Category Archives: children

Living in a ‘limbo': Raising Third Culture Kids.


What do I mean by ‘trouble with third-culture kids‘?

Right now I’m simply trying to collect my thoughts into one piece, because attempting to answer this question has become my life task. I joke with my three children that I was only a woman before they were brought into my life. they made me turned into something completely different, the somehow scary concept of a parent… Not easy to be a parent, and even harder the ongoing duty of raising (well) kids that are wholeheartedly part of a hybrid scenario.

The so-called hybrid culture, a moving creature, a living chimera who’s not only part of their lives, but also defines who they (the children) are, the way they behave, how they interact with the (current) society, how they understand and express their feelings…

This past week the children went to visit their new school, and participated in a short orientation activity with same-age/same grade kids. They were asked to introduce themselves, and mention where they were coming from, their previous school/country,  stating their nationality.

My oldest was born in the US, and seems to have strong ties to the country thru sports, aligning himself with the ‘American’ culture. He’d also tell you he’s Brazilian – got a Brazilian-American mom and embraces the culture here. My surprise that day at school, came from my 1st-grader: when students originally from Brazil where called to stand up, she remained sited. The same happened when US kids were called to introduced themselves. Finally, when she heard, ‘now, children from Africa’, she jumped out of her seat, displaying a big and proud smile… Yes, she was born in South Africa, while our family was leaving/working in Mozambique. She left the country before she turned 2. But her allegiances to her ‘African past’ are remarkably strong – the culture, the music, the dances – she lives thru the stories we tell her from the time our family spent there. Who knows why? and, as long as she’s happy, we’re happy, despite our utterly lack of understanding. Maybe, for now, the answers will just confuse us…

As a parent, I’ve become aware of this ‘chimera’ my children represent. Sometimes I feel I don’t know them, and it’s not their fault – I simply don’t find the correct way to address their growing needs; how to respond to their sadness and anger; how to deal with their mood swings during the transitions, the constant moves, the new places, the losses of old friends…

I recently read a guest post written by Nina Sichel, introducing on one of publications, which referred to third-culture children living in a ‘limbo‘. Throughout the text, there was the comment on the ‘layers of loss’ a TCK experiences – according to Nina Sichel, those layers run deep – friends, schools, favorite places, pets… and again, now I’m wearing my ‘concerned parent hat’, seeking ways to address these losses with my kids, already knowing they will happen over and over…

Our family has relocated to our new post assignment – today marks the end of our second week in Brasília. My children are comfortable with Portuguese, and have been able to make a feel new friends during Summer Camp here. They seem happy, they’d adjusting, and yet, they’re struggling… I can tell from their little faces they’re trying hard, they’re no quitters, but sometimes the lack of (self) understanding  turns into and default. They look up to us (the parents) for answers we do not carry… We knew it would be like this, we knew it wouldn’t be easy, no transition is, but we’re here for them, even though, my husband and I are still trying to figure things out: socially, emotionally… I have no evidence, our family dynamics feels a tad disjoint, but time and patience will hopefully be good allies throughout the process… Time, patience, acceptance, and love – our travel companions :o

(Note: Thanks again to Nina Sichel’s article, and for her book, the inspiration for this ‘parental op-piece’).

About these ads

Posted by on August 1, 2014 in children, FAMILY, foreign service, TCKs


Tags: , , , ,

Wonders of life as a Foreign Service Family – Random Thoughts on Home Leave

Well, we’re back in Washington, DC – the last part of our ‘transitional’ Home Leave, surviving thru the perks of living out of our suitcases since May 19… but you know, not bad at all! :o No complaints on hauling our three children around, departing La Paz, Bolivia, heading to California for some family catch up… taking the kiddos to Disneyland and Legoland, surviving the long lines, the screaming, the cries for attention and for over-priced popcorn… picking up a few family members along the way, driving all of us to witness in loco the magnificent views offered by the Grand Canyon… and flying back to the East Coast… much has happened, and definitely, no time to spare… not even for blogging!

Need to do a better job trying to catch up with our lives… Haven’t had much free time, I must admit – the little ones keep me on my toes, and as any parent around here must know, Summer Break has all of us [parents] pulling our hair trying to find educational, recreational, interesting and fun activities for our lovies, during this time… it’s work, people… and we’ve been doing this for some 5 weeks already.. again… living out of suitcases, staying with family, long car rides… a few car sicknesses along the way… always fun! :o

Now, it’s home stretch – a few days in the DC area, and we head out to our newest work and life adventure – Brasília, the capital of Brazil [yeap, the beautiful country that just put out the most unbelievable performance during the recent World Soccer Cup - don't even get me started on that... as a Brazilian-born soccer-passionate soccer-mom-wife, I'm still recovering from the 'bad dream' many of us witnessed these past weeks...] Our family will be in Brasília for the next 3 years. Husband’s duty, as many wives/spouses here would relate and sympathize... :o

Presently writing from a government-per-diem-acceptpleasant hotel room, packed with my noisy and restless adorable and very understanding little children, enjoying some quite time while I gather my blogging thoughts together [who am I kidding?? And why do we need to have both TVs on, and so loud??] But, all in all, I guess we’re ready for what’s in store for us… let’s wait and see! :o

Classic pic, right? Gotta have your moment in the sun with Mr Mouse! A quick snapshot from our first stop during Home Leave 2014 - not-yet-tired parents at Disneyland!

Classic pic, right? Gotta have your moment in the sun with Mr Mouse! A quick snapshot from our first stop during Home Leave 2014 – not-yet-tired parents at Disneyland!




Tags: , , , , ,

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.



Tags: , , , , , , ,

Photography: Train Cemetery in Uyuni, Bolivia.


It’s said to be gateway for tourists visiting the world’s largest salt flats, the nearby Uyuni salt flat.



Founded in 1890 as a trading post, the town has a population of 10,460 (2012). The town has an extensive street-market. It lies at the edge of an extensive plain at an elevation of 3,700 m (12,139 ft) above sea level, with more mountainous country to the east.




The city also acts as a gateway for commerce and traffic crossing into and out of Bolivia from and to Chile. One of the main attraction, and in our case, for 2 visiting families, with 7 kids, ages ranging from 3 to 12 years old, is the Train Cemetery. :o



The so-called ‘train graveyard’ is located 3 km outside Uyuni and is connected to it by the old train tracks. The town served in the past as a distribution hub for the trains carrying minerals on their way to the Pacific Ocean ports.



The train lines were built by British engineers who arrived near the end of the 19th century and formed a sizable community in Uyuni.



The rail construction started in 1888 and ended in 1892. It was encouraged by the then Bolivian President Aniceto Arce, who believed Bolivia would flourish with a good transport system, but it was also constantly sabotaged by the local indigenous people who saw it as an intrusion into their lives. The trains were mostly used by the mining companies. In the 1940s, the mining industry collapsed, partly due to the mineral depletion. Many trains were abandoned thereby producing the train cemetery.




Tags: , , , , , ,

Early Easter Egg Hunt with the Marines!

Festa de Páscoa antecipada com os fuzileiros – Missão Americana em La Paz


Posted by on April 13, 2014 in BOLIVIA, children, FAMILY, photography


Tags: , ,

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


Tags: , , ,


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



Tags: , , , , , ,

{Weekly Writing Challenge} Parenting as a Cliffhanger…

When being called “Incredibly Good” is really not good for children?

Great Wednesday, although it began with a not-so-welcoming weather in La Paz – the rainy season has arrived, and flooded streets displaying the hectic driving behavior are definitely not the best place to be! The inspiration for this ‘quasi-op-piece’ comes from the idea of leaving the readers ‘hanging’ [thanks, Michelle W., btw!]‘, while I freely start a discussion on possible strategies on parenting well-rounded children [or lack of thereof!].

Back to work, as expected, and having the opportunity to read the paper before the work day starts is key! The Washington Post column on ‘Parenting’ called my attention with an article on ‘Stop heaping praise on your kids’, by Amy Joyce, really brought some thoughts up, as well as, a few questions and concerns.


Not really, but let’s keep on moving on. Also, nobody should be telling us what to do regarding the way we bring our kids up, correct? :o

We’ve all done it, stated Amy Joyce. But I’m sure not all of us knew we might be hurting our kids by doing it… At least, I did not know. How could I? Simply trying to work my best magic tricks when it comes to parenting…

Why would we, parents, knowingly harm our children?

Let’s start thinking! Continue reading


Posted by on January 8, 2014 in children, expat, FAMILY, foreign service


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” ['Joy'], for the last Sunday of 2013!



fun by the boardwalk in Chile

fun by the boardwalk in Chile


Inspired by this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, and finishing up with our personal year-long photo project, 52 Bolivian Sundays [feel free to visit link on the right for previous weeks!], a joyful interpretation [and super bias, 'cause, I do live for these little 3 kiddos, pictured here with a couple of their friends...] for this last Sunday of 2013’!



♥ EnJOY as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥ Happy New Year to All of Us!


Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 29, 2013 in BOLIVIA, children, FAMILY, photography, TRAVEL


Tags: , , , ,

{Weekly Writing Challenge} Ghosts of Christmas Past…

Like many around here, I’m working right now.

Yeap. It’s December 24th, I live in a South American country – Bolivia, to be more specific, and yet, I’m at work – but not for much longer, I dream… We’re all hopefully waiting for some good news from above, letting us know we may go home. and get ready for Christmas eve. At end, in a latino country, it’s more than expected. Large family meals, moms will be cooking all afternoon for the well-deserved supper.

Oh, forgot to mention: I’m also the mom, right… the one who should be at home, cooking a feast, at this very moment! :o

But it’ll get done. Sent my dear husband on a ‘shopping mission’ (did I mention he is not working today?). I’m sure he’ll find everything I’ve asked him to search for. And once I’m home, there’ll be some cooking!

