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Author Archives: 3rdCultureChildren

About 3rdCultureChildren

Welcome! Here I am, 'releasing' my thoughts on traveling, parenting, raising TCKs, teaching, writing, working... and who knows what else! I’m a WIFE, 'geeky-stuff' SCIENTIST, TEACHER, AUTHOR, (aspiring) AMATEUR photographer, MOM of 3, TRAVELER by choice and by marriage, and of course, a HOUSEHOLD QUEEN!!

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

How crazy it is that this topic is always so current?

and once more, our nomadic family finds itself jumping the ‘ bidding-season’ ropes… It never fails. Always exciting, nevertheless, stressful… Are we, Foreign Service folks, somewhat creatures of dark sarcastic humor? We must be, otherwise, what could be a logical, plausible explanation for continuously putting ourselves – and respective hauling families – through such an ordeal?

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

Others, made me laugh. What about a bit of my life as a ‘rolling stone’?😮 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??”😮

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

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

So.. Why we do it???

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

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 – at that time, I had no idea why the preference! [** U.S. school year/calendar (thanks, Carla!)… now it does make sense – another hint that I’m a foreign-born spouse!]😮

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

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

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

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

And here are some of the “advices”:

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

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

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

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

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

Comment: Would love to know how to pace myself. One day I’ll learn. Not next year. Not in this decade. Also, how could I “buy” several weeks ahead, for packing before a move? If I’m able to manage a semi-smooth “packing & moving” event, ensuring that our car keys and travel documents won’t be packed away with our HHE, I’ll be pretty lucky!:o  Here is some good advice (at least for me!) about keeping it real for the traveling children (thanks to “Family-Travel-Scoop”): Do talk frankly with your children about the 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 8 months… Oh, boy!!

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2016 in FAMILY, humor, TRAVEL

 

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Experiencing unpaired joy during the Rio2016 Paralympic Games

rio

 

Closing the loop on the wonderful experience this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games have brought to us.

I’ve already shared here our family’s perception and personal experiences during the Rio2016 Olympic Games. Have also introduced the curious way the Paralympic Torch would be lit, by ‘human/social media heat’.

olympic-torch

 

During the last weekend of the Paralympic Events in Rio, husband was kind enough to offer single-parenting, watching our 3 kids, so I could have the opportunity to see and live, first-hand, how the Paralympic athletes have taught us to be – all around – better human beings. Talk about overcoming life challenges, difficulties, hard times… a simple training day carries the weight of a competition. Those athletes are more than social survivors. They’re warriors. Their fight is daily. their challenges are endless. And despite all the hardships, ‘giving up’ is not [and will never be!] part of their vocabulary.

parque-olimpico

 

I have shamelessly cried. I’ve cried during the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony.  I’ve cried when realized there was a female rugby player [and bwt, an awesome one!] playing along with her male teammates. I cried when I saw at the end of a match, both competing teams coming together forward and thanking their audience. That last weekend of the Rio2016 Events, was to me more than a closing mark.

I’m a mother to young children, who keep their dad and I fully busy with their sports activities. And I felt somehow guilty for – having before – complained about waking up early, and/or having to change my work schedule at the last minute to attend a game, a performance, a practice. I’ve learned my family faces NO CHALLENGES. Our life is easy. We haven’t had to overcome genuine troubling times. This September has changed something inside me. For the better. The long-weekend started with a great Friday evening at Rio’s British House, for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Reception:

 

british-house

 

The beautiful Rio2016 showed me what real difficulties are.

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On Sunday evening, September 18, last day of the Paralympics and the closing episode of the Summer Olympic Games in South America, I came back home a different person.

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feijoada

I arrived at the house and was greeted by our excited children, eager to learn about their mom’s trip. They were hovering over the cell phone, watching footage from matches I’ve attended, checking the pictures taken throughout the Olympic Park, Aqua Park [venue assembled for the swimming events], the Rio Boulevard Park, downtown Rio, by the Candelaria, the Copacabana beach front [a must see!], hiking moments along the Morro da Urca, and obviously, snapshots of their ‘mommy’, enjoying feijoada with friends in the traditional neighborhood of Santa Teresa, by the trolleys…🙂

 

Wheelchair Rugby: England x Sweden

 

Brief moment: a little Rugby Fan enjoys the after-game party – he was the single recipient of a very special gift – one of the winner players took off his jersey and “dressed it up” over the boy.That young man was so, so happy!

 

Finally, the best of my weekend: coming home to the kids, and having our 5-year-old recite the “inclusion song” shed’d learned at school. It is definitely a small world, and we all have much to share…Here is the “mascot” of our family, holding the Rio2016 Mascot – “Vinicius”, who, alongside with “Tom” were the “guests of honor” for these Summer Olympic Games.

