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

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:

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}.

What Drives Me Crazy?

Oh, boy!

If you asked my husband, he’ll clearly tell anyone, I don’t need any triggering reason to go insane… ❤ He'd state that in a very loving way, and yet, he'd say it! 😮

The 'little voices in my head' would likely echo his statement. But I firmly disagree: it's hard for me to lose my cool, although, a few things would definitely make it to the list of 'strong reasoning facts' that drive me crazy… This morning I was cruising thru the WP 'inspirational' suggestions, and found Krista's topic, on 'She drives me crazy'. In my case, "She" has morphed into a list of well-balanced reasons, which I should name 'boiling point checklist' 😮

Oh, boy!

If you asked my husband, he’ll clearly tell anyone, I don’t need any triggering reason to go insane… ❤ He’d state that in a very loving way, and yet, he’d say it!

The ‘little voices in my head’ would likely echo his statement. But I firmly disagree: it’s hard for me to lose my cool, although, a few things would definitely make it to the list of ‘strong reasoning facts’ that drive me crazy… This morning I was cruising thru the WP ‘inspirational’ suggestions, and found Krista’s topic, on ‘She drives me crazy’. In my case, “She” has morphed into a  list of well-balanced reasons, which I should name ‘boiling point checklist’ :

  •  Somebody over here, another ‘inspired blogger’, came up with a masterpiece on how useless the so-called “inspirational images” from FB [and why not, from other social media channels?] are – I could not agree more with him. That said, thank you very much RichyDispatch for getting me all fired-up for this writing prompt! You’ve become my instant Monday Hero! 😮

  • Still on the “social media” subject, another boiling point disclosure seems to be the way people describe themselves/their achievements/their fantastic lives on the ‘social scene’…. is it me, or, pretty much everyone else out there seems to have the smartest children, their overachiever spouses, the greatest and best paid jobs? Maybe it’s just me, but this constant display of ‘my grass is greener than yours’ gets old very quickly…

  • Leaving the social media aside, now let’s move to another common boiling point-trigger: The School Moms. Oh, my! This is for the many parents out there, especially the ones who try to get involved with their kiddo’s school activities. I’ve got a question for y’all: have you ever had any issues with [not of them, but they’ve got representatives all over the world] the PTA mafia? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, there’s no need to worry, and it also means you haven’t had any bad experiences with the before-mentioned group – for the ones who understand my pain, that’s enough said!

  • Different scenario, now: the work place/social gatherings:

I’m born and raised Latina, so I believe I’ve got a pass to share my two cents on this. In most of latino countries, people never miss an event; they’re also, never on time! I try my best to get all my household act together before heading out to work. I’m currently living and working at a latino country – the perception of regular/expected work hours seem to differ from one person to the other. And why? Latinos don’t believe in a set time, for anything! [again, I can speak out my thoughts ’cause I was born in Brazil, and when I last checked, it’s part of the colorful/wonderful Latino community!]. 

You wanna plan a dinner starting at 8, remember to tell your guests dinner is scheduled for 6. Most people will be there at/around 8:30. It’s a good technique, and you don’t stress out.

You’re throwing a birthday party for your toddler, and it should run from 2-4, don’t expect the lovely little ones [and their respective families] to depart before dinner time. That said, get your post-birthday-dinner ready for the tardy ones – they’ll likely overstay, and they’ll surely be hungry!

 

Do these type of issues make my blood boil inside my veins? 

 Just a little bit… 😮

Unplugged!

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

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

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

I’m a Mix Tape Masterpiece!

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

mixtape
Click here for image source – gotta be true to the sources, right? 😮

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Fearful Symmetry: Birthday Boy.

Birthday Boy, wake up!

Bus will be here soon… the school bus doesn’t wait, you know!

Birthday Boy, we know you’re tired – you always are,

Because it’s school day, and any excuse to miss school is a good one on your book!

Beloved Son, you’re older today…

Birthday Boy, wake up!

Bus will be here soon… the school bus doesn’t wait, you know!

Birthday Boy, we know you’re tired – you always are!

