cooking skills’, while he was preparing our Japanese dinner… Not a very positive result, as the pictures may tell! Couldn’t even break an egg, correctly! :o But works well for this week’s photo inspiration. Happy Holidays!

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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in ART, children, FOOD, humor, photography


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6 days away! Holiday greeting cards already sent!

IMG_3462Image #14: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Holiday Cards are on their way… What about you? :o

1 Comment

Posted by on December 19, 2012 in ART, BOLIVIA, I SPY, photography


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate.


Somebody once told me: “your first child is made of glass… the second one, made of plastic, and the third child, will come made out of rubber… unbreakable…” Really? She still looks and seems very fragile… very delicate… a perfect fit for week’s photo inspiration. She’s my most true interpretation of the theme…

Here, dressed as a flower, for her second birthday.


Posted by on December 15, 2012 in ART, children, photography


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11 days to Christmas: It’s Friday! The Hormone Guide…

Friday is here… holidays are just around the corner… Husband’s gone on a work trip. This mom is left home with 3 little ones and a pet hamster [come on, what you mean 'you won't be able to clean his house today? how is it any different from all the other days?'] Oh, well, gotta find something to cheer me up, and sure enough, rescued an old post, especially prepared for Fridays like today.

Read and learn – great tip for this holiday season, where, we, women, tend to eat shop talk indulge a little bit too much! :o

It’s coming from another woman, to all other women, and probably, all men with a good sense of humor…

Source: another fellow blogger, with great sense of humor! :o


Posted by on December 14, 2012 in ART, humor, LANGUAGE


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[Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry] The singular city of Brasília, where architecture and mysticism meet.

[Backstory] Geometry. This challenge is about the shapes and rhythms that make up the geometry of our world. Many photographs of any genre have an underlying sense of geometry, but I often like to make this the main subject of my work. I think it’s the most important aspect of a photograph’s success. This could be the patterns of the natural world up close and personal, or the rhythm of your local buildings. The above photograph, “Positive Negative,” depicts the Paula Rego Museum in Lisbon where the sky created an equally strong element of the composition as the building. The image has a totemic quality, softened by the passing cloud. I had waited for this cloud to move into the perfect position within the frame. The colour, light, and form of the image emphasize this geometry.

Share a photo that means GEOMETRY to you!

Tip: Once you have found a good subject that contains an interesting geometry, try to crop tightly into the subject to make an unexpected composition. Your goal should be to create an abstract composition so the image is more about underlying shapes than a literal representation of the subject matter itself — by doing this you create art rather than a snapshot.

Brasilia cathedral

Image Source (left): “” Brasilia is without any doubt a singular city, different from all others; even those ones considered moderns and planned.

For such special city, an equally singular Cathedral was designed and built. On 12th September 1958, the Cathedral’s cornerstone was laid. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia is an expression of the geniality of the architect Oscar Niemeyer. In 1960, the Cathedral’s structure was finished, and only the 70 m diameter of the circular area and the 16 concrete columns were visible. These columns, having parabolic section and weighing 90 t, represent two hands moving upwards to heaven. The Cathedral was dedicated on the 31st May, 1970. At that time it had already the external transparent window. Four bronze sculptures 3 m high, representing the Evangelists, can be seen at the external square in the entrance of the Temple. These sculptures were made with the help of the sculptor Dante Croce, in 1968. Inside the nave, three sculptures of angels are suspended by steel cables.

The smallest angel has 2,22 m of length and weighs 100 kg. The medium one has 3,40 m of length and weighs 200 kg. The big one has 4,25 m of length and 300 kg weighs. The sculptures were made by Alfredo Ceschiatti, with the help of Dante Croce, in 1970. The nave stained glass is made of 16 pieces of fibreglass. These pieces, in colours of blue, white and brown, were fixed between the concrete columns, in triangles of 10 m of base and 30 m of height. They were painted in 1990 by Marianne Peretti. Having an oval form, the Baptistery has its walls covered by a panel of ceramic tiles painted in 1977 by Athos Bulcão. The local architecture is completed by a bell tower. Its four big bells were donated by Spain.


Posted by on November 2, 2012 in ART, Brasilia, photography, TRAVEL


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{Weekly Writing Challenge} I wish I were…

I wish I were

nowhere else, but here. My home is where my traveling heart is.

I’m a woman, a wife, a mother, with a restless spirit and an endless thirst for life, for knowledge, for passion. I need passion in my days, and passion has always been given to me.

Gradually, and consistently…

I wish I were no wiser than I’m now, nor I wish I were more innocent than my current acts may appear.

Wisdom and innocence are two parallel states of mind. I’m grateful for the ongoing ability to recognize the difference.

I wish I were no younger than I’m today,                                                                                                     it wouldn’t be fair with my younger self – she ought to have experienced and learned from her own mistakes. Why try to be older, when your mind and soul seek learning through life?

I wish I were no older than my true wrinkles tell the world. Aging is a critical part of this wonderful process called ‘life’. And life is good.

