LOS ANGELES — With apologies to Don Draper and Walter White, an argument could be made the two most popular television programs in the country right now are anything involving the National Football League and "Game of Thrones." So, logically, we here at The Chris Brockman Website decided to combine the two, matching our favorite backstabbers, schemers, and philanderers of Westeros with their respective NFL counterparts.
The inspiration for this week’s writing challenge is ‘a manner of speaking’.
Recently, I just shared my very personal point of view on ‘why do I write‘, really meaning ‘why do I blog‘ – and the answers are quite simple: I write, blog, share, because it’s the easiest, fastest, simplest way to reach out to other [bloggers], get feedback [from within the traveling, expat community], vent out [my difficulties, challenges] and exchange [experiences, lessons learned and why not, 'things that one should not do while trying to raise kids around the world!']
I also try to blog in different languages – although my posts tend to be mostly in English, my mother tongue is Continental Portuguese [born and raised in the beautiful & multicultural country of Brazil!], and to top it all off, we’re living and working in Bolivia, whose national language is Spanish. That said, my work days are spent in 2 languages that aren’t really, ‘mine’… Despite the obvious exhaustion at the end of the day, I’m surviving…
At work: I talk to people in English and in ‘Portuñol’. My staff is kind enough to ‘pretend’ they’re fully understanding what I’m struggling to tell them! Conversations with local nationals are often established in ‘Spanglish’ and in Portuñol.
At home: it’s a mix. Met my husband several years back, while still in Brazil, and the two of us would have long conversations in Portuguese. Years went by, and now we created a mixed language that tends to gravitate towards the ‘one who’s the most tired’: if it’s me, than, we talk in Portuguese. If it’s him, the conversation will move toward English. But we’re not done, there are the 3 kids, adding to this lingual melting pot: the older ones, due to the international school, show some preference to English, while the toddler showcases her abilities in Spanish Paceño [typical of La Paz], with a few words in Aymara [indigenous dialect], here and there…
Somehow, all of us, who are continuously swinging between two or more languages, find our way to adjust, to adapt to new scenarios, and keep on moving. We keep on talking [and boy, I'm a chatty cat, if allowed to be!] – communication is one of the most powerful tools our society’s got, and when well used, it’s not only a diplomatic tool, but it also enhances our chances to improve social relationships at home, at the work level, and emotionally. ♥
” Amanhana, yo hablo!”
“Amanhãna eu hablo. Si queden tranquilis!”
[this is a classic example of Portuñol - very likely, the intention was to say: 'I'll talk about it tomorrow, stay calm".] Photo credit here.
For the Spanish-speaking readers here, this sentence probably sounds like a joke… and guess what, was produced by one of Brazil’s former President, while addressing the Mercosul community!]. Jokes aside, I’m proud to have a mixed background, and even more proud to have the ability to share that with my growing children. I speak Spanglish. I speak Portuñol. Yo hablowhatever mix between these three languages is required to have the conversation going… The goal is to communicate. Hopefully, I’m on the right track… and if not, I’ll graciously find my way out: ‘yo no comprendo…’ ‘ I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about...’ And, if I’m lucky enough, I won’t find myself lost in translation through life! ♥
In order to wrap it all up, a poem, written in the “most pure Portunol“, by a Brazilian Gaucho, Mario Quintana:
Don Ramón se tomo um pifón: bebia demasiado, don Ramón!
Y al volver cambaleante a su casa, avistó em el camino: um árbol y um toro…
Pero como veia duplo, don Ramón vio um árbol que era y um árbol que no era, um toro que era y um toro que no era. Y don Ramón se subió al árbol que no era: Y lo atropelo el toro que era. Triste fim de don Ramón!
A long time has gone by since I prepared this blogpost… And yet, it remains so current! Even celebrated my birthday surrounded by bubble wrap & moving boxes – it was pack out season! The original post was ”Inspired by the FS Blog Round Up, I decided to do some research and put together a pack of interesting information about moving and packing, including my personal comments. Some of the “facts” were actually quite new to me.
Others, made me laugh.
Also found some “advice” on moving with small children – supposedly, “moving with kids could be a breeze, if you plan ahead”. This is probably my favorite, and I ask: “how much ahead to you need to plan? maybe before you were joined by your kids??”
Anyway, here are some of the ‘facts’ about moving and packing:
Comment: Really?! Would have never guessed! Moving is trauma, ranked right up there with getting a divorce, losing a job or burying a loved one. But chances are you already know that. So here comes the question:
So.. Why we do it???
** just a rhetorical question! We all look forward to those intense
One-sixth of all Americans, an estimated 43 million people, move each year. (U.S. Census Bureau)
Comment: And 50% of all moves take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day – that’s just weird – no idea why the preference! [** And recently I learned it was because of the U.S. school year/calendar (thanks, Carla!)... now it does make sense - another hint that I'm a foreign-born spouse!]
Individuals move 11.7 times in their lifetime. (from: U.S. Census Bureau)
Comment: Already crossed that mark, even before meeting the husband and joining the FS…
The typical moving customer is a married couple between the ages 25 and 44, with one or two children between the ages of 2 and 11.
Comment: Good to know we’re not alone. It comforts me to know there are several other parents out somewhere, screaming and kicking …
And here are some of the “advices”:
Get back to normal: For the sake of the entire family’s happiness, try not to take too long to resume doing what your family enjoys.
Comment: I’d really appreciate knowing how to get back to normal after a move, not taking long to resume to your ‘normal’ routine. Maybe I’m always too busy trying to prevent the kids from killing each other, that I may loose focus…
Pack late (late?) – The actual process of packing up and putting things away in boxes may be emotionally trying for preschoolers, as they see familiar and favorite objects disappear into boxes. Try to pack your preschoolers’ belongings as late in the moving schedule as possible, and reassure them that their belongings will be going to the new house.
Comment:You don’t realize how much stuff your kids have until you start packing. BTW, where are the kids? Make sure the answer to your question is on the top of your to-do list!
Pace Yourself: Your already busy schedule keeps you on your feet at all times, and moving adds a whole new list of things to do. Plan ahead. Give yourself several weeks to pack for your move, that way you are only packing a few boxes a day. This will decrease the amount of time you need away from your everyday responsibilities, including your kids. In other words, it’s not only about keeping your kids busy, but it’s about making yourself more available during your move.