Because it’s school day, and any excuse to miss school is a good one on your book!

Beloved Son, you’re older today…

Born to be wild, you definitely are!

Born Washingtonian, as you like to remind us… far from your mom’s home country,

Brazil.

But you carry Brazil in your heart: your soccer moves don’t deny your genes, your passion, your

Blood…

Birthday Boy, breakfast is ready… and so should be you!

Birthday Boy, you’re 8!

Biking away from home,

Believing you can conquer the world with your fast wheels… you’re still my baby, though… and will likely remain so…

Battle the mothers, that’s their fault! Can’t they see their little boys are growing?

Become a man, you will… one day…

But not today… Today you’re simply my adorable

Birthday Boy… 😮

bikeInspired by one of this week’s Daily Prompt

How much clutter is… too much clutter?

Not sure if I was fortunate or not, to marry a typical ‘type-A’ person, almost obsessive when it comes to organization…

On the other hand, I’m not as organized, but I love seeing things “in boxes”, or at least, stowed away (out of my sight!)

That said, and considering that we’re constantly moving because of work, one can image how difficult it become when it’s mandatory to deal with “excessive clutter and paperwork”.

Not sure if I was fortunate or not, to marry a typical ‘type-A’ person, almost obsessive when it comes to organization…

On the other hand, I’m not as organized, but I love seeing things “in boxes”, or at least, stowed away (out of my sight!)

That said, and considering that we’re constantly moving because of work, one can image how difficult it become when it’s mandatory to deal with “excessive clutter and paperwork”.

Inspired by Becky – from Small Bits – for one of the long-lost weekly State Dept Foreign Service Blogs Round up, and also trying to answer the question I’d initially proposed; I guess for my husband and I, the answer is: “any clutter is way too much clutter”…. junk is junk, and a clean house [leading to a clean soul!] is always welcome in our lives! 😮

At times, the definition of “excessive” has created some tension in our household, due to the fact that the “duo of managers” end up disagreeing on what should/could/would be discarded/trashed/shredded!

And the common result is: “darling, do you have any idea where the envelope, I left here last week, is?”

If it takes more than 10 seconds for the answer to come out, it’s a bad sign… If the answer contains anything like “you know… I was just organizing these drawers… and…” it’s even worse! At that very moment, the very “diplomatic answer” is a clear sign that your print outs/documents/personal notes are gone!! So, in order to avoid conflicts, the best solution is simply reduce the amount of clutter, or, if possible, store it away before your mate has a chance to find and “re-organize” it!

Currently, our lives are filled with useful and not-so-much paperwork, which we MUST care with our hearts, whenever we travel or move. Here’s a brief idea:

5 members of the household;

14 active passports (a couple of those in deep need of renovation.. oh, boy!);

5 medical folders, med-evac reports, consultation reports, requests for exams, and corresponding international vaccination cards;

5 birth certificates, a couple of CRIBA reports, with official/notaries translations, personal academic info, diplomas – again, translated;

Ν school reports (so far only 2 kids in school), sports progress evaluations for each kid; report cards, teacher’s notes, selected school artwork, love letters and cards (when we began with our ‘across-the-hemisphere’ dating scene, there was only the msn messenger, and of course, the good old Post Office!) printed photographs, tax files, software update CDs, performance evaluations, receipts from clients, contacts for future 360s, house rental paperwork, mortgage docs, health insurance papers, receipts for storage, bank statements… oh, my!

It is not all of it. Some documents were photocopied before the initial move, and originals are safely kept, while the photocopies travel the world.

Safeguarding your personal belongings is a must for the traveling-pants family: preparing “video inventories” is a great, paperless strategy. So far, it’s been working for us, and the best of all – it is clutter-free!

Phew! It makes me tired just thinking about boxing it all out for the next move…

Luckily, there are ways to make sure our most important folders are safe and well-taken care: pay close attention to them. All times. Anywhere.

Right now, I’m not organizing anything. Just trying to keep our documents drawer “bug”- & “fungi“- free. That’s right! One of the “bonuses” of living in a tropical setting… I’m an environmentalist, but not as much!!