Now, talking about Christmas ghosts. My ghosts of December 24th are all sweet little creatures. All my past Christmas memories seem to be filled with happy moments, even the ones who were somewhat challenging, due to family difficulties… The ghosts in my life are lively and loving.

December 24, 2012, last year. Our first family Christmas at our new Bolivian home. Our household effects [aka stuff being held hostage by the moving company] had arrived. We decorated the house. We had a lit Christmas tree and our bundle of joy had their first Navidad Paceno.

December 24, 2011, we’re in Fortaleza, Brazil. Got to spend Christmas eve with my parents, my brothers, their wives and my niece. Chaotic as any Brazilian holiday should be. Every one talks over each other, and nobody can really hold on a conversation. But life’s still good. Kids running around, screaming… some crying here and there. My parents giving us unsolicited advice on how to raise our children [cause, you know.. we really don't know how to keep 3 children alive, move around every so often, adjust to different countries/languages/cultures...]. And we listened to the advices, while mentally preparing our grocery list for the next day… :o

December 24, 2010, we’d arrived in Recife, Brazil, a couple of months prior. We’d also welcomed into our lives our youngest baby girl, our only child born in Brazil, like her mama. Not much of a shut-eye, restful holiday, especially with a new born, but the ghosts of Christmas were merciful, and allowed our family of 5 to enjoy the season… At the end, after being gone from Brazil for almost 10 years, I was back…

December 24, 2009, welcome to the Foreign Service Family! The Washingtonian ghosts of Christmas were applauding, secretly smiling while setting out their plans for our soon-to-be a full-time nomadic troupe! And we got trapped home, thanks to the East Coast Snowmagedon! :o

December 24, 2008, family, now with 4 members, came back to DC, after our tour in Africa. Christmas with the in-laws, and plans for the future.

December 24, 2006-2007, our family of 3 celebrated the holidays with the the colorful Mozambican ghosts of Christmas, our first overseas post as a family, as it’s dearly called ‘a hard-to-fill assignment’.

December 24,  2005, the Lima-Miranda couple enjoyed the lovely sleepless nights, while rocking our first-born. The cold DC weather brought us the ghosts of Christmas as a family. Between bottle feedings, changings and lullaby singing, the ghosts held our hands and kept us on our toes!

December 24, 2004, husband and wife are reunited, after the man-of-the-house came back from a temporary-duty at a far land… Does this sound familiar to anyone? :o The ghosts of Christmas past made sure he’d come home safe and sound, with a nice gift to his dear wife!

December 24, 2003, we just got married [a couple of months back, but still!]. Plans for the future, naive minds, ideas of how good we’d be as parents… :o The ghosts of Christmas made sure our newly joint bank account would have enough for a decent holiday season… And we were grateful to them…

As I started this post by saying, the ghosts of Christmas past have been nothing but nice to us. As a couple, as a beginner family, as a traveling serial expatriate bunch. We’re working well together – the ghosts and us…

Merry Christmas to you all! May your December 24, 2013 be merry and bright. I’m sure mine is!

And for the ones who are still at work… the time is coming! The clock keeps ticking, and soon, we’ll be back home… enjoying our Christmas Eve feast! :o

my 3 little ghosts

Thanks for the inspiration!

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 24, 2013 in children, foreign service, humor, TRAVEL


Tags: , , , , ,

Despite it all… still loyal!

Redskins IMG_1011


Posted by on December 8, 2013 in children, photography, sports


Tags: , ,

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


Tags: , , ,

Expatriation and Relationships — Intercultural Blog Carnival


 “Moving on to relationships with children, Reflections on the Expat Life by 3rdCultureChildren touches upon the difficulties that children experience when following their parents around the world — and the approach that parents can take to make those moves easier.”

Great collection of posts – thanks Margarita for the inclusion!

Originally posted on "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...":

by Margarita

The fourth Intercultural Blog Carnival is finally here and today we will be focusing on ExpatRelationshipsExpatriation and Relationships. A huge topic for sure since it can include relationships with just about anyone (and anything!) — and luckily for our readers, today’s collection does. So without further ado, here are our participants:

Learning a language for love — Cat Gaa starts us off with a personal story of how learning the intricacies of a foreign language can make your romantic relationship evolve and flourish while also saving you from those awkward moments when you think they said/meant something that they actually didn’t.

In an appropriately titled Expatriation and Relationships, Susan Cross explores what it’s like to make a friend while an expat, then say good-bye to that friend, and then have to make friends again. A regular expatriate conundrum, isn’t it?

The topic of friends — and…

View original 326 more words


Tags: , , , , ,

Fearful Symmetry: Birthday Boy.

Birthday Boy, wake up!

Bus will be here soon… the school bus doesn’t wait, you know!

Birthday Boy, we know you’re tired – you always are!

Because it’s school day, and any excuse to miss school is a good one on your book!

Beloved Son, you’re older today…

Born to be wild, you definitely are!

Born Washingtonian, as you like to remind us… far from your mom’s home country,


But you carry Brazil in your heart: your soccer moves don’t deny your genes, your passion, your


Birthday Boy, breakfast is ready… and so should be you!

Birthday Boy, you’re 8!

Biking away from home,

Believing you can conquer the world with your fast wheels… you’re still my baby, though… and will likely remain so…

Battle the mothers, that’s their fault! Can’t they see their little boys are growing?

Become a man, you will… one day…

But not today… Today you’re simply my adorable

Birthday Boy… :o

bikeInspired by one of this week’s Daily Prompt


Posted by on October 3, 2013 in children, FAMILY, LOVE


Tags: , , , , , ,

Violence-induced media and third-culture children.


I’ve been away from blogging a bit too long, and now, the opportunitiy to bring up my random thoughts on a very intriguing social issue, has arisen. The suggestion for this personal op-piece comes out as Michael Pick pokes us all this week, with the question: “Does watching violent movies inspire violence in the real world? “.  In his own words, “When tragedies happen in the real world because of the violent deeds of a particular individual, the shock and horror that this happened very soon leads to trying to unravel the reason behind how it came to pass.

For some, the violence seen in films is taken as a catalyst or the inspiration for disturbing acts of violence in the real world. For others, blaming film violence for real life tragedies is cutting corners at best and “scapegoating” at worst — an effort to pin complex social or psychological issues on an enemy that can’t fight back…

Violent? :o these are Super-Heroes, embedded with super-dupper powers, and any little boy's dream!  Image downloaded from the site

Violent? These are Super-Heroes, embedded with super-dupper powers, and any husband’s  little boy’s dream!
Image downloaded from the site


As a parent, a traveler, a ‘serial expat’, and mother of 3 growing TCKs, I believe there are so many factors responsible for shaping up a child’s future – and this is especially true when we’re talking about raising well-adjusted, worldly citizens, well-rounded children, as products of hybrid cultures.

Some of these factors are culture, socialization and the own child’s experience; its perception of the world, and the child’s feelings and frustrations. Unfortunately, due to being exposed to a myriad of social situations and contexts, a so-called ‘third culture child‘ is also more vulnerable to external influences. One of the strongest influences relates to the common day-to-day aspects of life: the innocent act ofabsorbing‘ images and concepts brought home through movies, TV shows, streamed videos, all the so-handy resources offered by the internet! And why not say, through the apparently harmless violence-based children’s video games… :o

Oh, well… so then, what should we do, as parents? Others here already expressed their opinion that simply forbidding the child from watching potentially violent programs/movies, is not the solution, but it does have an impact on the developing mind – and the impact is unlikely positive, unfortunately…

Third culture children are in continuous need to understand the true origins of caring, the need to help others, and the strategies to display a nonaggressive behavior. The key players in order to achieve that level of self-knowledge, comes from parental socialization, the family system, schools and cultural influence. Currently, the easiest and quickest [albeit, not fully harmless!] avenues are the social media tools, television and movies. For younger kids, especially, the last two ‘avenues’ mentioned before, have both a fast and deep impact on the children’s minds, and the way they begin developing their own concepts, affirmations and perceptions about their surroundings.

Children who are growing up under this modern ‘violence-influenced’ scenario, will likely tend to develop the understanding that violence is a regular [and maybe necessary] part of life, which could be extremely dangerous for our future generations.

Again, as a parent, I’m concerned with the loss of sensitivity when it comes to publicly offering free violence viewing to our kids, as if it were part of a healthy environment.

Is reality really as cruel as it’s perceived through the movies? Is it all necessary? What good is it bringing to the upcoming generations?

Too many questions, and not on single answer – at least, not from my parental and confused mind.

We’re all just trying to get by surviving one day at a time, and hoping that our children will turn out to be well-balanced, responsible and loving adults. That’s simply my hope; as much as I’d like to, I don’t have control over my children’s future. I can offer them advice and love, but can’t hide them inside a bubble, making sure they won’t get hurt or even hurt others. This ‘motherly bubble’ doesn’t exist, thankfully… Kids need to be kids and yet, need to experience life. Life as it is. Holywoodian life is not life, it’s not real. The ‘reality’ portrait by movies is not, in fact, real. And the violence offered by movies should always be perceived as what it really is: fiction… :o


Posted by on September 13, 2013 in children, expat, FAMILY, TCKs, technology


Tags: , , , , , ,

Thoughts on ‘Let Teachers Do Their Jobs.’

"Teacher Appreciation" featured phot...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last morning’s column on the Washington Post [Parenting], by Tracy Grant, was a refreshing example of what we [parents] need [or need not] to do when it comes to working in parallel with our children’s schools. The author encourage us all not only to read her suggestions, but also try to create a “new school year’s resolution.” Letting the teachers teach. Letting them exercise their abilities while showing our children the way to behave in school, as well as in society.

English: Group of children in a primary school...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quoting Tracy Grant: “Let your kids’ teachers do their job. Assume that they are equipped to do what they have been trained and are paid to do. Be involved in your child’s school and education, but try to do it in a way that is supportive of the teachers.”

