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A Traveler In The Foreign Service: The Best Foreign Service Blogs, by Dave Seminara.

Guest Post by Dave Seminara

smoking huge joint womanThe World Wide Web is saturated with amateurish blogs created by people who’d be lucky to command the devoted readership of their immediate family members, let alone the wider public. There are scores of blogs managed by Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) and while many of them are worth reading, some aredownright bizarre. This post will steer you toward some Foreign Service related blogs that are well worth your time.
I started this series nine months ago to help people get a better understanding of what life in the U.S. Foreign Service is like. Many of the posts have been about my experiences but I’ve also introduced readers to an intrepid, single female diplomat fresh off of tours in Syria and Pakistan, a diplomatic courier, a USAID Foreign Service Officer currently serving in Afghanistan and others. But spend some time at the sites listed below to get a flavor of what it’s like to represent the U.S. Government in The Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Bolivia, Pakistan and dozens of other exotic locales.

One major caveat here is that FSOs have to be careful what they write because free speech only takes you so far in the precarious, uber-cautious world of government service. Most FSOs have disclaimers on their sites warning that the views expressed are their own, but many still tend to steer clear of tackling political issues or anything controversial.Peter Van Buren, a now retired diplomat who wrote “We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People,” was effectively driven out of the Foreign Service partially because he posted a link to a cable on WikiLeaks and made some disparaging remarks, which he later apologized for, about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on his website.There’s no doubt that his experience has had a chilling effect across the board, so visit the sites below to get the low-down on the Foreign Service lifestyle and the travel opportunities, not the dirty underbelly of how diplomacy plays out overseas.Some of the blogs below contain little, if any biographical info, and I wasn’t able to read each one in its entirety, so my apologies in advance if my impressions of these blogs below miss the mark. That said, I would invite the authors of these fine sites to tell us more about themselves, if they dare, in the comments section.DiplodunitDomani Spero has no U.S. government connection and thus has the freedom to write about the world of diplomacy without having to worry about his career. Diplodunit is as close as you’ll find to one-stop shopping for a candid look at what’s going on in the Foreign Service community.

Adventures in Good Countries- Getting Along In The Foreign Service

I love this blog. The author, apparently a single female public diplomacy officer who, “doesn’t date outside the visa waiver program,” blogs with style and passion about life in Japan, Pakistan, Jordan and elsewhere, coping with Multiple Sclerosis and whatever else pops into her head. How can you not like a writer who offers advice to protesters on how to construct a good effigy? (“Don’t just throw something together with the rationale that you’re only going to burn it anyway – take some pride in your work.”)

We Meant Well

You might not agree with Peter Van Buren but you will want to read his blog, which is sometimes offensive but never boring.

Third Culture Children

This blog, which details the lives of a family of five living in Recife, Brazil, La Paz, Bolivia and elsewhere, is one of the very best Foreign Service related sites out there. It’s a particularly good resource for parents who are wondering what the overseas experience will be like for their children.

amy gottlieb usaidAmy Gottlieb’s Photography & Blog

Gottlieb is a doctor and a USAID FSO currently serving in Vietnam. Her portraits from Jamaica, Nepal, Vietnam, South America, Africa and beyond are as good as any you’ll find anywhere.

Adventures Around the World- A Foreign Service Officer’s Tales of Life Abroad

The author of this refreshingly candid and well-written blog is currently in Kabul and has previously served in Iraq and Nepal. Here’s how she described the “honeymoon” period at a new post: “The honeymoon period is the time frame after moving to a foreign country where the excitement of being somewhere new overshadows certain harsh realities of living in a foreign country. People burning piles of trash in the street give the place ‘character’ and bargaining with a taxi driver is part of the ‘adventure.’”

Worldwide Availability

This is a stunning photo blog from an American diplomat who was born on a farm in China and is currently serving in South Korea. Visiting this site is the next best thing to booking a ticket to Seoul. Also, for those who are curious to know how long it takes to join the Foreign Service, take a look at his instructive personal timeline for some clues.

Wanderings of a Cheerful Stoic

Anyone who features a photo of themselves (I presume) with a Gambian poached rat on their homepage is all right by me. This is a blog from a FSO posted in Conakry, Guinea, a place where “you tend to find yourself without a really specific reason.”

The Slow Move East- Thoughts on Being an Expatriate

Hannah Draper, a FSO currently serving in Libya, might be a “Type-A bureaucrat who professionally pushes papers in the Middle East,” but her writing is compulsively readable.

Where in the World am I? Notes from the Streets of Hyderabad, India

A FSO in Hyderabad who previously served in Burundi blogs about food and life overseas with gusto.

Cross Words- A Blog About Writing and Anything Else That Comes to Mind

Ted Cross, a FSO currently living in Budapest who apparently just signed up for Facebook last week (Friend him!), tells us on his homepage that his “dream is to be a published author.” I like someone who isn’t afraid to tell the world what he wants. He’s into fantasy and science fiction, neither of which interests me, but his blog is unique and his writing is lucid.