Hey, I feel like I’ve already done a lot of “mental organization” and planning. I believe I deserve a break from this hard work!

Since we’re talking about paper”(work), let me “wrap” this post up by reminding myself it’s ‘bidding season’. For the ones not too familiar with the term, let me just say it takes the ‘stress levels’ up a couple of notches, and it pretty much tends to define our family’s future for the next couple of years! 😮 It’s also ‘promotion season’… Luckily, hubby did well on that front, which is a relief, at last… 

Now, just sit tight and wait for the [hopefully positive!] results of bidding!

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

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

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

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

Was I really busy?

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

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

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

Was I really busy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading “Until when I’ll say ‘Sorry, I’m busy’?”

Muito Obrigada!

thank you cloud

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

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

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

In response to the Daily Prompt 'Thank You'

Daily Prompt: Luxurious

Luxurious… or guilty pleasure? You be the judge… I already know my answer! ♥

Concha y Toro

 

Luxurious… or guilty pleasure? You be the judge… I already know my answer! ♥

Concha y Toro

Continue reading “Daily Prompt: Luxurious”

Are we missing a teachable moment?

Are we missing a teachable moment?

I do believe we are. We’re missing a great opportunity to use these recent events as a springboard for a much more fruitful debate. Not only us, parents, but all of us, adults [okay, I understand she is adult as well, but you get my point!]

English: Miley Cyrus' signature Español: Firma...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Miley Cyrus, the 20-year-old singer who began her career as squeaky-clean star of the Hannah Montana television series, seems to have ditched that goody two-shoes image for good with her recent Video Music Awards (VMAs) performance. Did Miley’s performance cross the line, are we making too much of it, or are we missing a chance to have a more important conversation about race and sex? You be the judge”.

Are we missing a teachable moment?

I do believe we are.

We’re missing a great opportunity to use these recent events as a springboard for a much more fruitful debate.

Not only the parents out there, but all of us, adults [okay, I understand she is adult as well, but you get my point!]. Instead of judging or criticizing what happened, how about using it as a family dinning-table conversation topic?

Shocked? I would also be, if I weren’t a parent of young children, living through all the social events brought to us on a daily basis – can’t pretend we’re blind to the present-future opening their wings right in front of us… maybe even, coming to life in our very own TV room! My 5 1/2 year-old knows who ‘Miley-Montana’ is, and like many others her age, walks around the house repeating song chorus. As a parent, how should I approach her questions on ‘why can’t I watch this or that Disney channel shows?’ Should I just now say that her beloved Hanna is bad, and she should completely switch her idolatry towards ‘Lava Girl’ [and Shark Boy, for that matter]?

That said, are all the previously-innocent Disney stars turned evil? Have them all become bad examples to our children? Should I just turn the TV [and the computer!] off, once and for all? Is that a plausible solution?

Controversy?  Sure!

That’s what social media lives and breathes on! Controversy is needed to sell papers, creating countless and endless postings on Facebook… increasing the Klout scores throughout social network channels… The whole fuzz on twerking? Sad to say, but unfortunately, many young girls who had not yet heard the term, are now ‘practicing Miley’s moves…

But… what’s the ‘message to take home’?

Cover of "Hannah Montana The Movie"
Cover of Hannah Montana The Movie

It’s not only about Miley Cyrus‘ performance, or her ‘not-so-appropriate’ display of oneself, and her puzzling lack of self-awareness. She is just one of the many examples of a debating behavior. Should I/could I judge her? Not sure about that. Not my place to do so, although, I can definitely take advantage of the current situation, and embrace a productive discussion. Any takers? 😮

The original article  [inspiring this mini op-piece] presents an intriguing question: if we were missing a chance to have a larger discussion about race, sex, gender roles, and the evils of stereotyping?

The key point for the discussion, at least the way I see it, is the importance to teach children/teenagers about self-respect. There’s a crucial need for them to understand the meaning of self-awareness, and the consequences of their own acts.

We live in society, no one is an island, and we should all behave [and act] with these premises in mind. Teaching children/young adults to gain self-respect will surely assist them into improving their learning and creative skills, as well as their ability to understand/welcome love. Self-respect/self-esteem is closely related to happiness and success in life.

