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Blogger or Brand?: What?! It’s got an ‘Online Identity’?

WordPress

WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

Well, let me explain.

It’s Thursday morning. And since I’m always on the lookout for inspiration, happened to stumble upon a quote from one of the WordPress dailypost editors, Michelle W.: “Some of us have purely personal sites where we discuss the day-to-day, while others are trying to create an online presence around our blogs or use them as a springboard for other projects. If you’re in the latter camp, you’re not just a blogger: you’re a brand“.

So… is this blog a brand??

Brand (n): a particular product or a characteristic that serves to identify a particular product

I guess so… and to confirm the assumption [suggested by the original writer], I continued reading the ‘inspirational post’ , and found:

“In terms of a blog, your brand is:

  • Your site’s personality.
  • Your name, tagline, color scheme, and design (including your logo).
  • A promise you make to readers about what they’ll find on your site.
  • The way you represent yourself and your blog in other spaces online.
  • The thing that differentiates your blog from the seventy zillion other blogs on the internet”.

Now, it begs the question: for this site/blog, is all that true? Does it behoove me/the writer/the ‘mind behind the curtain’ to create a distinct personality and consistent experience for this blog’s readers, reinforcing why 3rCultureChildren is worth reading?? Tough question, right? I’ll also see if i can answer that… through future posts… not today… just getting my creative juices flowing! :o

Thanks for the inspiration! ♥

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18 Comments

Posted by on July 18, 2013 in post a day

 

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It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World!

Image Credit: http://tumblr.com

Image Credit: http://tumblr.com

Today, trying to answer the intriguing question proposed by the Daily Prompt:

How do you communicate differently online than in person, if at all? How do you communicate emotion and intent in a purely written medium?

 

Humm… how differently do I communicate online when compared to communicating in person?

I guess I’m part of a minority group when it comes to texting [or messaging, whichever new word has come up to describe the attempt to quickly deliver your thoughts within the cyber-world!]. I’m sure many over here have heard [or read] about the ‘new language’, a new way of expression, the so-called ‘Weblish’, defined as the shorthand form of English that is used in text messaging, chat rooms, twitter posts and other forms of microblogging. So, how much do I [personally] rely on this particular language form, which has gained the unconditional support as the ‘urban grammar’ used as a slang for online conversations? Not much, I’d say. [Is it a bad thing??]

I love interacting with people, you know, the real kind of interaction, the one you need to vocalize the words in order to establish a conversation? Yeap, that kind. I’m a blogger, and being so, I’m completely open to using any and all social media tools that become available.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not against networking, the social media tools [when well used!], and I tend to blog the way I write. I write the way I believe it’s possible to give my thoughts a voice. I’m a chatty cat, if allowed! ♥

Back to the social networking ‘channels’, I not only admin and maintain a photo/travel journal blog, but also, a Twitter account and a Facebook fan page. Shocked?? By now, many are probably wondering: is this hypocritical woman gonna make any point with all this ‘nice talk’?

Again, I’ve got no intention to put down all the research years that have brought the internet [and all its related content, mechanisms and pathways] to where we are, right now. And I’m grateful to all the advances in technology that make possible for me to skype with family around the world, send and share images/videos of my growing children, offer and receive support from other expats through blogging/microblogging.

But, I have to say, I’m a bit nostalgic. I remember the days I’d correspond with people using letter mail. I remember the great feeling of receiving a birthday card from a family member, getting an expected phone call from a good friend [remember when we didn’t have caller ID?], or a paper note from that special boy at school, with handmade drawings… :o

These events have a dear place in my memory, and it saddens me to think they may be gone by the time my children would be ready for those experiences. I feel that now, things are moving a bit too fast, and unfortunately, we, as a society, tend not to allow ourselves to spend a little more time interacting with each other…

I’m a believer. I believe in TEXT. The real kind, the one where words [not signs, not smiley faces, not words without letters] are used to express our true thoughts, feelings and emotions I’m believer, what can I say? And since I’m a bit older than many here [pushing 42, right now…:o], I’ve survived without the internet, but now, it’s a critical part of my life; I feel like I can have my saying…. I’m old-school, and if I need to text, I’ll do so, with no regrets. But if the message gets a bit longer than I have the patience to type, I just write: “Need to touch base. Will write you an e-mail”… and all my problems are, magically, solved! :o

texting... Humm???

Image Credit: http://facebook.com

What about you, are you like me, or completely different? In any event, thank you all for sharing! TEXT-TEXT TEXT/ [pingbacked to other bloggers, sharing their takes on the theme!]

 
8 Comments

Posted by on May 6, 2013 in LANGUAGE, post a day

 

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Why I write? Why I share? [My personal Space]

Today’s Daily Prompt is Personal Space.

When I stop to think, ‘why do I blog?’ or ‘why do we share stories about your family experiences, our travels, our difficulties and joys while raising kids?’, I come back to the same answers:

I blog because, to me, it’s a personal experience. I have no ambitions to use the blog as some sort of ‘marketing springboard’, although, since along the years, it has become quite a forum for other expatriates, traveling families, members of the foreign service community… a safe place where I can express my views and takes on life, share our questions, seeking for answers and/or advice from others facing similar situations…

I’m a parent, and with my husband, we’ve built an interesting lifestyle for ourselves and for our growing children. We are diverse. We share different backgrounds, cultures, knowledges and lessons learned. We share our learnings with our kids. We speak different languages in our household… and everyone has to try all the different types of food mom and dad were brought up with! :o

We share the joy, the sad moments, the adventurous decisions… We share the concerns and we look for solutions. Among ourselves, within the expat community. We look for input from other families in the foreign service. We try to enjoy life, snapping shots along the way, and sharing those beautiful and unique images here. Hopefully, this ‘live journal’ will one day be useful to our kids, our worldly citizens, growing up as products of hybrid cultures – and if that happens, I’ll be very proud! ♥

That’s why I blog. I makes me happy to share, and at the same time, it keeps me going. It helps me cope with difficult situations, it helps me assist other families, and it gives me the so much needed reassurance that, despite all challenges, we are not alone. And we’ll never be alone… that’s one of the beauties and positive sides of the cybersphere! :o

And you, why do write, blog, share your very own ‘personal space’ with other bloggers, keeping the ‘blogsphere’ active and spinning? :o Some others have done their part, and, as expected, given away their reasons [see below]… thank you all for sharing!http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/daily-prompt-personal-space/

 

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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… 

           
Visitor  
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!




 

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A look back at 2012: why people came to this blog? At the end, we’re all stats junkies!

2012 will be over in a couple of days!

A very intense year, in many levels, scenarios… Our family moved several times throughout the year… we got to live in 3 different countries [Brazil, USA, Bolivia}, lived out of suitcases for a long time; kids had to say goodbye to their dear friends, and say 'hello' to the ones becoming their new friends and teachers, adjusting to a new school, new cultures, and now, we're happily settled in Nuestra Señora de La Paz, capital of Bolivia...

Expat Blogs

At this moment, looking back at 2012, and preparing the 'retrospective': popular posts, interaction with other bloggers, popular searches/forums... good discussions... Good therapy, some may say - and I'm glad to agree :o - when it came to blogging, got a lot done this year, sharing our experiences, challenges regarding parenting, multilingual living, cultural adjustments... work... expatriate and family daily life.... So, why visitors, readers, commenters, came to this blog? Most of them are expatriates, like our own 'nomad family', some belong to the Foreign Service community, and are well familiar with the challenges faced by the 5 of us. Others, are parents, travelers, adventurers, looking for images, photos, tips about travel options, or simply... curious eyes in search of a good reading, or a funny/intriguing/amazing image from our travels and/or not-so-fantastic daily life!

Now, I find myself with some time after the Christmas holidays, and with a chance to pull together the ‘highs and lows’ of 2012, displaying my gratitude to the readers, commenter, frequent visitors, who always enrich this blogging journey! A big thank you to all!

For a ‘visual summary‘ of 2012, please hop over to this other post, especially crafted for WordPress‘s weekly photo challenge, the last one of 2012: A year through images!

For all the ‘fellow stats junkies’ out there [don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about! :o] here it is, this past year, through numbers… Who came in, looking for what, and the most popular posts… 

Top visitors {countries}: 

United States

Brazil

United Kingdom

Canada

India

Australia

Popular Posts/Articles

Highlights of 2011: Blogging one day at a time… Thank you for reading!

About us

UPDATED: “Moving is the 3rd most stressful life event”…

Why “3rd Culture Children”?

Scientific investigation during Carnaval 2012…

The Supermoon and Cinco de Mayo

2012 displayed an average of 246 blog comments/month, averaging 186 views a day.

Here are the ‘top commenters‘ [thank you for the very positive interaction!] :o

journeyman1977 - Lucid Gypsy - colonialist - eof737 - fgassette - travelgardeneat 

And which ones were the most commented posts? The ones with the strongest human interaction? [Again, my deepest gratitude for all the feedback received!]

Post/Page

Comments

about us

157

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

86

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

77

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

70

Weekly Photo Challenge: Down

67

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

66

Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects

64

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hope

63

Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects [as one composition]

60

Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration

59

See you all back in 2013! Let’s all have a great, peaceful and successful New Year! :o

Thanks for stopping by!