Peace to all & keep on blogging!

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2016 in Brazil, photography, sports

 

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The Lima Miranda Clan visits the Majestic Iguazu Waterfalls!

The Lima Miranda Clan visits the Majestic Iguazu Waterfalls!
Getting ready for the boat ride going along/under the falls, between Brazil and Argentina waters!

Getting ready for the boat ride going along/under the falls, between Brazil and Argentina waters!

 

Glad it’s Friday!

Spring has arrived in Brazil, and our working-traveling family keeps enjoying our time in Brasilia, which due to its central location, has enabled us to tackle a few of the ‘bucket list travel destinations’ we’ve originally planned for 3-year assignment in Brazil.

This September, we took advantage of a Brazilian National Holiday, Independence Day – and an American holiday, Labor Day, to visit the so-famous Brazilian Waterfalls – Cataratas de Iguaçu, in Southern Brazil.  Husband had already visited the Iguazu Falls, but I had never had that chance (yeap! I’m that kind of Brazilian-born individual who’d never could experience what a lot of foreigners do and brag about…). The possibility to bring our kids along on this quest was the added bonus for this traveling-foreign-service family!🙂

Thank you very much to Kennedy Runo for sharing his 10 interesting facts about the Iguazu Falls! It was a great inspiration for this blogpost :)

Here is my favorite “interesting fact”, from K. Runo ‘s list:

There is a legend to explain the falls: God wanted to marry Naipí, an Aborigine girl against her wish. She escaped on a canoe with her human lover, Tarobá. Upon realizing this, he got angry and separated the River Iguazu by creating deep falls so that the two will be condemned to an eternal fall.

 

Iguazu Falls, also Cataratas do Iguaçu in Portuguese and Cataratas Del Iguazú in Spanish are waterfalls that straddle between the Brazilian State of Paraná and Province of Misiones in Argentina along the River Iguazu. It divides the river into upper and lower Iguazu. With more than 275 falls, the Iguazu are the most majestic of water falls. The most scenic one is the curved cataract christened the ‘devils throat’ that has 14 falls that drop to a height of 350 feet. Iguazu Waterfalls are second only to Victoria Waterfalls in size. However, in terms of beauty, none of the other waterfalls in the world can come close to compete. If you are a nature buff and have never visited Iguazu, then you have missed out. [thank you, Kennedy Runo on 01/17/2014 in Brazil]

 

Our oldest 'explorers', very attentive to all they've learned, and will report back to their classmates. Family travel is always a great opportunity for teaching moments - especially the incredibly enjoyable ones, with our aspiring scientist-drama-queen and our 'know-it-all'-boy! :)

Our oldest ‘explorers’, very attentive to all they’ve learned, and will report back to their classmates. Family travel is always a great opportunity for teaching moments – especially the incredibly enjoyable ones, with our aspiring scientist-drama-queen and our ‘know-it-all’-boy!🙂

Our family also went along with the Macuco Safari crew, driving throughout the Park, learning about the preservation efforts to keep the Mata Atlantica intact and respected!

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Considering I haven’t blogged in a while, I plan on making a gradual return – or, you may say I’m simply lazy at this point. Have way more to share from our trip to the Brazilian Iguazu Falls, our hiking trips, and our visit to the Bird Sanctuary, also located in the municipality of Foz do Iguazu. But that will be left for a future blogpost. For now, just a ‘teaser’ of the beautiful Parque das Aves – Foz do Iguazu Park Bird Sancturay:

Lovely Flamingos!

Lovely Flamingos!

 

Useful links and/or references:

http://www.macucosafari.com.br/en/macuco-safari
http://www.uniglobeonetravel.com/10-interesting-facts-about-igauazu-falls
http://www.parquedasaves.com.br/en/

Stay tuned for more!

 

 

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Life on the Superblock

Life on the Superblock

I know I haven’t been the greatest blogger recently – life finds its way of escaping us, somehow…
In any event, a close friend, and now, a brand-new WP blogger, just published her first impressions about their assigned city – Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. I’ve written about this place before, the city I tend to call ‘my-own’, despite growing up as a military/government brat here, back in the 70s, 80s… and departing away in the 90s…
Brasilia has a very special place in my heart and in my life – that’s the reason this blogpost is here. My congratulations to the newest WP author, and my best wishes for The Wegener’s Wanderlust, which I leave you all here with her beautiful pictures of Brasilia and the sunset on (the artificially-designed) Lake Paranoá. Enjoy!🙂

Wegener's Wanderlust

A little over a year ago, my husband and I moved to Brazil. When friends and family first heard that we would be moving to Brazil, they immediately assumed we would be in Rio de Janeiro and were likely envisioning their next vacation on Copacabana beach. We had to break the news to them that no, we weren’t going to be in Rio, nor in São Paulo. Instead, we’d be going to the center of Brazil’s vast country, to live in its capital Brasília, a city that has only existed a mere 56 years.