Four Globetrotters- The (Most Likely) Incoherent Ramblings of a Sleep-Deprived Single Mother Living Overseas with her Trio of Kiddos

Anyone who can pull off being a single mom in the Foreign Service is someone I want to meet. This blog, written by a former Foreign Service brat, isn’t nearly as incoherent as advertised.

Beau Geste, Mon Ami- The Chronicle of my Journey to and through The Foreign Service

Even a quick breeze through this visually appealing blog will give you an idea of how varied and interesting life in the Foreign Service can be. If nothing else, do not miss the photos of the tribal warriors in Papua New Guinea.

Zvirdins at Large- Jamie and Andrew’s Excellent Adventures

If you want a slice of life from the Marshall Islands, this is the place to go. I love this blog but I couldn’t bring myself to click into the video entitled “Pig Shooting” in a post on “Pig Butchering.” Yikes.

Let me know in the comments section if you think I’ve missed any great FSO-related blogs and if you’re the author of ones of the sites mentioned above, tell us a bit about yourself.

Read more from “A Traveler in the Foreign Service” here.

(Photos courtesy of Amy Gottlieb)

Read more from “A Traveler in the Foreign Service” here.

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This year’s April issue of the Foreign Service Journal (FSJ, April 2012) discussed the Family Member Employment, and the search for meaningful work overseas. Reading through the whole edition, you’ll 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 that month’s issue. Here’s the link to another FS blogger, also sharing her impressions about family member employment.

Giving expats a hand

A Traveler In The Foreign Service: A ‘Trailing Spouse’ Speaks Out (gadling.com)

Career options overseas (anagentswife.wordpress.com)

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Posted by on March 12, 2014 in expat, foreign service, TRAVEL

 

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{Weekly Writing Challenge} Parenting as a Cliffhanger…

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

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

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

STOP PRAISING YOUR KIDS??

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

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

Why would we, parents, knowingly harm our children?

Let’s start thinking! Continue reading

 
19 Comments

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

 

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

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fun by the boardwalk in Chile

fun by the boardwalk in Chile

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

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

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

 

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{Weekly Writing Challenge} Ghosts of Christmas Past…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

my 3 little ghosts

Thanks for the inspiration!

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

 

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” ['One']

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"Llamas Crossing"

“Llamas Crossing”

Inspired by this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, and continuing with our personal photo project, 52 Bolivian Sundays [feel free to visit link on the right for previous weeks!], a humble interpretation of ‘One’…

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

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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” ['Community']

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Inspired by this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, and continuing with our personal photo project, 52 Bolivian Sundays [feel free to visit link on the right for previous weeks!], a humble interpretation of ‘Community’: reaching out to the Bolivian community through a common passion – soccer!

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PS: I'm proudly married to the team's captain... :o Community Outreach while exercising his passion for soccer!

PS: I’m proudly married to the team’s captain… :o Community Outreach while exercising his passion for soccer!

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

 
16 Comments

Posted by on December 13, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, sports, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” ['Grand']

Largest freshwater lake in South America

Largest freshwater lake in South America

Inspired by this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, and continuing with our personal photo project, 52 Bolivian Sundays [feel free to visit link on the right for previous weeks!], a humble interpretation of ‘Grand’:

Copacabana, Bolivia

Copacabana, Bolivia

touring the Yungas region...

touring the Yungas region…

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

The Ilimani

The Ilimani

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

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Posted by on December 7, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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A snapshot from mystic Copacabana: Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 44, 'Eerie']

“Something eerie has a story to tell — one you aren’t quite sure you want to know.” [The Daily Post]

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My offer for this week’s photo challenge [Week 44... 2 more little months to go!], sharing bits and pieces of the Bolivian culture, through the 52 Bolivian Sundays Photo Project. Today, an interpretation of ‘eerie’, as we look at a snapshot of the religious, mystic and mysterious city of Copacabana. People worshiping along the altars hallway seem like ghosts in this scenario…

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

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Posted by on November 5, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Horizon: Where sky meets earth. Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 43].

Lake Titicaca, Copacabana, Bolivia

Lake Titicaca, Copacabana, Bolivia

HorizonThe space or line where the sky meets the earth”. [from the Daily Post]

Sunset by the lake Titicaca

Sunset by the lake Titicaca

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

The city of La Paz, at night, seen from El Alto.

The city of La Paz, at night, seen from El Alto.