************

…so, the blog morphed into more than just a quasi-travel and photo journal. I liked the idea of organizing not only our travel notes, but also providing resources for other parents, and encouraging an exchange of ideas through comments, questions and suggestions from viewers. The name for the blog came from the term itself: “3rd Culture Children” (TCKs, more information here) are children whose parents come from distinct cultures, and grow up under a hybrid environment, experiencing diverse cultural growth. 

Travels in Brazil, posts related to outdoors activities, cultural events, such as attending the world’s largest open air theater for the Re-enacting of the Passion of Christ, as well as the ones showing scientific investigations and natural discoveries, seemed to be quite popular! 

‘Adventure‘ popular posts:

Visiting the Archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, swimming along with marine dolphins (Brazilian Atlantic coast, World Heritage Site, according to UNESCO)

Builiding a Hanging Garden using Recycled PET Bottles - teaching the importance of respecting the environment.

I’m grateful to Ruth Bailey, for the recent nomination – the 7 x 7 Link Award, where one’s supposed to highlight 7 recent important blogposts. Many thanks to Cyclingrandma, for offering the Good Apple award.

Nominated by a couple of bloggers in 2011 & 2012

Thank you, ClaudiaJohnson, for the nomination!

For a working mom, juggling with the work-life balance, in charge of anything from grocery shopping to planning trips, I’m honored. I’m so pleased to share with other expatriates, parents, and traveling families, the beauty and excitement of traveling, exploring nature (I’m a biologist!), languages (we’ve got Spanish, Portuguese and English in our household!), social/cultural adjustments, and our not-so-professional advice as “parents-on-the-go“ - imagine hauling this family of 5 around, raising multi-language TCKs, and keeping the passion for photography and story-telling?! 

 
 
14 Comments

Posted by on December 29, 2012 in expat, foreign service, post a day, TRAVEL

 

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Getting ready to look back at 2012, remembering the most popular post in 2011!

2012 is almost over! A very intense year, in many levels, scenarios… Our family moved several times throughout the year… we got to live in 3 different countries [Brazil, USA, Bolivia}, lived out of suitcases for a long time; kids had to say goodbye to their dear friends, and say 'hello' to the ones becoming their new friends and teachers, adjusting to a new school, new cultures, and now, we're happily settled in Nuestra Señora de La Paz, capital of Bolivia...

At this moment, looking back at 2012, and preparing the 'retrospective': popular posts, interaction with other bloggers, popular searches/forums... good discussions... Good therapy, some may say - and I'm glad to agree :o - when it came to blogging, got a lot done this year, sharing our experiences, challenges regarding parenting, multilingual living, cultural adjustments... work... expatriate and family daily life....

Before I get a chance to pull together the ‘highs and lows’ of 2012, displaying my gratitude to the readers, commenter, frequent visitors, who always enrich this blogging journey, I remembered last year, WordPress came up with a great initiative for all bloggers and readers: the year in blogging… That said, I thought it could be a great way to get ready for this year’s review. Post write-up is both in English and Portuguese, since we were living in Brazil, at that time… Maybe, if I’m gutsy enough, I could try to prepare this year’s review post in English and Spanish (Bolivia’s official language)?? :o

************************

Here’s this blog’s ‘first year’s review’ [2011], according to WP: [Anxious to know what's in store regarding 2012's review, as well as the plans for 2013!]

For some reason, according to the WP blogging annual report (shown/posted yesterday), today I’m sharing the post that got the highest number of unique views (over 2,500 views in one day, September 2011), surpassing the one that’d been Freshly Pressed (about children and folklore in Brazil).

I had no idea that “directing” the photo shoot of my husband jumping into the paradisiac Blue Lagoon in Jericoacoara (Ceara, Brazil, one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world, according to the NY Times), could be so intriguing! :o

Anyway, thanks for checking it out, and here it is: The Blue Lagoon: Executing his best jumping, flying and diving moves!.

[Portugues] Depois que o jornal Washington Post, em 1994, incluiu Jericoacoara entre as dez praias mais bonitas do planeta, a pequena aldeia de pescadores, 300 km ao norte da capital do Ceará, mudou bastante. Jericoacoara não é simplesmente encantadora pelas suas dunas, praias e lagoas, mas também pelo seu vilarejo tranqüilo. O lugar era uma antiga vila de pescadores e até hoje conserva as ruas de terra, a arquitetura antiga e principalmente a paz de uma cidade que se esconde atrás de enormes dunas. O nome Jericoacoara deriva do tupi-guarany: yuruco (buraco) e cuara (tartaruga). Buraco das tartarugas, que seria uma referência a uma praia onde acontece a desova das tartarugas marinhas. Além de tudo isso, Jeri, como é chamada pelos moradores, oferece diversas opções para prática de esportes como windsurf, vela, trekking, cavalgada e outros.

 

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Updated: Thoughts on ‘what type of multilingual parent are you?’…

“Are you curious?”  We are!

Blog Hop: I’ve talked before about our family’s cultural settings – husband and wife coming from different (but not exclusive) cultures/languages, raising our 3 TCKs, all now 7 years of age, and under; as well as presented thoughts on the Creative Flow of a TCK. This past April, AFSA hosted a panel discussion on emotional resilience in third-culture kids (TCKs) with a particular focus on the Foreign Service experience, during the first week of April. Experts on the issue of TCKs are expected to discuss the issue, taking questions from the audience – too bad we´re a bit far from DC, but we´re looking forward to reading about the discussion. The main question under discussion will be why some kids adapt very well to life in the Foreign Service while others struggle [check the AFSA website for more information].

Phonics & Math: let’s get the family together to help!

From my/our end, we are trying to do our part of the challenging task that is raising worldy third-culture children. And we´re doing it through language. It’s already known that speaking several languages fluently increases job opportunities, makes international travel easier, and enables you to communicate with a lot more people a lot more easily. There are various theories on how to best raise multilingual kids. “One parent, one language” (OPOL for short) is popular, and to some extent that is what we’re doing in our family.

One thing we’ve learned about raising TCKs: reading is a magic tool!

We’ve found out we’re “moderate” multilingual parents… At least, that’s how we tested, according to the Multilingual Living Quiz. Which is the best “group of multilingual parents”? Hard to say, they’re all different, and unique in their own way. There’s no magic formula when it comes to raising children in a multicultural setting. I’m always talking about our multilingual household, the challenges of trying to keep up with Spanish, Portuguese and English, while assisting our 1st grader on his (now!) English homework assignments, as well as with his homeschooling English/Spanish tasks! [Note: our son had started first grade in Brazil, last February, attending a Brazilian Montessori School, and had English classes three times a week. We moved to our current post, La Paz, Bolivia, in August, so, he could begin the American School year, as a first grader...] And our oldest child is just one of the examples: there two more on the line – his younger sisters (now aged 4,5 and almost 2) are a lively part of this multilingual/multicultural environment….

Looking for “help” from flashcards, when it comes to linking the sounds to the words!

Challenging, but exciting. And we’re very satisfied with the outcome: our oldest children are capable of communicating with both sets of grandparents, watching bilingual TV, having play dates both in English and Portuguese, and, offer very positive feedback to their dad when talked to/read to in Spanish. :o Recently, I stumbled upon a great 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“. Couldn’t agree more! :o 

Remembering bed time stories: from mom, in Portuguese… From dad, in English!

Helping our oldest children with their homework in Portuguese, having them practice English phonics with their native-speaker father, seeing the children have routine conversations with their dad in Spanish and English; and reading bed time stories in … who knows what!

We’ve been very fortunate regarding the kids school back in Brazil (they get both Portuguese and English), and we were thankful for the opportunity to use the educational allowance for homeschooling our 1st grader when it came to supplement his English language.

All in all, it’s working, and we’re pleased with the current results. Based on the explanation for each “group of multilingual parenting styles”, the Moderate Parent has found the golden middle way of bilingual parenting. Well-informed about bilingual issues yet know that ultimately they have to make your own rules and decisions that suit your family the best. Have a healthy dose of commitment towards your bilingual endeavour, a reasonable amount of self-confidence in what you are doing, and have no problem in bending the rules when necessary and when it’s in your family’s best interest. the “moderate parents” have chosen a model, are committed to it, and don’t give up easily when troubles arise. Acquainted with worries and problems but can ride through rough times by getting the right support from certain experts, their online group and other bilingual parents.

[Test originally published in Multilingual Living Magazine]

After all that, now it’s your turn to answer: “What type of multilingual parent do you think you are?” Take the quiz and find out! Here are examples of the questions:

“When you are on the playground with your child, you…”

“When your child speaks to you in the “wrong” language, you…”

“When it comes to literature on bilingualism, you…”

“Your reaction to the word “OPOL” is…”

“Your aim is for your child is…”

And there are many more questions/concerns/curiosities… Take your time to check it out!

So, how do you think you did?

Click Here to calculate your score and find out the results! We had a lot of fun (and learned a lot!) doing this little exercise! :o thanks for coming along!

 

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Travel Theme: Foliage – Is it Spring or Fall over here?

Ailsa, from “Where’s my Backpack?” brought this week’s suggestion: “It’s getting all autumnal up here in the northern hemisphere, while down in the southern hemisphere everyone’s looking forward to spring. Whichever hemisphere you inhabit, now is a fantastic time to get out and have a look at what the trees are doing. Whether they’re about to burst into life with fresh green growth, or starting to adorn themselves in their autumn glory; even if they’re still wearing their evergreen needles, it’s a wonderful time to go leaf peeping!”