Brasília is surrounded not by the beach, but by a tropical savannah region known as the cerrado. Yet its defining characteristic is the layout of the city–depending on whom you ask, it resembles either an airplane, a bird or a cross. The main ministries and government buildings are located on the Eixo Monumental, which runs west to east; on…

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Interview for the ExpatFinder.com: An American-Brazilian in Brasilia

Thank you for the expert folks at Expat Finder for publishing the interview!

expat

Please find complete text below:

14 September 2016


\We’ve had the chance to talk to Raquel Miranda, 44, a Brazilian-American expat who has moved to Brazil with her family. Mrs. Miranda who has been living there for two years now works as a public health specialist.

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.

Q: Where are you from originally?

A: From Itaguai, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Q: What made you move out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil?

A: A post-doctoral research opportunity at UCDavis, California, in 2001

Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: In Brasilia, Brazil

Q: How long have you been living in Brasilia, Brazil?

A: Since August 2014

Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: With family. Yes, the husband and our three third-culture children are adjusting pretty well, despite their young age [almost 11, 8 and 5]

Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I do. We Skype, call each other on the phone, write emails and have a family WahtsApp group

Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: Right now, we’re living in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, and it’s coincidentally the city I grew up in, since both my parents used to be federal public servants

Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Brasilia, Brazil? How did you manage to find a social circle there?

A: Coming back to the place I grew up in, some 22 years later was quite interesting, and challenging! Making new friends, as a working mother, and being perceived as a ‘diplomatic spouse’, was an intriguing piece of the puzzle! After six months back, I already had a good group of friends from work, other parents from the school, and acquaintances, associated with the US embassy.

Q: How does the cost of living in Brasilia, Brazil compare to your home?

A: Comparing to the US
•Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: A couple of dollars
•Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: Anywhere around 5-10 dollars
•Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: Could be pretty expensive. One could easily spend 100-200 dollars one a meal with wine/drinks [date night!]
•Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: Wine tends to be quite inexpensive since Brazil and neighbouring Argentina and Chile are good producers. Anywhere from $7 – 25 a bottle

Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Brasilia, Brazil?

A: Pack lots of patience! Have your CPF [tax number], have proof of local residency [any utility bill would do it!]; know your full address and have a landline phone number. Besides that, just bring a good reading book, be prepared to sit down and wait, with the patience you remembered to pack!

Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: We come in as a diplomatic family, therefore and fortunately, those steps are taken care of before our departure [from original country/post]

Q: Would you say that healthcare Brasilia, Brazil reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: Extremely reliable. I’ve had the most diverse medical experiences after we joined the expat life/foreign service. Had a child in Brazil [Recife, 2010], have been hospitalized for seven days with some sort of infection… had allergic episodes… and was cared for. Our children, like any others at school age, have had their share, as well. You name it – from lice, flu, allergies, cuts, immunizations… and we have nothing to say but good things about the medical care. Obviously, we follow strict ‘home rules’, considering their ‘mama’ works with public health, at the first sign… I am on the ball!

Q: Did you secure a health insurance in your home or Brazil? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: Yes, we did. ER visits, pediatric visits, dental coverage [basics] and minor medical interventions should be covered.

Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: Always being accepted as the ‘new kid on the block’. Trying to prove that despite being a ‘foreigner’ or, in my case, for having lived away for so long, to be understood by others as being just like everyone else – with the same flaws, weaknesses, facing the same difficulties, and sharing the same dreams.

Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Brasilia, Brazil?

A: Positive: the very warm, colourful, characteristic Brazilian soul. The negative? Unfortunately, the well-sung diversity creates gaps within the society, which leads to discrimination, and corruption.

Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: Enjoy the local architecture, the surroundings. Other cities offer beautiful landscaping, the so-famous beaches, waterparks… enjoy the culture, the music, the colours… and the food!

Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: Yes. Probably in a year or so, when we have our new international assignment. Who knows what the future has in store for us?

Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Try to understand the culture: Brazilians speak Portuguese, not Spanish [insert a smile here!]. Not many people speak English, so, don’t expect to find someone on the street that can give you directions to that fancy Peruvian restaurant! Brazilians are friendly, warm and very, very chatty! Try to be sympathetic, and listen to their [sometimes, endless!] stories!

Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Brasilia, Brazil?

A: Obviously, our family nomadic photo and op-pieces blog, 3rd Culture Children also, Facebook groups, like Diplomatic Baggage in Brasilia and Conheca Brasilia.

 

 
 

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Lit by human heat, Paralympic torch will visit six cities representing each region of Brazil

 

20160617_163635Reposted from the Paralympic Press, Brazil:

·         Paralympic Flame will be formed by the union of the flames lit at Brasília, Belém, Natal, São Paulo, Joinville, Rio de Janeiro and Stoke Mandeville, in England.

