Blast from the Past: Womens’ US Soccer Enthusiast!

Moving: Departing Brazil, heading to Cuba!

We’re officially Havana-bound, now…

Our HouseHold Effects [HHE] and the Unaccompanied Air Baggage [UAB] will soon be on their way to our next Post Assignment!

Celebrating Mother’s Day in a very ‘Brazilian Cerrado’ style – hiking to the Itiquira Waterfalls!

It’s about a 2 hour drive from Brasilia, in order to get to the waterfall, but it is definitely worth the trek![as described by Giddyforpoints, on First2Board – thank you for sharing!

Map to Itiquira Falls

Local name: Salto do Itiquira
Location: Formosa, Brazil

The Itiquira Falls is a waterfall in Brazil. They are located 34 kilometers north of Formosa in the state of Goiás and 115 kilometers from Brasília on a paved road. The falls have a height of 168 meters, making them possibly the highest accessible waterfall in Brazil and the second highest overall. The falls are formed by the drop of the Itiquira River from the higher central plateau north of Formosa into the deep Paraná River valley. The waters are unpolluted and a bottling plant is located on the river above the falls. The area is a municipal park and is protected from development. There are tourist facilities outside the park, near the entrance. (source: Wikipedia)

Thoughts on our regular ‘socially busy’ weekend…

Not much to report… our expat lives on-the-go continue to move according to plan.

We’re, although, entering the countdown mode: family pack-out scheduled for May 22nd; pre-packing, sorting, desperation mode should likely kick in about now 🙂

So much to do, and yet, not enough time, very common complaint from our fellow Foreign Service friends.

Not much to report… our expat lives on-the-go continue to move according to plan.

We’re, although, entering the countdown mode: family pack-out scheduled for May 22nd; pre-packing, sorting, desperation mode should likely kick in about now 🙂

So much to do, and yet, not enough time, very common complaint from our fellow Foreign Service friends – it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done. How many HHEs and UABs your family has separated for packing and shipping; how many pieces of advice other families with school-aged children have been shared with you. Really. You may have moved a dozen times, lived under not-so-easily-adjustable conditions, and yet, you’ll find yourself questioning your life/career decisions – exactly the same way you did during the very first move!

The Stress is Real!

 

Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done to avoid it. The moment the pre-packing survey takes place, we [always!] come to the realization:

“Why do we keep doing this?” or “Why did I buy this gigantic piece of furniture/decoration/local artistic whatever??”

“Why?”

And the worst part, is the look of disbelieve the movers give you hat very moment:

“WOW! We’ve encountered some strange people in this line of work”… followed by their words of ‘comfort’:

“Don’t worry Sir, we’ve seen worse” 🙂

All that said, The Mirandas have decided to begin our ‘pre-moving entertaining mode’, a proven strategy to safeguard our healthy intra-family relationships, and our sanity! 🙂

Here are a few examples of our recent weekend activities [links will take you to the images]:

And… cooking, hosting and sharing our challenges and lessons learned with friends

Or, taking a break from work! 🙂

Or even, enjoying uniquely strange moments with like-minded, equally stressed expat folks! 🙂

Showing life in Brazil to our American family members!

The eldest member of our US-based Miranda Family, comes to Brasilia! Or, as the kids like to call him, their ‘Abuelito’ 🙂
Here, joining the kids for some well-deserved Easter Egg Hunt fun, organized for the US Embassy community:

Moving on, we’ve decided to join the Mirandas & the Nogueira Lima families: we all headed up to see the Brazilian part of the family in Fortaleza – taking the American ‘Abuelito’ to go visit the kids’ Brazilian uncles, aunts, cousing and grandparents? All aboard, heading to the Northeastern coast of Brazil for Easter Weekend! 🙂

Brazil & US Families together!

Back in Brasilia, how about start the weekend fun for our second guest, with some typical feijoada, caipirinhas and tropical fruit juices, while listening to traditional “chorinho” [samba] and Bossa Nova? All by the lake Paranoa side, watching the weekenders riding their boats, jet-skis and kayaks… Table for 16 people, please!

Gotta always save some [physical] energy for joining the US Embassy community during a friendly basketball mini-tournament, right?