Strong senses of self-respect and self-esteem will help our children act responsibly, responsively and respectfully as they socially interact with others. Self-respect and self-preservation are concepts that should be the foundation of any growing individual. Happiness and the much-wanted success will follow on.

 The ongoing lesson:

With strong self-respect, our children will know that they’re important, smart, valuable and unconditionally loved. We, the adults, parents, also need to do our share. We need to show our support and our respect towards that growing being. We’re asked to show our children they’re worthy of respect. And we do that by respecting their feelings, their privacy and their properties; expressing our pride in our children at every opportunity. Our children are unique, and should be cherished as such.

Also, another lesson to take home from this whole buzz is the importance the parents have on a growing child’s life. They [the children] need to learn how to fail. Mistakes are a fact of life. When we equip a child with skills necessary to make mistakes and regroup, we’re also teaching him/her how to analyze and learn from his/her mistakes.

The result will be a resilient child who keeps trying in the face of struggles and challenges. Maybe that’d have been a great advice for they ‘younger/growing’ Miley Cyrus… learn from your mistakes, even from the very big, ‘media-tweeted’, Facebook-escalated ones… learn from your failures… failures are teaching situations, whose results are priceless learning opportunities. Probably that’s the great teaching moment/teaching opportunity gathered from these recent events: instead of criticizing [the performance] to our children/teenagers, let’s use it as a ‘live example’ during our family conversations. Let’s hear from our children what they think/perceive on the situation; what is their reaction and their un-bias judgment… and maybe, they could surprise us… maybe they may see things under a different, more rational perspective… Let’s hear from the kids, before we bash the young lady around with our not-so-nice words and pre-conceived ideas… Let’s not miss this one-of-a-kind teachable moment… ♥

Keep on living… keep on learning… 😮

Continue reading “Are we missing a teachable moment?”

Life’s filled with fake moments…

Visiting a typical Italian village? Not really – we’re still in La Paz, Bolivia, and no chances of finding ‘romantic steps’ leading to an Italian restaurant… The way around it? Pose in front of the restaurant’s wall poster! 😮

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

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

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

An open letter to my nomad children.

An open letter to my nomad children

         Dear children of mine,

         I recognize you may be still too young to understand many of the things that go around in your life.

        I’m also aware that you may feel confused at times, when your mother and father come forward telling you we will have to move, once more.

       I feel and I know your pain, and your disbelief. I myself felt the same when back in Brazil – your grandparents would come to me and to your uncles, letting us know we would again, have to change schools, due to new job assignments and/or the economic situation.

       One day you will begin hearing and understanding a very powerful word – ‘Economy’. It has the ability to change scenarios, to split families up, and to alter planning. Times were different when your mother was growing up, than it is now for the three of you. Back then, your mother, the oldest of 3 children, learned to cook, clean and take care of your uncles, way before she was ready to begin middle school. 

        You, my children, will not have to face any of this.I was a nomad child without the realization of it. I learned to cope with family moves before having to deal with any ‘high school drama’, so familiar  to any teenager. There was no time, nor space for ‘teen drama’. Childhood is a very special place in time, and should be lived through. Hopefully, it will not happen to the three of you, my children.

       You will be presented with the opportunity to experience life on its fullest. You’ll have the chance to choose your paths, making your own mistakes and learning from them…

       Life’s been laid out in front of you, and despite also living a ‘nomad life’ because of your mother and father’s work style, you’ll confidently be shielded from most of the difficulties.

       Your father and I are cautious and attentive to any signs of distress – please come to us with your questions, your concerns, your troubles. We’ll try to help you, and offer advice, as much as we’re capable of. Please let us know when you’re sad, when you’ve been hurt, when your heart is unsettled…

       We’ll be there for you. We’ll offer you comfort and our arms. We’ll talk together, and if needed, we’ll cry together.