Comment: Would love to know how to pace myself. One day I’ll learn. Not next year. Not in this decade. Also, how could I “buy” several weeks ahead, for packing before a move? If I’m able to manage a semi-smooth “packing & moving” event, ensuring that our car keys and travel documents won’t be packed away with our HHE, I’ll be pretty lucky!:o Here is some good advice (at least for me!) about keeping it real for the traveling children (thanks to “Family-Travel-Scoop”): Do talk frankly with your children about the moveDo let your child express his/her feelings Do acknowledge their frustrations/angerDo research the country you are moving to with your childDo let your child say goodbye properly to the place you are leavingDo expect an adjustment period when your child has mixed emotionsDo keep traditions from home alive in your new homeDo maintain regular ties with family back “home”Do bring items (e.g. framed pictures) and put them in each home you live in a similar placeDo involve your child with any decisions that may affect him/her if possible
Good luck to all the ones moving out this season! I’m glad we don’t have to think about packing for at least, another year…
Like many others, I need colorful and fun experiences in my life. A good way to cope with the intense life of the foreign service [moving every so often, and raising kids along the way]: find ways to ‘dive into the local culture, learning about their traditions and what moves their hearts!
We’ve already been posted in Bolivia for exactly 6 months, and I’m always on the lookout for interesting stories, traditional eventss, unique ways that represent the Bolivian Culture. The first post was about Art in La Paz through paintings. This time, a group of friends was taken to El Alto, just outside La Paz, for a Sunday afternoon experience with the ‘Fighting Cholitas‘! A unique experience for many foreigners visiting Bolivia, and a great fit for this week’s photo challenge!
In order to ‘educate myself’ a bit, I did a brief research on these famous women, and the easiest explanation comes from Wikipedia:
The Fighting Cholitas are a group of female lucha librewrestlers who perform in El Alto, Bolivia. The Cholitas are part of a group called the Titans of the Ring, which includes both male and female wrestlers. The Titans perform each Sunday for an audience of hundreds at El Alto’s Multifunctional Center.
Like the general population of El Alto, which consists almost entirely of Aymara and Quechua residents, the Cholitas are indigenous. They wear braided hair, bowler hats and multilayered skirts in the ring.
Now, less talk and more images. Starting with our short trip leaving the city of La Paz, towards El Alto, the ‘grand stage’ for the Cholitas Performance!
The ‘way to travel’: our Cholita Wrestling Bus, personalized tickets, snacks and souvenirs!
The ‘performers’… or should I say… ‘the fearless fighters’ and their loyal fans?
These women aren’t like the men in their spandex outfits and masks. They’re Cholitas, indigenous Bolivian women in their traditional Aymara Indian clothes. The outfit includes a layered skirt buoyed by petticoats, a shawl with long swinging fringe and a bowler hat adorned with gold pins. It’s what the women wear in, and out, of the wrestling ring.
Cholitas wrestling is an ever-growing business. Hundreds of tourists, and Bolivians, line up every week to watch the cholitas beat on each other. But why the fascination? “It’s something spectacular, something never seen before to have a cholita in the ring,” a common opinion shared among us, astonished and somehow, confused (?), members of the Sunday audience….
Learning a bit more about the Bolivian culture is definitely part of my ‘unofficial duties‘ as an expat and a mother… We have lived in different places, and each country has its own way to greet the coming year… in Brazil, our previous post, the New Year is celebrated in white clothes, and at midnight, asking for blessings from Yemanjá, the protector of the waters.
Regarding the many different traditions for welcoming the New Year, the beautiful country of Bolivia couldn’t stay behind others, and for sure, brings out its very own expression of ‘luck’…
This time, I was quite surprised to find out how: WEARING YELLOW (AND/OR) RED UNDERWEAR! Similar to countries like Mexico, where colorful underwear is a ‘must-have’ for the New Year’s Eve, here in Bolivia, it’s important when the underwear is changed.
People have to buy some yellow [or red] underwear piece and wait for midnight… When it comes, they just run to a place to change it and believe that their luck will change as well! It’s also believed that this practice helps them find a loving mate.Red means an amorous love life ahead and yellow expresses the desire to gain money and wealth. The wishes of the locals are expressed via their underpants.
Think I’m just making it up?Take a look at the largest open market in Achumani, a residential area in La Paz, and tell me what you spot from the selling stands! ♥ The Cholitas selling their articles probably thought I was another ‘crazy foreigner‘ when asked them for permission to snap these shots… and they were a bit disappointed when learned I wasn’t gonna buy any pieces… ‘aren’t you concerned about your good fortune for next year?’ And with a smile, I just kindly thanked them for their time and help, and for explaining the meaning behind the colors; but told them I was happy with my present fortune… and that I’d be okay for the New Year’s, despite lacking a piece of undergarment displaying a money sign…
Wishing all a very HAPPY, COLORFUL & LUCKY NEW YEAR!
[even if you could not get your red/yellow piece of underclothing for good luck!]
So, 2013 is here… and we got to celebrate it’s first hours surrounded by great music, yummy food, good friends, all of our kids, who joined us for the midnight celebration (yeap, kids were too excited to fall asleep, or even, take a short nap!); while we all watched the fireworks happening throughout the city of La Paz…♥
Earlier, I’d shared that a couple of our expat friends here had decided to put together an 80s party to welcome the New Year! Everyone had a blast, and here are some of the images from the last day of 2012, and the very first hours of 2013.
That’s what the New Year’s Celebration brought out! The best? Definitely the 80s hair styles… look at what people came up with!
Someone else who wrote about ‘Style’ for the New Year? Here!
Celebrating the arrival of 2013, and bidding farewell to a dear 2012… All with style – 80s style! Could there be a more fun way to do it?
[A confession,thank you very much, Robert Smith, for not only making my high school/early College years bearable, but also for helping me endure my recent parenting years, as a mother of 3 little ones...
Only another tired mom would understand the calming and motivational power of an 80s song...
Especially if, that same mom is ready to give up on her first-grader's homework on a Saturday morning!
Somehow, the 80s music finds a way to 'reach out to me', and bring me back to reality... Not in high school anymore... the sleepless nights are not due to some term paper or exam...
now, the short nights usually come from a crying kid with fever, or, another one having a nightmare; or simply, missing my well-deserved beauty rest by having a couple of extra 'bodies' in our bed... every single night, since 2005! ♥
But well, that's the path we chose, and the 80s music have always helped me thru 'tough times'... ♥ My favorite, without question, The Cure...
Wonders that only a blond wig can do! 5 years later, 3 kids, 2 more countries under the belt… the forties have arrived… let’s see what type of hairstyle this mom will bring out!
Let’s see what the New Year’s Celebration brings!
Now, not only I’ll go to a party with ‘my guy’, but a handful of other ‘accessories’, which will include a 7-year-old boy, who loves 70s & 80s music; an almost 5 year old girl who loves to dress up [like her mother!] and is ‘addicted’ to dance… and a 2-year-old girl, which’s still a bit young to define her style… time will tell…
That said, getting these bad boys out of the closet [I mean, the leg warmers! mine are pink with white stripes], making sure the hair will be ‘par’ for the celebration, check the clothing colors [lots of them, and they better be bright!], accessories, make-up… and head to the party humming my favorite tunes!
NOW:on my way out to the local market, trying to find some ‘miracle hair products’ for tomorrow night’s bash!