Mid-afternoon sightseeing… ice-cream, anyone? Even better if it’s sold from a red vintage VW! 🙂

Considering making and keeping healthy friendships [in our case, our expat fellow friends] are the most important part of this ever-changing life, a few images from a night with friends, celebrating life, friendship, birthdays and good food! One of the pictures here is a ‘multi-collage’… guess which!

What now?? Some family time back at our Lago Sul house, having fun with the little “resident monkeys”? 🙂 Priceless!

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Our little resident monkeys 🐵🐒🐵🐒🐒 Impossível, sendo mãe e bióloga, nesta linda tarde de domingo, ver estas criaturinhas no quintal e não aproveitar o momento com os filhos! 🤗😎 The black-tufted #marmoset (Callithrix penicillata), also known as Mico-estrela in Portuguese, is a species of New World monkey that lives primarily in the Neo-tropical gallery forests of the Brazilian Central Plateau. O MicoEstrela, também conhecido sagui-de-tufos-pretos, ou somente sagui, sendo reconhecida como uma espécie de primata do Novo Mundo, pertencente ao gênero Callithrix, cuja origem é brasileira. #teachingmoment #backyard #mico #cerrado #faunadocerrado #Brasilia #Brazil #nature #wildlife #video #lagosul @atalantaworld @travel__blog

A post shared by Mirandas in Juarez (@expatmomof3) on

Brasilia, our current home, and a city planned to host the coutry’s federal government, is famous for [among other things!]:

a) its unique sky colors & the typical Cerrado vegetation

b) its architectural lines and building structures, its religious/faith-based centers, bringing out a strange, yet passionate urban beauty:

Snapshots of our little expat life in Brazil…

Some may think being an expat is hard, living the ever-changing routine, adapting/adjusting as you go…

Some others may find it intriguing, exciting and worth pursuing, despite the constant uncertainty and the last-minute life-changing decisions ones is often faced with.

Our family falls right in the middle. It’s definitely not the easiest lifestyle; nevertheless, worth every bit of it!

Coming back to reality…

A family affair. Snapshots of our first 2017 travels: Ouro Preto (UNESCO Heritage Site), Mariana (mining town) & Inhotim (largest open air museum of contemporary art), Minas Gerais, Brazil

Praça Tiradentes, Ouro Preto:

Gold Mine in Mariana, MG

Inhotim,Open Air Contemporary Art Museum

From our Expat Family to Yours… Happy Holiday Season, and Happy Travels!

card

back

Life in the Foreign Service: and our next assignment is….

Could we be any happier? We got (again!) our #1 pick as our onwards Foreign Service Assignment post:

Obviously, more to come… but for now, I only have one thing to say:

YAAAAAY!

Stay tuned… 🙂

Written by Karen Hastings

History and Havana go hand in hand. The name “Havana” conjures images of Spanish conquistadors, revolutionary heroes, and the literati and glitterati who once basked on these sun-splashed shores. Today, the fascinating history of Cuba’s capital awaits travelers at every twist and turn; in the cobbled streets of Old Havana, in the beautiful Cuban Baroque buildings, the historic forts, museums, legendary restaurants, and lively public squares.

A fiesta for the senses, Havana is a city made to stroll. Listen to live rumba music on a street corner, feast at restaurants where Hemingway once dined, or inhale the salt-soaked air along the famous Malecón. But perhaps the best part of a visit to Havana is the people. Friendly and outgoing, the locals are proud of their culture-rich Caribbean city and happy to share its historic treasures and many hidden gems.

Expat Identity Crisis: on Privilege, Mobility and Belonging. A Personal Essay.

Wegener's Wanderlust

Lately, there have been a few articles circulating on Facebook describing life as an “expat” (here and here) and the book club I recently joined just picked “The Expatriates” as our next read. So I have started to think a lot about what it means to be an expat—and this has brought on a bit of an identity crisis for me.

When I moved from West Virginia to Germany at the age of ten, no one considered my American mother and me to be “expats”. In a village with a population of 3,000, we were simply “the Americans”. My mother had married a German, and we had settled into a very rural (and very German) way of life. Of course, there were no other Americans in the village, nor traces of a significant international “expat community”. As a pre-teen, I was quickly absorbed into life in…

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Getting the House Ready… Outdoor Halloween Decor



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The First Bierwagen: making passing-by tourists happier, every Oktoberfest!