Right now, I wish I were no more than what I represent to my family, to my loved ones, to the world. I’m comfortable in my own skin and not scared by my own thoughts. The ‘little voices in my head’ keep me going…

I wish I were

nothing else, but what I’m right now.

I’m grateful for my present, and I look forward to living the future. Savoring a day at a time. No more, no less…


♥ Thanks for the inspiration! :o 

{Backstory} Last week, WordPress grammar guru, Daryl, talked about the oft-mysterious subjunctive mood in If Hairs Be Wires, Black Wires Grow on Her Head. Use of the subjunctive mood isn’t as common in English as it is in other languages. As Daryl mentioned in his post, the most common uses of the subjunctive mood in English are conditions, suppositions, wishes, demands, suggestions, and statements of necessity. At least once in our lives, we’ve all muttered, “I just wish I were…” or “If I were more like…”, knowingly or unknowingly invoking the subjunctive mood. In honor of Daryl’s post, we were asked to finish the following sentence for this week’s writing challenge: I wish I were.”

Let’s see how I did it! If you liked it (or not!), share your opinion here… Is writing something for everyone, and the one thing we need is inspiration? Thanks for reading!

Other “wishes”:


Posted by on October 30, 2012 in ART, foreign service


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Big, big storm coming this way!

Although it’s Spring in La Paz, here and there, the weather changes – and a cold snowy front comes up… Beautiful, big, and majestic!

According to Sara Rosso, whose photograph was portraited as this week’s photo challenge inspiration at WordPress, “BIG. It’s larger than life, it’s unexpected, it’s the protagonist in a scene”. 

And for you? What is big? :o


Posted by on October 13, 2012 in ART, BOLIVIA, photography


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Big.

Big: The Supermoon over the Coast of Brazil. In May 2012 (when these pictures were taken), the supermoon appeared even bigger and more glorious than the previous year.

According to Sara Rosso, whose photograph was portraited as this week’s photo challenge inspiration at WordPress, “BIG. It’s larger than life, it’s unexpected, it’s the protagonist in a scene”. 

Click below for original post about the Supermoon over the coast of Brazil.

The ‘post-supermoon’, May 7th 2012, Brazil.

And for you? What is big? :o


Posted by on October 12, 2012 in ART, photography


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Snapshots of the Ballet Folklorico de Potosi, Bolivia. A dinner and dance presentation in La Paz.


South America is home to some of the oldest known societies, with pre-Columbian civilizations dating back to earlier than 15,000 BCE.

Aymara and Quechua cultures are among the indigenous peoples that still dwell in the Andes Mountains, which cover parts of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Chile. In Bolivia, fifty percent of the population is of indigenous ancestry.

Bolivia’s rich dance repertoire consists of pre-Columbian dances performed in rural areas during religious and secular community celebrations, as well as European influenced mestizo dances, which originated after the Spanish conquest.

Mestizo dances are common in urban centers where they are performed at popular festivals and celebrations of Catholic patron saints. During these community celebrations, group solidarity is strengthened, while shared values and cultural identities are reaffirmed.

We were fortunate enough to enjoy a pleasant dinner and dance, organized by the Association of Diplomatic Ladies in La Paz, Bolivia, was the stage for a beautiful and colorful presentation, coordinated by the Ballet Folklorico Potosi.

[From local newspaper] 

Obtener fondos, socializar algunos problemas y llegar a más centros de atención de los más necesitados forman parte de la agenda diaria de la Asociación de Damas Diplomáticas y Organismos Internacionales.

La actividad más importante del año es el baile de gala, evento en el que las damas buscan recaudar la mayor cantidad de fondos, con el apoyo de empresas y personas que contribuyen a la realización de este noble fin.

Este año, la gala se realizará el sábado 29 del presente, en los salones del Radisson Plaza Hotel.

La presidenta de la organización, Keiko Watanabe, y las damas de su directiva invitan a los corazones generosos a contribuir con esta labor social.




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Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine [for the love of chocolate].

A very interesting comparison. Last week’s photo theme was “Solitary”, and this week’s challenge is to find a photo that says “mine”… very introspective, and I’m almost saying, a bit selfish. Well the word “mine” seems to be part of my household with three little kids, being said, repeated, several times a day, and often times, more than once in the same sentence!

But my impression for this week will relate to myself. ‘Mine’ is for me

- sorry kids! :o

A nice afternoon by myself, kids in school, decided to venture the local market in La Paz, and found a great stand, for the love of chocolate – Bolivian alfajores (almost sinful caramel sandwich cookies!), and chocolate-made shot glasses, to enjoy your favorite liquor, after a well-deserved coffee… and, the best part: all mine! :o