Having previously established that Santa has to be magical (because the laws of physics prohibit a real Santa accomplishing successful toy delivery), we can turn to the question of Santa's gender. One might question this on the grounds of Santa's apparent historic maleness, but in counter I offer George Sand, Mulan and any number of Shakespeare plays.
One might also question this on the grounds of gender perhaps not applying to magical creatures, to which I reply that Hobbits, Elves and Dwarves seem pretty clear on the matter (although one can never really tell with Dwarves—all that hair and battle armor are quite concealing, and it's poor form to actually…
Why not a bit of humor, right after Christmas Day? The 'post-holiday blues' kicked in, now, it's all about cleaning the house, washing whatever leftover dishes are pilling up on my sink... make sure the kids don't kill each other over their new toys... :o That said, during one of my blog-hopping ventures, found this funny piece on Santa Claus, discussing the pros and cons of 'it' being a man or a woman! As a mother, the one in charge of pretty much everything related to Christmas for our family, ranging from grocery shopping, gift-wrapping, meal-planning, cooking, and the aftermath cleaning - I'm a little bias... maybe, the original author [Wyrd Smithe, from Logs con Carne] has a good point with the 'pros' on Santa being a woman... who knows? If you've got more to add to this intriguing discussion, hop over to his site, and share it! I'm sure it'd be appreciated! Below is an excerpt from the original text, where I [freely] highlighted my FAVORITE parts, for both genders, so, I may not be 'accused' of being... errrr... a bit...bias! Enjoy!
"Santa is a man!
...It is precisely because Christmas is an“organized, warm, fuzzy, nurturing social deal”that Santa has to be a man. Delegation… that’s the key. Just imagine if a woman was trying to delegate all of those tasks and obligations to her underlings. Christmas would be as ambiguous as the spring equinox. Nobody would know what day of the year we were going to celebrate it on.
It takes a man to organize a commercial event as huge as Christmas... We’d have to plan football schedules around lunch instead of the other way around. Or worse yet… there might not be any football at all. [shudder] That’s a scary thought.
If Santa was a female, the toys might never be delivered. It would take a she Santa until New Year’s Eve to get dressed (for the third time) and out of the bathroom. And just try harnessing those reindeer with freshly painted nails. Never happen. Once she got underway, she’d be too busy talking on the cell phone to her girl friends to get all the way around the world to every girl and boy’s house in a single year, let alone a single night.
Santa is a Woman!
For starters, the vast majority of men don’t even think about selecting gifts until Christmas Eve. Once at the mall, they always seem surprised to find only Ronco products, socket wrench sets, and mood rings left on the shelves. On this count alone, I’m convinced Santa is a woman......Even if the male Santa did have reindeer, he’d still have transportation problems because he would inevitably get lost up there in the snow and clouds and then refuse to stop and ask for directions.
Other reasons why Santa can’t possibly be a man:
Men can’t pack a bag.
Men would rather be dead than caught wearing red
Men would feel their masculinity is threatened having to be seen with all those elves.
Men don’t answer their mail.
Men would refuse to allow their physique to be described even in jest as anything remotely resembling a “bowlful of jelly.”
Men aren’t interested in stockings unless somebody’s wearing them.
Having to do the Ho Ho Ho thing would seriously inhibit their ability to pick up women.
Finally, being responsible for Christmas would require a commitment.
Thank you for letting me share this piece... funny, and a great way to jump back into reality... nothing wrong with a bit of healthy humor, post-Christmas, right?! :o
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! But works well for this week’s photo inspiration. Happy Holidays!
Backstory: Our family’s got Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, Mexican, Native American [and who knows what else!] heritage. All into the very same pot… and due to work, we’re bound to the foreign service life(style). That said, we like to ‘collect things along the way’, as we travel, as we move from country to country. And funny enough, we do not not have ONE Mayan Calendar. We have THREE… We like the pieces, and I don’t think they’re any indication of the ‘end of an Era‘- let alone, the end of this world we call home…
And right now, since we were able to get our stuff/household effects from our last post, the calendars are mounted to the wall…. Next to an Elf Stocking (!) and a ‘twinkling plant’, surrounded by tiny colorful Xmas lights. As you may see, we’re a pretty eclectic family… We believe in Christmas Morning Magic, Santa, Elves… and everyone gets along just fine, around the Mayan predictions!
Friday is here… holidays are just around the corner… Husband’s gone on a work trip. This mom is left home with 3 little ones and a pet hamster [come on, what you mean 'you won't be able to clean his house today? how is it any different from all the other days?'] Oh, well, gotta find something to cheer me up, and sure enough, rescued an old post, especially prepared for Fridays like today.
Read and learn – great tip for this holiday season, where, we, women, tend to eatshoptalk indulge a little bit too much!
It’s coming from another woman, to all other women, and probably, all men with a good sense of humor…
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?
Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.
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!
Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.
Image #7: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Evergreen centerpiece.
There’s a bit of backstory to this branch of evergreen. It used to belong to a much larger tree, in front of the Radiation Treatment Facility here in La Paz. The tree has been trimmed to offer space for a canopy, where patients and patients-to-be would benefit from some much deserved shade, while waiting to be called into the facility. Several branches were cut down, and a few of the volunteers decided to take them home, using them as part of a unique Christmas decoration…
Two weeks later, one of the branches still exists as my dining table centerpiece… beautiful… a keepsake of a day of work, but most importantly, reminding us about how blessed we’ve been… There’ll be no holidays at a hospital facility for our family… we’ll spend these holidays together, as a family.. we’re all healthy and grateful…
Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.
Image #6: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Literallydriving among the clouds, outside the city of Nuestra Señora de La Paz… And we DID GO through this ride [or at least, the fab hubby did... all the driving!].Here is the link for the complete Photo Essay!
Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.
Image #4: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Let it snow in school… if [natural] snow doesn’t fall down from the sky, the solution is… let’s make it! [nothing wrong with having fun with school-made artificial snow!]
Image #3: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Getting ready to enjoy the holiday season dinners, nights-out, get-togethers… That’s when you know you’re IN BOLIVIA… it’s possible to findPEPTO BISMOL [or any similar!] in a LADY’S PURSE… hummm, wonder why!
Let’s enjoy the holidays!
Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! Previous image here.
Image #2: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas:Hang on… we’re almost there…The family is ready!
In order to celebrate our “non-tropical season of joy”, we’ll continue to share images that showcase how we’re seeing and enjoying this time of the year. Today, a ‘snapshot of our family’… aren’t we the best looking family in town?!
Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! Previous image here.
Well, the Season to be thankful has began, and its greatest day is already here. Thanksgiving day is all about family, friends, cooking, sharing, enjoying each other’s company and football! Be Thankful. It’s the word for the Season.
“Thanks. And a whole lot more.”