During the Brazilian October Beerfest 2016 festivities, one might find surprises anywhere… everywhere! Even crossing the city of Blumenau’s traditional street, the November XV, as you may see below…

Free beer being given by these lovely mom-and-daughter set. Old German pappa is responsible for the driving duties!

One can’t beat the uniqueness of mixed cultures! 😊

Liederkranz at the Blumenau Oktoberfest, 2016

Show dos ” Velhos Camaradas” na Oktoberfest de 2016, em Blumenau, Santa Catarina, Brasil.

Video by the Lima-Miranda traveling couple 😊 Enjoy!

For more info on this folk group, feel free to visit:

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1786675414884228&id=1420663611485412

Oktoberfest Princesses!

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More to come, obvioulsly, since we are currently on our way back home.

Airports never are a great “blogposting” choice!

For now, leaving you with the husband’s choice of ‘princesses’, and his unchallenged Queen! 😊

Getting ready for the Greatest Brazilian Beer Festival – Oktoberfest of Blumenau!

blumenau_girls

And, the Lima Miranda Clan is getting ready for another cultural trip. The second largest Oktoberfest happens some 6,000 miles away from Munich… in Blumenau, Santa Catarina, Southern Brazil – exactly where these ‘travel-addicts’ are going!

This time, it will be a celebratory trip for the husband and I, a token towards our 13th wedding anniversary – and a decade a half of love, companionship, shared joy and challenging moments, laughs, adventures and discoveries… Thirteen years of married life, witnessing our family grow as a balanced unit. Life has definitely been good to us. Time to celebrate!

Our kids will happily stay back with their Brazilian grandmother, “vovó Regina” , who has kindly flown to Brasilia in order to spend some quality time with her Brazilian-American grandchildren, period which coincides with the children’s international school ‘Brazilian Spring Break’. This means kids at home for a whole week, no classes… the perfect scenario for their parents to ‘escape’ for a while! [smiles!!]

Arriving in Blumenau today. Stay tuned for more – can’t wait to share our ‘in-loco’ observations!

(cheating a little, and pasting here a bit of background info I found on Wikipedia): The Oktoberfest of Blumenau is a festival of Germanic traditions that happens in middle October in the city of Blumenau, Santa Catarina, Brazil. It is considered the biggest German festival of all Americas and the one of the biggest Oktoberfest celebration along with the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest and after the original Oktoberfest from Munich. It takes place at Parque Vila Germânica (Germanic Village Park), located in the Bairro da Velha (District of the Old Woman), and lasts for 17 days.

Site oficial do Evento

foto1

The Blumenau Oktoberfest is a triumph of music, dances, colors and some excellent iced beer, served in “chopp” (mugs). Brazilian beer is slightly lighter than

the European one, but very good indeed.
The main “cervejas” are the national Brahma and some local beers like Eisenbahn, Bierland, Wunder Bier, Das Bier and Gaspar.
Brazilian beer is best matched with traditional German dishes like the Kassler (pork rib with sausages, purée and sauerkraut), Eisbein (cross-cut veal meat with sauerkraut, sausage and pure) and Marreco Recheado (a typical regional dish: goose served with red cabbage, rice and pure).

foto2The calendar of the festival is filled with events. The Oktoberfest is not just about beer: it is memory, tradition and folklore, a gathering moment dedicated to friendship and conviviality. During the festival the locals put their outstanding cultural richness on display through music, dance and typical gastronomy.

blumenau_girlsThe official opening ceremony takes place on Wednesday at 22 pm after the big parade in rua XV de Novembro. The costume parades with German folkloristic dance groups are one of the festival main attractions. The dance shows account for the typical ‘Oom-Pah Music”, polka, waltz and mazurka, all of which are partly “contaminated” with some samba moves (Hey, we’re still in Brazil after all!)
Some funny competitions are also organized, the most interesting and famous of which is the “Concurso Nacional de Chopp em metro”, that livens up the sector 3 of Parque Vila Germanica with an alternate schedule. The competition is free and open to all participants over the age of 18, and begins at 22 pm. The challengers must drink 600 ml of beer, “um metro de chope”, in the least amount of time. Every evening a winner is elected, and during the closing celebration the three best times (respectively for men and women) will be awarded a medal.