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

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32 Comments

Posted by on October 27, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 42, 'a Hue of Color, from Tarija']

Singani in Tarija

This past week, our family took advantage of the children’s school break and flew out of La Paz, seeking warmer temperatures, good hiking, and a relaxing scenario. Tarija is famous for its warm weather and the colorful winery settings. More to come, as we get our photos organized in the ‘shoe box’. For now, a quick example of what we saw/experienced/enjoyed over there:

The orange shades displayed by the glasses filled with Singani drinks – one of Bolivia’s trademarks – seem to perfectly fit the bill for ‘a hue of me‘… a lovely combination of orange and wood tones…

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

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Posted by on October 19, 2013 in BOLIVIA, FOOD, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 41, 'Infinite']

“Infinity can produce contrasting effects on (and in) us: it might make us feel dwarfed or amplified, afraid or empowered.” [The Daily Post]

My offer for this week’s photo challenge [Week 41... 11 more to go!], sharing bits and pieces of the Bolivian culture, through the 52 Bolivian Sundays Photo Project. today, an interpretation of ‘infinite’, as we look down into the Road of Death in Coroico [Yungas Region].

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

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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in BOLIVIA, ecology, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Unplugged!

Sometimes, we all need a break from these little glowing boxes. How do you know when it’s time to unplug? What do you do to make it happen?

Taking a look at these, I believe it’s pretty easy to ‘guess’ when it’s time to unplug! :o

 
11 Comments

Posted by on October 8, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 40, 'Good morning, Sunshine!']

good morning

We all start our days in different ways: going for a run, hitting snooze 17 times, or watching the morning news, among many, many others. [from The Daily Post, WordPress].

Why  not start the day by greeting the Sunshine?

My offer for this week’s photo challenge [Week 40 finally arrived... 12 more to go!], sharing bits and pieces of the Bolivian culture, through the 52 Bolivian Sundays Photo Project: being greeted by a typical ‘Good Morning’ – yes, we’ve got a garden! :o

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

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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in BOLIVIA, ecology, photography, TRAVEL

 

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I’m a Mix Tape Masterpiece!

mixtape

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Acknolegdment: original inspiration coming from http://likereadingontrains.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/23-about-me-daily-prompt-mix-tape-masterpiece/

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

 

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Weekly Writing Challenge: DNA Analysis

Clearly a writing challenge inspired by a topic titled ‘DNA analysis’ had to catch my attention. Not only I’m a born-again geek, I’m a ‘recovering scientist’, and up for grabbing any opportunity to jump right back into my past!

Funny how reading through this week’s suggestion from the Daily Post put me into a time machine, sending me back and forth in time: remembering my days as a researcher, scientist, professor; and yet, imagining how it would be when my [now little] children grow and decide on their own careers, taking up on different life paths…

Who knows what the future will have for them? What I’ve got is my past, followed by a great present bringing my off-spring up…

Talking about offspring, let me take you back to this post’s original idea, before my reminiscent past [and the uncertainties of our nomad future], take me completely off-track! My family is a melting pot: I seem to bring to the table a mix of Portuguese and Northern African backgrounds, surprisingly revealed by a recent DNA analysis. Our 3 children are a mix of Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, German ingredients, bubbling up from inside a hot deep cooking pot.

[Quick note: one of my husband’s passions, besides me, obviously, is Genealogy. He maintains a website on his parental families, and we’ve done together the DNA analysis, to learn more about our ‘ancestry’. The triggering idea for immersing into the research was actually the moment our first child was born: leave a knowledge legacy for our children].

Off-track… again? Not really! Back to my Portuguese/Northern African heritage…

From my mother I’ve inherited the quick temper and the sharp tongue – aww, those Portuguese Senoritas! I’ve also learned from her how to appreciate food and cooking, especially seafood dishes; all well-accompanied with good wine. She is the Teacher in my life, in more ways than one. My mother has taught me to understand and develop a passion for artistic expressions: music, dance and painting. Later in life, they all morphed into a healthy taste for fashion, dining out, event hosting, social outings and the passion for traveling to new places…

From my long-lost past...

From my long-lost past…

My father’s legacy is deeply imprinted in my body and mind. I became a person of Science because of him. Like my mother, he grew up orphan, lacking a present father-figure at home; nevertheless, made a life for himself as a chemical engineer, and teaching me how to love and appreciate all expressions of science and investigation and discipline. From my father I’ve inherited a ‘not-so-healthy’ taste for questioning, inquiring, and looking for answers and justifications. I’ve learned I’m capable of challenging facts of life, seeking solutions to daily problems.

I consider myself a product of hybrid environments, a product of mixed cultures, nicely blending together. I consider myself not a noun, but a verb… I’ve learned to accept and embrace new cultures and traditions as my own, since a very early age.