That said, I think I just got tired of being bombarded by the commercialism associated with the upcoming holidays… somehow, even though we’re living overseas, the commercial holidays and their unique products, find a way to come to us….Thanks to our Direct TV routed signal from Puerto Rico (which I’m deeply thankful for!). It’s great being able to watch our favorite shows, movies… but it comes with a price: you also get all the commercial, car & medicare adds, sales specials… the whole nine yards that make this end of the year period Merry & Bright!!!
Please, don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, need the holiday spirit around my house, love to cook for my family, trying new and improved recipes… But, come on! Witnessing Christmas trump over Thanksgiving, having suggested ‘Thanksgiving gifts’ for our children… seems a bit too much… But again, maybe, it’s just me…
I’m a bit overwhelmed by what the holiday season (and all the commercial adds around it!) has turned into!
If you like to shop, go for it. Enjoy your time. I myself like shopping as much as the next person, but this year, I’ll be passing on the ‘early Black Friday‘. Not only there’s the option to shop online for pretty much, the same products, but one could also begin his/her shopping ventures as early as [Thanksgiving] Thursday, at 8 pm! Go, have your dinner with family, grab your purses, and head to the mall, walking off all that turkey, trading the very-much-needed nap for long walks through the stores! If one likes it, go ahead, have a great time window shopping, talking to other customers at the stores, finding the latest, coolest, brightest, piece of clothing! Forget about doing the dishes – they can happily wait in the crowded sink – call your friends, get into your car, pack an extra dose of patience and kindness for the parking lots, and… Go shopping!
And I’m fully aware that by now, I may have gotten several readers errr, upset with my take on the whole thing… Apologies. If you dearly love the madness that comes with the strongly suggested shopping” the day after Thanksgiving Day, good for you. Just don’t keep reading. I respect people’s opinion and they’re unexplainable desire to shop, but, it’s not for me. And why all this?
The explanation is actually, quite simple, and it involves no previous frustrations with this time of the year, nor any bad memories from any childhood. Holidays are fun, and mine are always filled with great moments of joy. The reason I began to boycott the Black Friday madness comes from answering a few simple questions:
“Do I have money for this, or I’d need to dive into our Christmas budget?”
“Do I have space in our house for that?”
If it’s a decorative piece, “what am I gonna do with this after the season is over?”
“Do I have storage space?”
Don’t know about y’all, but because we’re a ‘nomad’ family, moving every so often, due to work and lifestyle, my answers were all ‘No’… Besides, this year, husband and I spent a good hour explaining to our [7 years old and younger] children the meaning behind the celebrations, why we need to be thankful, the meaning of gratitude… Why it’s necessary to share what we have with others, and why give not because you have to, but because it truly makes you feel good about yourself and about life… Not sure if the kids grasped all the information that was thrown upon them, but at least, got them understanding what Toys for Tots is, and the importance of volunteering when yo have a skill and time to share…
After our ‘quasi-family meeting’, I realized that the post-Thanksgiving shopping idea runs completely opposite to these ‘freshly-developed’ concepts! How could I explain to my children that, despite all the ‘teachings’, I needed to go out and guess… go shop for more stuff!
I’d be contradicting myself, and jeopardizing the ideas I’d just planted into my children’s minds and hearts… So, I decided: we’ll be passing on the Black Friday madness shopping. Right now, don’t really need any new sweaters, decorative pieces, nor the newest-coolest talking toy…
Today, it’ll be about cooking, family and friends. We’ll enjoy our Thanksgiving Day. And a restful evening with our kids.
Tomorrow, we’ll be enjoying the day off. Far away from the malls, stores, or even, clicks away from any dot com attractive store website… Maybe, we could even take a short road trip? Since we’re not in the US, roads shouldn’t be packed with cars coming and going from who knows where… We’ll enjoy our ‘Black Friday’, hopefully, keeping our wallets safeguarded from any ‘shopping madness’!
Wait!! Just remembered something: I forgot to mention “Cyber Monday” is also coming… be aware… be careful… together, those two ‘shopping days’ will find a way to get ya!
What about you? Looking forward to Black Friday shopping or… just relaxing and staying as far away as possible?
You already know my answer! Happy Thanksgiving to us all!
Ok, let me explain this question. I’m a curious cat, by nature. That said, recently, I discovered that since I began blogging, people come searching for ’41′… Is that just a number?An age? [coincidently it's my current age, but I really don't think people would be interested in that! Also, be kind: one should never ask/try to guess a lady's age... especially when it's past 35! ] Is there any cabalistic meaning for the number? Since I had no idea, I went out on searching about the intriguing number, in order to find some sort of explanation why, almost 200 people/visitors would be looking for that!
What did I found?Nothing conclusive… it’s an odd, prime number, with no real numerological, biblical or historical meaning… What a disappointment!
So, again, I come back to the question: “why would people be interested in this number?” After exhausting the ‘fancy searching tools/engines’, I resumed to the old-fashioned Wikipedia, the ‘mother of all lost cyber-information‘, for some non-scientific, unlikely reliable shed of light on this problem.
[By now many are probably thinking that I've got a lot of free time in my life, pretty much doing nothing, and with tons of 'unassigned' minutes to spare... definitely, not the case. I'm also a serious procrastinator, and, sometimes I allow my endless curiosity prevent me from carrying on with real chores - good explanation for escaping from my real duties, right? o]
Anyway, getting back to Wikipedia’s cyber explanation, get this:
“41 (forty-one) is the natural number following 40 and preceding 42, as well as two numbers preceding 43.”
Pretty fantastic, right? Maybe that’s why people have been searching throughout this blog: seeking the number that sits between 40 & 42, which, by the way, are much fancier, even numbers, with several numerological attributions! Got my answer at last, I suppose! Of course, if one [with time to spare] is heading to check the number on that site, will find references ranging from religion to TV, from big screen movies to politics, and obviously, some math & science references – but again, nothing that could make almost 200 people come blog-hopping over here…
But now, that I’ve got some attention to this ‘matter’, I had to, obviously, tag this post with “41″ – at the end, it was the original reason people begin coming over… Oh, the intricate ways the human mind works… one can only wonder! Well… Got you reading, right?
The ”packed out” couple. “UNACCOMPANIED AIR BAGGAGE” & “HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS”
Memories from last June…
A year’s gone by since I prepared the original blogpost about packing and moving, focusing on the FS events… More than four months have past since we packed out from our last post assignment, Recife, Brazil.
This year, I even celebrated my birthday surrounded by bubble wrap & moving boxes – June was our pack out season – but husband and kids found a way to bring joy to my special day, despite the craziness we’re all familiar with, when it comes to have your house taken down by movers, packers, filling endless forms and making sure you don’t lose track of your life during the process!
[UAB to HHE] “why are you taking so long to come home?” [HHE] “Sorry, dear… you know how it is at the port… you meet a couple of cool young boxes… begin chatting, talking about the midlife shipping crisis… and you lose track of time!”
