Category Archives: foreign service

Snapshot of Inter-embassies soccer tournament, Brazil – May 2015.

Glad to see my “big child” displaying a healthy return, playing with his team mates. Very proud to see our son following his dad’s footsteps. Literally!



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Sightseeing in Brasilia: Esplanada dos Ministérios

Well, it only took me pretty good 9 months after arriving in Brasilia, to finally come up with a quais-decent post. It does feel like I’ve reached the end of a long gestation. Work, kids, trips to Buenos Aires (Argentina), back to the USA, Rio, São Paulo, Curitiba (Paraná), Recife (Pernambuco, where we lived from 2010-2012, and the birthplace of our youngest child), Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul) and the common lifestyle have taken much time away from blogging. Now, back on track, with the plan to do a much better job on “sharing” beautiful images. That said, here are the images of our current home, from our first “tour” as a family!

[From the Go Brazil site:]
A quintessential symbol of work by Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer in the creation of Brasília, the Esplanade of Ministries (Esplanada dos Ministérios) is situated on Eixo Monumental, one of the avenues forming the core shape of Costa’s design for Brazil’s capital, commonly compared to an airplane.Costa’s project for the creation of Brazil’s new capital is still a source of wonder. It beat 62 other entries in a contest launched by President Juscelino Kubitschek and was implemented by Novacap, the company created to build the city, as Plano Piloto.Costa said of his plan for the city, “Nasceu do gesto primário de quem assinala um lugar ou dele toma posse: dois eixos cruzando-se em ângulo reto, ou seja, o próprio sinal da cruz. (“It sprang from the primary gesture of one who marks or takes possession of a place: two axes which cross at a square angle, in other words, the sign of the cross itself.”)Eixo Monumental and Eixo Rodoviário form that essential cross shape. The city’s ample scale, exemplified by the Esplanade of Ministries, was intended to express an idea of dignity, Lucio Costa said in an interview available on Casa de Lucio Costa.Those generous dimensions also guided Brasília’s residential “super blocks” (super quadras) which the architect designed with wide green belts.Brasília, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also listed by Brazil’s National Historic and Artistic Heritage Institute (IPHAN). Lucio Costa’s original report for Plano Piloto is available as part of the Institute’s description of the city’s heritage. The 16-kilometer long Esplanade has 17 buildings which house ministries and other federal administration organs, placed on opposite sides of the Eixo (pronounced AYE-shoo) and separated by a lawn.

At the start of the long stretch is the Metropolitan Cathedral, an architectural masterpiece which reopened after a three-year renovation.At the far end, the towers and the convex and concave structures which house the National Congress as well as Praça dos Três Poderes, or Three Power Square.The best view of the Esplanade is from the lookout point on Brasília’s 230-meter tall TV Tower. Inaugurated in 1967, the tower was designed by Lucio Costa and inspired in the Eiffel Tower. Other landmarks you can see from this vantage point at a height of 75 meters – which is visited by about 1,000 people a day – are the Mané Garrincha Stadium, the Nelson Piquet Autodrome and Lake Paranoá.


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[Photography] 52 Thursdays in Brasília, Brazil: Week 2

The center of Brasília, capital of Brazil. The very own way I see [and feel!] it. With its constructions, architecture, the unique concrete jungle I’ve had the pleasure to grow up in… and now, back in time, 20 years later, have the opportunity to be part of its work force…

A few snapshots of Brasília’s commercial center – the ‘heart’ of the old city, the original buildings and their unique architectural displays… and besides all that, these images represent a little of my ‘work surroundings’… The so-called Setor Comercial Sul, de Brasilia. Brasilia seen as their creators had envisioned… Wishing all a very healthy 2015! :o


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[Photography] 52 Thursdays in Brasília, Brazil: Week 1


Happy New Year to all of us!

Starting a new series of snapshots: 52 Thursdays in Brasília, Brazil.

And maybe, here and there, due to [required] work or [fun] family trips, we could be sharing a snapshot from a location outside Brazil’s capital… who knows? For now, like many others, we’ll try to begin the year on a “healthy note”: finally got our bikes assembled [all 5 of them], and decided to take advantage of the beautiful ecological park, close by…

Wishing all a very healthy 2015! :o


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#ZeroDiscrimination Campaign – Movie Festival in Brasilia

mostra filmes zero discriminação ayalde-15

Movie Festival in Brasilia – Campaign #ZeroDiscrimination

All content presented here below, extracted from:

Hoje é o Dia Mundial de Luta Contra a Aids!

Se você é de Brasília, participe da Campanha #ZeroDiscriminação promovida pela Unaids Brasil junto com a comunidade internacional no Brasil. A Embaixada dos EUA - Brasil participa da I Mostra Internacional de Filmes essa semana, com o filme “Clube de Compras Dallas”, na Casa Thomas Jefferson da Asa Sul, amanhã (02/12). Você está convidado! Se achou a iniciativa relevante, convide seus amigos para o filme! #MostraZeroDiscriminação #WorldAidsDay

Countries around the world celebrate Zero Discrimination Day

UNAIDS is inspired by the incredible response to the first Zero Discrimination Day

GENEVA, 1 March 2014People from all walks of life and in every region of the world are commemorating Zero Discrimination Day with a wide range of activities. UNAIDS called for the annual event, which is being celebrated for the first time on 1 March.