On the last Sunday of celebrations, the festival elects the Oktoberfest princess: an important responsibility for the chosen girl, since she has to embody the values of the Blumenau culture.

The ‘Ceiling can’t hold’ these third-culture kids!

What is home for a TCK?

[Instrumental]

[Verse 1: César & His Gang]
Return of the Mack
Get ’em, what it is, what it does, what it is, what it isn’t
Looking for a better way to get up out of bed
Instead of getting on the Internet and checking a new hit me, get up
Thrift shop, pimp strut walking
Little bit of humble, little bit of cautious
Somewhere between like Rocky and Cosby
Sweater game nope nope y’all can’t copy
Yup, Bad, moonwalking, this here is our party
My posse’s been on Broadway, and we did it our way
Grown music, I shed my skin and put my bones
Into everything I record to it and yet I’m on
Let that stage light go and shine on down
Got that Bob Barker suit game and plinko in my style
Money, stay on my craft and stick around for those pounds
But, I do that to pass the torch and put on for my town
Trust me, on my I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T shit hustlin’
Chasing dreams since I was fourteen
With the four-track, bussing
Halfway cross that city with the backpack
Fat cat, crushing labels out here, nah, they can’t tell me nothing
We give that to the people, spread it across the country
Labels out here, nah they can’t tell me nothing
We give it to the people, spread it across the country

[Hook: Marcela]
Can we go back, this is the moment
Tonight is the night, we’ll fight ’til it’s over
So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us
Like the ceiling can’t hold us

[Hook: Marcela]
Can we go back, this is the moment
Tonight is the night, we’ll fight ’til it’s over
So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us
Like the ceiling can’t hold us

[Verse 2: César & His Gang]
Now can I kick it, thank you
Yeah, I’m so damn grateful
I grew up really wanting gold fronts
But that’s what you get when Wu-Tang raised you
Y’all can’t stop me
Go hard like I got a 808 in my heart beat
And I’m eating at the beat like you gave a little speed
To a great white shark on Shark Week, raw!
Tell me go up, gone, deuces, goodbye, I got a world to see
And my girl, she wanna see Rome, Caesar’ll make you a believer
Nah, I never, ever did it for a throne, that validation comes
From giving it back to the people, now sing a song and it goes like
Raise those hands, this is our party
We came here to live life like nobody was watching
I got my city right behind me, if I fall, they got me
Learn from that failure, gain humility, and then we keep marching, I said

Can we go back, this is the moment
Tonight is the night, we’ll fight ’til it’s over
So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us
Like the ceiling can’t hold us

Can we go back, this is the moment
Tonight is the night, we’ll fight ’til it’s over
So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us
Like the ceiling can’t hold us

And so we put our hands up
And so we put our hands up
Oh, oh, oh, oh…..

[Bridge: Macklemore and Ray Dalton]
Na na na na, na na na na
Hey-ee ay-ee ay-ee ay ay-ee ay-ee, hey
And all my people say

Na na na na, na na na na
Hey-ee ay-ee ay-ee ay ay-ee ay-ee, hey
And all my people say

[Bridge: Macklemore and Ray Dalton]
Na na na na, na na na na
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
And all my people say

Na na na na, na na na na

Mack-le-eh-eh-eh-eh-more!

Can we go back, this is the moment
Tonight is the night, we’ll fight ’til it’s over
So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us
Like the ceiling can’t hold us

Can we go back, this is the moment
Tonight is the night, we’ll fight ’til it’s over
So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us
Like the ceiling can’t hold us

Let the night come, before the fight’s won
Some might run against the test
Yeah those that triumph embrace the fight cause
The fear is there to prove that courage exists

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.

IMG_2335

 

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!

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!

 

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.

 

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

 

The 2016 Olympics in Brazil, by the Lima Mirandas!

Greetings from Brasilia!

Well, the Olympic Games have come to Brazil… and our family has been very fortunate to have been part of these magnificent events.
Obviously, not the easiest task for our host country, but nevertheless, a pretty enjoyable experience.