So, now it’s the end of October, and since we STILL DO NOT HAVE (not yet! I’m always hopeful!) our household effects, I thought about turning the frustration into something, at least, fun, for this year’s Halloween at our local Marine Detachment House. Husband and I went as ‘pack out couple’... Well, a bit of crafting skills, an open mind and a good sense of humorwere the perfect recipe for this year’s costume!
Did you have any last-minute, crazy idea for your adult costume? I’d love to know!
I’m still trying to figure out the Mathematics of “life with children”!
[Backstory] Once upon a time, there was a young girl who loved children, had a great time playing with other people’s kids, and believed she’d make a great mom, when the time came…
Well, this young girl got older, found her prince charming, and once again, they (so naïve!) thought:
“We’re gonna be parents! We’re gonna be the best ones! We’ll love and cherish children! Our kids will be the best behaved ones, always clean, always loving and respectful”
And then, the family started growing: first we were, as some friends (already with 3 children) used to call us: “a couple with a child”. We had it easy! Once kid #1 was sound asleep, mommy and daddy could enjoy some quality time (and even some wine!) at the end of a long day of work. So, here was the formula:
f = [(a loving husband) + (a loving wife) + (a brand new baby) = (a happy family!)]
Life and Math seemed so easy and manageagle: we were living overseas, had support and household help. We then decided to increase our legacy. Here came kid #2, and with it, a way more challenging routine, accompained by several sleepless nights…
We had no idea that with two kids, the chances of having one of them sick, at some point in time, are extremely high!
We, the “once before-pretty smart” parents, learnt that our “Math skills” weren’t gonna cut…
Take a look at the “new & improved” formula:
f = [(still loving, but very tired parents) + (demanding toddler) + (a brand new baby)
= (a still happy, but somewhat confused family!)]
We managed life. We found our niche, learnt from other couples new strategies and ground rules to apply to our own routine, began training the kids on life skills (sleeping, eating, drinking, bathroom needs).
Regarding our Math knowledge, we sort of came back from a lousy D- to a pretty solid B-…
We were back, baby!! We knew how to survive with kids, lead an enjoyable life, took short trips with the whole family, went grocery shopping… We had it down! And the excess of confidence and maybe some extra excitement about our new FS assignment, responded for kid #3…
And then, the third one came into our lives.
We’re a family full of life and joy. Today, we don’t sleep as many hours as we used to, let’s see, six years ago, when we were sure to be the best “parents-to-be”.
Today we may not have the face-time with our spouse, the way we wanted, but if the kids are healthy, fed, dry, and the most important of all – sleeping – we, as parents, are pretty satisfied.
Our definition of happiness may have changed a bit, and we’re taking a day at a time. A sleepless night might be followed by a great day, who knows?
At least now we’ve got an idea on what’s in-store for us. We know kids give us a hard time when it comes to sleeping, eating, getting dressed, getting ready for school, and pretty much anything else.
But at least now, we know we need to be prepared. And we’re learning. Also, we decided to give up on our Math skills – raising kids has no formula.
Life with kids is just a massive equation, with tons of variables… We’d be silly trying to map it out. And the worst and maybe the funniest of all is that, at the moment, we’re graded by a team, whose combined age doesn’t even reach 13 years!
In sum, I’m thankful to all the readers and parents out there, for the support during my parenting experience, and I guess, gotta thank my own children, for the ENDLESS INSPIRATION they provide to my blogging days! ♥
Sharing today a bit of feedback on what we´re calling, “our newest home”. And thanks to Ailsa, from Where is my Backpack? for the usual inspiration! After being in La Paz, Bolivia, for over 4 months, our overall experience is pretty positive, which is fantastic, considering we´re still waiting for our household effects to arrive, and kids don´t have a lot of toys to play with. All in all, positive vibes, and we`re enjoying every moment.
One thing that I find very ´peculiar´ is the traffic/transportation/driving dynamics here. Although, I shouldn´t, I suppose, after living and driving in Mozambique/South Africa/Swaziland, on the “wrong side” of the road, for some 3 years, and in Recife (Brazil), for another 2 years, nothing should come as a real surprise.
But, in fact, there´s always something new at you. And, it actually makes me laugh on any regular day: not one single dull moment throughout this beautiful city here! I was quite happy to find a post that shared similar thoughts, and am adding it here, with a few comments. My appreciation to Strolling South America, another blogger with WordPress, for sharing actual/realistic and funny facts about the ´transportation´ in La Paz! I added my comments below each original statement. Have fun reading!
Obviously, cropped the bottom of the pic… respecting the driver’s privacy…
This is the quickest option. I know it’s hard to believe, but some taxi drivers overcharge foreigners, so make sure you negotiate the price before you leave. The driver can tell you’re a foreigner even if you aren’t wearing stripey hippie pants and standing by Sagarnaga street. Also, make sure it’s a licensed taxi if you don’t want to risk getting EXPRESS KIDNAPPED. If you’re lucky, the front seat will have a seat belt. The back seats will not, but take comfort in the fact that the driver isn’t wearing one either as he passes on the right and runs red lights.
Comment:Gotta love the taxis here. For a mom of 3 little ones, still waiting for our family car, I became quite dependent on taxis, know already a few companies/agencies, and even names of drivers. But the notion of strongly hugging/hauling your kids during any drive (especially the ones towards the downtown area, waving through the curves), is let´s say, exciting, but in not a great way! Something else about the taxis here: for some reason, they don´t have a meter (!!), so, the driver has to inform the passenger about the cost. After a while, one gets to know how much a certain trip would cost, and we`re all good. But, going back to the ´lack of a meter situation´, according to one of my drivers (I´m becoming quite familiar with cab drivers here!), there´s a simple explanation: THE ALTITUDE. That´s right! The high altitude of the city would ´damage´ any meter they tried to have installed… Believe it or not, the important thing is that cab drivers and their companies swear by this quasi-fact. That said, one has to trust their driver.
Always wished you were a little bit taller? You won’t as your head hits the ceiling while the driver goes over a bump. More like a van than a bus, this is the most intimate of travel choices. Passengers often greet those seated with a “Buenas tardes” as they board. This is because they’re probably going to be cozily squeezed between a couple of them. Probably the safest of travel options as the driver has to frequently slow down to pick up passengers. No, there aren’t any seat belts, but if that’s what you’re looking for you’ll have to rent a car. Look at the sign in the front window to see where the bus is going. Failing that, listen for the fare collectors shouting the destinations out the open door.
Microbus in La Paz
Despite the name, microbuses are actually the largest type of intra-city transport. Usually blue or yellow, they are bigger than minibuses, but smaller than your average bus back home. When the seats fill up it’s standing room only. This is the slowest and cheapest of transport options. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re really broke, or if you’re in a hurry and the minibuses and trufis are all full.
The famous “trufi”!
