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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!

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

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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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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

 

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“To have a second language is to possess a second soul” (Charlemagne)

Already mentioned here my [random] thoughts on the whole bi/multilingual culture {Comments and extra thoughts on being a multilingual parent…}, and its obvious benefits, not only to the growing child, but also for the society that child is part of… Recently, CNN brought out an interesting/challenging/poking discussion on a study about ‘lifelong bilinguals’ {Study: Bilinguals Have Faster Brains} and the development of their brains… also, worth to check it out [I clearly did, it’s part of who I’m… that said, I had no other option but to join the discussion forum with my 2 cents growing up as a nomad child, and now a ‘trailing spouse’ and mother to 3 TCKs].

I’m always on the lookout for interesting resources for supporting our toddlers’ learning, I stumbled upon this very interesting article from Multilingual Living, which I’m sharing below.

A very good resource for parents of TCKs, homeschooling parents, or any parent concerned about improving their children’s learning skills, without loosing track of reality.  From our “tentative trilingual home” to yours

Good reading!

Benefits of Multilingualism

By Michał B. Paradowski
Institute of Applied Linguistics,
 University of Warsaw

The advantages that multilinguals exhibit over monolinguals are not restricted to linguistic knowledge only, but extend outside the area of language. The substantial long-lived cognitive, social, personal, academic, and professional benefits of enrichment bilingual contexts have been well documented. Children and older persons learning foreign languages have been demonstrated to:

  • have a keener awareness and sharper perception of language. Foreign language learning “enhances children’s understanding of how language itself works and their ability to manipulate language in the service of thinking and problem solving”; 
  • be more capable of separating meaning from form;
  • learn more rapidly in their native language (L1), regardless of race, gender, or academic level;
  • be more efficient communicators in the L1;
  • be consistently better able to deal with distractions, which may help offset age-related declines in mental dexterity;
  • develop a markedly better language proficiency in, sensitivity to, and understanding of their mother tongue;
  • develop a greater vocabulary size over age, including that in their L1;
  • have a better ear for listening and sharper memories;
  • be better language learners in institutionalized learning contexts because of more developed language-learning capacities owing to the more complex linguistic knowledge and higher language awareness;
  • have increased ability to apply more reading strategies effectively due to their greater experience in language learning and reading in two—or more—different languages;
  • develop not only better verbal, but also spatial abilities;
  • parcel up and categorize meanings in different ways;
  • display generally greater cognitive flexibility, better problem solving and higher-order thinking skills;
  • a person who speaks multiple languages has a stereoscopic vision of the world from two or more perspectives, enabling them to be more flexible in their thinking, learn reading more easily. Multilinguals, therefore, are not restricted to a single world-view, but also have a better understanding that other outlooks are possible. Indeed, this has always been seen as one of the main educational advantages of language teaching”; 
  • multilinguals can expand their personal horizons and—being simultaneously insiders and outsiders—see their own culture from a new perspective not available to monoglots, enabling the comparison, contrast, and understanding of cultural concepts;
  • be better problem-solvers gaining multiple perspectives on issues at hand;
  • have improved critical thinking abilities;
  • better understand and appreciate people of other countries, thereby lessening racism, xenophobia, and intolerance, as the learning of a new language usually brings with it a revelation of a new culture;
  • learn further languages more quickly and efficiently than their hitherto monolingual peers;
  • to say nothing of the social and employment advantages of being bilingual {Study: Bilinguals Have Faster Brains}– offering the student the ability to communicate with people s/he would otherwise not have the chance to interact with, and increasing job opportunities in many careers {The Value In Being Bilingual or Multilingual}.
 
21 Comments

Posted by on October 4, 2016 in EDUCATION, LANGUAGE, resources, TCKs

 

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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!!

 
30 Comments

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.

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!

 
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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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