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Category Archives: TRAVEL

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.

 
 

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Animated snapshots of German holiday in Southern Brazil

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2016 in BRASIL, Brazil, expat, photography, TRAVEL

 

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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! 😊

 

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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

 

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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! 😊

 

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

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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

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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.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2016 in Brazil, expat, foreign service, TRAVEL

 

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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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