This is really just a mini-bus disguised as a taxi. Trufis, which also advertise their destinations with a sign in the front window, run set routes like buses, the only difference is that they’re generally a bit faster as they don’t stop as often to let people on and off. They’re ever so slightly more expensive than mini-buses, but the difference is negligible unless you’re on a really tight budget. And if you are on a really tight budget, well you knew that this job only paid 30 bolivianos an hour when you signed up.
Comment: Right now, my position is just watch, listen and learn. what I´ve learned so far? I guess that there´s a very strong possibility I won´t be riding on a Minibus or using a Trufi, as intriguing and exciting they might look to foreigner eyes… I´m fine with my taxis, for the time being… Even though, I know there´ll be no seat belts on the back seat, and there´s a great chance they won´t be able to load their trunk with my groceries, due to the tank of gas (propane, I think!) – hey, I guess it´s a cheap way to beat the economic crisis, getting more driving than with regular oil…
It was nice knowing you. It’s honestly safer to cycle on this road.
ok, ok… this is actually mountain biking… got a couple friends who’ve got a biking/sports business, so, biking is definitely part of my “TO DO” list while here!
Comment: Well… I´m actually looking forward to try that, despite a few warnings about biking in the city… Don´t have a bike yet, but it´s part of my plans… Kids need to get their bikes, as well, so, I´ll try to be a good role model, reminding myself from my biking-to-work days in Davis, CA. Again, let´s wait to see what the future brings, but so far, I´m up for the challenge.
La Paz is a great city in which to take a stroll if you’re training for the Olympics. The altitude combined with the hills will put you in peak physical condition, which you’ll need to fight off food poisoning. The cobblestone streets can be slippery, so I wouldn’t recommend parkour. Keep in mind that crosswalks are merely for decoration.
Comment: Very true. The slippery streets and my knees have already met. Once… or twice, before. Not a fun experience, but a good lesson to learn when one goes out grocery shopping and decides to come back home (uphill) wearing boots and carrying groceries bags… Maybe, it wasn´t a smart decision from my part. From now on, I´ll stick with a cab ride on my way back from the market. Yes, those taxis, the fun ones, with no seat belts nor meters!
We’re all wives, full-time moms, multi-cultural women, professional workers, “household managers” (yeah, we take care of the money!), day-long planners, care takers, skilled travelers, expats or nationals…
At the end, we’re like anybody else. It’s great to find time to get together, catch up on the talk, learn from each other…. and why not say, simply have healthy fun? A work event is always a chance to meet new fellows, share experiences and enjoy each other’s company!
Fun with the girls (and the ‘big boys’, as well!…)
I’m forty errr, I´m forty-one… that´s it… no come back… Thirties are totally, completely, over… Last year was my “landmark birthday”, the number 40 (and every single one of its partners!) carries some weight with it. But in a good way. When I was a teenager, I used to think that by the age of 30 I’d have conquered the world, traveling all over, hauling my perfect and obedient kids with my not-less-than-perfect husband.
Well… at 30 I´d discovered the world was much bigger than my ‘embellished‘ reality…
… And I’m still working on conquering my world, not solely by myself, and not as easily as I’d initially fantasized…
having a really bad hair day!
Secretly, I was looking forward to my 40´s – the idea gives me a sense of pride, of accomplishment, of the ability to overcome challenges.
It does make me really proud to tell people who ask about my age – “I’m forty one”… (also I’ve a confession: it’s the best when some kind soul responds saying: “really? you don’t look like“… it just makes my day! Don’t care if there’s an excess of kindness about the comment – I’d take it face value, why argue?!) ♥ Accept the compliments gracefully… and gratefully! These 4 decades have taught me a great deal.
I’ve learnt that I can’t know everything, control everything and decide alone about everything (don’t let my husband know that!). I need to listen more than I talk. I need to be more understanding and more patient with little things (now tell me how, if exactly when you’re trying to get out of the house, your middle child spills her morning juice all over your new tablecloth, your clothes, and maybe, on your hair?) I’ve also learnt that no matter how expensive your anti-wrinke creams are, they may not work the way your expected… and may not disguise those distinct motherly dark circles under your eyes, a proud label saying: “I’m a mom and I’m tired”. But I’m not always tired. Just often. Pretty much everyday… But I know there’ll be an end to the tiredness: when my kids grow up (??), and begin living their own lives (this is also part of my ‘embellished reality‘ – gotta hold on to something!!)
Nature has been kind to us…
Age has taught me a few tricks for life:
(1) a good bra may work wonders, but it may hurt you, too. If the improvement on your posture and silhouette is worth the pain, go for it. Not for me. I’d likely pass.
(2) I got my sagging eyelids from my mom. She’d (plastic) surgery when she was 33, and I haven’t (yet?). That said, I already owned the right to ‘blame’ her genes… “you know, it comes from my mother’s family“…
(3) If you think some piece of clothing (or shoes) may not look good, don’t even consider trying it on, and/or buying… Just because something looks good on your laptop screen or on a catalog, it doesn’t mean it’d look good on a real 3D you! I’m sure those (super) models are starving, and would give anything for a 1/3 pounder burger!!! ♥
(4) My backpacking days are way over. Got hand it to a good comfy room, unlabeled sheets, with AC, wi-fi, and if possible, with a bathroom, separated from my kids‘…
I’ve learnt to enjoy some “me”, and cherish it. Especially if ‘my company is being flavored’ with some wine… I’ve learnt to appreciate the quietness, but also, to survive the hectic and noisy madness that is my household.I’ve learnt to be my own person, and I’m content with it. I’m happy to be part of the 40s since last year – lots of planning to do for the this decade. Included among the plans, lots of love and laughs…
So, Mother’s Day is for family. It’s a family day, for decades making Hallmark’s top sales, because, people need to say how much they love and cherish their moms – in writing, if all possible! Give it up to the greeting cards’ industries – they’ve got it down. And they’re right: Mother’s Day is for fathers, and sons, and daughters, and… for soccer! Again, this year, Mother’s Day Sunday will be celebrated with… soccer??!
That’s right. Our city, Recife, is completely immersed into the whole “soccer team passion”, and the two most important clubs are playing today, for the championship…
Last year, Mother’s Day was the first-legged game. This year, it’s the final match, so, here are my “motherly impressions” of this not-so-common way to express their love for their Mothers Soccer Teams!
Impressions from last year’s Mother’s Day Weekend: the two teams facing each other… We stayed at home… safely watching the matches!
After a full week of ‘motherly celebrations‘, the weekend arrived. A dry weekend – the rains, which recently have scared and confused the population, seemed to have ceased. Good news. The city needed to get back into its routine. And with the arrival of weekend, came the excitement of enjoying quality time with the kids, watching them perform the little songs learnt in school, find the opportunity to have that long-lost face time with husband to chat and catch up… That’s right, here in Recife, Brazil, Mother’s Day Sunday just happened to be the first game of the “two-legged” championship final. Here is an idea on how exciting things may get when we’re talking about soccer in the Northeast of Brazil. The two competing teams arrest Sport Club Recife, the favorite, and the bearer of five previous championship victories. Its opponent: the Santa Cruz (“Holy Cross”) Soccer Club, the underdog, who today tried to pull out a miracle: win at the opponent’s ground.