        I’m very happy for you, my children. This nomad life has taught me a great deal, and I feel capable of transferring some resilience to you. I’m not passing on any resentment, any sadness or hard feelings… I’m thankful with what life has offered me, and my gratitude will show itself on the way we’re raising the three of you. I’m grateful life has given me the opportunity to become your mother, your guide, your safe haven. I sincerely hope you’re not disappointed on me…

        You will grow to become worldly citizens, grounded and compassionate. That would definitely be the best reward to me, still working on my parenting skills, but trying my best not to fail…

                                                        With all my love,

                                                          Your mother.

my branching tree...

My closest friend is…

…the person with whom I share my dearest passions: traveling, photography, story-telling.We’ve become life partners, we’ve developed a strong relationship that goes beyond passion – we’re friends, we’re lovers, we’re parents to our children, we’re secret keepers… 😮

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

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

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

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

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

Blogger or Brand?: What?! It’s got an ‘Online Identity’?

Well, let me explain.

It’s Thursday morning. And since I’m always on the lookout for inspiration, happened to stumble upon a quote from one of the Wordpress dailypost editors, Michelle W.: “Some of us have purely personal sites where we discuss the day-to-day, while others are trying to create an online presence around our blogs or use them as a springboard for other projects. If you’re in the latter camp, you’re not just a blogger: you’re a brand”.

WordPress
WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

Well, let me explain.

It’s Thursday morning. And since I’m always on the lookout for inspiration, happened to stumble upon a quote from one of the WordPress dailypost editors, Michelle W.: “Some of us have purely personal sites where we discuss the day-to-day, while others are trying to create an online presence around our blogs or use them as a springboard for other projects. If you’re in the latter camp, you’re not just a blogger: you’re a brand“.

So… is this blog a brand??

Brand (n): a particular product or a characteristic that serves to identify a particular product

I guess so… and to confirm the assumption [suggested by the original writer], I continued reading the ‘inspirational post’ , and found:

“In terms of a blog, your brand is:

  • Your site’s personality.
  • Your name, tagline, color scheme, and design (including your logo).
  • A promise you make to readers about what they’ll find on your site.
  • The way you represent yourself and your blog in other spaces online.
  • The thing that differentiates your blog from the seventy zillion other blogs on the internet”.

Now, it begs the question: for this site/blog, is all that true? Does it behoove me/the writer/the ‘mind behind the curtain’ to create a distinct personality and consistent experience for this blog’s readers, reinforcing why 3rCultureChildren is worth reading?? Tough question, right? I’ll also see if i can answer that… through future posts… not today… just getting my creative juices flowing! 😮

Thanks for the inspiration! ♥

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

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

yellow-brick-road1
Source: http://businessesgrow.com

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

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

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

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

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

Source: http://travelblogs.com
Source: http://travelblogs.com

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

Also Related:

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

Thanks for the inspiration! ♥

Random thoughts on my life as a ‘rolling stone’…

Here is the question:

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

Answer:

Oh, well, I guess I already live a ‘nomadic life’… Early this year I tried to ‘map it out’, describing the different places I’ve lived, as a growing child in Brazil, due to my parents work duties; later, as a researcher, and finally, as a spouse married to the ‘Foreign Service’, raising our three third-culture children, in a similar nomadic way I’d been brought up! I fell like this ‘circle’ will never end… and… why should it? 😮

directions

Here is the question:

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

And here, the tentative answer:

Oh, well, I guess I already live a ‘nomadic life’…  Early this year I tried to ‘map it out’, describing the different places I’ve lived, as a growing child in Brazil, due to my parents work duties; later, as a researcher, and finally, as a spouse “married into the Foreign Service“, raising our three third-culture children, in a much similar nomadic way I’d been brought up!

I fell like this ‘circle’  will never end… and… why should it? 😮

A couple years back when I began blogging, I decided to name this blog, representing/expressing what my [now 3] kids are: the product of their mom’s and dad’s hybrid/joined cultures. Moving is part of our lives, and was part of mine, way before meeting the so-called ‘better-half’.