Life went on, and as it should be, the day I had to overlap my nucleic acid sequence with someone else’s came around. Considering that recombination is a common method of DNA repair, it was definitely the way the ‘future Mr. Right’ and I decided to pursue. Structural repair? What a great suggestion for a lucky start! Genetic recombination with breaking and rejoining of DNA strands is accelerated by many different enzymes. In our case, those enzymes were an endless curiosity, the unpaired desire to travel and visit new places and the recognition that neither one of us could survive withought the other’s genetic material… And so we merged; two genomes fusing into one happily married sequence… trust me, PCR results can prove it! :o

The results of this apparently odd combination can be checked [through a quite simple molecular biology experiment]: the three children that fill our house with joy and love. They have dark, brown and blond hairs. They’ve got dark and light eye colors. They dance and play like Brazilians, eat like Mexican and Portuguese; cry like Spaniards and French. They’re emotional and they’re grounded. They like art, and they like science. They’re growing up knowing the world is much bigger than what’s stated by their birth certificates, or stamped on their 9 passports…

Our children understand they come from mixed backgrounds, and know in their hearts they need to honor their heritage. And one day, they’ll be telling stories about their parents and grandparents to their own offspring: tales about how recombinant DNA, Portuguese cuisine, Mariachis, and American football traditions are all related:o

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20 Comments

Posted by on October 1, 2013 in FAMILY, foreign service, humor

 

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

The Quena Wood Case

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 
26 Comments

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

 

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

Lines and patterns through the traditional Andean Aguayo…

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

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

 
36 Comments

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

 

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

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

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

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

Was I really busy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of this entry »

 
17 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2013 in ART, FAMILY

 

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Muito Obrigada!

thank you cloud

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

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

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

In response to the Daily Prompt 'Thank You'
 
11 Comments

Posted by on September 12, 2013 in ART, LANGUAGE

 

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‘Backward’ Tale – The Boy and The Girl.

 WeddingIt’s been a nice hand, more precisely, a full house,

with three Queens and two Kings

It’s been a roller coaster… living and moving…

And adjusting… and moving again.

They traveled because of work,

They moved because it’s their passion.

It’s been nine years and eleven months
Since the boy and the girl have wed.

One decade awaits to celebrate their togetherness

But it was not always like that


The boy had dreams

The girl had fears

And yet, they were so alike…

The girl had left her home country,
Her job would take her to a far away land

The boy would wait for her.

He had found a job, he had finished school.

His job would yet take him to far away lands

But the boy liked to travel

And so did the girl.

boy and girlThere have been financial difficulties.

There have been physical distances

There have been emotional challenges

But the boy and the girl have never given up.

That boy and that girl had met some twelve years back

And could not wait to meet up again… and again…

They traveled to see each other

They traveled because of work.

They traveled to unknown places, for the ordinary pleasures of moving, seeing and learning…

Even if there had been no money to travel, they would still do it

And simply pay for it later.

Some twelve years ago,

The boy had gone to the girl’s home country

To learn a new language,

To learn a new culture,

To find himself into a whole new adventure.

Without even looking for it,
He discovered love

And so did the girl.

Neither one of them had ever believed in love at first sight.

The boy and the girl were probably the most skeptical people on the face of the Earth,

But those two were so wrong!

And they found what they were missing, on each other

Some twelve years back…

Now, the boy and the girl have aged

And they are proud to show their hand: they’ve got the most perfect full house

With three Queens and two Kings….♥

king-and-queen-of-hearts-playing-cards-courting-each-other

This post is written in response to WordPress’ Weekly Writing Challenge. The details of the challenge can be found here.

 
36 Comments

Posted by on September 9, 2013 in FAMILY, foreign service, LOVE

 

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Photo Project ’52 Bolivian Sundays’ [week 36, 'Unusual Point of View'].

Photo Project  ’52 Bolivian Sundays’ [week 36, 'Unusual Point of View'].

A traditional, hand-woven fabric made by Bolivian women artisans who use it to carry anything from their groceries to their children.

Each pattern is unique to the woman who has woven it.

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Aguayo (cloth), a multicolored woolen cloth, part of the traditional dressing in the Andes region.

Texture and color, under an usual point of view…

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

  1. Between the leaves lie deep thoughts: unusual pov | storyofmylife1993
  2. Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV | Bark Time = everything and nothing
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  7. Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV | The World Is a Book…
  8. Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV | The World Is a Book…
  9. Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV | Simply Charming
  10. An unexpected weekend | Kan Walk Will Travel
  11. Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV | Diary of Dennis
  12. Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV | maxidiehexi
  13. Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV | Meg Travels
  14. weekly photo challenge: an unusual pov | Wood Rabbit Journey
  15. plastic on concrete | sztracsek
  16. Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV | Indira’s Blog
  17. Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual Point Of View | Rois
  18. Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV | Edge of the Forest
  19. Weekly photo challenge: an unusual point of view | parislux
  20. Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV | It’s just the booze dancing…
  21. Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual Point of View (1) | Bastet and Sekhmet
  22. Unusual Point of View | A Happy and Beautiful World
  23. View of Tulips | Colline’s Blog
  24. Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV | Janaline’s world journey
  25. Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual POV | Postcards from
 
13 Comments

Posted by on September 6, 2013 in BOLIVIA, foreign service, photography

 

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Photo Project ’52 Bolivian Sundays’ [week 35, 'Sea']. Okay, no sea in Bolivia, but…

Location of Bolivia in South America on the 1s...