In short: Meddle less.

And this was only the introduction to her op-piece. ‘Meddle less’. She simply nailed it on the head. No need for screaming, no discussion, no arguments – it’s like telling us, parents, ‘step away, for a little bit’, and let the [ones that have been trained, schooled, experienced] do their jobs.

Obviously, our children’s education should not rely solely on what he/she are receiving during the school hours – it goes way beyond the school walls, and it’s our [parental] responsibility to ensure their success and well-being are the utmost goal. Parents should be unconditionally involved in a child’s education. As Tracy Grant well pointed out, ‘no one will ever be a better advocate for your child than you’. But being supportive to your child does not mean one needs to act/react as if the child didn’t have means to do so. As the child ages, he/she has the critical duty to advocate for him/herself. It’s an integral part of learning how to live the ‘real life’ in the ‘real world’, surrounded by ‘real people’, facing real challenges and difficulties.

Part of the learning process is understanding [from the child' point of view] how to survive in the real world. It’s also crucial for parents and school professionals, to offer opportunities for independent learning. It’s a two-way street: the teaching goes alongside with the learning, and one cannot exist if the other is corrupted.

Finally, using Tracy’s words, an advice for any parent out there [and my favorite part of her article!]: ‘encourage him to be a responsible student. Assume the teacher knows what he is doing. And your student may wind up learning lessons for a lifetime.’


Posted by on September 5, 2013 in children, EDUCATION, resources


Tags: , , , ,

Are we missing a teachable moment?

English: Miley Cyrus' signature Español: Firma...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Miley Cyrus, the 20-year-old singer who began her career as squeaky-clean star of the Hannah Montana television series, seems to have ditched that goody two-shoes image for good with her recent Video Music Awards (VMAs) performance. Did Miley’s performance cross the line, are we making too much of it, or are we missing a chance to have a more important conversation about race and sex? You be the judge”.

Are we missing a teachable moment?

I do believe we are.

We’re missing a great opportunity to use these recent events as a springboard for a much more fruitful debate.

Not only the parents out there, but all of us, adults [okay, I understand she is adult as well, but you get my point!]. Instead of judging or criticizing what happened, how about using it as a family dinning-table conversation topic?

Shocked? I would also be, if I weren’t a parent of young children, living through all the social events brought to us on a daily basis – can’t pretend we’re blind to the present-future opening their wings right in front of us… maybe even, coming to life in our very own TV room! My 5 1/2 year-old knows who ‘Miley-Montana’ is, and like many others her age, walks around the house repeating song chorus. As a parent, how should I approach her questions on ‘why can’t I watch this or that Disney channel shows?’ Should I just now say that her beloved Hanna is bad, and she should completely switch her idolatry towards ‘Lava Girl’ [and Shark Boy, for that matter]?

That said, are all the previously-innocent Disney stars turned evil? Have them all become bad examples to our children? Should I just turn the TV [and the computer!] off, once and for all? Is that a plausible solution?

Controversy?  Sure!

That’s what social media lives and breathes on! Controversy is needed to sell papers, creating countless and endless postings on Facebook… increasing the Klout scores throughout social network channels… The whole fuzz on twerking? Sad to say, but unfortunately, many young girls who had not yet heard the term, are now ‘practicing Miley’s moves…

But… what’s the ‘message to take home’?

Cover of "Hannah Montana The Movie"

Cover of Hannah Montana The Movie

It’s not only about Miley Cyrus‘ performance, or her ‘not-so-appropriate’ display of oneself, and her puzzling lack of self-awareness. She is just one of the many examples of a debating behavior. Should I/could I judge her? Not sure about that. Not my place to do so, although, I can definitely take advantage of the current situation, and embrace a productive discussion. Any takers? :o

The original article  [inspiring this mini op-piece] presents an intriguing question: if we were missing a chance to have a larger discussion about race, sex, gender roles, and the evils of stereotyping?

The key point for the discussion, at least the way I see it, is the importance to teach children/teenagers about self-respect. There’s a crucial need for them to understand the meaning of self-awareness, and the consequences of their own acts.

We live in society, no one is an island, and we should all behave [and act] with these premises in mind. Teaching children/young adults to gain self-respect will surely assist them into improving their learning and creative skills, as well as their ability to understand/welcome love. Self-respect/self-esteem is closely related to happiness and success in life.

Strong senses of self-respect and self-esteem will help our children act responsibly, responsively and respectfully as they socially interact with others. Self-respect and self-preservation are concepts that should be the foundation of any growing individual. Happiness and the much-wanted success will follow on.

 The ongoing lesson:

With strong self-respect, our children will know that they’re important, smart, valuable and unconditionally loved. We, the adults, parents, also need to do our share. We need to show our support and our respect towards that growing being. We’re asked to show our children they’re worthy of respect. And we do that by respecting their feelings, their privacy and their properties; expressing our pride in our children at every opportunity. Our children are unique, and should be cherished as such.

Also, another lesson to take home from this whole buzz is the importance the parents have on a growing child’s life. They [the children] need to learn how to fail. Mistakes are a fact of life. When we equip a child with skills necessary to make mistakes and regroup, we’re also teaching him/her how to analyze and learn from his/her mistakes.

The result will be a resilient child who keeps trying in the face of struggles and challenges. Maybe that’d have been a great advice for they ‘younger/growing’ Miley Cyrus… learn from your mistakes, even from the very big, ‘media-tweeted’, Facebook-escalated ones… learn from your failures… failures are teaching situations, whose results are priceless learning opportunities. Probably that’s the great teaching moment/teaching opportunity gathered from these recent events: instead of criticizing [the performance] to our children/teenagers, let’s use it as a ‘live example’ during our family conversations. Let’s hear from our children what they think/perceive on the situation; what is their reaction and their un-bias judgment… and maybe, they could surprise us… maybe they may see things under a different, more rational perspective… Let’s hear from the kids, before we bash the young lady around with our not-so-nice words and pre-conceived ideas… Let’s not miss this one-of-a-kind teachable moment… ♥

Keep on living… keep on learning… :o

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on September 3, 2013 in children, EDUCATION


Tags: , , , , ,

Guest Post: Island Life and the Pursuit of Diversity.

by Jessica Girard

Everybody deserves respect. As families this should be a value high up on our priority list as embracing diversity is not only important for helping children to respect other people, it also helps them to accept themselves and celebrate the variety of people the world has to offer.

Exposing ourselves to diversity not only widens our worldview it helps us better understand our connections to each other, helping us to become more globally aware.

The challenges of diversity

Opportunities to experience different cultures and embrace diversity can be somewhat limited when living within a small town, particularly when that small town is on an island, physically detached from the rest of the world.

This would be my experience of living in Guernsey, a small British island located in the English Channel, only 30 miles away from the coast of France. Now, when I say small, I actually mean tiny. The total area of the island is almost 25 square miles, which means you can drive around the entire island in about an hour!

[Image Credit] Wikipedia

I kind of have a love-hate relationship with the island. I love the beautiful scenery and the fact that the beach and the countryside are only a mere fifteen minute walk from my doorstep. 

I do however, hate the smallness of Guernsey, not only in size but sometimes in thinking. Small towns can have rather insular mindsets as there is often a (physical and mental) disconnection from life elsewhere. It would be fair to say that this can be true for Guernsey. Living here at times can feel like living in a bubble, there is limited choice and a lack of variety and this can be stifling (to me).

You could not describe the island as a culturally rich environment. Guernsey has a very homogenous population. The vast majority being white, middle class, Brits who, if they profess to any faith it would likely be Christianity as you will find over 50 churches on the island but not one mosque, synagogue or temple.

If variety is the spice of life, then Guernsey is lacking in flavor. 

There are expat professionals working on the island, however they tend to be on short-term licence (the Guernsey version of a visa) and stand little chance of gaining permanent residency. We do however, have a small but established Portuguese community on the island and a growing number of Eastern Europeans, mainly from Latvia and Poland which adds to the cultural mix. This growing cultural diversity is not welcomed by all and unfortunately these communities are often stereotyped, surrounded by stigma and alienated from mainstream life.

(Town Centre, Guernsey. Photo Credit: Visit Guernsey)

If not careful, the disconnection that many small towns like Guernsey have with the outside world and even the cultures within it, can lead to insular thinking and an ignorance of other world cultures. This in turn can lead to a lack of understanding and disrespect of diversity.

I have found that within the small town context the point is not only a matter of embracing diversity, but rather the fact that we need to pursue it in the first place. 

Foundations for pursuing diversity

Even in cosmopolitan cities people tend to gravitate towards homogenous communities. Small town dwellers therefore, have to be all the more intentional about pursuing diversity when there is less of it to go round.

Opportunities to immerse ourselves and our children in different cultural experiences may be rare but are worth pursuing, if we want to help our children grow to be compassionate global citizens.

As a family we have created five foundations that will hopefully help our family, and yours, in the pursuit of diversity.

1. Model relationships across cultures/religions/genders/abilities etc

One of the most important ways of promoting a culture of diversity is to show your comfort in relating with people of a different race, faith, culture, gender, age, ability and sexual preference. Children mimic their parents’ behaviour and if they can see you confidently interacting with people and celebrating your differences, they are much more likely to do likewise.

This also means not shying away from talking about differences, even in public. Children are naturally inquisitive and yes, their questions are sometimes poorly timed! Try to see these (awkward) situations as an opportunity for discussing and celebrating differences with your children. Shushing or distracting your child can actually make you appear unwilling to discuss these differences and can lead to your child thinking it is wrong to do so.