And here, a few impression of “Mine”: WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE : MINE « beyond toxicity Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | A Little British Pea … Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | The Daily Post at « 2012 – ON THE BENCH Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine « Insanity at its best! Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | Lonely Travelog Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | Wind Against Current These are a few of my favorite travel things « Galang Pusa Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | R Shad Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far « picture-bandit Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine « picture-bandit This is My Place « bukaningrat ™ Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine « britten Weekly Photo Challenge : Mine « Memories are made of this Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine « Fenland Photos weekly photo challenge : mine | bodhisattvaintraining Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | a hectic life Weekly Photo Challenged: Mine | JenineSilos Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine « The Laughing Housewife Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | My Sardinian Life | La Mia Vita Sarda Weekly Photo Challenge : Mine | aysabaw Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine « Jinan Daily Photo Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine « Ruined for Life: Phoenix Edition Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine « Bouncing Beardies Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | The Serenity Space Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine | Autumn in Bruges Weekly Photo Challenge – Mine | Chittle Chattle Weekly Photo Challenge – Mine | Just Snaps WordPress Photo Challenge: Mine « A year in the Life

Posted by on October 1, 2012 in ART, photography


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Sixty Days in La Paz – and I’m in love…

The Queñoa Tree, with its beautiful red bark, grows higher than any other tree in the world.

We’ve been at post for two months now. A lot has happened during this period, especially regarding our foreign service community, worldwide. We’ve got friends posted everywhere. We’ve got friends working back home. We’ve kept in contact, ensuring that all of us are well, safe, sane… We’re all, somehow, moving on with our lives. It’s our work, our lifestyle, our choice… And we’re proud of the choices we’ve made.

These past two months have been filled with cultural, linguistic, social adjustments for our family. For the five of us. Our oldest son is an active first grader, and thrilled with the discoveries that the ability to read has brought him. We, as parents, are pleased and keep encouraging his success. Our middle daughter has a more intense social life than her parents do, often invited by her kindergarden peers to play dates and birthday gatherings. And our baby girl, who’s approaching her second birthday, is simply enjoying life, chasing birds in the yard, having picnics on the grass with her mama, exercising her constantly learned Spanish skills

All in all, we’re fine. And as I stated earlier, I’m in love. I’m in love with this new, calm, high-altitude, slow-paced life. I’m in love with the possibility to spend more time with our kids, and to be more involved with their school, offering my help and skills to the American community.

And I’m in love with our yard, our Fall-colored plants (even though it’s Spring here!), the eco-projects I’ve been working on, and, most of all, I’m in love with our tree, the typical Andean Queñua (or Kenua) – the first thing I see in the morning, from our bedroom window. I wrote about it before [excerpt below], and, as a way to bring my mind back to good things, a strategy to temporarily forget about recent unhappy events, I decided to create a memory of this one natural feature, painting it on canvas. We still don’t have our HHE, nor my brushes, paints, but a simple problem that was easily solved. So, in order to honor my ‘newest love’, here it is, the recent creation, with a few other ‘creations of mine’… and I’m proud of all of them! ♥

Cheers to building memories!

Feeling very proud of my ‘creations’, right now…


[From original post about the Queñua Tree]

[Español] La keñua o queñoa de altura (Polylepis tarapacana) es una especie de planta con flor de la familia de las rosáceas (Rosaceae). La especie se distribuye a lo largo de la Coordillera Andina desde Perú hasta Chile, incluyendo Bolivia.

La especie se encuentra en floración entre diciembre-enero y marzo-abril. Fructifica abundantemente, en racimos. Parte de las hojas y de las últimas ramificaciones, cae durante el invierno; cuando el nuevo follaje está completamente desarrollado, se desprenden las hojas restantes.

La especie se distribuye en un rango elevacional entre 3900 hasta 4700 m, algunos individuos aislados pueden llegar hasta 5200 msnm en el Parque Nacional Sajama. Es conocida mundialmente porque en su distribución la especie alcanza más altitud que cualquier otro árbol en el mundo. Queñoales eres una comunidad vegetal en que es dominante la Queñoa (Polylepis spp.), árbol característico del Altiplano. Los troncos, de madera dura, son generalmente retorcidos, y están cubiertos por una corteza exfoliante, formada por múltiples láminas de color castaño rojizo.

[English] Polylepis woodland is a distinctive, high-elevation Andean forest habitat that occurs above cloud level (3,500-5,000 m) as patches of woody vegetation surrounded by paramo (e.g., Festuca species) or puna (e.g., Ichu species) grass and shrub (e.g., Baccharis species) communities. These high-altitude woodlands tend to be relicts of a once-widespread habitat and comprise mainly evergreen trees of the genus Polylepis (Rosaceae) which are highly drought tolerant. The trunk and branches are laminated with brown-reddish bark that peels off in paper-like sheets as a protection against extremely low temperatures, and often have mosses and lichens growing on them.

Learning something new everyday here! :o


Posted by on September 29, 2012 in ART, BOLIVIA, expat, foreign service, photography


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Weekly photo challenge: Solitary.

According to Cheri Lucas, whose photograph was portraited as this week’s photo challenge inspiration at WordPress, “Solitary. I love capturing a person in a quiet and often unexpected moment. These kinds of images can be reflective, mysterious, or even sad, conjuring strong emotions and stirring up stories in my head… We were strangers—yet alone, together. A solitary moment, frozen with my lens.”

And here, my few impressions of solitary:



Posted by on September 23, 2012 in ART, photography


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