Location of Bolivia in South America (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I totally understand the words ‘sea’ and ‘Bolivia’ do not got together in the same sentence!

Sorry for that… ♥

For the ones who have forgotten a bit of their geography:

Unfortunately, the country of Bolivia do not have access to the ocean, it does not have a ‘sea view’ of it’s own…

Not going into political details…

Some neighboring countries may have some justification to that… :o but for now, leaving politics completely out of any of my blogposts!

For this week photo series, I’m bringing in two possible options for the ‘Challenge Sea‘.

The first one: Bolivia does have the largest fresh water lake in South America [woot,woot!]

Lake Titicaca

The youngest hiker

The youngest hiker

Largest freshwater lake in South America

Largest freshwater lake in South America

The second option: the easiest way to get a unique ‘sea view’, on any given ‘Bolivian Sunday’ is to visit the neighboring Chile…. like our family did, some time this year!

Maybe, I’m cheating…(?) but I can’t go against geography, right? If there’s no sea, there’s no sea… ♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Read the rest of this entry »

 
30 Comments

Posted by on September 1, 2013 in BOLIVIA, foreign service, photography

 

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

 

Behind the children

‘Who’s that woman?’

‘Which woman?’

‘That one, discreetly hiding behind her children…

Doesn’t she have a life of her own?’

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

She may hear you. She may get upset’.

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

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

‘Who’s that woman behind the growing children?

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

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

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

‘She’s no Wizard‘.

‘She’s no Witch‘.

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

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

Behind the Curtain

Photo by Sara Biljana

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

 
16 Comments

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

 

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Photography: Nuestra Señora de La Paz, seen from 12,000 feet above…

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The observation point: below here is where the hiking began:

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The busy city of Nuestra Señora de La Paz seen from the Muela del Diablo Mountain, houses and buildings looking like toy pieces:

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4 Comments

Posted by on August 25, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project ’52 Bolivian Sundays’ [week 34, 'Focus'].

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For this week photo series, I’m bringing in our view from the top of the Muela del Diablo ['The Devil's Molar'] mountain – result from a recent family hiking trip. If curious to see more unique images about this intriguing, challenging attempt, filled with endless beauty, come by later and click here! [Still working on the "Pictorial Journal"!] :o

La Paz surrounded by mountains

For the second view, moving the point of interest a little – from the natural scenario, searching for the urbane: at the center, the city of La Paz, surrounded by the mountainous chain, and blessed by the lightest blue sky…

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

 
 

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Life’s filled with fake moments…

 fakeVisiting a typical Italian village? Not really – we’re in the heart of La Paz, the well-known neighborhood of San Miguel – the hotspot for fashion trends.

No chances of finding ‘romantic steps’ leading to an Italian restaurant… The way around it? Pose in front of the restaurant’s wall poster! :o

Life is definitely filled with ‘fake’ moments – it’s the fun part of it!

 
13 Comments

Posted by on August 23, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography

 

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

carefree and untroubled

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

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

 
25 Comments

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

 

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Photo Project ’52 Bolivian Sundays’ [week 32, 'One Shot, Two Ways, the Kenua Tree'].

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

The original/inspirational photo:

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For this week photo series, decided to go with different angles to better showcase the unique and intriguing texture displayed by the tree.

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways | Browsing The Atlas

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways | WryGrass
WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways | unexpectedincommonhours
Dinosaur Dimensions « Gleaning the Nuggets
Portrait for the Win? | Required Writing

 

 
30 Comments

Posted by on August 11, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, wildlife

 

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Photo Project ’52 Bolivian Sundays’ [week 31, 'Foreshadow'].

"Llamas Crossing"

“Llamas Crossing”

Warning drivers for what’s about to come… and cross… :o

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

 
 

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Photo Project ’52 Bolivian Sundays’ [week 30, 'Masterpiece'].

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

out of this world - masterpiece

masterpiece

masterpiece

Moon Valley - "Valle de La Luna"

Moon Valley – “Valle de La Luna”

The urban peacefully co-existing with the natural

The urban peacefully co-existing with the natural

Nature’s masterpieces at their best expression… a few examples of unique works of art throughout the Bolivian country. Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

 
32 Comments

Posted by on July 27, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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My closest friend is…

…the person with whom I share my dearest passions: traveling, photography, story-telling. We’ve become life partners, we’ve developed a strong relationship that goes beyond passion – we’re friends, we’re lovers, we’re secret keepers, and we haven’t gone at each other’s thoat after all the difficulties inherent to this most-challenging job: we’re parents to our children! :o

We share our lives together, and we’re helping each other raise our ‘little worldly citizens’.

We share our joys and our sorrows. We’ll be together for the long haul – wherever life takes us.

No challenge should fase us – we’ll always be in good company – our own. And as close friends should be, we’ll laugh and cry in each other’s arms…

 
13 Comments

Posted by on July 26, 2013 in LOVE, TRAVEL

 

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

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

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Preparation Steps:

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

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

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

Cooking and Serving:

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

where's home?

directions

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

Kal9

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

 

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

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

my branching tree...