Santa Cruz Futebol Clube, or simply Santa Cruz is a Brazilian football club in Recife, Pernambuco. On February 3, 1914, eleven young men aging from 14 to 16 years founded a football society. Because the boys used to play football on the streets by the yard of the Santa Cruz Church, the club was named after that church, which is situated on Santa Cruz Street in Recife. The first official meeting of the members was at 2 Mangueira St. In this meeting they decided the position of each member, the name of the club “Santa Cruz Football Club”, and society’s colors. Sport Club do Recife was founded on May 13th 1905, when Guilherme de Aquino Fonseca, from Pernambuco, returned after a season estudying in England. He got deeply interested in the British football, so, with some associates in Recife, he had the idea to create the club that would eventually become the greatest club in Brazilian’s North and Northeast Region. Sport Club Recife’s clubhouse is located in Praça da Bandeira, in the Ilha do Retiro, district in Recife. The club’s big structure has a number of areas, such as tennis courts, volleyball and hockey quarters. There is also a big aquatic complex, a training center and the house of all “rubro-negros” (red-and-blacks): the Adelmar da Costa Carvalho Stadium, commonly known as Ilha do Retiro.
Today’s match, the first one of the 2-legged final, happened at Sport Club’s home. It was a home game for Sport – who lost! This small victory tonight made the Santa Cruz’s gain new hope: hope that everything is possible, and miracles may happen – at least in Brazil. At least in Soccer.
And, if my Mother’s Day celebration had to include a couple of guest friends home for the game, so be it. If the price (if any!) for having a peaceful in-doors Mother’s Day Sunday was to rejoice my two boys during the match, I’ll take it. At the end, Mother’s Day is about family, and being together with the ones you love. Even if surrounded by loud screamers and over-excited kids.
Next week is the “final-final”. The second final game. And it’ll be on Santa Cruz’s grounds. I hope I have the same pleasant Sunday I had today: surrounded by my “amateur soccer fans”. Won’t care for the full house. Won’t care for the screaming at every wrong or crazy pass… Won’t really care for who wins or looses – just wanna hold on to this “Mother’s Day” feeling for another Sunday. Happy week to us all and good luck to both Santa Cruz and Sport Club!
Suggestion for a delicious Easter Sunday, or in good Portuguese: “Domingo de Páscoa”… Sharing my mother’s favorite recipe: Portuguese Codfish – Bacalhau a Gomes de Sá… Got a lot of positive feedback when I first published this recipe, that, I’m getting it out – again, now, as a great suggestion for Sunday’s luncheon! Showing the deepest appreciation to my Portuguese heritage… thanks, mom!
Although I may be able to take credit for the photo, the “execution” and recipe belong to my mother, and to her Portuguese heritage. For the past ten years, I’ve been promising my husband I’d make it one day. One day… not today… not yet! [smiles!]
Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá is essentially a casserole of codfish, potatoes, eggs, olives, olive oil and onion. It is a speciality from the northern city of Porto, being today popular throughout Portugal, and is considered one of Portugal’s greatest bacalhau recipes.
Origin of the name
Gomes de Sá was the son of a rich nineteenth century merchant, in Porto. The family fortune dwindled and the son had to find a job at the famous restaurant Restaurante Lisbonense in downtown Porto, where the well-known recipe was created.
Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá
“É um prato alourado no forno, formado por uma mistura de lascas de bacalhau amaciadas em leite, batatas cozidas e um refogado ligeiro. É enfeitado com ovo cozido, salsa e azeitonas”.
Alguns pratos tradicionais da culinária recebem o nome de seus criadores. Este é o caso do bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, tradicional receita portuguesa deste peixe, de autoria de José Luís Gomes de Sá, falecido em 1926, e na época cozinheiro do Restaurante Lisbonense, no Porto, lugar em que criou a receita. Sua receita tradicional propõe que o bacalhau seja cortado em pequenas lascas marinadas no leite por mais de uma hora. Assado no forno, com azeite, alho, cebola, acompanhando azeitonas pretas, salsa e ovos cozidos.
Este é um prato típico da região Norte de Portugal. É de preparação simples e relativamente rápida.
Gomes de Sá era um comerciante do Porto nos finais do Séc. XIX. A ele se deve esta receita de bacalhau que, segundo a lenda, terá sido criada com os mesmos ingredientes (à excepção do leite) com que semanalmente fazia os bolinhos de bacalhau que deliciavam os amigos. Com efeito, os ingredientes são os mesmos, mas a receita resulta de uma confecção cuidada e de grande requinte. A receita que se segue é retirada de um manuscrito atribuído ao próprio Gomes de Sá que terá dado a receita a um seu amigo, João, com a deliciosa nota: “João se alterar qualquer cousa já não fica capaz”
Receita em Portugues:
400 g Bacalhau
500 g Batata
1 dente Alho
0.35 g folhas louro
1 ramo salsa em rama
Q.B. Azeitonas Pretas
Cortar o bacalhau em postas e demolhar durante 48 horas. Colocar panela ao lume com água e deixar ferver. Juntar o bacalhau, deixar cozer, retirar e lascar.
Lavar bem as batatas com a pele. Cozer em água, temperada com sal, retirar e deixar arrefecer. Pelar as batatas e cortar em camponesa.
Cozer os ovos (duros), arrefecer e picar.
Descascar os dentes de alho e picar e descascar as cebolas e cortar em meia-lua. Colocar um tacho ao lume, adicionar o azeite. Juntar os dentes de alho, as cebolas e as folhas de louro; deixar refogar lentamente. Temperar com sal e pimenta. Retirar as folhas de louro e guardar.
Colocar uma frigideira ao lume. Adicionar a cebolada e o bacalhau lascado e saltear. Juntar a batata e temperar com sal e pimenta. Colocar dentro de um tabuleiro, regar com azeite aquecido com alho picado e levar ao forno. Retirar e empratar. Decorar com salsa picada, azeitonas pretas e os ovos picados e servir.
And in English: (from EMERIL)
Soak the cod in cold water to cover for 24 to 36 hours, changing the water occasionally, drain. Flake the cod into small pieces, removing any bones. Set aside. In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, add 1/4 cup of the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until slightly golden, about 6 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Grease a medium ovenproof casserole dish with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.
Spread half of the potatoes over the bottom of the prepared dish. Sprinkle half of the salt cod over the potatoes. Place half of the onion mixture over the salt cod. Top the onion mixture with more salt cod. Place another layer of potatoes over the top of the cod. Drizzle the entire pan with the remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. Place on a serving platter. Garnish with the sliced eggs, olives, and parsley.