2. Be aware of your own ”diversity deficits”

It is important to be aware of what Christopher Metzler, Ph.D describes as, “diversity deficits”. No one is immune to making judgements and/or holding negative feelings about people who are different from ourselves. Whether it be a negative stereotype, judgemental attitude or apprehension of a particular country or people group, children can easily pick up on these. It is therefore even more crucial that we understand where these feelings may stem from so that we can avoid passing the “deficits” on to our children.

3. Breakdown stereotypes

Stereotypes are dangerous things. They label people unnecessarily and lead to people making judgements about entire countries, cultures, races and genders that can often be offensive and misleading.

It is important to work to breakdown these stereotypes, especially for children who are impressionable and still trying to understand the world around them. Removing books and toys that promote stereotypes is a good place to begin. Model positive language and listen to the words your children use and if necessary, discuss how their language could be hurtful.

4. Get out of your comfort zone

When living in a homogenous society it is important to try and get out your comfort zone and intentionally explore diversity.

There are many ways of doing this, most of which can be done in your hometown, here are some of the ways we have gotten out of our comfort zones:

  • Eat ethnic foods (preferably with people from that country) – we’ve eaten nsima (maize), the Malawian staple with Malawians living on island
  • Celebrate cultural events and religious festivals – We have joined our Chinese friends in celebrating Chinese New Year
  • Read multi-cultural books – We’ve gathered a small collection of books to read with our daughter that explore different countries, races, religions, genders and abilities.
  • Befriend and learn from expats in your community – We’ve made friends with some wonderful expats. The bonus being that we get to sample their cultures and challenge our own way of doing things, on a regular basis.

5. Create opportunities for discussion in the everyday

Gear your home up in a way that it naturally creates opportunities for discussions on diversity. Our daughter is only a baby so discussions are a little way off yet, but by bringing a little bit of the world inside our home we are developing a more culturally rich environment that will, in time, generate more questions.

In our home we create opportunities by having piles of travel books, maps and globes readily available to research countries, people groups and religions. We also have lots of hand crafted items on display, including handmade toys for our daughter to play with.

 [Photo Credit] Diversity MBA Magazine


The important thing to remember is that whether we live in a small town or multi-cultural city, when it comes to pursuing diversity, reading books and eating ethnic food, simply is not enough. Our attitude is what is important. We need to show our children (and communities) that we are intentionally trying to engage with people and promote social inclusion.


Have you experienced similar challenges of small town living? 

In what ways have you pursued opportunities for diversity?

Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Related articles


Jessica Girard is currently a full-time mother and spare-time blogger over at The Open Home, where she writes about faith, mission, travel, world culture, simple living and getting back to nature.


Posted by on September 1, 2013 in children, expat, FAMILY, TCKs, TRAVEL


Tags: , ,

“Pay no attention to the woman behind the children…”


Behind the children

‘Who’s that woman?’

‘Which woman?’

‘That one, discreetly hiding behind her children…

Doesn’t she have a life of her own?’

‘Shhhh… Pay no attention to the woman behind the children…

She may hear you. She may get upset’.

‘She seems so afraid for her little ones… She looks so fragile… like if at any moment, she will break down into tears.. or break apart into small glass pieces… I would like to see her smiling…’

‘Why is she hiding from us? Have we done anything to her?’

‘Who’s that woman behind the growing children?

The one trying her best not to fail, trying her hardest to be up to any and all tasks, excelling on her parenting skills, in the hope that other parents would look up to her as a role model?’

 ‘Who’s the woman who lets herself be kept backstage, silently watching life play its theatrical acts, desperately witnessing her heart beat outside her body, every time one of her children crosses the house door and heads out  to the world?’

‘Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtains of life…’

‘She’s no Wizard‘.

‘She’s no Witch‘.

‘She’s not longing to find her way back home…’

‘Pay no attention to her – she looks tired and helpless…’

Behind the Curtain

Photo by Sara Biljana

Who’s the woman behind the curtain? Read more about her here…


Posted by on August 27, 2013 in children, FAMILY, LOVE


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Always in good company! 3rdCultureChildren among Multicultural Bloggers!


Check the directory out at:

Multicultural Bloggers


Tags: , , ,

Thoughts on Parenting: ‘Metrics’ for Children’s Summer Vacation – Academics or Fun?

School is back. Summer vacation is seeing its last days….

Children at N.Y. Zoo  (LOC)

Children at N.Y. Zoo [Wikipedia]

Although joy is the word of the hour, there’s a familiar question in the air: ‘how was your summer?‘ Or even better than that: ‘What did your kids do during their school break? I’m sure you had them catch up with their homework packages – they gotta be ready before school days are back!’

It’s definitely hard to keep a balance between these two options: ‘has your child spent much time on academics this summer, or has he/she went out to play, chasing fireflies, collecting ‘knee scratches’ and minor wounds while attempting to bike with no training wheels?’ :o

Here are my 2 cents to the discussion. Not in 1,000 words, though – more likely, half of that! Hopefully, still bringing out some food for thought!

Maybe, like many parents out there, we’re ‘programmed to feel guilty‘ about not having our children work hard on their academics, taking advantage of the summer break; and instead, we’re fighting that.

Español: Guiliana moreno Jugando en bogota

All moms and dads out there: try to remember your own childhood summer vacations – do you recall having touched a math/reading comprehension work sheet? I’ll leave the answer to you… with a candid smile.

I personally, don’t. When I was a child, there was no structure, and there were no demands. That said, what is your dearest/sweet memory of your summer vacations? I dare you tell me/us it dealt with extra homework!

:o Just saying…

English: Olof Palme meets journalists during h...

And I guess, we all did fine, right?

We’re all here, we’re survivors, and we remember really enjoying summer… carefree-style!

Please, don’t get me wrong! I’m all for good academics performance – the ones who frequently visit and read through this blog and its posts on education, language, and establishing a healthy multicultural environment for growing children will well understand how I value personal education.

But I also value creativity when raising a child. I value the ability parents have to offer [their kids] opportunities to find their own growing paths.

Analyzing the ‘metrics’ for our children’s summer, we [their mom and dad] believe they are doing pretty well! Academics are important. Structure and discipline are important. Fun is a cornerstone for both processes.

Photo by Michelle Weber.

Photo by Michelle Weber, from the Daily Post WordPress.

Having fun and experiencing childhood on its fullest are crucial points for a well-balanced development. Children need that. They seek that. Playtime amongst their peers helps them develop a sense of self-awareness, a good dose of self-confidence, and to understand their minds have no limits when it comes to creativity and desire. And they look up to us, parents, as the key-providers of a healthy combination of structure, discipline and fun moments.

That’s exactly what vacations are about: hopefully, our kids will do just fine in the future, with fantastic memories of what they did with their family over the school breaks – even if they forgot to finish some of the reading assignments, or left aside that math worksheet [to be completed after dinner!]…

Maybe after they’ve come back inside the house, tired of chasing frogs and playing tag with neighboring friends… and are ready to jump right back into the school schedule.

Chasing their own dreams is part of a healthy childhood development – and should be enjoyed as such! Now, off to a great school start – with all the academics that come with it! :o

♥  ♥  ♥



Posted by on August 19, 2013 in children, EDUCATION


Tags: , , , , , ,

Photo Project ’52 Bolivian Sundays’ [week 33, 'Carefree'].

carefree and untroubled

For this week photo series, decided to go with a very personal impression of ‘carefree’… kids definitely say it better than any grown-up would do! :o

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


Posted by on August 17, 2013 in BOLIVIA, children, photography


Tags: , , , , ,

School is back: Creating the proper study environment?

English: Don't waste your time and do your hom...

Homework time?! Photo credit: Wikipedia.

This morning’s article on Parenting, from the Washington Post got me thinking…

And I’m thankful that Nicole Anzia [freelance writer; she can be reached at] took a stab at it: “Finding a space where your child can complete his or her homework without getting totally stressed out, or stressing you out, is difficult. Don’t be discouraged if the first place you choose isn’t perfect; this will be an ongoing and evolving process throughout your child’s life as a student. But having a space set up and creating a homework routine during the first week of school will help smooth the transition from summer’s hot, hazy days to fall’s hurried, homework days.”


Homework (Photo credit: TJCoffey)

According to Anzia, there are few points that MUST be addressed, and since school days for my 2 elementary kids has just begun, I hope I’m on the right track, and will, for sure, try to follow her ‘advice': [I've added my personal comments after the 'important-points' suggested by the author]

1. Choose the right location

We’re fortunate enough to have an extra ‘lunch table’, in a separate room, with a framed world map, a large wall clock and a buffet with drawers. The whole area has been defined for ‘homework’ and school assignments: reading response; school poster preparation, coloring, cutting and pasting [I've got a 2nd grader and a KG5].

2. Find and organize supplies

The buffet drawers were turned into ‘storage space’ for their school supplies. Backpacks are kept on the floor, against the wall, and handy, when they’re needed. Plastic containers/organizers are a must-have to keep their pencils, coloring gear, scissors; glue sticks IN PLACE AND EASY TO FIND. :o


Homework (Photo credit: christinepollock)

3. Create a Go-To spot

Anzia also points out that “Another advantage of a designated homework space is that you can have a set surface where you and your kids can post scheduling reminders and deadlines. You could hang a magnetic board or bulletin board, or use stick-on chalkboard or dry-erase boards that can be easily removed in seconds, without damaging the wall.”

For that, unfortunately, I had to resource to our kitchen area, where we mounted a white board on the wall, with our cell phone numbers [for the sitter, when both mom and dad are at work!]. The board displays each child’s chores, a brief schedule and any necessary reminder…. The kitchen wall is also the place for an oversized interactive calendar [months, days, seasons, weather and special dates]. Our oldest son, now 7,5 is the one in charge of changing the dates/information on the calendar, every morning.

4. Try out and reassess

This is the author’s final suggestion. Try things out, and after the initial month or so, reassess the results. Change. Improve. Get feedback from the kids. See what works and what needs to be fixed.