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

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

Thanks for the inspiration!

 

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Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 29, 'Fresh'].

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

 
7 Comments

Posted by on July 21, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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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! ♥

 Related articles

 
18 Comments

Posted by on July 18, 2013 in post a day

 

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Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 28, 'The Golden Hour' - going back home].

where's home?

Inspired by this week’s photo challenge, and continuing our travel project “52 Bolivian Sundays”, we’re cruising though week 28. For this week, a set of photo shots, departing the USA and getting back to our current home, Bolivia – all taking advantage of the intriguing light of the ‘golden hour‘, the last hour of our last day; an overnight flight separating our family from the ‘goodbyes’ to dear friends and family in DC, to a warm ‘welcome back’ from our friends and colleagues in La Paz.

According to Cheri Lucas Rowlands, from WordPress, “In photography, the “golden hour” is the first and last hour of sunlight of the day. Photographers venture out on sunrise hikes or sunset treks to capture a magical shot, due to the quality of the light during that time of day.”

where's home?

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

And, since we’re talking about the last flight from this year’s R&R, here are a few shots from two little people taking advantage of the night flight opportunity – posing as flight captains before the take off! :o

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

 

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Listening to the little voices in my head: ‘there’s no place like home…’

I’ve been quite introspective, recently. No special reason, and no ugly results from that. Simply spending a lot of time with my own self, and paying more attention to those ‘little voices’, insisting to be part of my daily thoughts… :o

Or maybe, it’s because we’re approaching the mid-point of our work assignment in Bolivia, and begin thinking about what’s ahead of us, the near future, the prospective work. Or maybe, because we’re a bit concerned about what’s out there - we’re trying to ‘redefine’ ourselves, as a moving/nomad family, as we always do when this time of the year comes around…

In any event, there’s a line that’s been part of my thoughts – the idea of “home”… The definition of home is quite difficult, and I often see myself as this little girl, with her innocent thoughts [and yet, gorgeous shoes! Which woman has never dreamed of wearing those shoes?!] :o

“There’s no place like home… there’s no place like home…”

Whatever ‘home‘ is; wherever it is… I’m always trying to get back there… Not today, though, but for sure, a friendly yellow brick road will guide me home one day… I’ll simply close my eyes, clicking my heels together, and repeat three times: “there’s no place like home…” ♥

Check out other bloggers, inspired by their own ‘earworms’.

Also Related:

If you could live a nomadic life, would you? Where would you go? How would you decide? What would life be like without a “home base”?”

Thanks for the inspiration! ♥

 
22 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2013 in foreign service, TRAVEL

 

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

hammock

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

Venue: Nor Yungas, Bolivia

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

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

 

 

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

Venue: Nor Yungas, Bolivia

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

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

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

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

 
 

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Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 25, The Kallawaya Ceremony].

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Inspired by last week’s photo challenge, and continuing our travel project “52 Bolivian Sundays”, this set of photos represent the begining of winter in Bolivia, and all the Celebrations associated with that.

The Kallawaya have been well known as traditional healers and medicine men for centuries, and come from the Cordillera Apolobamba near Charazani in the north of La Paz department.

 The Kallawaya culture dates from the Pre-Inca period. It originated in the Charazani region (and surroundings of Curva, Chajaya, Inka, Chari, etc.), located in the northern part of the department of La Paz.

This practice is currently carried out itinerantly using plants, animals, minerals, etc., and is part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage recognized by UNESCO.

The Kallawaya speak Quechua, Aymara, Spanish and and their own language where kallawaya means “initiate“.

 Their magical and medicinal lore is passed down from one generation to the next, and their therapies are based on rituals, ceremonies, massages, potions, etc., that are used in order to prevent, treat or cure physical or psychic ailments.

The kallawaya have a special Weltanschauung, so their psychotherapy works in three dimensions: symbolic, spiritual and animist. The latter awaits the return of the Ajayu (the soul or element that generates life).

Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥ Original inspiration here ♥
 
4 Comments

Posted by on June 23, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 21, 'Background and Foreground'].

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Inspired by this week’s photo challenge, and continuing our travel project “52 Bolivian Sundays”, we’re cruising though week 21, the last one before our family goes back to the USA for a much well-deserved R&R… The chosen spot for our last weekend of May was the intriguing scenario of the Yungas, and these background and foreground images here bring out a bit of the unique beauty of the Cotapata Park. Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by and riding with us! ♥

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

From WordPress: “I’m looking forward to seeing you all but disappear into the moments you capture. – Pick”

 
13 Comments

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 20, 'Escape' - Zip-Lining in the world's most dangerous road].

world's most dangerous road

It’s the rainy season all over the city of Nuestra Señora of La Paz: a cold rain often comes at the end of the afternoon, letting us know the upcoming night will be even colder.