I could define myself as a ‘serial expat’, but in a very positive way. The idea of being a ‘rolling stone’ always attracted me, and I was lucky enough to find a match who shared the same ‘itch’… we can’t stay put for long! 😮

And the best part: we’re not alone in this type of lifestyle. Recently, the movie Argo brought out  a side of the Foreign Service that only few knew about – and it made us happy. It has made us proud. We’re proud to be ‘that type of nomads‘…

There are so many bloggers sharing their life stories, experiences, travels and joys about the foreign service! They talk about learning new languages, new cultures, adapting/adjusting… moving, and re-adapting… Some time ago, I wrote about an intriguing reality: “moving is the third most stressful life event“… for real! 😮

Again, the circle does not end… why should it? We embrace the nomadic life… and welcome the changes!

Thanks for the inspiration! ♥

Farewell to Facebook: A great day of liberation!

After a long debate [with myself, the little voices from my head, and my dear husband], we’ve decided to move on. I’m bringing this relationship with Facebook to a whole new level. A healthier one, I believe, and hopes are up. 😮
After pondering around the pros, cons, the time spent through people’s status updates, the conclusion came quick and simple: I’ll live without the artificial reality – don’t think it’s needed. It’ll be for a greater good.


Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

After a long debate [with myself, the little voices from my head, and my dear husband], we’ve decided to move on. I’m bringing this relationship with Facebook to a whole new level. A healthier one, I believe, and hopes are up! 😮

Here is one of the pieces that came to my hands this week:

A new report released this week from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that Facebook remains the leading social network among American teenagers. It’s also the most reviled. While some teenagers interviewed by Pew claimed they “enjoyed using it,” the majority complained of “an increasing adult presence, high-pressure or otherwise negative social interactions (‘drama’), or feeling overwhelmed by others who share too much.” In other words, Facebook—as any adult with a profile knows—feels a lot like high school.

If Facebook is high school, other social media platforms can function as opportunities to escape from Facebook’s pervasive social structure—the online equivalent to cutting class and hanging out beneath the bleachers.

That definitely got me thinking! 😮 Not that any impulse or excuses were needed, to remove FB from my ‘real life’, but it worked as a great springboard for discussion/dbate within our family…

After pondering around the pros, cons, the time spent through people’s status updates, the conclusion came quick and simple: I’ll live without the artificial reality – don’t think it’s needed. It’ll be for a greater good.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

To the ones who care for us, for our family, keep following the blog and checking our family updates through here.

Or, even, go old-school and, once in a while, shoot us an email! [I’m sure you have it!]

Thank you, and I’m happy to move on… moving away from any artificial requirements to ‘ update my status’.

What motivated me to make up my mind? Here’s an extract detailing the so-called “Facebook Syndrome”:

Study has found that teenagers who are heavy users of social networking Websites tend to show signs of depression. The research, by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, studied teenagers in Edinburgh and found that those who are addicted to social networking such as Bebo and Facebook, show symptoms of depression, missed sleep, school and meals. In addition, there were cases where boys became more or less housebound simply because they did not want to leave the computer and thus needed mental health treatment.

Consequently, those who had self-harmed were discovered to have spent far more time on social networking Websites and tended to turn to these sites when in times of trouble when compared to their pairs. The study therefore recommends that mental health patients should be asked about their computer use when undergoing mental assessments.

Furthermore, it is important for adults and not just teenagers to be more conscious of the amount of time spent in front of a computer. Perhaps, one of the biggest indications of ‘Facebook’ syndrome occurs when one can no longer live without mobile phones or access to the Internet.

Wrap-up question: Can you do without the computer or Internet for a day without exhibiting any symptoms of withdrawal? 😮

 

♫ “I wanna know what love is…” ♥

Taking advantage of this being “Mother’s Day” weekend, and inspired by a recent Daily Prompt suggestion, I’ll try to answer this tough question, and yet, illustrate the ‘response’ with a few musical memories… See if you can catch them!

We each have many types of love relationships — parents, children, spouses, friends. And they’re not always with people; you may love an animal, or a place. Is there a single idea or definition that runs through all the varieties of “love”?