We’re on week 1, for this school year… let’s wait and see what’s in store for us… we’re all hopeful… maybe ‘homework time’ will be a breeze… who knows? :o


Tags: , , , ,

Reflections on the expat life, inspired by Buckminster Fuller: “I am not a noun, I seem to be a verb…”


This is a third post on my ‘random thoughts‘ about bringing our children up into this ‘nomad world’ [first one discussed multilingualism and its approach as parents], especially when it comes to the diverse society they [children] are about to face…. any moment from now… the second post presented a discussion on the misperceptions on being a ‘serial expat‘; a nomad, a ‘rolling stone…. I’m sure there’ll be more posts to come – thank you all for reading, and for the continuous feedback on this [and other!] topics – the suggestions, comments and shared stories from other parents/travelers/expats have made this ‘blogging experience’ much richer. And I’m very grateful for all that.

The discussion on social diversity is not only part of our family’s daily life, but it also tailors the way we are raising our children, and the way we would like them to understand and perceive their surroundings.

Buckminster Fuller

Geodesic Dome, by Buckminster Fuller  (credit: Wikipedia)

For many children, expat life is an enriching, wonderful experience, but for many others, it is an unbelievably difficult time. Much is gained — language, travel, worldview, diversity – but there are very real losses — extended family, longtime friends, a sense of belonging. Some of the losses are unrecognized and unacknowledged until later in life…

As parents of TCKs, my husband and I try to be sensitive to their particular situation. Each child is different, and reacts to the uprootedness differently. Some are more sensitive, and others relish in it.

English: Cropped and flipped photo of young Bu...

Buckminster Fuller (credit: Wikipedia)

One thing we have always tried to be, however, is their anchor. Since their external life is in constant flux, we try to keep our family life constant and stable. We try to have our own habits and traditions, which, as it turns out, are a bit of a blend between the countries we inhabit. Yes, they [our kids] may be exotic to the kids around them, and again, each handles that differently. One thrives on that, another cringes, but it is what it is. We know that they would have a different perspective than we do as their parents…

Perhaps, the best way of handling the identity issue is to adopt the dictum of the late Buckminster Fuller: “I am not a noun, I seem to be a verb…”

Related articles


Tags: , , , ,

Raising Multilingual Kids Blogging Carnival: Hidden Opportunities

Originally posted on The Head of the Heard:

Welcome to the July edition of The Raising Multilingual Children’s Blogging Carnival.  This month’s theme was Hidden Opportunities where I asked people to submit blogs based on the unexpected occurrences of bringing up multilingual children.

Opportunities for the Kids

Spanish Playground opens up this month’s carnival with some encouraging news for anyone still struggling to teach two or more languages: she has been there and done that and now has three grown kids.  In her post Teaching my Children Spanish – A Few Observations Now that they Are Older she identifies the advantages they now have, some of which she never ever dreamed of when she started out on the road to bilingual education.

Came to Find – Vim Encontrar is nowadays a grown up bilingual English and Portuguese speaker.  She writes about the day that changed her life and all of the opportunities she has now…

View original 1,192 more words


Posted by on July 31, 2013 in children, expat, LANGUAGE, TCKs


Tags: , , ,

When you end up talking another language with your kids…


Great reading about raising multilingual children!
Our community keeps on growing!

Originally posted on expatsincebirth:

When you are multilingual and start having kids, you have to choose which language you’ll talk to your children. Linguists always recommend to talk your “mothertongue” to you children. But which is the mothertongue if you are perfectly bilingual? In my case: should I talk Italian or German to my kids?

When our son was born, we lived in Italy and as Italian is one of my mother tongues, it was very natural for me to talk Italian to him from the beginning. Our home languages were Italian (me and my son), Swissgerman (my husband and my son) and German (my husband and me) and we were convinced that he would pick up German automatically too.

When we moved to the Netherlands our son was 2.5 years old and he went to a dutch daycare twice a week since almost immediately. After two months he started to talk less and…

View original 596 more words


Tags: , ,

Day 360 in Bolivia: Suggestions for entertaining the little ones.

A male Green-and-rufous Kingfisher on Chalalan...

A male Green-and-rufous Kingfisher on Chalalan Lake, Tuichi River. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Miranda Family arrived in La Paz in the beginning of August, 2012.  assignment. Our familial “nucleus” is constituted of 2 adults, 2 kids (7 1/2 and 5 1/2 yrs-old) and a 2 1/2 year-old toddler. Being a parent/caretaker requires lots of diplomacy, negotiationpeacekeeping, policy implementation and strategy skills. That said, managing a household, its respective juvenile population and the consequent budgetary implications, is a… HUGE, EXPERIMENTAL and UNFORESEEN task!

There is a never-ending need to keep kids and parents sane (as much as possible). Family outings require loads of planning and logistics management – even if we’re just talking about a Sunday lunch!

  • Here are some suggestions for entertaining the kids (without pulling our hair off), we’ve learnt along the way:
Take weekend trips with other families with kids -it's a life-saver!

Take weekend trips with other families with kids – it’s a life-saver!

Immerse into the local culture and traditions

Immerse into the local culture and traditions

Go hiking through the Isla del Sol

Go hiking through the Isla del Sol

Host a kids Halloween Blast!

Host a kids’ Halloween Blast!

Join the traditional 'water balloon fights' during Carnaval!

Join the traditional ‘water balloon fights’ during Carnaval!

Go bowling!

Go bowling!

Go Zip-lining at the Yungas!

Go Zip-lining at the Yungas!

Throw impromptu 'theme lunches'

Throw impromptu ‘themed lunches’

Family and friends spend the Sunday together at Oberland.

Go out! Family and friends spend the Sunday together at Oberland.

Go on a boat trip along the waters of Lake Titicaca

Go on a boat trip along the waters of Lake Titicaca

Join a 'greening initiative' for a weekend of activities

Join a ‘greening initiative’ for a weekend of activities

Throw impromptu costume parties!

Come up with impromptu costume parties!

Days spent at close-by parks and playgrounds

Days spent at close-by parks and playgrounds

Family luncheons and walks thru the neighborhood of Calacoto

Get out of your comfort zone! Family luncheons and walks thru the neighborhood of Calacoto

Escape to the neighboring Santiago...

Escape to the neighboring Santiago…

Visit to Museums in Prado, La Paz.

Visit Museums in Prado, La Paz.

Mountain biking trip

Take a mountain biking trip

Family trip to the Isla del Sol, Copacabana.

Unplug! Family trip to the Isla del Sol, Copacabana.

Family day trip to the Cotapata Park

Out again! Family day trip to the Cotapata Park

Weekend with friends at the Yungas Region

Weekend with friends at the Yungas Region


Surprise your children. Here are some links on good stuff to do around La Paz:

Español: Alumnos del Colegio Padre Luis Gallar...

Español: Alumnos del Colegio Padre Luis Gallardo “Nayra Inti” interpretando con sus tarkas una tarkeada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Children’s Activities

Bolivia does not boast an extensive selection of activities for children, but what it does offer is stunning national parks and the chance to get close to nature and see scenes that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world.

La Paz Zoo
La Paz Zoo has recently relocated from a tiny plot of land in the south of the city to a much bigger area in Mallasa, which can be found just outside of the city. The bigger space has allowed new enclosures to be built as well as a children’s petting area and an information block. Children will not fail to be impressed by the menagerie living in natural surroundings. You will find many animals in a park-like setting, living life as they would in the wild. After a morning’s excitement with the animals, try out the on-site café for some lunch and treat the kids to a souvenir from the gift shop.

Madidi National Park, Bolivia

Madidi National Park, Bolivia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

National Parks
Bolivia is home to some of the most unspoilt national parks in the world. These parks boast a tremendous variety of wildlife, although you have to be lucky to see a lot of animals as most of them hide deep in the densest of forests. Madidi National Park is recorded by National Geographic as being one of the world’s largest biologically diverse reserves. One of Bolivia’s richest forests can be found here as well as over 988 species of animals. It stretches from the Andes to the western Amazon Basin and allows people to watch animals, trek through woodland and explore the many nature trails. The children will love this unique chance to get back to nature.

Toro Park fountain

Toro Park fountain (Photo credit: Rob Michalski)

Toro Toro National Park is located close to Potosi and is ideal for dinosaur lovers. You will find giant dinosaur footprints and fossils as well as the caves of Umajalanta. Carrasco National Park is an enormous rainforest park located in the Andes’ foothills. It is a great park for children as there is so much space to run around in.

Witches’ Market
This market is also known as Mercado de Brujas and is full of magic and mystery. Goods sold here include herbs and remedies as well as other components used in ancient Aymara traditions. It is La Paz’s most colourful site, with many sights to amaze and excite children.

Witches Market

Witches’ Market (Photo credit: callumscott2)


Tags: ,

{Weekly Writing Challenge} How to prepare a ‘serial traveler': Recipe, cooking times and serving suggestions.

 How to serve a ‘serial traveler’, inspired by ‘A Pinch of You’:


Preparation Steps:

Make sure you’ve got all the ingredients handy. Ensure their good quality and origin. When raising a child, remember to offer him/her a healthy dose of ‘worldly experiences‘: take them on field trips, sightseeing tours, museums, photo exhibits. Share videos and tales from your own childhood. Share with them your curiosity, your concerns, your dreams. Listen to their plans, their ambitions, their fears of the unknown…

[Note from the Chef] These are just suggestions for this dish. Alter as you please, adding or subtracting ingredients. Come up with your own unique recipe and most important of all, have fun cooking! :o

Get the oven going: Take advantage of each and every opportunity to show your growing child that the world is much more than what they’re gathering from social media tools.

Cooking and Serving:

  • Travel, go to places, move. By car, by bus, by train, by boat, on the back of a horse or camel. Try flying, but also, try different transportation methods – the stranger, the better! Dealing with travel difficulties is part of the learning process, and overcoming challenges brings the experience to a whole new level.

where's home?