·         People from all over the world may send human warmth through social networks to light up the flames in the cities

Between September 1st and 7th, the Paralympic torch relay will visit all the regions in the country, represented by six Brazilian cities, to announce the arrival of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The great novelty of the Paralympic flame is the lighting-up mechanism: human heat. The flame which will shine over Maracanã Stadium at the Opening Ceremony will be formed by the union of five flames lit in Brazil and one in Stoke Mandeville, England, the place of birth of the world’s Paralympic Movement.

In a virtual campaign released by the Rio 2016 Committee, people from all over the world may send positive messages, through hashtags, accumulating enough energy to light up each flame. After the local lighting-up ceremonies, which will take place always during the morning at each city, the Paralympic torch will take to the streets carried by torchbearers and will make visits to special locations such as rehabilitation centers and institutes for the sight disabled.

Each flame will symbolize a Paralympic value: Brasília equality; Belém – determination; Natal – inspiration; and Joinville – courage. São Paulo participates with the power of transformation and Rio de Janeiro with the passion for sports. To participate at the movement, all that is necessary is to post a message at social networks using the official hashtag and the hashtag of the value embraced by the city. For example: to light up the Brasília flame, it’s necessary to use the hashtags #ParalympicFlame and #equality. At the Rio 2016 website, the public can daily accompany the map of heat generated by messages sent via Twitter.

The five flames will arrive at Rio de Janeiro by digital roads. They will be virtually sent to the host city after the end of the relay in each region. On September 6th, a ceremony of union of the flames will form the Paralympic flame at the Museum of Tomorrow, a landmark of the revitalization of Rio’s Historical Centre. The event will mark the start of the relay in the city, which will last for two days and will mobilize 360 torchbearers.

During the Paralympic Games, the flame will stay lit at the Candelária cauldron, at Rio’s Centre.

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NUMBERS

  • 6 Brazilian cities
  • 250 kilometers travelled in the relay
  • 4650 air miles travelled by the retinue’s airplane
  • 700 torchbearers
  • 28 special visits

 

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2016 in Brazil, foreign service, sports

 

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Thoughts on being a better – more effective? – parent…

BB

Well, does it really exist? Is there a place in the ‘Matrix’, offering parents the comfort they so-desperately seek, when it comes to the betterment of their children?

In the endless search for answers, and like any other parent [of multiple children, in my case], any free time my weekend is able to provide, is quickly filled up with interesting/intriguing/questioning op-pieces. From other parents, from seasoned educators/teachers, from child/teen psychologists.. you name it!

In a nutshell, and as many may already have imagined, there’s no magic formula.

Sorry, folks, but my brief weekend-long motherly non-scientific research led me to the already-known venue: All parents offer the same things to their children: emotional and physical safety, some level of connection, boundaries and patience. Tons of it – before they [the parents!], unfortunately, and without any warning signs – they lose it!😦

Parents are not perfect, nor are they effective all of the time. Parents keep on going, despite their continuous mistakes or doubts.

So… what have I learned from my without being interrupted by my children ‘weekend research’?

I have learned I need to cultivate a family value system. hopefully, that’s what my husband and I have set as the foundation for our growing family. Pretty tough, though. One may lay out a great life plan, completely filled with values to abide by… and see all dismantling in front of their own eyes…

I have learned it is crucial to prioritize th care my spouse and I offer each other. While managing our children’s expectations, and what we exactly would request from them. Children should understand that we, as parents, bear our problems with hope, honest acknowledgment of hard times, and a crazy [and hopeless!] case of lack of self-mercy!

I have learned I need to keep working on creating constant [yet accommodating] routines and boundaries. Children like and need routine. As parents, we should not aim for the tightly maintained routine, which could only create unnecessary disagreements and discomfort among all parts involved.

I have learned not to take any particular behavior [i.e. my youngest child, the soon-to-be teen boy, the middle-child who firmly believes she’s Broadway-material, and would become quite sensitive if told otherwise] as a personal attack. Not even the resulting-behavior from my husband should be understood as such. Leaning a bit on the science side, it is probably a chain-reaction – misunderstood behavior generates unfortunate [physical, verbal, emotional] responses, which could translate into not-well-thought-of actions, and uncalled for [and sometimes, hurtful] comments and reactions.

And finally,I have learned the most important task and responsibility while parenting [single kids, multiple kids] is the constant attempt to CONNECT. We need to connect with our children. In any and all levels possible. Again, this probably is the most difficult advice. But a good one, indeed – and it has become my September mantra: I’ll try to better connect with my children, and consequently, with my husband. At least, for the upcoming month of September. Let’s see how it goes.

Stay tuned!🙂

 

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