Venue & Date: streets of Olinda, Carnaval Monday, February 2012.
The wonderful thing about Brazil is that Rio and Salvador aren’t the only places to experience the Carnival. Smaller towns like Olinda and Recife are as imbibed with the effervescent spirit of the Carnival steeped in strong Afro-Brazilian and Indian traditions. Most tourists head to Rio, but Olinda and Recife are extremely popular among Brazilians, as well as, among tourists.
Visitors and families (like ours) headed this Carnaval Monday for an encounter with the so-called Giant Dolls, an old tradition featuring 9 feet tall wood and fabric dolls, throughout the historic cobblestone streets of Olinda. The most famous doll is the “midnight man” or “homem da meia-noite”‘ coming to life at midnight on carnival Sunday, and officially kicking off the giant dolls party.
Parading bands, under the sound of Frevo and samba, accompany the excited crowd, until it’s finishing line, where all the 50 giant dolls, resembling famous people, celebrities, politicians, meet and dance with the cheering public, for hours!
Heading to the Parade
Where it all begins: waiting for the giant dolls to come!
The Maracatu Dancers, a “former president”, a “current president”, more giant dolls and pure joy!
We’re not in Indianapolis. We’re not even in the USA.
We’re not experiencing winter, either.
Needless to say, there’ll be no pre-game barbecue…
The reason why our 6-year-old son has at the same time, a RedSkins pillow and a Patriots football will remain a mystery...
But we’ll be watching the Super Bowl, this year, as we always do, no matter where we are. And this time we’re in Recife, one of the Northeastern state capitals in “soccerland” Brazil…
Thanks to a friend, great pastry chef (thanks Ms Raquel Duarte!), who has made our TV-watching experience way more enjoyable with authentic perfectly baked, creamy brownies – we’ll be cheering every single play – and we’re not even Patriots‘ fans!
All that said, here is a quick look over what’s waiting for us (before,) during (and after!) this Sunday’s game:
What about a fantastic closer look??
Check out what others are planning to eat during this Super Bowl… hummm!
It’s still Thursday, and we’re already looking forward to the weekend. Our family’s been on a roll since last Friday, with the preparations for Halloween Weekend and all that came with it!
Halloween parties at two different schools, one “scary” birthday party, and a last minute trick-or-treating that caught us by surprise on a Tuesday night (it was Halloween night, so, neighboring kids were just doing their job!)
Weekend event #3, Saturday: Classmate’s birthday party. The theme? Guess!
And wrapping it up, husband and I were caught by surprise on Tuesday evening (the 31st), by some neighboring kids, who asked to “borrow” our toddlers for some “last minute trick-or-treating”! We couldn’t say no to that!
We found this unique art piece, handmade by nature, on our way to Praia do Preá, one of the several beaches along the northeastern coast of Brazil.
This “horizontal tree” has been called ‘lazy tree’ or “árvore da preguiça” by the local population. Despite having its roots above ground, it’s still very much alive, and a sure stop for any tourist in search of calm beach waters and great kitesurfing winds… By the way, the native legend is that the winds were responsible for, gradually, bending the tree trunk, and making it look like it’s ‘resting’, enjoying its ‘laziness’…
the ‘lazy’ tree…
a closer look, from underneath the roots…
and, getting ready to search for more natural beauty!
Inspired by Becky - from Small Bits - for this week’s State Dept Round up, and also trying to answer the question I’d initially proposed; I guess for my husband and I, the answer is: “any clutter is way too much clutter”….
Not sure if I was fortunate or not, to marry a typical ‘type-A’ person, almost obsessive when it comes to organization…
On the other hand, I’m not as organized, but I love seeing things “in boxes”, or at least, stowed away (out of my sight!)
That said, and considering that we’re constantly moving because of work, one can image how difficult it become when it’s mandatory to deal with “excessive clutter and paperwork”.
Times, the definition of “excessive” has created some tension in our household, due to the fact that the “duo of managers” end up disagreeing on what should/could/would be discarded/trashed/shredded!
And the common result is: “darling, do you have any idea where the envelope, I left here last week, is?”
If it takes more than 10 seconds for the answer to come out, it’s a bad sign… If the answer contains anything like “you know… I was just organizing these drawers… and…” it’s even worse! At that very moment, the very “diplomatic answer” is a clear sign that your print outs/documents/personal notes are gone!! So, in order to avoid conflicts, the best solution is simply reduce the amount of clutter, or, if possible, store it away before your mate has a chance to find and “re-organize” it!
Currently, our lives are filled with useful and not-so-much paperwork, which we MUST care with our hearts, whenever we travel or move. Here’s a brief idea:
5 members of the household;
13 active passports (still missing one, for our youngest child);
5 medical folders, med-evac reports, consultation reports, requests for exams, and corresponding international vaccination cards;
5 birth certificates, with official/notaries translations, personal academic info, diplomas – again, translated;
Ν school reports (so far only 2 kids in school), sports progress evaluations for each kid; report cards, teacher’s notes, selected school artwork, love letters and cards (when we began with our ‘across-the-hemisphere’ dating scene, there was only the msn messenger, and of course, the good old Post Office!) printed photographs, tax files, software update CDs, performance evaluations, receipts from clients, contacts for future 360s, house rental paperwork, mortgage docs, health insurance papers, receipts for storage, bank statements… oh, my!
It is not all of it. Some documents were photocopied before the initial move, and originals are safely kept, while the photocopies travel the world.
Safeguarding your personal belongings is a must for the traveling-pants family: preparing “video inventories” is a great, paperless strategy. So far, it’s been working for us, and the best of all – it is clutter-free!
Phew! It makes me tired just thinking about boxing it all out for the next move…
Luckily, there are ways to make sure our most important folders are safe and well-taken care: pay close attention to them. All times. Anywhere.
Right now, I’m not organizing anything. Just trying to keep our documents drawer “bug”- & “fungi“- free. That’s right! One of the “bonuses” of living in a tropical setting… I’m an environmentalist, but not as much!!
Hey, I feel like I’ve already done a lot of “mental organization” and planning. I believe I deserve a break from this hard work!
Since we’re talking about “paper”(work), let me “wrap” this post up by reminding everyone that at this time of the year, it’s one huge party in Brazil – no, no more Carnaval, but now, the so-called Festa Junina (June Festivities), and here are my takes on the many events, which flavor the month of June in Brazil…
BTW, June Festivities tend to be very organized and very orderly… celebrating in style!
Welcome! Here I am, 'releasing' my thoughts on traveling, parenting, raising TCKs, teaching, writing, working... and who knows what else!
I’m a WIFE, 'geeky-stuff' SCIENTIST, TEACHER, AUTHOR, (aspiring) AMATEUR photographer, MOM of 3, TRAVELER by choice and by marriage, and of course, a HOUSEHOLD QUEEN!!