  • Spend some time planning your trips. Imagine how it would be, what you’d do, who you’d encounter… Dream about it. Enjoy the preparations and be ready to appreciate the reality, when the time comes.
  • Find someone who shares your passions, and share your life with him/her. I did that, and have no regrets: married another serial expat, and he’s helped me raise our 3 little ‘nomads’…


  • Try meeting new people. Chat with them. Exchange stories. Build new relationships. Be yourself, be silly, and yet, be smart – care and attention are never excessive when moving out of one’s comfort zone…
  • Try out new foods – it’s an easy and fun way to immerse into the culture. Remember the smells and the tastes. Take a heart picture of the dishes you’re enjoying. Reserve for future use.
  • Check out city maps, newspapers, street posters. Don’t know/don’t speak the language? Go for the pictures, the colors, the textures, the funny images and signs. Remember: your friends or family back home are living vicariously through your travel experiences! IMG_5686
  • When traveling, visiting new places or renewing memories from old ones, take as many photos as possible. Keep them handy for future use. Store in a tight container [but please, not in the fridge!]. You will surely need them for future recipes…


[Note from the Chef] When checking out of hotels/hostals/B&Bs remember to always check under the beds for misplaced pieces of clothing, photo gear, baby toys, lost socks… and maybe… a kid or two! :o

  • Recipe preparation and cooking times may vary. Season it to taste. For some, it may take years and many mistakes/missteps before reaching the ‘optimum point’. Be careful: Try not to burn yourself, but if it happens, make sure you’re surrounded by good friends and good memories to help you through the tough times…

my branching tree...

Use your best judgment when traveling, but once you begin improving this recipe, there’s no way back – you’ve certainly become a ‘serial traveler’ like myself, my husband and these three little ones pictured above. We can’t really stay put for long

That said, guess how we’ve been raising these ‘tree branches’ over here?

Thanks for the inspiration!


Tags: , , , ,

{Updated} Raising Resilient Children.

Mother's Day Montesori School (6)diversity & resilience

Here’s a brief update on this blogpost – a book that just came out, from the author Linda Janssen, and from which I’ve learned a lot during this journey of ‘raising expat children':

The Emotionally Resilient Expat – Engage, Adapt and Thrive Across Cultures 


I feel like I began this year on a very ‘introspective mode‘, rethinking life, our lifestyle, and the way we plan on leading it forward…

This is a third post on my ‘random thoughts‘ about bringing our children out [first one discussed multilingualism and its approach as parents; and the second one dealt with 'how to approach' diversity issues], especially when it comes to the heterogeneous society they [children] are about to face…. any moment from now… [find all interesting links to great discussions at the bottom of this post!]

For a child, especially the young ones, parents are their strongest link to the concepts of ‘reality‘ and ‘normalcy‘.
That said, I recently found from Expat Child, a fantastic site for inspirations for any parent out there, even if they’re not ‘serial expats’ like our family:
[and my deepest appreciation to the site authors for bringing out such an interesting discussion!]

Five Quotes On Resilience

Picture of the Galapagos Marine Iguana with a Darwin quote on survival of the species

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin

Resilient children tend to have parents who are concerned with their children’s education, who participate in that education, who direct their children everyday task, and who are aware of their children interests and goals. Another important characteristic of resilient children is having at least one significant adult in their lives. – Linda F. Winfield

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. – Mark Twain

There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: one is roots, the other is wings. – Hodding Carter

Self-esteem is the real magic wand that can form a child’s future. A child’s self-esteem affects every area of her existence, from friends she chooses, to how well she does academically in school, to what kind of job she gets, to even the person she chooses to marry. – Stephanie Martson

I don’t have answers for these questions, and maybe, secretly, would hope to find a few over here… from other expat/parents out there... I’m aware that we [parents] are all seeking answers, suggestions, so, I’ll echo my voice with many more… who knows? Comments/messages are very much appreciated, and more than welcome! “How are we [parents] working on raising more [socially] resilient children?”
Thank you!

Tags: ,

Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 27, 'Nostalgic'].


Inspired by this week’s photo challenge, and continuing our travel project “52 Bolivian Sundays”, we’re cruising though week 27, and this picture of my oldest daughters and her two BFFs in the hammock, sent me back to a happy place down memory lane… growing up in Brazil, and having the luxury of hours spent swinging in hammocks…

Venue: Nor Yungas, Bolivia

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

 Find here, more impressions from other bloggers on “nostalgic”… Thank you all for sharing! 



Tags: , , , , , ,

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


Tags: , , , ,


I’m back. Back on blogging, back from a restful family R&R and just found this great piece. Loved her final comment, and felt so related to it, that decided to share it over here, with my dear readers/expats/travelers/nomad parents in the Foreign Service! And how cool is that we [the author and myself] share the same name - granted: my version is in Portuguese, a proud devotion to my roots – thanks, mom! ♥ 

Family life is important. More important than your/our [original] career decisions… once one’s got a family, decisions and changes in life need to take that into consideration! :o I remember myself being so afraid/concern to tell my [then] Post-Doctorate advisor on my [first] pregnancy, back in 2005, and fearing for his reactions… today, several years later, 3 kids and changing jobs at every post we’ve been assigned to live/work, there are no regrets. My career did change, and I believe, for better. I’ve become more adaptable, more adjustable, and with the always-needed flexibility, I’m more patient with myself, with my husband, and more understanding about his career. I believe we [as a family] have evolved, which is great. :o After that, life has taken us to many different places, and for sure, my career has changed. Quite a bit, I’d say. And I’m happy with that. I’m satisfied with the decisions we’ve made for our growing children, under the circumstances of being a ‘nomad couple’ with the Foreign Service.

Definitely, it’s worth a read – my favorite part, the original author’s [another mother/career/academic woman!] wrap-up comment: “I am not sure if I have been “parent tracked” but I do know that my family is important to me, and decisions about my or my husband’s professional lives will always take the well-being of our family and our marriage into account. We would not choose to have jobs that forced us apart, we want to remain close to our extended family if we can, and we want our children to have both of us present in their everyday lives. If that means that I make deliberate professional choices and pursue non-tenure-track or alternative-academic opportunities, I feel comfortable with that arrangement”…

Originally posted on rogue cheerios:

My husband bought me Mama, PhD as a graduation gift. He thought I would appreciate the stories about “motherhood and academic life.”  In under a week, I tore through the anthology.  Divided into four sections, the editors captured women’s stories about “The Conversation” whether to start a family, “That Mommy Thing” that competes with more scholarly pursuits, how “Recovering Academic[s]” fare after becoming parents, and the “Momifesto” that women create for themselves to guide their own professional and personal lives.

I felt comforted to read memoirs of women’s lives as they described their worry in revealing their pregnancy to their advisory committee, the schlepping and physical challenges of being pregnant on a big college campus, the swell of support or the lack thereof from different significant others in their lives, and the realization that life would never be the same after becoming a mother.  Each vignette was short…

View original 952 more words


Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 26, 'Companion'].

Venue: Nor Yungas, Bolivia

Inspired by this week’s photo challenge, and continuing our travel project “52 Bolivian Sundays”, we’re cruising though week 26, already back from a much deserved R&R with friends and family in the USA…

Leaving here the question: ‘what’s life without good companionship?’ :o

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

 Find here, more impressions from other bloggers on “companionable”… Thank you all for sharing! ♥


Tags: , , , , ,

{Weekly Photo Challenge: from above} May the Fourth be with you, parents out there!


“the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it!”

We all need the Force. Something stronger is coming from above... Above us all, there’s a stronger counter-force: the power of a child who decided that playing was a better choice than his well-needed 8 hours of sleep…


May the Force be with you. With all of you. With all of us, parents, who have to deal with an unforeseen middle-of-the-night playtime!

Star Wars figures, inherited from his dad. From his dad’s collection [see the Darth Vader carrying case?] Yes, the same one who betrayed the Jedi Order and his Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi! – for over 30 years this case has secured the dreams of the boy I ended up marrying. And now, the carrying case and its figures are happily laying on the carpet, next to the hamster’s cage, planning some sort of invasion (???). And this is all happening way past my son’s bedtime…

May the Force be with you, parents of the world! May your sleepless nights be filled with giggles and pretend-fights among little toy figures… May the 4th, the first day of a long-waited weekend, be a great and restful Saturday, for us all… for our own sake and mental health!



Posted by on May 4, 2013 in children, photography


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“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


Tags: , , , ,

Got chips?!


Apparently, she’s got them… all of them! :o

She ‘knows when to hold them’… ‘when to walk away’… and knows when to run! ♥


Posted by on March 24, 2013 in BOLIVIA, children, FOOD, humor, photography


Tags: , ,

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


Tags: , , , ,

{Weekly Writing Challenge} Why do we, parents, do what we do? A few visual reasons…


Parenting isn’t an easy task. There aren’t many solutions out there for our ‘day-to-day challenges’. Yet, we all keep on going… And why? Many bloggers/parents may relate to these statements, and who knows, even add more to the pot! With that in mind, and a bit of inspiration provided by this week’s suggested writing challenge from The Daily Post [Image vs. Text], had the perfect scenario for a ‘pictorial explanation’ of, ‘why we do what we do’ for our children!

Hopefully, the plan for this post will work. The images should provide at least a clue about the answers to these proposed questions… check the list below, and let’s see if you agree with the ‘suggested reasons’! ♥

* Why trying to prepare that special treat they love, knowingly we’d be tired after a full week of work, and the weekend is our only chance to recover and rescue ourselves before the upcoming work week strikes again? :o


* Why teaching our children the importance of group activities, the meaning of camaraderie and why being part of a team is greater than knowing how to work alone?