How beautiful is the main host city, Rio de Janeiro? Here are a few shots I took from the “Cidade Maravilhosa”, while they were still getting ready to receive their guests:

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We do live in Brasilia, the capital of the country. We normally go to Rio for work (believe that?). Between games, social events, cheering… our children showing up on global social media channels (okay, I’m bias, but isn’t this 8-year-old girl the best representation of the sports fans??), our diplofamily made sure everyone would have great life memories from the Rio2016 Olympics.

Go Team USA. Go Team Brazil!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Jubilant

Exercising our best parenting pride – snapshots of a regular Saturday morning, running between kids sports activities… our jubilant attempt to raise healthy children.  We’re satisfied, proud, and exhausted…. until next Saturday!😉

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http://wordpress.com/weekly-photo-challenge/jubilant

A great Washington Post Read: ‘A tale of two temperaments: Same Parents, Different Kids’

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This morning, I stumbled upon this short op-piece from the Washington Post. Easy, quick, enjoyable read – and it represents exactly what I sometimes feel regarding raising our 3 children: they all came from the very same set of parents, we’ve offered them the same opportunities, require the same level of respect and responsibility [okay, maybe a bit weighted to each one’s age, but you get my point!], and yet, the results from each one’s behavioral expressions are [and maybe, should be!] completely different.

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Who knows? Maybe that’s what makes each and every one of them special in their own way. Unique, challenging, intriguing. And obviously, lovely and wonderful – like any other Mother Goose would refer to her offspring!

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Here’s the op-piece I am referring to:
[and my deepest appreciation for the Washington Post for having it out there!]

 

On Parenting

A tale of two temperaments: Same parents, different kids
By Deborah Farmer Kris

May 20 at 7:00 AM

When my daughter got home from school yesterday, she made a cozy nest of pillows, pulled out her crayons and started to draw.

“Mommy,” she complained, “the music is too loud. I need to focus.”

To which her little brother predictably replied, “I want too loud! I like too loud! TOO LOUD PLEASE!”

My husband and I are raising two curious, caring kids — who happen to have fundamentally different temperaments.

Thankfully, temperament and character are not synonyms. No matter our personality, most of us can learn to be kind, responsible, and hard-working. But one’s basic temperament — particularly our response to stimuli — seems rooted in biology.

Think of the seven dwarfs. Doc is an extrovert, Bashful is an introvert, and Grumpy is a natural skeptic — but they all choose to work hard, respect each other and protect strangers in distress. Seven decent people with different approaches to life.

That said, it must have been a challenge to be the dwarfs’ mother.

Our daughter was only a few weeks old when I began to notice her heightened sensitivity to sound — a reaction that some research links to later introversion. Shutting cabinet doors would startle her awake, and the blender terrified her. Her first full sentence was, “What’s that sound?”

At her first toddler tumbling class, she spent 15 minutes clutching my skirt. Then she mimicked the actions of the students from the safety of the back wall. Finally — after sizing up her teacher, her peers, and the relative safety of the activity — she happily joined the group for the last five minutes.

This is how she has approached almost every novel situation since infancy: observing before engaging. I got pretty good at helping her navigate new experiences in ways that stimulated her without being overwhelming. And then came child No. 2.

On my son’s first beach trip, as I was coaxing his sister to dip her feet in the water, he threw open his arms and toddled headlong into the waves. That’s his basic approach to life: dive in — and then scream for help if necessary.

Sometimes it has felt like whiplash parenting — pulling the toddler off a playground ladder while encouraging the preschooler to take “one more step” up the climbing wall. She perches watchfully while I vacuum; he tries to climb on and go for a ride.

We have a lot of shorthand for different temperaments. I often hear kids described as shy or bossy — or all-boy or all-girl. But these labels are laden with cultural baggage, and they put a box around children who are just beginning to explore who they are.

Every temperament brings with it strengths and possibilities. In Susan Cain’s essay, “Don’t Call Introverted Children ‘Shy,’ ” she writes that some children are “born with a careful, sensitive temperament that predisposes them to look before they leap. And this can pay off handsomely as they grow, in the form of strong academics, enhanced creativity and even a unique brand of leadership and empathy. . . . [T]hese kids are not antisocial. They’re simply sensitive to their environments.”