Obviously, I’m not the first one who thought about This Song when we saw the title for the prompt… and being a Foreigner myself, it couldn’t be any more fitting! 😮 Who doesn’t love a good play with words

Love Notes

Taking advantage of this being “Mother’s Day” weekend, and inspired by a recent Daily Prompt suggestion, I’ll try to answer this tough question, and yet, illustrate the ‘response’ with a few musical memories… See if you can catch them!

We each have many types of love relationships — parents, children, spouses, friends. And they’re not always with people; you may love an animal, or a place. Is there a single idea or definition that runs through all the varieties of “love”?

Obviously, I’m not the first one who thought about this song ♫ when we saw the title for the prompt… and being a Foreigner myself, it couldn’t be any more fitting! 😮 Who doesn’t love a good play with words?

But, in fact, What’s Love?   – thought I “had a way on this, but still missing several connecting dots in order to finely tune down my ideas on love!

Here is my opportunity to try: I did not marry my First Love ♫, and because, like many, was always seeking for the perfect combination of Love, Trust and Honesty ♫, I was able to discover What Is This Thing Called Love ♫

Love Changes everything ♫.  We’ve become more than a couple, we’re a family, and with each child, we now wholeheartedly understand the meaning of Timeless Love ♫… There are different kinds of love, and we love each person in our lives, in a different way, no more, and no less… Simply different. Fortunately, there’s no single Meaning of Love ♫. But there’s definitely, Not Enough Love In The World ♫ to all the ones that need it!

That said, if I may leave a bit of advice, as somebody who’s constantly experience love, from my family, friends; from the one I chose to be my partner for life, the one who’ve given the most precious expressions of love – our children – here it is: “Put A Little Love In Your Heart“ ♫, and all will be well… ♥

Happy Mother’s Day, to all the moms out there! And much, much love to us all! 😮

For the "non-Portuguese speaking world", inside the heart you may find the word 'Mãe', which means, "Mom"... too perfect, right? :o
For the “non-Portuguese speaking world”, inside the heart you may find the word ‘Mãe’, which means, “Mom”… too perfect, right? 😮

It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World!

Humm… how differently do I communicate online when compared to communicating in person?

I guess I’m part of a minority group when it comes to texting [or messaging, whichever new word has come up to describe the attempt to quickly deliver your thoughts within the cyber-world!]. I’m sure many over here have heard [or read] about the ‘new language’, a new way of expression, the so-called ‘Weblish’, defined as the shorthand form of English that is used in text messaging, chat rooms, twitter posts and other forms of microblogging. So, how much do I [personally] rely on this particular language form, which has gained the unconditional support as the ‘urban grammar’ used as a slang for online conversations? Not much, I’d say. [Is it a bad thing??]

Image Credit: http://tumblr.com
Image Credit: http://tumblr.com

Today, trying to answer the intriguing question proposed by the Daily Prompt:

How do you communicate differently online than in person, if at all? How do you communicate emotion and intent in a purely written medium?

 

Humm… how differently do I communicate online when compared to communicating in person?

I guess I’m part of a minority group when it comes to texting [or messaging, whichever new word has come up to describe the attempt to quickly deliver your thoughts within the cyber-world!]. I’m sure many over here have heard [or read] about the ‘new language’, a new way of expression, the so-called ‘Weblish’, defined as the shorthand form of English that is used in text messaging, chat rooms, twitter posts and other forms of microblogging. So, how much do I [personally] rely on this particular language form, which has gained the unconditional support as the ‘urban grammar’ used as a slang for online conversations? Not much, I’d say. [Is it a bad thing??]

I love interacting with people, you know, the real kind of interaction, the one you need to vocalize the words in order to establish a conversation? Yeap, that kind. I’m a blogger, and being so, I’m completely open to using any and all social media tools that become available.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not against networking, the social media tools [when well used!], and I tend to blog the way I write. I write the way I believe it’s possible to give my thoughts a voice. I’m a chatty cat, if allowed! ♥

Photo Credit: http://nydailynews.com
Photo Credit: http://nydailynews.com

Back to the social networking ‘channels’, I not only admin and maintain a photo/travel journal blog, but also, a Twitter account and a Facebook fan page. Shocked?? By now, many are probably wondering: is this hypocritical woman gonna make any point with all this ‘nice talk’?