“Hatred of any kind must have no place in the 21st century,” said the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“Discrimination is a violation of human rights. It is immoral, hurtful and dehumanizing. Yet too many people around the world continue to face unfair, harmful or violent treatment simply because of the circumstances of their birth or environment,” said Dr John Ashe, President of the General Assembly.

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé has expressed his appreciation for the outpouring of support for the campaign. Working with Nobel Peace Prize winner and UNAIDS Global Advocate for Zero Discrimination Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, UNAIDS launched the #zerodiscrimination campaign in December 2013 on World AIDS Day.

“For all who seek a more just world, for all who strive for peace and prosperity—let us start by stopping the inequality and discrimination happening around us,” said Mr Sidibé.

Many government ministries, lawmakers, business leaders and international organizations are supporting the zero discrimination campaign.

“Institutionalized discrimination is bad for people and for societies,” said Dr Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group. “Widespread discrimination is also bad for economies. There is clear evidence that when societies enact laws that prevent productive people from fully participating in the workforce, economies suffer.”

“Achieving zero discrimination is critical for the success of the AIDS response. The International Labour Organization (ILO) is fully committed through its Getting to Zero at Work campaign,” said Guy Ryder, Director-General of ILO.

“Eliminating discrimination is the one step that can enable the world to achieve the UN General Assembly’s 2011 target of a 50 per cent reduction of HIV infection among people who use drugs by 2015,” said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov. “Take that step, say yes to #zerodiscrimination, commit, transform and let’s reach the target.”

The butterfly is widely recognized as a sign for transformation and the campaign has adopted it as the symbol for zero discrimination. People have supported the campaign by taking photographs holding up the butterfly symbol in places across the globe, including snowy mountain tops, office cubicles, amusement parks, fire stations and the world famous carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At a commercial shopping complex in Kandy, Sri Lanka, campaign supporters are organizing a mass photography shoot with the zero discrimination symbol.

The Asia-Pacific Transgender Network has used the occasion of Zero Discrimination Day to produce in partnership with UNAIDS a powerful video about the transgender experience. The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS is holding a series of country-level and regional dialogues with government, civil society, business and religious groups, as well as young people, on the importance of building solidarity for everyone. The Youth Taekwondo Association of Tajikistan is holding an event called “Sport against stigma and discrimination.”

Many celebrities have recorded video messages or taken photographs with the butterfly, including the global Indian icon and UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, the popular Russian science commentator and naturalist Nikolai Drozdov and the highly acclaimed musician from Mali and International Goodwill Ambassador Toumani Diabaté. The international television broadcaster CNN is supporting the campaign and many local and regional media outlets are featuring discussions on zero discrimination. In Pakistan, Radio Pakistan and PTV World, the country’s only English channel, hosted talk shows with people from key groups who often face discrimination.

More information is available at:


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Posted by on December 17, 2014 in BRASIL, foreign service



Living & working in Brazil as foreign service family: Our fifth month.

After being in La Paz, Bolivia for the past 2 years, we followed our hearts [and our assignment!] to Brasilia, capital of Brazil. Before I go any further, my blogsphere apologies for the hiatus – being a full-time mom of 3 children, one not yet at school age, who have decided to [re] join the wonderful PEPFAR team, working 40+ hours outside the house, life’s still good.

We’ve adjusted quite well, I’d say. Kids are pretty satisfied with the school; weekend have been crowned with social events, ranging from previously arranged and impromptu play dates, to barbecues at friends’ homes, to endless trips to the grocery store.


For the average ‘ trailing family’, we seem to be doing well. With all that said, I believe I can get back into blogging, updating family and friends on our whereabouts….

Work has me traveling quite a bit, which could be seen as exciting, but nevertheless, requiring excelling logistics skills, and a state-of-the-art household managing plan! :) One of my work trips brought the whole family to Rio… and how? Well, October is Children’s Month in Brazil. And because of that, one of the airline companies was flying kids for free. Taking advantage of the Columbus Day holiday, we packed our bags, and went to the Cidade Maravilhosa. This post showcases a few images from our visit.


*. Parque Lage

“Parque Enrique Lage” is a public park in the city of Rio De Janeiro, located in the Jardim Botânico neighborhood at the foot of the Corcovado.

The atrium of the mansion, has a lovely café, enjoyed by families and tourists.

The land was formerly the residence of industrialist Enrique Lage and his wife. During the 1920s Lage had the mansion remodeled by Italian architect Mario Vodrel, with interior paintings by Salvador Payols Sabaté.


In the 1960s the land became a public park, with walking trails through subtropical forest. The Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage (Visual Arts School of Parque Lage) and a café open to the public operate from the former mansion.


*. Meeting up with friends in Leblon…. nothing like taking a pic at a bus stop in Rio… so classy!!! :)


*. A quick stop at the Girl from Ipanema Bar… the so famous corner where Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim complosed the long-loved poem to the eternal beach-tanned beauty…


*. …on our way to the beach!


*. Moving on…. Looking at the city from the shoulders of Christ the Redeemer – Nothing like enjoying the view from the “Cristo”!


*. And finally… The Ipanema Hippie Fair… got get there to understand it’s size, dimension and unique flavors & colors!


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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’).


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


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