I am trying to create an environment that will allow both my kids to thrive — one that gives them the space to be themselves and the tools to “work it out” together. Sometimes my strategies work better with one than the other.

But I wonder if, in the end, their differences can be a source of strength. Perhaps their close relationship will give them a measure of empathy toward those who respond to the ebbs of life a little differently than they do.

On a recent visit to a small creek, my son persuaded his sister to wade into the water — and she got him to stop throwing rocks long enough to watch a heron catch a fish. And I thought of Cain’s comment that the best scenario “is when those two toddlers — the one who hands you the toy with the smile and the other who checks you out so carefully — grow up to run the world together.” Or as the Seven Dwarfs illustrate: No matter our temperament, we can find a way to live together and whistle while we work.

Deborah Farmer Kris is an educator, writer, researcher and the mother of two young children.
By Deborah Farmer Kris

May 20 at 7:00 AM

Snapshots of an expat life in Brazil: working with Science and Public Health

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#test4hiv

Snapshots of Project ‘The Time is Now’ in Brazil: #Test4HIV #ahoraeagora_cwb

Snapshots of Mother’s Day in Brazil

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#ExperimenteBrasilia – Miranda Family Sunset Lake Experience

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A long overdue return to my blogging tasks: Now, sharing a few experiences from our packed weekend in Brasilia. a rock concert, a farewell dinner, a family boat trip along the waters of the Capital’s famous Lago Paranoá.

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As a child, growing up in Brasilia, back in the 1970s, 1980s… the Lake Paranoá was a mysterious place, surrounded by endless possibilities.

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Now, as an adult, the opportunity of enjoying a boat ride, accompanied by my husband, our three children, seeing the joy on their faces when they got to go down on the life boat and row around the floating gazebo, was priceless.

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And I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of a friend’s birthday celebration, witnessing the uniqueness of the Brasilia sky, and vouch first-hand for the local saying of “the sky in Brasilia is our sea“… Brasilienses [the so-called people from Brasilia] may not have their own beaches, they have an artificially-built lake, but they sure have one of the most beautiful skies this planet may offer!

A paradisiacal experience, the delight it is to navigate the gentle waters of the Paranoá lake aboard a private floating gazebo.

Thankful for the #ExperimenteBrasilia opportunity. Thankful for sharing this memory with my children and husband, who unlike me, did not grow up surrounded by the never-ending artificial waters of the Paranoá Lake. Thankful for enjoying the majestic views of the Brasilia skies, beside the love of my life… 🙂
More pictures yet to arrive!! Stay tuned for a soon-to-come blogpost update!

In the meantime, go ahead and follow us on Instagram… we just opened up the account to share images and stories from our Foreign Service Family! Lima.Miranda.Bsb

 

Quick work trip to Bogota, Colombia

Full-time working mom. Juggling with career in Public Health, traveling throufhout the country for informational meetings or Project presentations.

Absolutely loving our assignment in Brazil as a foreign Service family: back to my hometown, witnessing my children develop their Portuguese/English interchangeable skills on a daily basis!

Traveling for fun and for work. The later, some 30 times since I started my current job… and still counting!

As an example, a quick trip to Colombia to share our HIV self-testing implementation project findings!

Then [2012]: bidding farewell to their ‘BFFs’! [Até logo, para os melhores amiguinhos!] : Now, in 2015 “Festa Junina” Mode!

After three long years, our family is back to the celebration of “Festa Junina”. Three years ago, when we left Recife, Pernambuco, our oldest kids bid farewell to their best friends, and embarked into the new adventure: La Paz, Bolivia.
Bolivia’s assignment is now over, and since mid-July 2014, we’re been living in Brasilia. The Fall Harvesting celebrations have reached the capital of Brazil, and once more, The Lima-Miranda Family will embrace their mixed roots, and enjoy the very first “Festa Caipira” from 2015, at their children’s international school.

Stay tuned for more updates on photos, which should describe how our family planned to display their best “Caipira Attire”!


Original Post [2012]

Last day of school. Bidding farewell to best friends… Hopefully, one day, they’ll be together again! ♥

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

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

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