It’s time to get the fireplace going, pop in a movie for the kids, and why not, go over the recent photos taken during the a well-deserved experience with nature.

Escaping to the Yungas mountains, on a biking trip, cycling through the world’s most dangerous road, couldn’t be better sealed up than with a unique Zip Line adventure. Instead of going from tree to tree, why not go… from mountain to mountain? :o

According to Cheri Lucas, the one providing inspiration for this week’s photo challenge: “Escape. Depending on your current mood and headspace, or time in your life, this word can evoke different emotions and conjure a variety of images”. Today, sharing images of a great escape… to the world’s most dangerous road! Join us! :o

 

Definitely, one of the highlights of this month of May: Zip Lining with Gravity Bolivia! All are welcome to enjoy as much as the group did!

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

 
 

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Pattern: Colors of the Seasons in Bolivia.

I’d almost forgotten! Inspired by WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, this blog shares a ‘weekly taste of Bolivia‘.

Without noticing, I jumped straight from week 18 ["from above"] to week 20 ["escape"]! Humm, am I trying to ‘escape’ from something? Don’t think so! And to prove that, here is the response for the 19th week of this year, inspired by “Pattern” – the colors of the Seasons in Bolivia, an ode to our 10th month in country [already? time really flies when you're having fun!].

Color Patterns of Fall:

Color Patterns of Winter:

Color Patterns of Summer:

Color Patterns of Spring:

 
3 Comments

Posted by on May 10, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

kids

Thanks for the inspiration! :o 

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

 

 
12 Comments

Posted by on May 8, 2013 in ART, LOVE

 

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Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 18, 'From Above'].

Above us all, the peaceful skies over the city of Nuestra Señora of La Paz, turn into a magnificent and quasi-frightening scenario. Suddenly, the temperature changes and the clouds let us know that a powerful force of nature will bring down the showers. They might simply be hail or the heavy rain showers… one never knows what to expect… It’s the force of nature in action. It may last for a few minutes, and before one is ready for it, the sun will be shining again, above us all. It’s nature at its best performance…

The idea for this post is to try ‘inverting’ the perspective of the suggested theme. “From Above” inspired me to look for a different approach – the way the nature ‘perceive’ us, from above. Above us all, as the most powerful force…. Let’s see how it came out! :o Thank you all for visiting, and sharing your impressions! ♥

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

 
6 Comments

Posted by on May 5, 2013 in BOLIVIA, photography

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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15 Comments

Posted by on May 4, 2013 in children, photography

 

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Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 17, 'Culture' from other Countries in Bolivia]

Diplomatic Corp present at the Diplomatic Ladies Event in La Paz {April 2013}.

Photo Credit: Periodico La Razón, La Paz, Bolivia

The Diplomatic Ladies Association [Asociación de Damas Diplomáticas] in La Paz, Bolivia, organized a fair to showcase products and a little bit of the culture of the many countries who mark their presence in La Paz. Entrance fees were used as a fundraiser for charity projects throughout the capital. Here, a collection of snapshots of a few of these countries, including Panama, Japan, Great Britain, and, the United States…

Wish I weren’t be so caught up working at the booth, and had the opportunity to go around snapping more pictures from the beautiful German Embassador’s Residence! Maybe next time… next year, for sure! :o

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

In the meantime, what else has our ‘home diplomatic corp’ been up to? Take a look at this beautiful initiative: http://3rdculturechildren.com/2013/04/25/la-paz-runs-for-boston/

 
 

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Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 16, 'Up & Down' in Viña del Mar, Chile]

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The most popular beach resort in Chile, and an easy flight-and-drive from our house in La Paz, Viña del Mar is within reach of both Santiago and Valparaiso. Viña teems with tourists during peak months December, January and February, despite Antarctic currents that make swimming a formidable prospect. Our family went there during Spring/School Break [why not?Renaca Beach is the hippest spot to sink onto the sands – and the ‘chosen spot’ for our oldest kids’ [7 & 5 yrs] ‘acrobatic performances‘… Our 2-year-old daughter is still too shy [and her parents, too cautious!] to give it a try! :o

“Viña del Mar, is a city and commune on central Chile’s Pacific coast. Its long stretches of white sandy beaches are a major attraction for national and international tourists”, from Wikipedia.
Find here, more impressions from other bloggers on “Up”… Thank you all for sharing! ♥

 

 

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Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 15, 'Change (in numbers)']

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Innovation. Technology. CHANGE.