Again, I’ve got no intention to put down all the research years that have brought the internet [and all its related content, mechanisms and pathways] to where we are, right now. And I’m grateful to all the advances in technology that make possible for me to skype with family around the world, send and share images/videos of my growing children, offer and receive support from other expats through blogging/microblogging.

But, I have to say, I’m a bit nostalgic. I remember the days I’d correspond with people using letter mail. I remember the great feeling of receiving a birthday card from a family member, getting an expected phone call from a good friend [remember when we didn’t have caller ID?], or a paper note from that special boy at school, with handmade drawings… 😮

These events have a dear place in my memory, and it saddens me to think they may be gone by the time my children would be ready for those experiences. I feel that now, things are moving a bit too fast, and unfortunately, we, as a society, tend not to allow ourselves to spend a little more time interacting with each other…

I’m a believer. I believe in TEXT. The real kind, the one where words [not signs, not smiley faces, not words without letters] are used to express our true thoughts, feelings and emotions I’m believer, what can I say? And since I’m a bit older than many here [pushing 42, right now…:o], I’ve survived without the internet, but now, it’s a critical part of my life; I feel like I can have my saying…. I’m old-school, and if I need to text, I’ll do so, with no regrets. But if the message gets a bit longer than I have the patience to type, I just write: “Need to touch base. Will write you an e-mail”… and all my problems are, magically, solved! 😮

texting... Humm???
Image Credit: http://facebook.com

What about you, are you like me, or completely different? In any event, thank you all for sharing! TEXT-TEXT TEXT/ [pingbacked to other bloggers, sharing their takes on the theme!]

Why I write? Why I share? [My personal Space]

Today’s Daily Prompt is Personal Space.

When I stop to think, ‘why do I blog?’ or ‘why do we share stories about your family experiences, our travels, our difficulties and joys while raising kids?’, I come back to the same answers:

I blog because, to me, it’s a personal experience. I have no ambitions to use the blog as some sort of ‘marketing springboard’, although, since along the years, it has become quite a forum for other expatriates, traveling families, members of the foreign service community… a safe place where I can express my views and takes on life, share our questions, seeking for answers and/or advice from others facing similar situations…

Today’s Daily Prompt is Personal Space.

When I stop to think, ‘why do I blog?’ or ‘why do we share stories about your family experiences, our travels, our difficulties and joys while raising kids?’, I come back to the same answers:

I blog because, to me, it’s a personal experience. I have no ambitions to use the blog as some sort of ‘marketing springboard’, although, since along the years, it has become quite a forum for other expatriates, traveling families, members of the foreign service community… a safe place where I can express my views and takes on life, share our questions, seeking for answers and/or advice from others facing similar situations…

I’m a parent, and with my husband, we’ve built an interesting lifestyle for ourselves and for our growing children. We are diverse. We share different backgrounds, cultures, knowledges and lessons learned. We share our learnings with our kids. We speak different languages in our household… and everyone has to try all the different types of food mom and dad were brought up with! 😮

We share the joy, the sad moments, the adventurous decisions… We share the concerns and we look for solutions. Among ourselves, within the expat community. We look for input from other families in the foreign service. We try to enjoy life, snapping shots along the way, and sharing those beautiful and unique images here. Hopefully, this ‘live journal’ will one day be useful to our kids, our worldly citizens, growing up as products of hybrid cultures – and if that happens, I’ll be very proud! ♥

That’s why I blog. I makes me happy to share, and at the same time, it keeps me going. It helps me cope with difficult situations, it helps me assist other families, and it gives me the so much needed reassurance that, despite all challenges, we are not alone. And we’ll never be alone… that’s one of the beauties and positive sides of the cybersphere! 😮

And you, why do write, blog, share your very own ‘personal space’ with other bloggers, keeping the ‘blogsphere’ active and spinning? 😮 Some others have done their part, and, as expected, given away their reasons [see below]… thank you all for sharing!http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/daily-prompt-personal-space/