* Why having your house ‘invaded’ by little ‘barbarians’, who love to scream and cry, fighting over toys and games with their peers, during a so-called ‘birthday celebration’?

* Why teaching kids to love and respect their cultural traditions, their distinct backgrounds and their personal stories? 

* Why getting up early in the morning, making sure our children have all they need for that particular school day, even if sometimes, we need to come up with a ‘last-minute’ solution for a very special request for some school activity?


* Why going over and over their school homework, despite sometimes having a splitting headache and zero inspiration to help them with their writing assignments? :o


A letter of ‘appreciation’, from my resident first grader…

* Why volunteering your very scarce free time, to join them in some activity at the school?

August 2012: New life, new school, new friends. School kids receive their 'welcome' with a traditional 'Salteñada'.


* Why teaching our children that they need to share their life skills and abilities with others, in a selfless way?



* Why is it necessary to show our children they’re special, unique, important in their own way, and always, unconditionally loved?

"Kids in Red", Delaware, USA.

* Why we, parents, end up doing exactly what we do, despite our list of countless complaints, which include tiredness, lack of resources and sleepless nights? We do it because we care. We care for their well-being, we care for raising emotionally resilient children, who will mature to become grounded adults, for a more compassionate and stable society. That’s why we do what we do… ♥

Hail... to The Redskins! Hail Victory!

♥ Thanks for the inspiration, and for reading! :o


Posted by on February 20, 2013 in children, FAMILY, photography


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 7, 'Kiss'].

Here, the big brother welcoming his Valentine’s Day sister, with a kiss, a perfect fit for this week’s themeShe’s not a baby anymore… better to say, she’s a young lady… a ‘señorita’:o

We’re pleased, lucky and grateful for all the experiences we’ve been through, and we’re grateful for having had this intense, warm, active and loving girl into our lives for the past five years… Half a decade ago, husband and I received the best gift one could ever expect for Valentine’s Day: the birth of a baby girl! ♥ 

Find here, some lovely impressions from other bloggers… their special understanding of “KISS”: Thank you all for sharing! ♥



Posted by on February 17, 2013 in children, FAMILY, LOVE, photography


Tags: , , , , , ,

Happy Birthday to our Valentine’s Day baby girl!

She’s not a baby anymore… better to say, she’s a young lady… a ‘señorita’:o

Like her parents, this young lady has already moved quite a bit…

She was not born in Rio de Janeiro, like her momma, not in Virginia, like her daddy. She did not have her Brazilian ‘vovó and vovô’  to welcome her into this world, nor her American ‘nana and abuelito’ to greet her when she first smiled… She was born 5 years ago, while our family was stationed in Mozambique, and was fortunate enough to have the unique Pretoria (South Africa) as her birth place.

Despite not having our families around, she was [and still is!] surrounded by love, through her parents’ friends, the extended family, and her now, personal friends in Bolivia.

This morning, before getting ready for school, still recovering from the very intense and fun Carnaval in La Paz, our girl came to our bedroom, holding her index finger upright: “Mommmy, would you believe we’re only ONE DAY away from my cumple?:o She’s right: Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and she knows it! For our family, this particular day will aways transcends all the commercialism, the consumerism associated with the date – it goes beyond that, it’s definitely, truly, unconditionally related to LOVE. The love between parents and their daughter…

We’re pleased, lucky and grateful for all the experiences we’ve been through, and we’re grateful for having had this intense, warm, active and loving girl into our lives for the past five years… Half a decade ago, husband and I received the best gift one could ever expect for Valentine’s Day: the birth of a baby girl! ♥ And, for the ones who may find hard to believe that there are no boundaries, limits nor geographical barriers for friendships, that little baby girl got some visitors… friends from DC [pictured below] came to meet her, while visiting South Africa… :o Our deepest appreciation for such a great demonstration of friendship! ♥

Baie Dankie, South Africa for such a wonderful Valentine’s!

Marcelas Birth 038


Posted by on February 13, 2013 in children, expat, FAMILY, foreign service, LOVE


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Embracing Diversity as an Expat: Raising Children in the Foreign Service.


I feel like I began this year on a very ‘introspective mode‘, rethinking life, our lifestyle, and the way we plan on leading it forward…

This is a second post on my ‘random thoughts‘ about bringing our children out [first one discussed multilingualism and its approach as parents], especially when it comes to the diverse society they [children] are about to face…. any moment from now…

The discussion on social diversity is not only part of our family’s daily life, but it also tailors the way we are raising our children, and the way we would like them to understand and perceive their surroundings.

Being a foreign-born spouse, who has moved out of Brazil over a decade ago, constantly traveling because of work and family life, I had to learn early that, the need to readjust and reinvent oneself is a critical part of the adaptation process in a foreign country. I’m also a parent, and often find myself trying to answer a few questions, to my own children, as well as, to other parents facing similar challenges: “What can I do to help my children around the issue of diversity?” And, in fact, how ready is our society to embrace diversity? 


Life as an expat has shown me that we (parents) are the only ‘constant‘ on our children’s lives. Childhood friends come and go, depending on their parent’s jobs. Schools change. Countries, cultures, music, social patterns and expected behaviors last as long as one’s post assignment does.
For a child, especially the young ones, parents are their strongest link to the concepts of ‘reality‘ and ‘normalcy‘.
Over time, children will learn who they are and what to do through these experiences – absorbing a sense of their routines, traditions, languages, cultures, and national or racial identities – at their own pace, creating their very particular ‘hybrid culture‘, assuming their own identity, as unique social beings.
We are diverse, we speak different languages in our household, we come from distinct cultural and/or religious backgrounds… and our children could not be any different from that narrative. Our children are coming up as divergent individuals, in a much richer way than we (parents) were brought up. We are all very unique, and that notion needs to be reflected not only on the job represented by our officers (and their families) overseas, but also, through our own behavior as social creatures.
Diversity brings innovation and creativity. It’s important for us, parents, to add to our home environment, so it is reflective of other (cultural, racial, ethnic, family style) groups. It’s critical to express pride in our own heritage. Building positive identities and the respect for differences, would mean inserting these concepts to the routine of children’s everyday lives.

I don’t have answers for these questions, and maybe, secretly, would hope to find a few over here… from other expat/parents out there... I’m aware that we [parents] are all seeking answers, suggestions, so, I’ll echo my voice with many more… who knows? Comments/messages are very much appreciated, and more than welcome!

That said, what is our role as parents? How could we help our children regarding diversity? One of the suggestions is that we need to be constantly involved in their lives. Listening to their stories, learning about their ventures and challenges adjusting to new/unknown realities. We need to devote a great deal of patience for establishing a healthy communication channel within our household, and between all the levels of our (expatriate) community; opportunities will present themselves at the school, at the work level, at social events where children may take part… . It’s necessary to talk to our children about differences, in a very understanding and respectful way. Let us be resourceful and take advantage of the diversity around us.

One of the advantages this life as expatriates offers to families is the possibility to enroll our children in international schools. It’s already been discussed that students who attend schools with a diverse population (student body, faculty, staff) are capable of developing an understanding of the perspectives of other children’s backgrounds, learning to function in a multicultural, multiethnic environment.All of us are born free of biases, (un)fortunately, we tend to learn them as we grow. Is it a totally negative aspect of our lives? Could we turn our ability to make social judgments into a positive impacting tool? Let the discussion begin! :o


Tags: , , , ,

It’s [Girls Scout] Cookie time! [Sharing information from The Dinoia Family]

This community we’re part of [Foreign Service] is all about networking and sharing… sharing information, advice, comments, experiences… In sharing, we all become stronger, and able to keep moving forward! :o That said, I’m now sharing some information learned from The Dinoia Family‘s Blog, about this year’s Girls Scout Cookies Initiative, involving a couple of other very active ladies [and their daughters!] from the FS community – definitely, a great one! And I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be sharing their initiative and efforts! :o

Quoted from The Dinoia Family’s blog:

“Yep…it’s cookie time!

Girl Scout cookies are back and we are on those orders!  In fact, this year, we are working together with Jill and Riley to spread the cookie goodness far and wide throughout the Foreign Service.  We have made it terribly easy to enjoy those once-a-year treats that you buy en masse because they are so darn yummy (and ship well!).

To make it easy, I have copied the “how to” from Jill’s blog.  Follow these simple instructions and you, too, could be enjoying those cookies very soon!  And now…Spanish homework is calling again…

Want cookies?  Read the excerpt from Jill’s post below and just follow the instructions!

First and foremost, we don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, so our joint efforts are focused on providing Girl Scout Cookies solely to our Foreign Service friends overseas, where we can ship to an APO/FPO/DPO or pouch address.  If you are our family members or personal friends and want to buy from us rather than from the little girlies who are SURE to knock on your door sometime in the next few months, that’s great too.  But we’ll take care of you outside of this joint venture.
Just like the last few years, the cookies are only $4 / box … with all your favorites returning!
  • Thin Mints
  • Samoas
  • Thank You Berry Munch
  • Trefoils
  • Dulce de Leche
  • Tagalongs
  • Do-Si-Dos
  • Savannah Smiles
Here’s how to order:
1) Attempt to narrow down how many boxes you want (versus how many boxes your eyes and stomach want.)
2) Send an email to by Friday, January 18th, with …
* Your Name
* Your Post
* Your Address
* Exactly how many of each kind you’d like
3) When the cookies come in, send us your payment via paypal, and we’ll get them out to you ASAP.  We’ll send you an email invoice letting you know your totals.
It’s THAT simple.
We will be shipping the cookies in the USPS Flat Rate boxes. The current APO/FPO rate is $13.45 for a 12″ x 12″ x 5 1/2″ box … and we can fit 8 boxes of cookies in them.  And as an incentive … you pay the first $10 / box, and we’ll pick up the rest!
A wee bit of additional information  …
** If you are at a post overseas, pass along this information to any of your friends.  We would LOVE to outfit your entire Consulate or Embassy.
** Consider combining orders with your friends to help reduce shipping costs.
** Between the two families, our girls sold over 1100 boxes of cookies to 50+ countries during the last two years to FS personnel.
** We set up the email address so that we could make it easy to get more cookies shipped out to more places.  If you know either of us personally and want our daughters to send out your cookies – no worries.  Just say so in your email.  Otherwise, we have divided up the world behind the scenes so that all you need to do is send in your order, and let us take care of the rest!
Now what are you waiting for?  Happy ordering!”
Please hop back to Jen Dinoia‘s blog for more information! Thank you!♥



Tags: , , , ,

Comments and extra thoughts on being a multilingual parent…

“Are you curious?” We are! :o

**UPDATE: Follow-up post discussing thoughts on Diversity & Raising Children as Expats

I often talk about the challenges of parenting, especially considering the difficulties placed by language and culture, one of the many issues associated with moving to a different country, every couple of years. That said, I took a look back at the posts published in 2012, mainly on parenting & language, and found one that generated a very instructive feedback; working as a sort of a ‘discussion forum‘, that I plan on exploring/expanding at length, some time this year… [Another one of my New Year's Resolutions... Like everyone else, I know there'll be a great deal of 'procrastination' before I'll be able to cross tasks off my 2013 to-do list!]