For us, Spring just started. But we’re in La Paz, Bolivia, so, the colors, the textures, the feelings, very much bring us back to Autumn – what a fantastic experience! Sharing here, images from a local park in La Paz, from a road trip to Mecapaca or simply, a snapshot from my front yard. Enjoy!

 
9 Comments

Posted by on September 28, 2012 in BOLIVIA, ecology, photography, post a day, TRAVEL

 

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Travel Theme: Red.

 


According to Ailsa, from “Where’s my Backpack?” “Red is a terribly versatile colour. It can indicate both anger and love; danger and celebration. You can paint the town red, roll out the red carpet or have a red letter day. I’ve been seeing red recently – southern Utah will do that to you. Everywhere you look there is red rock and red sand. There are even red mountain ranges. Here are a few of the red landscapes that caught my eye.”

Traveling is also made of colors… Let’s see what ‘kinds’ of “RED” we’re able to come up with, for this week’s travel theme…

Red sunset, at the Kruger Park, South Africa.

Red Double-Decker, Oxford, England.

Red “Happy Birthday” in Portuguese!

Red candles at an Indonesian Temple.

Door to a Dutch Fort in NE Brazil.

Art Fair in La Paz, Bolivia

“Kids in Red”, Delaware, USA.

My appreciation to Where’s my backpack? for the inspiration! :o

 
25 Comments

Posted by on September 8, 2012 in photography, post a day, TRAVEL

 

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Travel Theme: Curves.

Ailsa, from “Where’s my Backpack?” asked this week’s question: “Are you ready to show off your curves?” Sometimes, the best way to see and ‘feel the curves’ while traveling, is not actually by road… what about by plane? Definitely, a different experience!

“Curving over’ the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, South AmericaMy appreciation to Where’s my backpack? for the inspiration! :o

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette.

SILHOUETTE. The proper definition of a silhouette is “the outline of a body viewed as circumscribing a mass.” In photography, often we achieve that effect by putting light behind the object whose silhouette we want to capture, effectively darkening out the features of the subject instead of highlighting them – according to this week’s challenge, from the Daily Post, in WordPress

According to Ailsa, from “Where’s my Backpack?”: It fascinates me how a silhouette; a two-dimensional outline of a person or object, can suggest a story just as clearly as if you could see the scene in its entirety. Perhaps it makes our imagination work overtime, trying to fill in the details we cannot see.”

Our family arrived at our new assignment less than 3 months ago, as many of you may know by now: 2012 marks the move to our first Spanish speaking post: La Paz, Bolivia. The ‘model’ for this photograph is our oldest son, and adventurous and curious boy, pictured against our view through the backyard. The idea of the ‘unknown’ is, at the same time, scary and intriguing… The silhouette against the beautiful mountain scenario tries to represent that – even though we’re not totally sure about what’s ahead of us, we can still enjoy the little bit of beauty that our eyes are able to catch… we’ll be writing our stories and tales in different ways now… This particular blogpost represents the transition that’s waiting for us – my appreciation to Where’s my backpack? for the inspiration! :o

 
26 Comments

Posted by on August 25, 2012 in BOLIVIA, photography, post a day, TRAVEL

 

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Date Night & Thai Cuisine in Rehoboth Beach, DE.

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Lily Thai opens 6 days a week for lunch and dinner, closed on Mondays, at this time of the year. They have great specials, and it is very affordable.

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Chef and Owner Lily Thamibutra worked at her sister’s restaurant, Seaside Thai (now closed for good), for 5 years before venturing out to create Lily Thai.  It’s located on First Street, right next to the original Nicola’s, where Dos Locos used to be many (many) years ago. They have (finally!) acquired their liquor license, so no more BYOB. Pony up for a nice cold beer or some wine. In spite of how long it took to get the nod for booze, Lily’s has already earned a reputation for authentic Thai food served up in pleasing, if not austere surroundings.

The signature dishes are the Pad Thai (with chicken or shrimp) and the Tom Yum soup (chicken or shrimp with lemon grass and cilantro). .

 
7 Comments

Posted by on July 16, 2012 in FOOD, photography, post a day

 

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Travel Theme: Secret Places

Every time we feel sad, lost, or a bit scared of the ‘unknown’, I tend to go find ‘shelter’ and comfort among some of our dear pictures, our memories from previous postings, and this brings me back to a more ‘stable’ self… Anyway, this week’s been bittersweet… Last days of school for our children, a few days left in country… so much to do, people we’d like to see/visit again… so little time… Moving is not easy, and this week, a little ‘less easy than usual’… This blogpost represents the transition that’s waiting for us – my appreciation to Where’s my backpack? for the inspiration! :o

African Bath

Our family is also getting ready for our new assignment: 2012 marks the move to our first Spanish speaking post: La Paz, Bolivia. Our household will formally have 3 languages… we’ll be writing our stories and tales in different ways now… Hope it’s appreciated… :o

 

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Date night, sashimi & yacht.

Definitely, not betraying our favorite Sushi & Sashimi Tuesday evening place, not at all! I’ve mentioned it before here, and one of their specialties, but, this time, wanted to share a few images from a different experience: authentic sashimi (while marlin), prepared at a friend’s boat (one of the local yacht clubs) – our deepest appreciation to Mr Jeremere! :o

 

 
20 Comments

Posted by on June 6, 2012 in FOOD, photography, post a day

 

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School ‘Babylon Hanging Garden’: hard work pays off!

Great use of a recycled PET bottle!

 
Wordle: herbs

The Recognition 

EcoClub Pizza! Harvest time is approaching for the Hanging Gardens of the EcoClub. We’ve talked the School Canteen into turning the garden’s produce into Pizza (and Salad!) for lunch on June 11.:o Stay tuned!

That said, I’ve been asked to provide updates on our Hanging Garden Project. We’ve got new ORGANIC VEGGIES, all from ‘freshly donated seeds’… Our middle/high school students have been deeply involved in building a system with planters made from recycled PET bottles, as seen on the right. What originally was a school research project, has become a multidisciplinary task (see left), and a passion for all the gardening lovers! Besides that, we’ve discovered a great source of cost-free clean/distilled water for all the watering needs: the several air conditioning devices, spread throughout the school campus.  

 

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‘Checkmate, Mom!’ A visit to the chess class.

Learning Math and having fun while doing it? Humm…

The heart on the wall saying: “MOM”…

School all decorated for the ‘mom-players’

Another activity for children, organized by our kids’ school. And why this? A different way to honor and motherhood, celebrating Mother’s Day, showing the children’s appreciation for all the heartfelt work and effort every mom offers freely… This time, all the moms were involved, as well! First graders had the opportunity to enjoy quality time with their moms (it was Mother´s Day Week at the School!), show their knowledge of the ´strategy game´, creating links with real mathematical situations… all that while playing with their classmates! Could it be any better? :o

 
13 Comments

Posted by on May 23, 2012 in ART, post a day, science

 

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750 days in country: Giving a hand to expats in Brazil (tips from The Expat Blog Project).

Sharing great tips from a friend, Julien, from the Expat Blog Project, who, driven by her passion for discovering new cultures, and herself being an expatriate for several years, launched the Expat Blog project seven years ago. Her goal is to gather all the expatriates’ blogs throughout the world on a unique platform. Expat blog is mostly aimed at sharing experiences of people living abroad. According to Julien, she’s always thought that the real life and experience of expatriates could really help those people wishing to start a new life abroad.

So now, that expat platform is announcing the launch of two functions which would greatly help expats and soon-to-be expatriates. Definitely, a great resource, for any moving/relocating plans…

What’s Expat blog? It’s a web portal launched in 2005 by expatriates, for expatriates. Its ambition is to help people living or willing to live abroad, wherever they are from or would like to go. Expat blog is the most active online community of expatriates, with 420 000 members from 206 countries and 400 big cities.
Who is it for? For all the people living or wishing to live abroad. It is a platform of expression and exchange, an information source about expatriation.
How does it work? The website offers various tools to help expats and potential expatriates:
- discussion forums
- expatriate blogs directory
- guides
- photo albums
- business directory
- classifieds.

New features : Jobs and Housing sections, focus on Brazil!
To meet the demands of expatriates and soon-to-be expatriates in Brazil, Expat blog has launched two new dedicated spaces: a jobs section and a housing section. They are aimed at helping people in their job and accommodation search, two essential steps when expatriating.
The idea is to get access to job offers in Brazil, wherever you are. You can have access to the Brazil job offers, per job category and job contract. You can also create your CV and contact potential employers.

The Brazil Housing section enables you to look for or to offer an accommodation: rental, sale, flat share, flat, house… it’s up to you! You can see pictures of the apartment and get in touch with the person via Expat blog (need to be a member of Expat blog to post an ad).
And here, from a previous post, when we began preparing for our countdown, but still feeling the need to share tips with other expats planning on moving/relocating to Brazil:

source: The Economist Magazine

We’re on countdown mode!

Time has gone pretty fast, but I feel like we still have a lot to do, a lot to see and experience… Lot of planning on my horizon, as well… we’re less than six months before we pack our bags and head out, in preparation for our next assignment. In the meantime, found some time to do some research, ask around and prepare a simplified list of “tips” for expat women living or planning on moving to Brazil.

FIRST: A great blog, listing several expat experiences in Brazil, thank you, TheTaoofMe for working on this fantastic list! :o

* * Resources for the “cosmopolitan woman”  * *

American Society of Sao Paulo
http://www.americansociety.com.br/
The Society exists for the following purposes: To promote and maintain friendly relations between the United States of America and Brazil, to provide for the celebration of days of remembrance such as Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, and other holidays traditional to United States citizens, to receive and entertain officials and visitors from the United States, to aid United States citizens and their immediate families who are destitute or have insufficient resources to meet emergencies or other essential needs, to aid and assist newly arrived United States citizens by providing information which helps orient them in their new surroundings, to promote charitable, social, cultural, and athletic activities of interest to the U.S. community in São Paulo.

Associação Beneficente Internacional Women’s Club Porto Alegre
http://br.geocities.com/iwcpoa/
Participation in our Club has given the members the opportunity to meet an international group of people with varied interest, customs, cultures and languages, to learn more about Porto Alegre and the Brazilian way of life. Some have found that special friend to help through the difficult adjustment in a new country.

International Newcomers Club – Rio de Janeiro
http://www.incrio.org.br
The International Club of Rio (InC) is a non-profit organization comprised of individuals from the local and expatriate English-speaking communities.

International Women’s Club of Paraná
http://www.iwcpbrasil.com.br
The aim of the club is to provide opportunities to meet informally, exchange ideas and make new friends as well as helping newly arrived international families settle more easily in their new life. The club is open to expatriate women and their families that are new to Brazil, Brazilian women who have lived abroad for at least three years (within the last 10 years) and (English-speaking) Brazilian women whose husbands are foreigners.

International Women’s Club Porto Alegre http://br.geocities.com/iwcpoa/

Macaé International Women’s Club (MIWC)
http://www.miwc-br.org
A non-profit, volunteer organization offering friendship, guidance and service to women establishing residence in Macaé and surrounding areas. Furthermore the Macaé International Women’s Club provides opportunities for charitable activities and humanitarian assistance to our community.

Newcomers Club – Brazil
http://www.newcomersclub.com/br.html
An English-speaking group that is designed to give you the opportunity to meet and develop friendships with others who live in the same area.

The American Society of Rio de Janeiro (AmSoc Rio)
http://www.americansocietyrio.org/amsoc/default.asp
This organization celebrates American traditions, hosts themed parties, and supports local charitable projects. The group is open to all nationalities and offers opportunities to volunteer, meet new friends, and network through group events, including a Speaker Series. Their Ambassador program links new members with those who have lived there for many years.

Got kids in School?

I grew up here! :o

American School of Brasília http://www.state.gov/m/a/os/1527.htm

American School of Campinas (EAC)
http://www.eac.com.br
pre-K to 12, co-ed
Follow the American curriculum. Recognized by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) and have an excellent program of studies. We have in our community children from all over the world.

American School of Recife http://www.ear.com.br/

Note: worked here for over a year. If you’ve got any questions about the school, and believe I could offer any assistance, feel free to drop me a line! :o

American School of Rio de Janeiro http://www.earj.com.br/

Escola das Nacoes Brasília http://www.edn.org.br/

International School of Curitiba http://www.iscbrazil.com/

Pan American School of Bahia http://www.paspanthers.org.br/

St. Paul’s School Sao Paulo http://www.stpauls.br/

The American Elementary and High School Sao Paulo http://www.graded.br/

The American School of Belo Horizonte http://www.eabh.com.br/

Tip Toe Alphaville’s Montessori School &
Discovery Alphaville’s Elementary School Sao Paulo
http://www.tiptoeschool.com.br/

For now, we’ll keep enjoying the journey! :o

 
8 Comments

Posted by on May 18, 2012 in expat, post a day, resources

 

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Music to Help Children Learn a New Language

…10 minutes at a time

by CONTRIBUTOR on MAY 14, 2012 (from MultiLingual Living)

Music to Help Bilingual Children Learn a New Language: 10 Minutes at a Time

By Franck & Cristina
Photo credit: sanbeiji

Music plays an important role in learning a second language. Similar areas of the brain are activated when listening to or playing music and speaking or processing language. Language and music are both associated with emotions, the combination makes it a powerful way to learn a second language.

Why is music so helpful to learn a second language?

  • Songs are fun
    We know that children, especially small children, really like music. They relate to it as entertainment and find learning vocabulary through songs amusing. Songs associated with hand and arm gestures are even more powerful in engaging children.
  • Songs increase retention
    Most of us are able to remember several children’s songs we learned as kids. Music helps us retain words and expressions much more effectively. The rhythm of the music helps with memorization, as do the repetitive patterns within the song.
  • Songs place vocabulary in context
    A song is also a little story. Children learn new words and expressions in the context of a story within the song. This will more easily captivate the attention of kids learning a new language. Words make sense faster when you learn them in the context of the lyrics in the song than when you learn them by themselves.

Below are 7 tips to help children learn another language with music, 10 minutes at a time:

  • Tip #1: Sing while nursing/giving the bottle
    With both Elena and Pablo, before they turned 1, I used to give the last bottle of the day around 11pm. I made it a habit to sing every time, both to relax them, get them to sleep, and have them hear French songs.
  • Tip #2: Finish the bedtime story with a song
    For about a year, I used to sing the same songs to Pablo in French at bedtime (“Un crocodile”, “Dans la maison un grand cerf”, “Dans la foret lointaine”). He was under two years old and he knew the lyrics by heart.
  • Tip #3: Play tag with a song
    We like “Aline”, a French hit from the 60s that has very clear lyrics. We would play “tag” with it: during the refrain, the kids had to leave “base” and I would chase them in the living room. The kids would ask to play the game almost every evening (and they knew the lyrics really well!).
  • Tip #4: Role play with a song
    There is a great Spanish song Cristina used frequently with the kids: “Hola Don Pepito, hola Don Jose”. It is a short dialogue between 2 characters, with simple lyrics. The music is engaging and made both Elena and Pablo want to sing with Cristina back-and-forth. Cristina and the kids would take turns and role playing one of the 2 characters.
  • Tip #5: Dance and learn
    YouTube has great videos of songs where you can dance. Elena and Pablo learned the alphabet in French with Chantal Goya’s “L’Alphabet en chantant”. It is a fun song where you have to mimic the letters with your hands and arms. They learned the alphabet in French much faster than me trying to teach them.
  • Tip #6: Sing together in the car
    Make a routine out of a specific car ride: going to school, coming back from school, going to the park, getting groceries, etc. You can listen to your favorite songs in the target language during one of the car rides as well. This is why Elena and Pablo know the lyrics of “Les Champs Elysees” from Joe Dassin by heart.
  • Tip #7: Family karaoke
    We learn Chinese as a family. We LOVE “Tian mi mi” of Teresa Teng. We found a YouTube video with “Tian mi mi” lyrics on the bottom of the screen. Everyone in the family can sing the song now. Singing it in our Chinese neighborhood restaurant even got us free desserts.

What other ways do you use music to teach your kids a second language? Please share them with us!

[Test originally published in Multilingual Living Magazine]

 

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My little “Sid, the Science Kid(s)”!

Image from Wikipedia.com

Brazilian Labor Day. Long weekend – 4 days with no school, but a great opportunity to spend time in family… Here are some of the ways our children like to spend their “school-free” time: one of their favorites is playing scientists… Growing colorful crystals, creating a magic wand made out of gel… understanding water movement through a ‘diy PET bottle tornado‘! :o

We’re very thankful for the endless possibilities of “home science fun”! Even the ‘grown-ups’ enjoy the fun of making pizza… while kids are ‘traveling through the worlds’ presented by story books… Something else to do? What about spending a couple of healthy hours at the pool?… lots to do, thankfully! But being outside is definitely, the all-time winner! A must-do, for our 3 kids! :o

 
6 Comments

Posted by on April 29, 2012 in children, post a day

 

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“Deep within a forest… exists an extraordinary world… where something else is possible… called Varekai…” Snapshots from Cirque du Solei in Brazil.

Source: Varekai, Cirque du Solei Fan Page

From the sky falls a solitary young man, and the story of Varekai begins.

Parachuted into the shadows of a magical forest, a kaleidoscopic world populated by fantastical creatures, this young man sets off on an adventure both absurd and extraordinary. On this day at the edge of time, in this place of all possibilities, begins an inspired incantation to life rediscovered. [Find Icarus at the end of this post!]

The word Varekai means “wherever” in the Romany language of the gypsies the universal wanderers. This production pays tribute to the nomadic soul, to the spirit and art of the circus tradition, and to the infinite passion of those whose quest takes them along the path that leads to Varekai.”

I’d like to state my “big thank you” for the Show’s production, it’s official website, from where these quotes are borrowed. We were fortunate in having the opportunity to watch the “trupe” in Recife, Brazil, during their last presentations. What a treat! Enjoy the images! [photographic shots were not allowed during the show/performance, but permitted during the 25 min. interval, and at the outside areas...] Most of the photos presented here were taken with our camera. Some pictures (all indicated as such) were borrowed from the Cirque du Solei official website and/or its official Fan Page. My deepest appreciation!

Source: Varekai, Cirque du Solei Fan Page

Source: Varekai, Cirque du Solei Fan Page

Source: Varekai, Cirque du Solei Fan Page

Source: Varekai, Cirque du Solei Fan Page

Source: Varekai, Cirque du Solei Fan Page

Source: Varekai, Cirque du Solei Fan Page

Source: Varekai, Cirque du Solei Fan Page

Source: Varekai, Cirque du Solei Fan Page

http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/varekai/show/video-music.aspx?splash=http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/varekai/media/CD/Track_16.aspx

Source: Varekai, Cirque du Solei Fan Page

Source: Varekai, Cirque du Solei Fan Page

 
12 Comments

Posted by on April 24, 2012 in ART, BRASIL, photography, post a day

 

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Open Government Partnership in Brasília, city where architecture, mysticism, and government meet.

This past week, husband had the opportunity to enjoy its perfect architecture, while facing very long working days at the Capital, a lot happened in Brasília during this past week, including the meetings for the Open Government Partnership.

From the partnership goals: “It takes political leadership. It takes technical knowledge. It takes sustained effort and investment. It takes collaboration between governments and civil society. The Open Government Partnership is a new multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. In the spirit of multi-stakeholder collaboration, OGP is overseen by a steering committee of governments and civil society organizations. To become a member of OGP, participating countries must embrace a high-level Open Government Declaration; deliver a country action plan developed with public consultation; and commit to independent reporting on their progress going forward.
 The Open Government Partnership formally launched on September 20, 2011, when the 8 founding governments (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States) endorsed an Open Government Declaration, and announced their country action plans. Since September, OGP has welcomed the commitment of 43 additional governments to join the Partnership.”

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More about the theme, from other bloggers:
 
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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Brasilia, photography, post a day

 

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The singular city of Brasília, where architecture, mysticism, and government meet. First stop: Metropolitan Cathedral

I’d stated before my deep admiration for this city. Unique and beautiful, in every single way. Brasília is part of who I am, and who I’ll always be…

This past week, husband had the opportunity to enjoy its perfect architecture, while  facing very long working days at the Capital, but this talk will be left for an upcoming post – a lot happened in Brasília during this past week.

For now, I’m dedicating this series of posts to him, showing my deepest appreciation for this efforts in bringing back home (daytime & nightlight) pictures of my hometown, during his quite scarce free time… :o This first post will be about the dream of a visionary man, and the idea of constructing a cathedral resembling two hands together, reaching up…

Brasilia cathedral

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

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


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

 
23 Comments

Posted by on April 22, 2012 in ART, Brasilia, photography, post a day

 

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52nd Anniversary of Brasilia, the city where everything meets, and the dream of JK, the visionary.

Continuing with the series of posts about the singular city of Brasilia, and again, very grateful for  all my husband’s efforts in bringing back home pictures of my hometown, during his time at the Federal Capital…Today, the City of Brasília, the “Capital of Hope” (Capital da Esperança, in Portuguese), as it’s known by all Brazilians, celebrates its 52nd Anniversary. One man, a visionary, was responsible for its creation/construction, a former President, Juscelino Kubitschek, known as President JK. This post is dedicated to his memory and the city of his dreams. Find below images from the JK memorial – the external building and its interior:

JK, in the words of another traveler, a contributor to Lonely Planet:

“The man had guts.. Moved the capital away from the mobsters, created a social system that worked – he had an unfortunate ‘accident’ that ended his life but cemented his legend. His visitors included much of S.America’s leaders, European heads of state, ministers of state of Canada and President Eisenhower of the USA. They came for the commodities, but remained friends for other reasons. Brazil has been an ally since before WWII and committed and lost mariners to support Western freedoms. Friends continue to remember who helped pay for the freedom. The collection of artifacts from JK’s and his wife, Sara’s personal effects and those items they touched in the course of their professional lives provide a colourful narrative of gentil and caring people intent on helping the people of Brazil. JK was a conservative man. His clothing demonstrates a focus on the essentials – not frivolity. Gifts to the president are similarly modest and suggest his support was not purchased but rather was what was important for the country at the time. Woven into the details about JK – the man, is the story of the design and creation of Brasilia. Evolving sketches, photo images document many of the design choices made by the Niemeyer team, who purpose built each of the major components of the city’s buildings, roads and services. JK lays entombed in granite on the second floor of the museum, surrounded by a stone rotunda where visitors can enter and pause over the man who created the new Brazil. In contrast to the rest of the dramatic exhibit, but in keeping with his nature, his resting place is solemn and remains reverent despite the comings and goings of many school children and tourists outside the rotunda. The JK Memorial is an essential part of a visit to Brasilia – a city that is completely different from any other and one that changed the perception of Brazil to the world.”

Read more about the Memorial here.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on April 21, 2012 in ART, Brasilia, photography, post a day

 

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Snapshots from indigenous culture in Pernambuco, Brazil: arts and crafts of the Fulni-ô tribe

Today, April 19th, Brazil celebrates the National Indian Day.

In Pernambuco, the state of Brazil we’re currently calling ‘home’, there are still a few indigenous tribes - and most important of all, some of them still keep their native language, like the ones featured here.

The most common indigenous tribes in Pernambuco are: the Xucuru, the Fulni-ô, the Pankararu,  and the Truká.

Recently, other groups were added to the list, although, with fewer representatives: the Atikum, the Kambiwá and the Kapinawá. In order to honor today’s date, please find below a few images from the artistic tribe Fulni-ô, with 3,229 confirmed members.

 
 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects

“Two Subjects”. That’s the inspiration for this week’s photo challenge from WordPressThis “theme” is more of a composition challenge, than the usual single themes we’re used to post about. Let’s see how this week’s compositions turn out… mix of natural and man-made two-subject themes…


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Hanging Garden: Making good use of (free!) 6,000 liters of water/year

Wordle: herbsI’ve been asked to provide updates on our Hanging Garden Project. We’ve got new planters, ‘freshly donated seeds’… and a cost-free watering system. For the ones not (yet!) familiar with the ‘mathematics behind getting cost-free water‘, here’s how it works: Our middle/high school students have been deeply involved in building a system with planters made from recycled PET bottles, as seen on the right.

Besides that, we’ve discovered a great source of clean/distilled water for all the watering needs: the several air conditioning devices, spread throughout the school campus. So, the students began collecting the not-before-managed water… But, how could they find out how much water would be “released” by the AC devices?


The answer to that question morphed into a mini-mathematical project: Math students were asked to develop a strategy to evaluate the volume of water released by the AC equipments, write their assumptions down (hourly rate, number of school days, etc), and today presented their results: on average, an AC device is capable of releasing over 6,000 liters of water during the course of a regular school year.

 

 

Way more than enough for keeping the Hanging Garden alive and growing! :o

Having fun with graduated cylinders & Math!

Let’s see… once more, science and math can definitely be fun (and rewarding!) :o

So far, we’ve got seedlings of:
Arugula, rocket (Diplotaxis arucoides) [Rúcula, in Portuguese)
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) [Manjericão]
Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) [Camomila]
Cherry tomato (Lycopersicom esculentum var.) [Tomate-cajá]
Anise (Agstache foeniculum) [Erva-doce] 
French onion 

Salvia
Spinach
Pepper
Bell Pepper

 
 

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16 meters deep: Investigating marine life without getting wet! Projeto Navi in Fernando de Noronha.

Projeto Navi - The Navi Project: seeing 16 meters deep!

It’s finally here: the last post on our trip/expedition to the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago.

The husband, an avid and passionate amateur photographer. His wife, yours truly, always being reminded of her background as a Biologist and forever researcher… The perfect combination for venturing with Eng. Leonardo Veras through a private investigation trip along the open ocean waters in Fernando de Noronha.

Eng. Leo Veras takes responsibility for the Navi Project (Projeto Navi), a pioneer experiment at the archipelago – unique, and wonderful!

We were taken to observe the marine life, 16 meters deep, thanks to the ship’s glass bottom, resistant to pressure, high volume and speed. Talk about biology, math, physics, all at once! Lovely and fantastic! We were able to snap several shots, as well as, a couple of videos during our expedition. All 3 images from the Project’s Website (above) are used with permission from the Project’s Coordinator. [We are very thankful to Mr Leonardo Veras for his attention, kindness and, obviously, for the private tour!] All other photographs, (including all the videos to come!) presented below, are part of our family’s personal collection (feel free to use or share them, just remembering to mention the original source!) :o Thanks for the interest! 

Fernando de Noronha has caught the imagination of travelers for centuries and many urban myths are associated with this gloriously surreal island. The archipelago is made up of one 11-square-mile chunk of volcanic rock and 20 smaller islands, three degrees south of the equator, 220 miles from Brazil’s north-eastern coast. Fernando de Noronha’s claim to fame is its diverse and rich ecosystem.

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Preparing for Easter Sunday! Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa (Portuguese Codfish)

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! :o

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Originally published:

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 azeitealhocebola, acompanhando azeitonas pretas, salsa e ovos cozidos.

Este é um prato típico da região Norte de Portugal. É de preparação simples e relativamente rápida.

O bacalhau à Gomes de Sá foi um dos candidatos finalistas às 7 Maravilhas da Gastronomia portuguesa.

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:

3 Porções

  • 400 g Bacalhau
  • 500 g Batata
  • 2 Ovos
  • 1 dente Alho
  • 3 Cebolas
  • 0.35 g folhas louro
  • 1 ramo salsa em rama
  • Q.B. Azeitonas Pretas
  • Q.B. Azeite
  • Q.B. Sal
  • Q.B. Pimenta

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)

INSTRUCTIONS

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.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

 

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Snapshots from the Shark Museum, Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, Brazil

The "Two Brothers" hill - Morro Dois Irmãos, viewed from the Praia da Cacimba do Padre, FN. All images from 3rdculturechildren.com

This post was promised a long time ago…It’s already been a month we came back from the archipelago, and finally, got through the last photos – the last two posts, a bit on the “scientific side”, but still, very enjoyable. Sharks and Marine investigation. Today, it’s all about the sharks. Backstory: Just like the AtlantisFernando de Noronha has caught the imagination of travelers for centuries and many urban myths are associated with this gloriously surreal island.

The archipelago is made up of one 11-square-mile chunk of volcanic rock and 20 smaller islands, three degrees south of the equator, 220 miles from Brazil’s north-eastern coast.

In Atalaia Beach, we were able to snorkel with fishes and juvenile sharks, checking out the swarms of hawksbill and green turtles, and also, witness rare island species like iguanas. Other adventure seekers like us, engaged in underwater activities, diving and snorkeling to experience the prolific marine life including albacore, barracuda, snappers, cangulos (fish)… Continuing with our experiences in Noronha, we reserved some time to visit and enjoy the company of Leonardo Veras, the curator for Fernando de Noronha’s Shark Museum (“Museu dos Tubarões”). Leo, as he prefers to be called, is a passionate engineer who lives and works at the main island, and was kind enough to take us on an unforgettable trip through the marine world! An upcoming post will share our adventures with Leo Veras and his Navi Project, investigating the deep open ocean waters. For now, you’ll be left with images we snapped while visiting the “Museu dos Tubarões” – current residence of Leo Veras, his own sculpture garden and his “front yard view”. Check them all out! :o 

Our host, Eng. Leonardo Veras

 

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Fernando de Noronha’s claim to fame is its diverse and rich ecosystem. And while nature lovers throng to this eco-paradise, the volcanic island with its splendid marine life, dramatic rock formations and long lazy stretches of beaches is the perfect romantic destination as well… We’ll miss it!

 

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Hot off the press!

Image from AFSA.ORG (Foreign Service Journal)

Just fresh off the press: read it all!

The latest issue of the Foreign Service Journal (FSJ, April 2012) discusses the Family Member Employment, and the search for meaningful work overseas. Reading through the whole edition, you will find great stories about living and working as a Foreign Service spouse.

Several FS spouses shared their experiences and impressions regarding working overseas. It’s an honor to be one of the contributors to this edition.

Congratulations to all who contributed to this month’s issue. Here’s the link to another FS blogger, also sharing her impressions about family member employment.

Thank you for reading! :o

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

Through the aerial roots of this old tree...

“Through”. That’s the inspiration for this week’s photo challenge from WordPress. Humm… Physically speaking? Emotionally through? A passage? A rite of passage? Too many different interpretations for this one single theme. What’s “through” for you? For me, it means passage, strategy, possibilities to overcome challenges…

Since we’re getting through one more week, let’s see how it goes regarding the challenge:

A detailed view from a particular site at the Reuben Island Prison, South Africa - many tried to escape through...

Walking through the city, through old cobblestone steps, São Luis do Maranhão, Brazil

Taking a boat trip through the mangrove in Itamaracá Island, Brazil

Watching the sunset through the rocks in Jericoacoara Beach

"Take my hand and walk me through this path... through your lens I'll see your world..."

And finally, walking through the excited crowd, experiencing the largest street carnival in the world!

Other posts from WordPress bloggers:

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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in post a day

 

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Brasilia Teimosa, from a distance… refreshing images and Portuguese text

 
“Brasilia Teimosa” [Stubborn Brasilia] is the oldest urban non-official community in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil. a great way to observe what’s happening along the coastline, and within the community, is by enjoying a meal with with friends at the Biruta Bar & Restaurant:
 
Source: Wikipedia:
 
Brasília Teimosa é um bairro do Recife.
Situada na zona sul do Recife, entre o bairro do Pina e o Porto do Recife, numa área caracterizada por uma linha contínua de arrecifes paralela à orla, surgiu através da ocupação de uma área antes denominada Areal Novo, iniciada em 1947. Seus habitantes, pescadores, negociantes, estudantes, donas de casa, têm ligação muito forte com o mar.
 
 

O nome foi uma alusão a Brasília, então nova capital do Brasil que estava sendo projetada no governo de Juscelino Kubitschek, em contraste com a área em que os moradores viviam, em perene ameaça de expulsão. Essa persistência teve grande destaque nos anos 1950, quando essa área foi destinada pelo Governo do Estado à construção de depósitos inflamáveis. A perseverança dos primeiros moradores, que reconstruíam suas casas durante a noite quando ao longo do dia eram demolidas consolidou a ideia de teimosia, coincidente com o período da construção da Capital Federal. Mais antiga ocupação urbana do Recife. O bairro foi uma das primeiras áreas a serem urbanizadas com recursos do BNH, através de um projeto de urbanização denominado Teimosinho. Esse projeto tomou força em 1982, com a relocação de famílias da Vila da Prata, com ações também em 1986 e 1989, mas a área era novamente ocupada. Em 2004, uma grande intervenção urbana foi realizada pelo Governo Federal com a construção de uma avenida à beira mar. Atualmente o bairro está modificado urbanisticamente, em sua orla marítima, com restaurantes típicos e comércio de frutos do mar, o forte da economia dos seus moradores.
 
 
 
 

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333rd Post: Surrounded by marine dolphins [video]

Every year, people travel to Fernando de Noronha, a group of islands off the coast of Brazil, to meet some of the archipelago’s most famous residents: spinner dolphins:

The spinner dolphin is a tropical oceanic dolphin that lives in groups numbering three to more than two thousand individuals. Of the 37 different dolphin species, it is the third most abundant in the world and is named for its tendency to shoot out of the water and complete as many as seven rotations whilst airborne.
The dolphins usually surface during boat rides, showing off their acrobatics skills as they leap out of the water and putting on a real show. The stunts they perform are more than simply fun; they’re an important form of signalling, drawing the attention of the boat, which, in turn, protects the rest of the pod from potential predators. The communication system consists of different types of jumps and beats made with the body on the surface of the water, producing turbulence when the dolphin completes its dive.
The daily routine for the spinner dolphins in Fernando de Noronha involves feeding, primarily during the night, followed by a morning relocating to the appropriately named Dolphins Bay. They arrive in the bay at sunrise and depart for various feeding areas in the afternoon.

Dolphins Bay (Baia dos Golfinhos), located off Sancho Beach, is a top destination for dolphin spotters. The bay’s waters are the calmest and deepest in the entire archipelago, ranging from 0 to 25 metres but averaging about 15 meters in the centre. The floor of the bay is composed predominantly of volcanic sands with scattered rocks and can be accessed by a single trail that offers a good vantage point from which to observe the activities of the spinner dolphins. One ideal point from which to observe Dolphins Bay is Dolphin Lookout, set 55 metres above sea level. It can be reached via a one-kilometre-long walking trail that begins in a parking lot at Sancho Bay.

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Fernando de Noronha Marine National Park: wildlife

Fernando de Noronha in Brazil is famous for its exquisite natural environment, pristine beaches, and tropical climate where the sun shines the whole year! A paradise for scuba diving in Brazil, there are numerous things to do on the Fernando Noronha island. The wildlife of Fernando de Noronha is very rich, and one of the main attractions of the island are the Spinner Dolphins which can be seeing 365 days a year from the Dolphins Bay Viewpoint or on a Noronha boat ride. We were fortunate to spot a few other “representatives” of the archipelago’s wildlife.

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Communications from the past: Post Office and Wall Telephone

Post Office building, with its respective collecting box - still in business!

Brooklyn wall telephone

 
 

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[Impressions] Surfing the uncertainty

Several options, different paths to choose from...

Searching for your own path...

A change in direction is always an opportunity to experience different things...

The experience

The experience...

Lonely Observer...

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 13, 2012 in beach, I SPY, photography, post a day

 

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Sunday is for food! Gastronomic event and islander cuisine.

During our visit to the Archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, we were invited to enjoy the magnificent islander cuisine, through an unique gastronomic event. This event happens every Wednesday and Saturday evenings at one of the best bread and breakfast of Fernando de Noronha called “Pousada Zé Maria. Father and son run the business, and the night event we attended was hosted and presented by Zé Maria’s son, Tuca Noronha. Our appreciation to the host, as well as to the pleasant evening among friendly companions…

That said, the ecologically correct paradise of Fernando de Noronha offers opportunities for its visitors to be adventurous, without impacting the environment - and this concept is extended to its cuisine. Besides participating at Zé Maria’s Gastronomical Event, we also enjoyed typical food from the island at the Shark Museum Restaurant and Restaurante da Edilma (where I had shark for the first time!), and the perfect evening view at Pousada Maravilhas restaurant. The union of great food, good conversations and pleasant ambience, is the perfect combination for wonderful travel memories…

Gastronomic Event at Zé Maria’s:

Sea Food Specialty at Maravilha Restaurant:

A special dish at the Shark Museum, in honor of its creator, Eng. Leonardo Veras: “Camarão ao Léo”:

Enginneer Leonardo Veras, our host.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 11, 2012 in ARCHIPELAGO, beach, post a day

 

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[Português/English] Marine Turtles in Northeastern Brazil – Projeto TAMAR em Fernando de Noronha

Five of the world’s seven sea turtle species are found in Brazil.

For over 20 years TAMAR project is responsible for identifying and protecting nesting beaches and feeding areas, doing research, promoting awareness and involving the local community.

Thanks to good planning, loyal sponsorship and an innovative merchandising program they are able to maintain 20 bases in Brazil. Releasing more than 600 thousand hatchlings every year, the TAMAR bases have become important tourism attractions and mean income to 1200 families.

[NOTE FROM BLOGGER] ALL THE INFORMATION BELOW IS PROVIDED BY WWF BRAZIL:
Project: Supported by WWF
Year started: 1982
Other Partners/Supporters: Petrobrás
Address: Alameda do Boldro s/no. – Fernando de Noronha – PE
Contact: Claudio Bellini
e-mail: infonoronha@tamar.org.br
more info: www.projetotamar.org.br
Area: Natural
Activities: Visit a conservation unit
Equipments: sandals, shorts, t-shirts, swimming gear, towel, small backpack, sunglasses, sunscreen
Gateway: Recife ou Natal
Near airport: Fernando de Noronha – PE
Dist. from the airport: 2 KM
Max. number visitors: 15
Min. number visitors: 2
Max. Lenght: 10 day(s)
Min. Lenght: 2 day(s)
Level: easy
Activity: Enviromental, Scientific, Social
Best time to go: February, March, April, May
Attending a night-time lecture (9 pm) at the TAMAR Institute

[Portuguese] O arquipélago de Fernando de Noronha, composto por 21 ilhas e ilhotas de origem vulcânica, está situado a 345km de Natal, capital do Rio Grande do Norte/RN e a 545Km de Recife, capital de Pernambuco/PE. É sítio de reprodução da tartaruga-verde (Chelonia mydas), que utiliza as praias arenosas do lugar para desovar entre os meses de dezembro e julho. É também área de alimentação, crescimento e repouso para juvenis desta espécie e da tartaruga-de-pente (Eretmochelys imbricata).

As praias de desova apresentam características propícias a um monitoramento diário, inclusive noturno nas áreas principais. A do Leão concentra 80% das ocorrências. As demais desovas acontecem ao longo do mar de dentro, entre as praias do Sancho e da Conceição. Cada estação reprodutiva, registra em média 100 desovas, gerando 8.900 filhotes da tartaruga verde.

O TAMAR iniciou suas atividades na região em 1984, quando o arquipélago ainda era território federal administrado pela Aeronáutica (hoje é território do Estado de Pernambuco).

Em 1986, foi criada a APA-Área de Proteção Ambiental. A praia do Leão, principal área de desova do arquipélago, tornou-se o embrião do Parque Nacional Marinho, criado por decreto federal, em 1988.

Fernando de Noronha é uma das bases mais importantes para o trabalho do Tamar.

É um verdadeiro laboratório natural, pois a transparência do mar oferece excelente condição ao desenvolvimento de pesquisas sobre a biologia e comportamento das tartarugas marinhas em ambiente natural, sobretudo debaixo d’água.

Além do monitoramento de fêmeas, durante o período reprodutivo, a base mantém um programa de marcação e recaptura de tartarugas que utilizam o arquipélago como área de alimentação, crescimento e repouso, durante uma etapa do seu ciclo de vida. Desde 1990, mais de mil tartarugas já foram marcadas pelo Tamar através desse programa, em que os pesquisadores realizam mergulho livre, autônomo ou rebocado.

Além do mais, o grande fluxo turístico que o arquipélago registra é estratégico para o trabalho de sensibilização e educação ambiental, principalmente através do Centro de Visitantes-Museu Aberto das Tartarugas Marinhas, o qual tivemos o prazer e honra de visitar durante nossa recente visita ao arquipélago. Todos os visitantes do Museu-Aberto do TAMAR recebem uma palestra gratuita sobre a vida selvagem a ser encontrada no arquipélago, assim como, são instruídos a como se comportar em frente à natureza, sem causar quaisquer impacto ambiental. Todas as palestras são às 9 da noite, e seguem por cerca de uma hora até uma hora e meia. Extremamente informativas,claras, concisas e ministradas por pesquisadores e voluntários do TAMAR. É a perfeita preparação para os que irão aventurar-se a explorar as ilhas na manhã seguinte. Nós adoramos a experiência, eu enquanto bióloga, e meu esposo, agora apaixonado pela vida marinha. Um sucesso e uma oportunidade única de vivenciar, aprender e compartilhar conhecimentos.

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

The inspiration for this week’s challenge is “Contrast”, and here I’m, sharing a very recent image that represents a lot of contrast: the end of the day, beginning of the evening; the dark colors from the previously light sky, kindly kissing the calm ocean waters, introducing the night to observers and by-passers…

The postal card for Archipelago Fernando de Noronha, in Brazil

And, if you’re curious to know how this scene would look during the day, here’s another contrast: the ‘earth-colored sky’ is replaced by a paradisiac blue sky, which is reflected onto the turquoise and green waters…. from a far away view, I’m bringing you all to a closer look at the “Morro Dois Irmãos”(Two Brother’s Hill) :o

So, do you prefer the “sunset view” or the “daytime view”?  I’m totally bias, because I’m deeply in love with the main island, but I’m leaving the question here! :o

Related Posts from other WordPress photographers: Contrast

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2012 in ARCHIPELAGO, ART, post a day

 

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World Heritage Wonder: Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, Brazil

The "Two Brothers" hill - Morro Dois Irmãos, viewed from the Praia da Cacimba do Padre, FN.

Just like the AtlantisFernando de Noronha has caught the imagination of travelers for centuries and many urban myths are associated with this gloriously surreal island. With its powdery beaches, lush rolling greens and crystalline azure waters, Fernando de Noronha is a tropical paradise of sublime beauty that is steeped deep in mysticism and mystery. The archipelago – named after a 16th-century Portuguese nobleman who may never have actually set foot there – exists in the proud Brazilian imagination, as well as a beautiful group of a main island and several islets. Fernando de Noronha is, strictly speaking, an archipelago made up of one 11-square-mile chunk of volcanic rock and 20 smaller islands, three degrees south of the equator, 220 miles from Brazil’s north-eastern coast.

Discovered in 16th century, the eco-wonderland is big on conservation, thus traveling from mainland is expensive business. Fernando de Noronha has the best beaches in Brazil, as Guia Quatro Rodas Praias, Brazil’s ‘Beach Bible’, bestowed five starts to only four beaches in Brazil – and three of them are at Fernando de Noronha. One of the more popular ways to explore the island-mountain is by hiring a dune buggy [look at our photos here on the sides!], which is available easily for rent.

We would always start or days early, heading towards Lago dos Dois Irmãos, or walking down the cobblestone streets in Vila dos Remédios.

street in Vila dos Remédios

Main Church - Igreja da Conceição

In Atalaia Beach, we were able to snorkel with fishes and juvenile sharks, checking out the swarms of hawksbill and green turtles, and also, witness rare island species like iguanas. Other adventure seekers like us, engaged in underwater activities, diving and snorkeling to experience the prolific marine life including albacore, barracuda, snappers, cangulos (fish)… An upcoming post will offer more details about our encounters with the marine and wild lives from the archipelago :o

Leão, Sancho and Porcos Bay are the best beaches in Fernando de Noronha and our personal favorite is Sancho Bay as the water changes color from crystal to turquoise to emerald and there is a huge reef wall around the beach making it popular among snorkelers. These will be subject of upcoming posts, since we’re still going through our pictures, often having to bring ourselves back to our present time…

Watching the sunset behind the "Morro Dois Irmãos" (Two Brothers)

Hiking along the beach coast - Praia do Cachorro, Praia do Meio, Praia da Conceição

One of the natural wonders found during our hiking adventures - native Atlantic/Rain Forest setting

Praia da Cacimba do Padre, well-known destination by surfers, and observers

Turquoise waters

Intriguing formations among the volcanic rocks

Fernando de Noronha’s claim to fame is its diverse and rich ecosystem. And while nature lovers throng to this eco-paradise, the volcanic island with its splendid marine life, dramatic rock formations and long lazy stretches of beaches is the perfect romantic destination as well… and we can vouche for that! :o

Searching for marine fish and dolphins

hiking couple :o

hiking couple :o

 

…finally, leaving you “curious for the posts to come“, a glimpse of what we found during our eco-friendly explorative adventures: :o

[We still need to share our experiences with the Brazilian TAMAR Project (marine turtles) and with the Shark Museum ("Museu do Tubarão")]. Imagine!!

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in ARCHIPELAGO, post a day

 

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Searching for paradise: Aerial views of Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, Brazil

This is the first in a series of posts on our recent trip to the Brazilian Archipelago of Fernando de Noronha: leisure, research, adventure, photography.

Peaks of the Southern Atlantic submarine ridge form the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago off the coast of Brazil, representing a large proportion of the island surface of the South Atlantic and the rich waters are extremely important for the breeding and feeding of tuna, shark, turtle and marine mammals. The islands are home to the largest concentration of tropical seabirds in the Western Atlantic. Baia de Golfinhos has an exceptional population of resident dolphin. The Fernando de Noronha archipelago covers the majority of the main island and includes the majority of smaller offshore islands and islets. The islands are part of a large submarine mountain system of volcanic origin, which rises from the ocean floor some 4,000 m in depth. The Fernando de Noronha volcano is estimated to be between 1.8 million and 12.3 million years old. The coastline is complex, with a number of high cliffs and sandy beaches. The north-west facing shores are relatively calm, whereas the south-east shores face the predominant currents and winds and are largely rocky shores with significant wave action.

Arriving… flying along the coastline

And here, a snapshot of “who’s got an unchallengeable view” of this paradise:

The highly productive coastal waters around islands are used by many fish species for spawning and as a refuge for juvenile fish. The shallow waters also provide habitat for benthnic organisms (such as coral, sponges and algae). Oceanic islands therefore play a key role in the reproduction and dispersal of marine organisms, providing a staging point for the colonization of other coastal areas and the surrounding ocean. There are less than 10 oceanic islands in the South Atlantic and the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago represents almost 50% of the islands in terms of surface area. As the site makes up such a large proportion of insular South Atlantic coastal area, it is an important repository for the maintenance of biodiversity for the entire South Atlantic basin.

Fernando de Noronha is also the only know location for Insular Atlantic Forest – a subtype of Atlantic Rainforest. To date over 400 species of vascular plants have recorded, including three endemics. The archipelago also contains the sole oceanic mangrove in the South Atlantic. [Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC]

 
 

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Recently interviewed by BlogExpat!

3rd culture children

 Just got interviewed by BlogExpat:From Brazil to USA to Africa and back to Brazil: 3rd Culture Childrenby Erin [27 February, 2012 11:37]Raquel L. Miranda, Brazilian by birth, lived and studied in Argentina. Worked as an international researcher in the USA, before marrying and becoming a Foreign Service ‘hauling spouse’, mother of 3 third-culture children, all under the age of 7! Currently posted in Recife, Brazil – previous posts including Washington, DC and Maputo, Mozambique.

1. Why did you move abroad?
I was born abroad! [smiles!] My parents used to be public servers with the Brazilian government, so we traveled a lot. With a background in science and research, I was always on a plane, traveling to conferences or symposiums. Then, one day, 11 years ago, resting at the beach in Brazil, while taking a break from my PhD research and endless lecture preparation at the university, I met the one who would become my husband – he was a charming 26 year-old pre-grad student, interested in international politics, and (surprise!), who liked to travel around the world… Read more

 

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Acadêmicos do Samba, de Olinda, Pernambuco

It’s official: Brazilian Carnival is over. Done. Finished. Has come and gone…

The crude reality is knocking on everyone’s doors – tomorrow is Monday! A true and full working day… [snif, snif] The first real working/school day in a long time (at least, in a week, at some places!)

The year has officially began (as any good Brazilian would know, nothing really happens in Brazil before Carnaval! :o ) Now, the only comfort left is the thought of another holiday, maybe some long weekend, a full day at the beach, or, at least, the perspective of a Sunday barbecue, with some good music and positive vibe. With this spirit, here is a bit of remembrance: a Samba Group, from our neighboring city, Olinda. Let’s all enjoy, and walk together towards “reality Monday”! :o

Acadêmicos do Samba, from Olinda, Pernambuco
Tambores de carnaval, Samba de Roda & Sambão!

Acadêmicos do Samba honoring the Escola de Samba Mangueira, with Sambão!

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2012 in CARNAVAL, Português, post a day

 

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Multicultural Carnival: February 2012, Pernambuco, Brazil

Multicultural Carnival: February 2012, Pernambuco, Brazil

During one of my blog hopping ventures, found a very good site – my deepest appreciation to this great blog, for sharing such a rich description about how diverse the Carnival in Pernambuco is!

 

“Recife and Olinda are among the best cities in Brazil to experience Carnival. With the distance between them at less than one half mile, their combined Carnival is really just one distinctive party even bigger than the sum of the two. The party has an enticing contrast of tradition and imagination. Deep set traditions practiced for ages are reminiscent of the romance of Carnivals past. Yet, popular music and culture certainly reserve an equally powerful influence over the festivities. Carnival in Recife and Olinda is said to be the most beautiful, spontaneous and diverse of all the Carnivals in Brazil.

According to the Guiness Book of World Records, ever since 1995 Carnival in Recife has been home to the bloco that gathers the largest number of people in the world: Galo da Madrugada. The group began waking up the city at sunrise on the first official day of Carnival in 1978 with 75 people around a truck carrying a giant rooster. The mascot still stands the same, but by last year the celebration around it had grown to an estimated 2 million people dancing in the streets, bridges and boats to the sounds of 31 trios elétricos (moving speaker trucks with bands playing on the stages atop them). These trios elétricos warm up the party parading in Recife’s ocean front avenue between modern high rises and the beach every night of the week preceding official Carnival. Recife’s old harbor neighborhood also hosts people partying in its narrow streets where the colonial architecture makes for the perfect setting to watch the passing of music schools for various traditional rhythms every night of Carnival and during the four weekends prior to the official holiday. The party through the narrow roads up and down the hills of Olinda is on the same schedule. Those celebrating in their costumes, jumping and dancing in a multiplicity of blocos among the giant dolls and water wars literally take over the hills where tourists rent the houses of the residents who make space and some extra income. Different from the rhythms of the Samba in Rio de Janeiro and the Axe in Salvador, in Recife and Olinda, Carnival participants immerse themselves in the ecclectic sounds of Frevo (typical music of Pernambuco), Maracatu, Coco (of African origin), and Coboclinhos (of Indian origin). Manifesting the rich cultural backgrounds of Brazil, these unique rhythms originated from Africa and the indigenous cultures of Brazil. Partygoers in Recife and Olinda are notoriously tireless, as they move together in the most pleasureble chaos to the euphoric music and energy of Carnival.”

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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in CARNAVAL, photography, post a day

 

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STOMP STAGE EXPERIENCE: Carnaval 2012, Brazil


Stomp (USA) during the Official Opening of Carnaval 2012, at Marco Zero, Recife, Brazil.

Date: February 17th, 2012. No heavy rain would have stopped them! :o

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in CARNAVAL, Português, post a day

 

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2012 Street Carnival: Heads with Style

Carnival Heads: Color & Style!

Carnival head decorations, flower arrangements, head pieces, tiaras, hats, colorful hair, any excuse is a good one to come out, taking over the streets, showcasing unique designs when it comes to fun and stylish costumes…

Why not, extend the costumes to “over the head”? :o Too many different styles to choose from: conservative, modern, over-the-top… Pick your favorite, or simply enjoy the endless creativity displayed during the most democratic carnival in the world!

…and of course, as part of this list, our “own” head decoration: when it comes to having fun during carnival, this couple here likes to dare: every day, a different outfit, a different piece of art decorating our heads! :o

"Married Couple", first night of Carnival

Second day of Carnival: Blue Happiness with Galo da Madrugada

 
 

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Scientific investigation during Carnaval 2012…

All for Science… good investigation! I for one, just watching and taking notes of the results!

The Materials & Methods

The Conclusion: [science can definitely be fun!]

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in CARNAVAL, photography, post a day, science

 

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Having too much fun with Galo da Madrugada! [Camarote Globeleza]

g-sheina-sherry-matthew-sandelands


Galo da Madrugada (Foto: Heudes Régis / JC Imagem / AE)  Chuva não foi problema para brincar o Galo da Madrugada (Foto: Heudes Régis / JC Imagem )

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in CARNAVAL, Fashion, post a day

 

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“Summer Britto” 2012: Galo da Madrugada with art!

“Summer Britto”. Romero Britto is one of the most successful artists of our time. This pop artist uses vibrant colors and bold patterns as a visual language of HOPE and happiness. He has been credited with the largest public art installation in Hyde Park history, and exhibited at the Carrousel du Louvre Museum – an art that appeals to all. what about carnival? The designed outfits for camarote globeleza, as well as tote bags and decoration… All in one place, all during Galo da Madrugada!
É esse o tema do camarote mais disputado do Galo da Madrugada, o Globeleza 2012, na esquina da Dantas Barreto com a Guararapes, na Praça da Independência (Pracinha do Diário). E como o próprio nome diz, é o artista plástico pernambucano, radicado em Miami, Romero Britto, quem inspira e assina toda a identidade visual do espaço, do layout da camisa, com estampa de um Galo, às bolsas do kit-convite, passando por suas típicas ilustrações coloridas e desenhadas exclusivamente a decoração, que terá concepção de Romildo Alves.

E aqui, os “pequenos Globais”… já prontos para a sua festa!

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Posted by on February 18, 2012 in ART, BRASIL, CARNAVAL, Fashion, post a day

 

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Getting ready for Carnaval! {or Esquentando os Tamborins Part II}

So, here we are, a week before the largest celebration this country is capable of displaying: Carnival or, how we say it Brazil, “Carnaval”… Well, not a week from today, but from last Saturday, February 11th, when these pictures were taken from our veranda… People really can’t wait for the real fun to be here…

streets taken by the crowd

The parade moves on, enchanting tourists and beach-goers!

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in CARNAVAL, Fashion, Português, post a day

 

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