Using social media tools to change the way the world is perceived. In this case, celebrating the landmark of having 100,000 friends on the Facebook page of the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia [text extracted & adapted from the US Embassy Bolivia Website, link here] - simultaneously welcoming guests in the five different cities in Bolivia, through webchat technology. Hope on over to their fan page for images from guests in all 5 cities… Number of fans are changing every day… Changing now the way celebrations are done. :o

Photo is current Profile Cover of Facebook Fan Page for the Embajada de Estados Unidos en Bolivia - https://www.facebook.com/usdos.bolivia

Photo is current Profile Cover of Facebook Fan Page for the Embajada de Estados Unidos en Bolivia – https://www.facebook.com/usdos.bolivia

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

 

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

A long time has gone by since I prepared this blogpost… And yet, it remains so current! Even celebrated my birthday surrounded by bubble wrap & moving boxes – it was pack out season! :o The original post was “Inspired by the FS Blog Round Up, I decided to do some research and put together a pack of interesting information about moving and packing, including my personal comments. Some of the “facts” were actually quite new to me.

Others, made me laugh. What about a bit of my life as a ‘rolling stone’? :o That’s exactly how I feel, moving every so often!

Also found some “advice” on moving with small children – supposedly, “moving with kids could be a breeze, if you plan ahead”. This is probably my favorite, and I ask: “how much ahead to you need to plan? maybe before you were joined by your kids??” :o

Anyway, here are some of the ‘facts’ about moving and packing:

Comment: Really?! Would have never guessed! :o Moving is trauma, ranked right up there with getting a divorce, losing a job or burying a loved one. But chances are you already know that. So here comes the question:

So.. Why we do it???

** just a rhetorical question! We all look forward to those intense

finding-sorting-wrapping-packing-storing days!

  • One-sixth of all Americans, an estimated 43 million people, move each year. (U.S. Census Bureau)

Comment: And 50% of all moves take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day – that’s just weird – no idea why the preference! [** And recently I learned it was because of the U.S. school year/calendar (thanks, Carla!)... now it does make sense - another hint that I'm a foreign-born spouse!] :o

  • Individuals move 11.7 times in their lifetime. (from: U.S. Census Bureau)

Comment: Already crossed that mark, even before meeting the husband and joining the FS…

  • The typical moving customer is a married couple between the ages 25 and 44, with one or two children between the ages of 2 and 11.

Comment: Good to know we’re not alone. It comforts me to know there are several other parents out somewhere, screaming and kicking … 

And here are some of the “advices”:

  • Get back to normal: For the sake of the entire family’s happiness, try not to take too long to resume doing what your family enjoys.

Comment: I’d really appreciate knowing how to get back to normal after a move, not taking long to resume to your ‘normal’ routine. Maybe I’m always too busy trying to prevent the kids from killing each other, that I may loose focus…

  • Pack late (late?) – The actual process of packing up and putting things away in boxes may be emotionally trying for preschoolers, as they see familiar and favorite objects disappear into boxes. Try to pack your preschoolers’ belongings as late in the moving schedule as possible, and reassure them that their belongings will be going to the new house.

Comment: You don’t realize how much stuff your kids have until you start packing.  BTW, where are the kids? Make sure the answer to your question is on the top of your to-do list! 

  • Pace Yourself: Your already busy schedule keeps you on your feet at all times, and moving adds a whole new list of things to do.  Plan ahead. Give yourself several weeks to pack for your move, that way you are only packing a few boxes a day. This will decrease the amount of time you need away from your everyday responsibilities, including your kids. In other words, it’s not only about keeping your kids busy, but it’s about making yourself more available during your move.

Comment: Would love to know how to pace myself. One day I’ll learn. Not next year. Not in this decade. Also, how could I “buy” several weeks ahead, for packing before a move? If I’m able to manage a semi-smooth “packing & moving” event, ensuring that our car keys and travel documents won’t be packed away with our HHE, I’ll be pretty lucky!:o  Here is some good advice (at least for me!) about keeping it real for the traveling children (thanks to “Family-Travel-Scoop”): Do talk frankly with your children about the move Do let your child express his/her feelings Do acknowledge their frustrations/anger Do research the country you are moving to with your child Do let your child say goodbye properly to the place you are leaving Do expect an adjustment period when your child has mixed emotions Do keep traditions from home alive in your new home Do maintain regular ties with family back “home” Do bring items (e.g. framed pictures) and put them in each home you live in a similar place Do involve your child with any decisions that may affect him/her if possible

Good luck to all the ones moving out this season! I’m glad we don’t have to think about packing for at least, another year…

 
27 Comments

Posted by on April 8, 2013 in FAMILY, humor, TRAVEL

 

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Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 14, 'Color']

DSC_8096Just mentioned [on a previous post] our recent trip to Chile, during the Easter break, taking advantage of the short and pleasant flights to Santiago. As part of our personal photo project called 52 Bolivian Sundays, inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, now it’s time to share colorful images, from recent visit to Viña del Mar, Valparaiso and the Concha y Toro Winery, located in Pirque, a few of the many scenarios spotted during our family trip to Chile.

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

GREEN AND DELICIOUS BURGUNDY! :o

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ALL BURGUNDY… AND EXQUISITE! :o

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  THE COLORS OF HAPPINESS & FRIENDSHIP!

 
13 Comments

Posted by on April 6, 2013 in FAMILY, photography, TRAVEL

 

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