Oh, well, at least, I’m taking the time to revisit thoughts/facts/articles… it’s the first step for the beginning of a good research! :o

The post that got me thinking was one related to a simple question: “What type of multilingual parent are you?”, pointed out by the Mumsnet Bloggers Network for 2012; that had been initiated by a clever quote about the experience of raising bi/multilingual children:

“…raising multilingual children is an adventure you share together – one that is a lot of fun, but for which you will need quite a lot of patience. Sometimes, linguistic development will not progress in the way you hoped. That is fine, and everything will eventually work itself out. Sharing my language with my children has been about sharing my heritage more than anything else. It might be difficult at times, but it is a gift that will last a lifetime“.

Last year’s blogpost provoked a very positive reaction, expressed through the number of visitors, and especially, throughout the comments, coming from parents, consultants, educators, expats like ourselves, or simply, other parents who echo our opinions about how challenging, adventurous and/or never-ending this experience should be.

Learning should never stop, and teaching our kids through example is the best way to keep ourselves current! At least, that’s the hope! :o

Here are some of the comments, and based on their [shared] experiences, it could be YOUR TURN to answer – what type of multilingual parent are you? Or, even better, what type of [multilingual] parent you hope to become?

But first, let me thank all the visitors/readers who shared a comment, or who sent me a message [with your opinion/suggestion] regarding this topic. It makes the blogging experience much richer, more productive, and way more enjoyable! My deepest appreciation to all of you! ♥

VisitorMy husband is a German TCK growing up in Taiwan, and thinks in English most of the time. He is fluent in German and can read fairly well – though he is more comfortable in English. We are living in a Chinese environment and have been since we’ve been married. We had high hopes of me speaking English and him speaking German, but that didn’t work out. I’d say mainly because he didn’t think in German when the oldest was born – he rarely spoke German to anyone. So, remembering to speak it at home was difficult. He did better speaking Chinese to them.  On top of this, his family all speaks English fluently, so there was no pressure on us in that regard as well.
 I do have a question, though that I’m wondering. Will you continue to educate your children in all three languages through middle school and high school or focus more on one language? I’m just really curious about this. You seem to be really doing a great job with them right now so that they master both written and spoken of the three. Great post to ponder on… 

In our house we speak English, Spanish and Dutch and the boys seem to know all three languages equally. My five year old is a dynamo with languages. He can switch, translate and think in all three. My two year old understands all three but is not as talkative as my five year old was. We lived in Mozambique with the older one until the age of three and he was able to speak 4 languages when we lived there. It is curious to see how the different children take to the languages differently. I thought for sure my two year old would be the same since we haven’t done anything really different, but I noticed he is taking longer to use his words, although you can see he understands all three. I call Dutch the secret language in my house, because only the boys (not me) speak it. So basically this is how it works: School = English, Language we speak as a family = English, Mommy = Spanglish to the boys (more spanish), Daddy = Dutch to the boys, Empleada/Nanny = always Spanish. The boys will also take Dutch lessons once or twice a week. It is definitely challenging, but so worth it. We don’t really think about it… just the way we live our life.
Visitor Enjoyed your post! All the more so since /multilingual-multicultural life – as mentioned by Sakti above – is part and parcel of life in India! I think it is an advantage more than a challenge, an opportunity to broaden horizons!

Visitor I am probably not looking at it from a parents’ perspective.  My challenge is to make sure some of our less spoken languages – that includes my mother tongue, that my grandkids can not speak! – do not become extinct!

VisitorVery interesting. I am from India and we have a different challenge as India has more than 2 dozens of official languages. I studied a different language (Odia) than my mother tongue (Bengali) and now staying in a state, which speak another language (Gujarati). Everybody in India speaks English and Hindi. So my kids (both below 6 years) now have almost learnt to speak and understand all the above languages. Yes it is a challenge.


VisitorThanks for the mention of our upcoming session on Emotional Resiliency in Foreign Service Kids that will be held next week (*). Even though you won’t get to see it live, AFSA will upload the video to their website for worldwide viewing. 
I wish I could comment on what kind of bilingual parent I am…. but mine would be more of what I failure I was! When my daughter was 2, we left Portugal, where we had spoken Portuguese in the home when our housekeeper was around. The housekeeper only spoke to my daughter in Portuguese from infancy, so our daughter understood Portuguese as well as English. When we left Portugal, I tried to continue the Portuguese with her, only – at the age of only 2! – she wouldn’t answer me in Portuguese and finally admonished me to “stop speaking like Dolores!” I finally gave up on it.

           (*) Please refer to original post for the full text, and more details on the 2012 AFSA initiative.

Visitor I’m inspired to speak spanish at home more now. My kids’ dad all speak Spanish and I beg them to speak Spanish to the kids but they haven’t. My mom was raised bilingual, I was until they couldn’t accurately diagnose my infant-aged hearing issues because they couldn’t tell if I didn’t hear them or didn’t understand them so they told my mom to stop speaking Hungarian to me and she did. But she still wishes she’d have kept up with it. Other countries are so great with this and the US doesn’t do enough!

VisitorThis is so interesting! We also got “moderate parent”. I try to speak spanish to them most of the time but sometimes forget. I also read to them in french and english is the main language in the household. I’m taking them to a spanish speaking playgroup in hopes Evan will be motivated by seeing other little kids speak spanish! Great post!


Tags: , , , , , ,

Ending the 20 days of a Joyful Christmas… our wishes for a very happy holiday season!

Front & BackOur Family's 'Happy Holidays' Card

Front & Back
Our Family’s ‘Happy Holidays’ Card

Image #20: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Our Happy Holidays Card!


Tags: , , , , , ,


Image #18: 20 Days of a Cold Christmas: Christmas Stories at School

Unlike last year, when we spent Christmas surrounded by the tropical Brazilian weather; this year, we may have something ‘closer to a White Christmas’, considering we’re in La Paz, and at least, we may experience some cold weather… The season’s wardrobe isn’t packed with colorful light pieces, ‘havaianas‘, and sneakers, like last December… Bring out the boots and coats! Let’s get some warm wine out and sit down by the fireplace, where the kids will get their nighttime Christmas stories

This year, the lights have been out for a while, tree is up and twinkling, we’ve got a yard instead of an apartment veranda, but it’s a bit too cold to be out at night, which is actually, great! :o

In order to celebrate our “non-tropical season of joy”, we’ve been sharing images that showcase how we’re seeing and enjoying this time of the year. Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! :o

20 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… in 20 joyful images. Only a couple of days to go!


Posted by on December 23, 2012 in BOLIVIA, children, I SPY, photography, school


Tags: , , , , , , ,

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!

Related articles

Surprise! « Spirit Lights The Way surprise!!! | bodhisattvaintraining Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise | Ese’s Voice Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise! | Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise « The Eclectic Eccentric Shopaholic Facade « Broken Light: A Photography Collective Weekly Photo Challenge – Surprise | Chittle Chattle Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Things that make you happy « The Eclectic Eccentric Shopaholic Not your granny’s gingerbread house | Where’s my backpack? Weekly Photo Challenge: SURPRISE | eagerexplorer Weekly Photo Challenge – Surprise | Just Snaps Changing Seasons: More Snow | Empire of Lights Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise « A Western Buddhist’s Travels Surprise!..he passes through walls!! « Detours by Deepali


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


Tags: , , , ,

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


Tags: , , ,

10 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’. Colors from The Bolivian Folkloric Ballet of Potosi.

Image #10: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: The Ballet Folklorico de Potosi, Bolivia.

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.


Tags: , , , , ,

12 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… not quite your regular ‘Elf on the shelf’!

Image #9: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Not quite your regular ‘Elf on the shelf’… more like ‘a non-stop climbing pre-toddler’! Climbing on the half-desk… going up the stairs… just got caught, while, quietly, trying to move on… Oh, the perks of being a mother of 3 little ones! Who needs adult supervision, anyway? :o

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

13 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’…making my wish for 12.12.12: to witness their shared passion!

my two boys

my two boys after the match

Image #8: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: My two boys on a regular Saturday morning…

While many are still sleeping in, my boys head to the soccer field at the kids’ school… The ‘older one’ is the player, but my ‘youngest boy’ has to be there to support his dad… I couldn’t be any happier when looking at their faces… That’s a good wish for this 12.12.12: I’ve got 2 girls and 2 boys, and being able to witness their happiness is priceless… Today, I’m sharing the joy these boys bring to my life, through their shared passion: sports! :o

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.


Tags: , , , , , ,


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,020 other followers

%d bloggers like this: