[Weekly Writing Challenge] The power of its name…

Image Credit: http://blog.hubspot.com
Image Credit: http://blog.hubspot.com

It came to life on March 2011, almost exactly three years ago…

And it’s got a life of its own.

Some suspect it may have a mind of its own, as well… Its words are provoking, but never arrogant.

Its shared thoughts often tend to bring out stimulating conversations. But what is ‘it’?

What’s its name? Does it have any?

It’s got an individual identity, and yet, it’s got a social side. Quite a social face, some would state. It’s public and yet, it’s got its private features.

It’s an experiment, a challenge, a tale. It’s fed by others and it feeds itself. It’s lifeless and it’s dynamic.

Image Credit: http://www.seomoves.org
Image Credit: http://www.seomoves.org

What’s its name? It’s got one single title, which refers to the result of the modern transcontinental growth our society is witnessing; something spectacular, something that can never be taught or learned or fully understood by anyone who hasn’t actually experienced it…

Its name is powerful and profound.

The name was given before its birth, while the female mastermind behind its creation craved for a way to express the desire to share with the world her incomprehensible experiences living life as a nomad.

And while always a migrant, she raises worldly citizens under her wings… Citizens that will display hybrid cultures, being the product of mixed backgrounds, histories, cultures and languages.

This self-maintained creature, repeatedly mentioned here, is an escape mechanism, a tool, a voice to a parent’s cries for advice.

The voice given to this ‘quasi-mythical’ creation has a name, Third Culture Children, and through the lines of this blogging journey, the creature may have become as powerful as its creator; in an ironic and totally expected outcome.

Its name brings many meanings, and the notion of children as artefact of hybrid cultures goes beyond the physical explanations words may provide.

It’s the name given to this blog, representing the interface between the creator and the creation. It’s a living strategy to share thoughts, feelings and questions.

The name, although powerful as it should be, may never surpass the strength of the concept embedded on it – the definition of a child as a positive product of multiple influences, a TCK, a citizen of the world, ready for facing and overcoming life challenges… ❤

{Weekly Writing Challenge} The Sound of Silence.

The Sound of Silence: Welcome to the Jungle!

The Sound of Silence: Welcome to the Jungle.

Enjoy the silence, I ask you – and let it take over you…

I’m opening the doors to the silent voices in my head.

Welcome to the jungle, I’d say…

The jungle is quiet, and yet, it’s not. Its creatures keep moving, and talking, and chanting…

“Welcome to the jungle we’ve got fun and games”

Do we really? What’s fun about our chaotic minds? Unstoppable creation? Endless fiction?

We are the people who can find whatever you may need

But the people remain silent. How can they offer me what I need? Do they understand me?

You too, enjoy the silence, and its unique sound. The sound of things falling, the sound of lives turning, the sound of minds creating…

The sound of silence – the silence in the jungle in which we’re all trapped in – ourselves.

“Welcome to the jungle we take it day by day”

Enjoy the sound of silence – the silence of a day going by, without you even noticing… The sound of time passing, the sound of aging without living…

“Welcome to the jungle it gets worse here every day”

The silence is taken over by the voices in my head… the little voices chanting their fears through their lyrics… the silence is gone… the voices are all the jungle has now.

Welcome to my jungle, unveiled by the false silence and the powerful voices that only exist in my mind…

[Started my morning on a fantastic beat… from 1987, to be more precise… thank you very much for the inspiration – words and thoughts are based on Guns & Rose’s hit, creating the sound of silence in my head, broken only by the little voices that follow me around…]

Continue reading “{Weekly Writing Challenge} The Sound of Silence.”

{Weekly Writing Challenge} Parenting as a Cliffhanger…

When being called “Incredibly Good” is really not good for children?

Great Wednesday, although it began with a not-so-welcoming weather in La Paz – the rainy season has arrived, and flooded streets displaying the hectic driving behavior are definitely not the best place to be!

Back to work, as expected, and having the opportunity to read the paper before the work day starts is key! The Washington Post column on ‘Parenting’ called my attention with an article on ‘Stop heaping praise on your kids’, by Amy Joyce, really brought some thoughts up, as well as, a few questions and concerns.

Source: http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/
Image Source: http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/

When being called “Incredibly Good” is really not good for children?

Great Wednesday, although it began with a not-so-welcoming weather in La Paz – the rainy season has arrived, and flooded streets displaying the hectic driving behavior are definitely not the best place to be! The inspiration for this ‘quasi-op-piece’ comes from the idea of leaving the readers ‘hanging’ [thanks, Michelle W., btw!]’, while I freely start a discussion on possible strategies on parenting well-rounded children [or lack of thereof!].

Back to work, as expected, and having the opportunity to read the paper before the work day starts is key! The Washington Post column on ‘Parenting’ called my attention with an article on ‘Stop heaping praise on your kids’, by Amy Joyce, really brought some thoughts up, as well as, a few questions and concerns.

STOP PRAISING YOUR KIDS??

Not really, but let’s keep on moving on. Also, nobody should be telling us what to do regarding the way we bring our kids up, correct? 😮

We’ve all done it, stated Amy Joyce. But I’m sure not all of us knew we might be hurting our kids by doing it… At least, I did not know. How could I? Simply trying to work my best magic tricks when it comes to parenting…

Why would we, parents, knowingly harm our children?

Let’s start thinking! Continue reading

2013 in Review: Photo Project ’52 Bolivian Sundays’.

bolivian unusual

 

It first began with an inspiration from WordPress, a weekly ‘suggestion’ proposed to bloggers/photographers all around, a ‘weekly photo challenge’ idea. It soon morphed into a very personal photo project, where we’d share impressions, images, and ‘tastes’ of life in Bolivia, our home from August 2012 until next Summer. Now, before we begin next year, and start making plans for our future home, Brasilia, Brazil, I’d like to share the ‘results’ of this ‘blogging experience’, the Photo Project 52 Bolivian Sundays!

Clearly, if you pay attention [and count!] the number of links, you’ll be able to reach one not-so-perfect result: unfortunately, the full 52 weeks mark was not achieved… [insert a sad face here] Although, tried my best to accomplish it… Maybe 2014 will bring better luck and longer weeks for this around-the-clock mamma of 3, working inside and out of the house, and being a trophy wife to dear husband! 😮

Please find below the topics for each ‘weekly inspiration’, and follow the link to its original post, if you wish! ♥

Cotapata Park, Bolivia

 

Last Sunday of 2013: Ending the Year with “Joy”

“One”    “Community”   “Grand”    “Eerie”   “Horizon”    “Hue”    “Infinite”   “Good Morning”  

“Saturated”   “From Lines to Patterns”  “Inside”  “Unusual Point of View”   “Sea”   “Focus”  “Carefree” 

"Llamas Crossing"“One Shot, Two Ways”   “Foreshadow”

“Masterpiece”         “Fresh” 

 “The Golden Hour”    “Nostalgic” 

“Companion”     “World Through Your Eyes”

“Background and Foreground” 

“Escape”  “From Above”   “Culture” 

 

“Up and Down”  “Change”  “Color” 

IMG_5663“A Day”   “Future Tense”  “Lunch Time”   “My Neighborhood”   

“Lost in the Details”   “Forward”   “Kiss”

 

“Home”  “Unique”  “Love”  “Beyond”

“Illumination”   “Resolved”

 

Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [‘Joy’], for the last Sunday of 2013!

DSC_0232

hammock

fun by the boardwalk in Chile
fun by the boardwalk in Chile

IMG_0185

Inspired by this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, and finishing up with our personal year-long photo project, 52 Bolivian Sundays [feel free to visit link on the right for previous weeks!], a joyful interpretation [and super bias, ’cause, I do live for these little 3 kiddos, pictured here with a couple of their friends…] for this last Sunday of 2013′!

IMG_1127

IMG_0852

♥ EnJOY as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥ Happy New Year to All of Us!

IMG_0934

Continue reading “Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [‘Joy’], for the last Sunday of 2013!”

{Weekly Writing Challenge} Ghosts of Christmas Past…

Like many around here, I’m working right now. Yeap. It’s December 24th, I live in a South American country – Bolivia, to be more specific, and yet, I’m at work – but not for much longer, I hope. We’re all hopefully waiting for some good news from above, letting us know we may go home. and get ready for Christmas eve. At end, in a latino country, it’s more than expected. Large family meals, moms will be cooking all afternoon for the well-deserved supper. Oh, forgot to mention: I’m also the mom, right… the one who should be at home, cooking a feast, at this very moment! 😮

Like many around here, I’m working right now.

Yeap. It’s December 24th, I live in a South American country – Bolivia, to be more specific, and yet, I’m at work – but not for much longer, I dream… We’re all hopefully waiting for some good news from above, letting us know we may go home. and get ready for Christmas eve. At end, in a latino country, it’s more than expected. Large family meals, moms will be cooking all afternoon for the well-deserved supper.

Oh, forgot to mention: I’m also the mom, right… the one who should be at home, cooking a feast, at this very moment! 😮

Source: http://www.truenorth.tv/NR/rdonlyres/0A33BE09-F877-40EA-B8B0-BF62CFAE9E0C/0/ghostschristban1notext.jpg
Source:http://www.truenorth.tv

But it’ll get done. Sent my dear husband on a ‘shopping mission’ (did I mention he is not working today?). I’m sure he’ll find everything I’ve asked him to search for. And once I’m home, there’ll be some cooking!

Now, talking about Christmas ghosts. My ghosts of December 24th are all sweet little creatures. All my past Christmas memories seem to be filled with happy moments, even the ones who were somewhat challenging, due to family difficulties… The ghosts in my life are lively and loving.

December 24, 2012, last year. Our first family Christmas at our new Bolivian home. Our household effects [aka stuff being held hostage by the moving company] had arrived. We decorated the house. We had a lit Christmas tree and our bundle of joy had their first Navidad Paceno.

December 24, 2011, we’re in Fortaleza, Brazil. Got to spend Christmas eve with my parents, my brothers, their wives and my niece. Chaotic as any Brazilian holiday should be. Every one talks over each other, and nobody can really hold on a conversation. But life’s still good. Kids running around, screaming… some crying here and there. My parents giving us unsolicited advice on how to raise our children [cause, you know.. we really don’t know how to keep 3 children alive, move around every so often, adjust to different countries/languages/cultures…]. And we listened to the advices, while mentally preparing our grocery list for the next day… 😮

December 24, 2010, we’d arrived in Recife, Brazil, a couple of months prior. We’d also welcomed into our lives our youngest baby girl, our only child born in Brazil, like her mama. Not much of a shut-eye, restful holiday, especially with a new born, but the ghosts of Christmas were merciful, and allowed our family of 5 to enjoy the season… At the end, after being gone from Brazil for almost 10 years, I was back…

December 24, 2009, welcome to the Foreign Service Family! The Washingtonian ghosts of Christmas were applauding, secretly smiling while setting out their plans for our soon-to-be a full-time nomadic troupe! And we got trapped home, thanks to the East Coast Snowmagedon! 😮

December 24, 2008, family, now with 4 members, came back to DC, after our tour in Africa. Christmas with the in-laws, and plans for the future.

December 24, 2006-2007, our family of 3 celebrated the holidays with the the colorful Mozambican ghosts of Christmas, our first overseas post as a family, as it’s dearly called ‘a hard-to-fill assignment’.

December 24,  2005, the Lima-Miranda couple enjoyed the lovely sleepless nights, while rocking our first-born. The cold DC weather brought us the ghosts of Christmas as a family. Between bottle feedings, changings and lullaby singing, the ghosts held our hands and kept us on our toes!

December 24, 2004, husband and wife are reunited, after the man-of-the-house came back from a temporary-duty at a far land… Does this sound familiar to anyone? 😮 The ghosts of Christmas past made sure he’d come home safe and sound, with a nice gift to his dear wife!

December 24, 2003, we just got married [a couple of months back, but still!]. Plans for the future, naive minds, ideas of how good we’d be as parents… 😮 The ghosts of Christmas made sure our newly joint bank account would have enough for a decent holiday season… And we were grateful to them…

As I started this post by saying, the ghosts of Christmas past have been nothing but nice to us. As a couple, as a beginner family, as a traveling serial expatriate bunch. We’re working well together – the ghosts and us…

Merry Christmas to you all! May your December 24, 2013 be merry and bright. I’m sure mine is!

And for the ones who are still at work… the time is coming! The clock keeps ticking, and soon, we’ll be back home… enjoying our Christmas Eve feast! 😮

my 3 little ghosts

Thanks for the inspiration!

Continue reading “{Weekly Writing Challenge} Ghosts of Christmas Past…”

Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [‘One’]

IMG_1037

unplugged3

"Llamas Crossing"
“Llamas Crossing”

Inspired by this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, and continuing with our personal photo project, 52 Bolivian Sundays [feel free to visit link on the right for previous weeks!], a humble interpretation of ‘One’…

P1010537

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Continue reading “Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [‘One’]”

Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [‘Community’]

Inspired by this week’s Wordpress Photo Challenge, and continuing with our personal photo project, 52 Bolivian Sundays [feel free to visit link on the right for previous weeks!], a humble interpretation of ‘Community’: reaching out to the Bolivian community through a common passion – soccer!

IMG_1071

Inspired by this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, and continuing with our personal photo project, 52 Bolivian Sundays [feel free to visit link on the right for previous weeks!], a humble interpretation of ‘Community’: reaching out to the Bolivian community through a common passion – soccer!

IMG_1054

IMG_1052

DSC_0195

PS: I'm proudly married to the team's captain... :o Community Outreach while exercising his passion for soccer!
PS: I’m proudly married to the team’s captain… 😮 Community Outreach while exercising his passion for soccer!

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [‘Grand’]

Largest freshwater lake in South America
Largest freshwater lake in South America

Inspired by this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, and continuing with our personal photo project, 52 Bolivian Sundays [feel free to visit link on the right for previous weeks!], a humble interpretation of ‘Grand’:

Copacabana, Bolivia
Copacabana, Bolivia
touring the Yungas region...
touring the Yungas region…
Cotapata Park, Bolivia
Cotapata Park, Bolivia
The Ilimani
The Ilimani

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Continue reading “Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [‘Grand’]”

A snapshot from mystic Copacabana: Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 44, ‘Eerie’]

“Something eerie has a story to tell — one you aren’t quite sure you want to know.” [The Daily Post]

IMG_5658

 

My offer for this week’s photo challenge [Week 44… 2 more little months to go!], sharing bits and pieces of the Bolivian culture, through the 52 Bolivian Sundays Photo Project. Today, an interpretation of ‘eerie’, as we look at a snapshot of the religious, mystic and mysterious city of Copacabana. People worshiping along the altars hallway seem like ghosts in this scenario…

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Continue reading “A snapshot from mystic Copacabana: Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 44, ‘Eerie’]”

Horizon: Where sky meets earth. Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 43].

Horizon. The space or line where the sky meets the earth.

Lake Titicaca, Copacabana, Bolivia
Lake Titicaca, Copacabana, Bolivia

HorizonThe space or line where the sky meets the earth”. [from the Daily Post]

Sunset by the lake Titicaca
Sunset by the lake Titicaca
Cotapata Park, Bolivia
Cotapata Park, Bolivia
The city of La Paz, at night, seen from El Alto.
The city of La Paz, at night, seen from El Alto.

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Continue reading “Horizon: Where sky meets earth. Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 43].”

Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 42, ‘a Hue of Color, from Tarija’]

This past week, our family took advantage of the children’s school break and flew out of La Paz, seeking warmer temperatures, good hiking, and a relaxing scenario. Tarija is famous for its warm weather and the colorful winery settings. More to come, as we get our photos organized in the ‘shoe box’. For now, a quick example of what we saw/experienced/enjoyed over there:

Singani in Tarija

This past week, our family took advantage of the children’s school break and flew out of La Paz, seeking warmer temperatures, good hiking, and a relaxing scenario. Tarija is famous for its warm weather and the colorful winery settings. More to come, as we get our photos organized in the ‘shoe box’. For now, a quick example of what we saw/experienced/enjoyed over there:

The orange shades displayed by the glasses filled with Singani drinks – one of Bolivia’s trademarks – seem to perfectly fit the bill for ‘a hue of me‘… a lovely combination of orange and wood tones…

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Continue reading “Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 42, ‘a Hue of Color, from Tarija’]”

Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 41, ‘Infinite’]

“Infinity can produce contrasting effects on (and in) us: it might make us feel dwarfed or amplified, afraid or empowered.” [The Daily Post]

My offer for this week’s photo challenge [Week 41… 11 more to go!], sharing bits and pieces of the Bolivian culture, through the 52 Bolivian Sundays Photo Project. today, an interpretation of ‘infinite’, as we look down into the Road of Death in Coroico [Yungas Region].

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Continue reading “Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 41, ‘Infinite’]”

Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 40, ‘Good morning, Sunshine!’]

We all start our days in different ways: going for a run, hitting snooze 17 times, or watching the morning news, among many, many others. [from The Daily Post, Wordpress]. Why not start the day by greeting the Sunshine? 😮

My offer for this week’s photo challenge, sharing bits and pieces of the Bolivian culture, through the 52 Bolivian Sundays Photo Project: being greeted by a typical ‘Good Morning’ at work – yes, we’ve got a garden around the building! 😮

good morning

We all start our days in different ways: going for a run, hitting snooze 17 times, or watching the morning news, among many, many others. [from The Daily Post, WordPress].

Why  not start the day by greeting the Sunshine?

My offer for this week’s photo challenge [Week 40 finally arrived… 12 more to go!], sharing bits and pieces of the Bolivian culture, through the 52 Bolivian Sundays Photo Project: being greeted by a typical ‘Good Morning’ – yes, we’ve got a garden! 😮

♥ Enjoy as you please, and thanks for stopping by! ♥

Continue reading “Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” [week 40, ‘Good morning, Sunshine!’]”

Weekly Writing Challenge: DNA Analysis

Clearly a writing challenge inspired by a topic titled ‘DNA analysis’ had to catch my attention. Not only I’m a born-again geek, I’m a ‘recovering scientist’, and up for grabbing any opportunity to jump right back into my past!

Source: http://nist.org
Source: http://nist.org

Clearly a writing challenge inspired by a topic titled ‘DNA analysis’ had to catch my attention. Not only I’m a born-again geek, I’m a ‘recovering scientist’, and up for grabbing any opportunity to jump right back into my past!

Funny how reading through this week’s suggestion from the Daily Post put me into a time machine, sending me back and forth in time: remembering my days as a researcher, scientist, professor; and yet, imagining how it would be when my [now little] children grow and decide on their own careers, taking up on different life paths…

Who knows what the future will have for them? What I’ve got is my past, followed by a great present bringing my off-spring up…

Talking about offspring, let me take you back to this post’s original idea, before my reminiscent past [and the uncertainties of our nomad future], take me completely off-track! My family is a melting pot: I seem to bring to the table a mix of Portuguese and Northern African backgrounds, surprisingly revealed by a recent DNA analysis. Our 3 children are a mix of Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, German ingredients, bubbling up from inside a hot deep cooking pot.

[Quick note: one of my husband’s passions, besides me, obviously, is Genealogy. He maintains a website on his parental families, and we’ve done together the DNA analysis, to learn more about our ‘ancestry’. The triggering idea for immersing into the research was actually the moment our first child was born: leave a knowledge legacy for our children].

Off-track… again? Not really! Back to my Portuguese/Northern African heritage…

From my mother I’ve inherited the quick temper and the sharp tongue – aww, those Portuguese Senoritas! I’ve also learned from her how to appreciate food and cooking, especially seafood dishes; all well-accompanied with good wine. She is the Teacher in my life, in more ways than one. My mother has taught me to understand and develop a passion for artistic expressions: music, dance and painting. Later in life, they all morphed into a healthy taste for fashion, dining out, event hosting, social outings and the passion for traveling to new places…

From my long-lost past...
From my long-lost past…

My father’s legacy is deeply imprinted in my body and mind. I became a person of Science because of him. Like my mother, he grew up orphan, lacking a present father-figure at home; nevertheless, made a life for himself as a chemical engineer, and teaching me how to love and appreciate all expressions of science and investigation and discipline. From my father I’ve inherited a ‘not-so-healthy’ taste for questioning, inquiring, and looking for answers and justifications. I’ve learned I’m capable of challenging facts of life, seeking solutions to daily problems.

I consider myself a product of hybrid environments, a product of mixed cultures, nicely blending together. I consider myself not a noun, but a verb… I’ve learned to accept and embrace new cultures and traditions as my own, since a very early age.

Life went on, and as it should be, the day I had to overlap my nucleic acid sequence with someone else’s came around. Considering that recombination is a common method of DNA repair, it was definitely the way the ‘future Mr. Right’ and I decided to pursue. Structural repair? What a great suggestion for a lucky start! Genetic recombination with breaking and rejoining of DNA strands is accelerated by many different enzymes. In our case, those enzymes were an endless curiosity, the unpaired desire to travel and visit new places and the recognition that neither one of us could survive withought the other’s genetic material… And so we merged; two genomes fusing into one happily married sequence… trust me, PCR results can prove it! 😮

The results of this apparently odd combination can be checked [through a quite simple molecular biology experiment]: the three children that fill our house with joy and love. They have dark, brown and blond hairs. They’ve got dark and light eye colors. They dance and play like Brazilians, eat like Mexican and Portuguese; cry like Spaniards and French. They’re emotional and they’re grounded. They like art, and they like science. They’re growing up knowing the world is much bigger than what’s stated by their birth certificates, or stamped on their 9 passports…

Our children understand they come from mixed backgrounds, and know in their hearts they need to honor their heritage. And one day, they’ll be telling stories about their parents and grandparents to their own offspring: tales about how recombinant DNA, Portuguese cuisine, Mariachis, and American football traditions are all related… 😮

Y4Z5IVMP3YC5SBQMO2NL

The little voices in my head and I, discussing an article on ‘Working Mothers’…

As I usually do, I try to [jump]start my [work] day catching up with the news. My routine begins with a brief read through the Washington Post and a couple of coffee. Since it was Monday, I was a bit delayed with my start. After going over the unsettling headlines on the very sad events in DC [a metro stop from our house, now rented] and, as a parent, could not stop thinking about the 12 year old Florida girl, victim of cyber-bullying…

Two stories that hit really close to home, and make us reconsider the world we’re raising our children into…

I decided to move on, and hopped over to the paper’s Parenting section, another favorite of mine.

dialogo
Source: http://www.ilbacodaseta.org

As I usually do, I try to [jump]start my [work] day catching up with the news. My routine begins with a brief read through the Washington Post and a couple of coffee. Since it was Monday, I was a bit delayed with my start. After going over the unsettling headlines on the very sad events in DC [a metro stop from our house, now rented] and, as a parent, could not stop thinking about the 12 year old Florida girl, victim of cyber-bullying

Two stories that hit really close to home, and make us reconsider the world we’re raising our children into…

I decided to move on, and hopped over to the paper’s Parenting section, another favorite of mine. That’s when my ‘internal conversation‘ decided to take place. An article from Mary-Jane Williams had me nodding my head in agreement, asking the author/interviewee questions and answering them before any of them [the article’s author and the interviewee] had an opportunity to do so.

Katrina Alcorn, a writer-editor and mom of three in Oakland recently had a book published about ‘struggles, juggling work and home responsibilities’ and yes, it’s about many of us, working moms out there, trying our best to survive as professional, spouses and state-of-the-art moms.

Here’s how the ‘little voices in my head‘ began reading through the article:

source: http://formerfatdudes.com
source: http://formerfatdudes.com

[voices in my head speaking up] “I bet you she [book author, previously ‘maxed-out’ mom] will tell us it’s virtually impossible to juggle, perform and excel at all tasks we [working moms] are expected to display”…

[article] “The expectation is that there’s an adult at home, but that’s not how we live anymore. We’re trying to make something work that doesn’t work…”

[voices in my head to the conscious me] “I could have told you that. Don’t you know that already? Do I have to remind you how hard some mornings can be when, while fighting a splitting headache and trying to get a couple of coffee out of the microwave, you find yourself mopping the floor because one of the kids has already spilled orange juice from his/her breakfast? And remember, it has to be done carefully, so you don’t get your work clothes dirty before you’ve got a chance to leave the house!?”

[the conscious me]  “I guess you’re right. Maybe I don’t need a book to tell me that, it’s fairly common sense. We all know how hard it is nowadays to be a working mother…” And then, I resume back to reading the article: “but… let’s keep on reading it… she [book author, previously exhausted mom] seems to be pretty grounded. Maybe she’ll bring something up that I don’t know yet… let me keep reading…”

[article] “We need to change the conversation. We need to get out of this obsession with individual choices… We need to change the conversation so it’s not about what women are doing, but what society is doing. Do you want a bunch of bulletproof women to have this, what we think of as a normal life?”

[the conscious me to the little voices in my head] “WOW, she just nailed it on the head! See how simple the problem is: we [women, mothers] are not the problem; the society is, and the way the society ‘perceive’ the participation of working mothers is the big issue – and I loved her metaphorical comparison using the ‘bulletproof’ women! I totally feel like, every morning, before we all go out [of our bedroom] and face the real world [aka, our demanding kids, our needy spouses, our challenging jobs], we need to put on some sort of invisible, but yet, effective shield, and carry on with our daily chores. And don’t even consider the possibility of failing! Failure for a working mother, whose goal is nothing less than perfect, is completely out of question!”

[little voices in my head] “You’re overreacting. Do you believe you’re the only mother that works outside the house? You actually got it pretty easy… and don’t get me started on the whole ‘you’ve got household help’ speech… Remember: it was one of the reasons you guys decided to keep going with this foreign service gig… be honest, what would life be like if you were back in DC? Would you be working?”

[the conscious me to the little voices in my head]  “But that’s the whole point! You’re right, very likely, I wouldn’t be working. How could I? And a nanny? There’ll be no way on earth we’d be able to afford one! And if I’d decided to work, even part-time, I had to find a reliable day-care for the baby girl, juggle with a flexible work schedule, and be prepared for the ‘not-so-friendly looks’ my co-workers would give me every time I had to leave early, due to some unforeseen cause! But this lady here [the book author] is so right, let me read out loud her statement:

[the article] “The women in my life are really capable, smart, hardworking and dedicated to their families. They don’t really need advice.Their employers need advice, their co-workers need advice, the policymakers need advice.”

[the conscious me to the little voices in my head] “See? Do you get the main issue? It’s all about this endless conflict women have to deal with; the conflict between working [outside the house] and raising kids. Here’s another excerpt:”

[the article] “For better or worse, women are raised to be nurturers and to say yes. But I think there’s more to it. Research shows that when employers know a woman has children or is going to have children, her performance is scrutinized more. . . . If a woman is worried that she’s being scrutinized at work because she’s a mother, she’s going to be really circumspect about setting boundaries at work because she doesn’t want to be seen as someone who is not pulling her weight… Those things came at a price. They were not free. We may put in extra time at night after the kids go to bed, early in the morning or on weekends, but that time isn’t seen the same way as the time in the office. . . . I think we need to challenge the idea that to be effective at work or be a leader you need to work long hours.”

[little voices in my head to the now, caffeine-deprived me] “Did you notice that when you began ‘psycho-analyzing the article, your completely forgot about your coffee? It’s probably ice-cold by now! We need to fix this, asap!”

[the not-so-sure about being conscious me, to the little voices in my head] “I guess you’re right. Totally forgot about it. And now, I have to go find a microwave at somebody else’s office and warm it up… it won’t be the same, but hey, the article really got me engaged, which is a good sign…. I hope more working moms out there come out with similar ‘poking discussions’… some good food for thought… And talking about food, let me get that coffee warmed up!”

[little voices, now fading] “Good chatting with you. Hope you have a nice day at work… Talk to you soon!” 😮

Source: http://bartsblackboard.com
Source: http://bartsblackboard.com

Written in response to this week’s writing inspiration, “Dialogue”

Violence-induced media and third-culture children.

The suggestion comes out as Michael Pick pokes us all with the question “Does watching violent movies inspire violence in the real world? “. In his own words, “When tragedies happen in the real world because of the violent deeds of a particular individual, the shock and horror that this happened very soon leads to trying to unravel the reason behind how it came to pass.

For some, the violence seen in films is taken as a catalyst or the inspiration for disturbing acts of violence in the real world. For others, blaming film violence for real life tragedies is cutting corners at best and “scapegoating” at worst — an effort to pin complex social or psychological issues on an enemy that can’t fight back…”

As a parent, a traveler, a ‘serial expat’, and mother of 3 growing TCKs, I believe there are so many factors responsible for shaping up the future of a child – and this is especially true when we’re talking about raising well-adjusted, worldly citizens, well-rounded children, as products of hybrid cultures.

PhotoFunia-742c03

I’ve been away from blogging a bit too long, and now, the opportunitiy to bring up my random thoughts on a very intriguing social issue, has arisen. The suggestion for this personal op-piece comes out as Michael Pick pokes us all this week, with the question: “Does watching violent movies inspire violence in the real world? “.  In his own words, “When tragedies happen in the real world because of the violent deeds of a particular individual, the shock and horror that this happened very soon leads to trying to unravel the reason behind how it came to pass.

For some, the violence seen in films is taken as a catalyst or the inspiration for disturbing acts of violence in the real world. For others, blaming film violence for real life tragedies is cutting corners at best and “scapegoating” at worst — an effort to pin complex social or psychological issues on an enemy that can’t fight back…

Violent? :o these are Super-Heroes, embedded with super-dupper powers, and any little boy's dream!  Image downloaded from the site http://abduzeedo.com
Violent? These are Super-Heroes, embedded with super-dupper powers, and any husband’s  little boy’s dream!
Image downloaded from the site http://abduzeedo.com

 

As a parent, a traveler, a ‘serial expat’, and mother of 3 growing TCKs, I believe there are so many factors responsible for shaping up a child’s future – and this is especially true when we’re talking about raising well-adjusted, worldly citizens, well-rounded children, as products of hybrid cultures.

Some of these factors are culture, socialization and the own child’s experience; its perception of the world, and the child’s feelings and frustrations. Unfortunately, due to being exposed to a myriad of social situations and contexts, a so-called ‘third culture child‘ is also more vulnerable to external influences. One of the strongest influences relates to the common day-to-day aspects of life: the innocent act ofabsorbing‘ images and concepts brought home through movies, TV shows, streamed videos, all the so-handy resources offered by the internet! And why not say, through the apparently harmless violence-based children’s video games… 😮

Oh, well… so then, what should we do, as parents? Others here already expressed their opinion that simply forbidding the child from watching potentially violent programs/movies, is not the solution, but it does have an impact on the developing mind – and the impact is unlikely positive, unfortunately…

Third culture children are in continuous need to understand the true origins of caring, the need to help others, and the strategies to display a nonaggressive behavior. The key players in order to achieve that level of self-knowledge, comes from parental socialization, the family system, schools and cultural influence. Currently, the easiest and quickest [albeit, not fully harmless!] avenues are the social media tools, television and movies. For younger kids, especially, the last two ‘avenues’ mentioned before, have both a fast and deep impact on the children’s minds, and the way they begin developing their own concepts, affirmations and perceptions about their surroundings.

Children who are growing up under this modern ‘violence-influenced’ scenario, will likely tend to develop the understanding that violence is a regular [and maybe necessary] part of life, which could be extremely dangerous for our future generations.

Again, as a parent, I’m concerned with the loss of sensitivity when it comes to publicly offering free violence viewing to our kids, as if it were part of a healthy environment.

Is reality really as cruel as it’s perceived through the movies? Is it all necessary? What good is it bringing to the upcoming generations?

Too many questions, and not on single answer – at least, not from my parental and confused mind.

We’re all just trying to get by surviving one day at a time, and hoping that our children will turn out to be well-balanced, responsible and loving adults. That’s simply my hope; as much as I’d like to, I don’t have control over my children’s future. I can offer them advice and love, but can’t hide them inside a bubble, making sure they won’t get hurt or even hurt others. This ‘motherly bubble’ doesn’t exist, thankfully… Kids need to be kids and yet, need to experience life. Life as it is. Holywoodian life is not life, it’s not real. The ‘reality’ portrait by movies is not, in fact, real. And the violence offered by movies should always be perceived as what it really is: fiction… 😮

‘Backward’ Tale – The Boy and The Girl.

It’s been a roller coaster…living and moving… and adjusting… and moving again

It’s been a full house, with three queens and two kings

They travel because of work

They move because it’s their passion.

It’s been eleven years and eleven months

The boy and the girl have wed.

 WeddingIt’s been a nice hand, more precisely, a full house,

with three Queens and two Kings

It’s been a roller coaster… living and moving…

And adjusting… and moving again.

They traveled because of work,

They moved because it’s their passion.

It’s been nine years and eleven months
Since the boy and the girl have wed.

One decade awaits to celebrate their togetherness

But it was not always like that


The boy had dreams

The girl had fears

And yet, they were so alike…

The girl had left her home country,
Her job would take her to a far away land

The boy would wait for her.

He had found a job, he had finished school.

His job would yet take him to far away lands

But the boy liked to travel

And so did the girl.

boy and girlThere have been financial difficulties.

There have been physical distances

There have been emotional challenges

But the boy and the girl have never given up.

That boy and that girl had met some twelve years back

And could not wait to meet up again… and again…

They traveled to see each other

They traveled because of work.

They traveled to unknown places, for the ordinary pleasures of moving, seeing and learning…

Even if there had been no money to travel, they would still do it

And simply pay for it later.

Some twelve years ago,

The boy had gone to the girl’s home country

To learn a new language,

To learn a new culture,

To find himself into a whole new adventure.

Without even looking for it,
He discovered love

And so did the girl.

Neither one of them had ever believed in love at first sight.

The boy and the girl were probably the most skeptical people on the face of the Earth,

But those two were so wrong!

And they found what they were missing, on each other

Some twelve years back…

Now, the boy and the girl have aged

And they are proud to show their hand: they’ve got the most perfect full house

With three Queens and two Kings….♥

king-and-queen-of-hearts-playing-cards-courting-each-other

This post is written in response to WordPress’ Weekly Writing Challenge. The details of the challenge can be found here.

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?”

“Pay no attention to the woman behind the children…”

‘Who’s that woman?’

And why is she always giving orders? Acting like she’s some sort of ‘commander’ for a civilian army of three little children [and a husband!]?

‘Who’s that woman behind the growing children? ‘

The one trying her best not to fail, trying her hardest to be up to any and all tasks, excelling on her parenting skills, in the hope that other parents would look up to her as a role model?

‘Who’s the woman who lets herself be kept backstage, silently watching life play its theatrical acts, desperately witnessing her heart beat outside her body, every time one of her children crosses the house door and heads out to the world?’

 

Behind the children

‘Who’s that woman?’

‘Which woman?’

‘That one, discreetly hiding behind her children…

Doesn’t she have a life of her own?’

‘Shhhh… Pay no attention to the woman behind the children…

She may hear you. She may get upset’.

‘She seems so afraid for her little ones… She looks so fragile… like if at any moment, she will break down into tears.. or break apart into small glass pieces… I would like to see her smiling…’

‘Why is she hiding from us? Have we done anything to her?’

‘Who’s that woman behind the growing children?

The one trying her best not to fail, trying her hardest to be up to any and all tasks, excelling on her parenting skills, in the hope that other parents would look up to her as a role model?’

 ‘Who’s the woman who lets herself be kept backstage, silently watching life play its theatrical acts, desperately witnessing her heart beat outside her body, every time one of her children crosses the house door and heads out  to the world?’

‘Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtains of life…’

‘She’s no Wizard‘.

‘She’s no Witch‘.

‘She’s not longing to find her way back home…’

‘Pay no attention to her – she looks tired and helpless…’

Behind the Curtain
Photo by Sara Biljana

Who’s the woman behind the curtain? Read more about her here…

Thoughts on Parenting: ‘Metrics’ for Children’s Summer Vacation – Academics or Fun?

It’s definitely hard to keep a balance between these two options: ‘has your child spent much time on academics this summer, or has he/she went out to play, chasing fireflies, collecting ‘knee scratches’ and minor wounds while attempting to bike with no training wheels?’ 😮

Maybe, like many parents out there, we’re ‘programmed to feel guilty‘ about not having our children work hard on their academics, taking advantage of the summer break; and instead, we’re fighting that.

School is back. Summer vacation is seeing its last days….

Children at N.Y. Zoo  (LOC)
Children at N.Y. Zoo [Wikipedia]

Although joy is the word of the hour, there’s a familiar question in the air: ‘how was your summer?‘ Or even better than that: ‘What did your kids do during their school break? I’m sure you had them catch up with their homework packages – they gotta be ready before school days are back!’

It’s definitely hard to keep a balance between these two options: ‘has your child spent much time on academics this summer, or has he/she went out to play, chasing fireflies, collecting ‘knee scratches’ and minor wounds while attempting to bike with no training wheels?’ 😮

Here are my 2 cents to the discussion. Not in 1,000 words, though – more likely, half of that! Hopefully, still bringing out some food for thought!

Maybe, like many parents out there, we’re ‘programmed to feel guilty‘ about not having our children work hard on their academics, taking advantage of the summer break; and instead, we’re fighting that.

Español: Guiliana moreno Jugando en bogota

All moms and dads out there: try to remember your own childhood summer vacations – do you recall having touched a math/reading comprehension work sheet? I’ll leave the answer to you… with a candid smile.

I personally, don’t. When I was a child, there was no structure, and there were no demands. That said, what is your dearest/sweet memory of your summer vacations? I dare you tell me/us it dealt with extra homework!

😮 Just saying…

English: Olof Palme meets journalists during h...

And I guess, we all did fine, right?

We’re all here, we’re survivors, and we remember really enjoying summer… carefree-style!

Please, don’t get me wrong! I’m all for good academics performance – the ones who frequently visit and read through this blog and its posts on education, language, and establishing a healthy multicultural environment for growing children will well understand how I value personal education.

But I also value creativity when raising a child. I value the ability parents have to offer [their kids] opportunities to find their own growing paths.

Analyzing the ‘metrics’ for our children’s summer, we [their mom and dad] believe they are doing pretty well! Academics are important. Structure and discipline are important. Fun is a cornerstone for both processes.

Photo by Michelle Weber.
Photo by Michelle Weber, from the Daily Post WordPress.

Having fun and experiencing childhood on its fullest are crucial points for a well-balanced development. Children need that. They seek that. Playtime amongst their peers helps them develop a sense of self-awareness, a good dose of self-confidence, and to understand their minds have no limits when it comes to creativity and desire. And they look up to us, parents, as the key-providers of a healthy combination of structure, discipline and fun moments.

That’s exactly what vacations are about: hopefully, our kids will do just fine in the future, with fantastic memories of what they did with their family over the school breaks – even if they forgot to finish some of the reading assignments, or left aside that math worksheet [to be completed after dinner!]…

Maybe after they’ve come back inside the house, tired of chasing frogs and playing tag with neighboring friends… and are ready to jump right back into the school schedule.

Chasing their own dreams is part of a healthy childhood development – and should be enjoyed as such! Now, off to a great school start – with all the academics that come with it! 😮

♥  ♥  ♥

 

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…

{Weekly Writing Challenge} How to prepare a ‘serial traveler’: Recipe, cooking times and serving suggestions.

How to prepare a ‘serial traveler’:

When raising a child, remember to offer him/her a healthy dose of ‘worldly experiences’: take them on field trips, sightseeing tours, museums, photo exhibits. Share videos and tales from your own childhood. Take advantage of each and every opportunity to show your growing child that the world is much more than what they’re gathering from social media tools.

 How to serve a ‘serial traveler’, inspired by ‘A Pinch of You’:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Preparation Steps:

Make sure you’ve got all the ingredients handy. Ensure their good quality and origin. When raising a child, remember to offer him/her a healthy dose of ‘worldly experiences‘: take them on field trips, sightseeing tours, museums, photo exhibits. Share videos and tales from your own childhood. Share with them your curiosity, your concerns, your dreams. Listen to their plans, their ambitions, their fears of the unknown…

[Note from the Chef] These are just suggestions for this dish. Alter as you please, adding or subtracting ingredients. Come up with your own unique recipe and most important of all, have fun cooking! 😮

Get the oven going: Take advantage of each and every opportunity to show your growing child that the world is much more than what they’re gathering from social media tools.

Cooking and Serving:

  • Travel, go to places, move. By car, by bus, by train, by boat, on the back of a horse or camel. Try flying, but also, try different transportation methods – the stranger, the better! Dealing with travel difficulties is part of the learning process, and overcoming challenges brings the experience to a whole new level.

where's home?

directions

  • Spend some time planning your trips. Imagine how it would be, what you’d do, who you’d encounter… Dream about it. Enjoy the preparations and be ready to appreciate the reality, when the time comes.
  • Find someone who shares your passions, and share your life with him/her. I did that, and have no regrets: married another serial expat, and he’s helped me raise our 3 little ‘nomads’…

Kal9

  • Try meeting new people. Chat with them. Exchange stories. Build new relationships. Be yourself, be silly, and yet, be smart – care and attention are never excessive when moving out of one’s comfort zone…
  • Try out new foods – it’s an easy and fun way to immerse into the culture. Remember the smells and the tastes. Take a heart picture of the dishes you’re enjoying. Reserve for future use.
  • Check out city maps, newspapers, street posters. Don’t know/don’t speak the language? Go for the pictures, the colors, the textures, the funny images and signs. Remember: your friends or family back home are living vicariously through your travel experiences! IMG_5686
  • When traveling, visiting new places or renewing memories from old ones, take as many photos as possible. Keep them handy for future use. Store in a tight container [but please, not in the fridge!]. You will surely need them for future recipes…

 

[Note from the Chef] When checking out of hotels/hostals/B&Bs remember to always check under the beds for misplaced pieces of clothing, photo gear, baby toys, lost socks… and maybe… a kid or two! 😮

  • Recipe preparation and cooking times may vary. Season it to taste. For some, it may take years and many mistakes/missteps before reaching the ‘optimum point’. Be careful: Try not to burn yourself, but if it happens, make sure you’re surrounded by good friends and good memories to help you through the tough times…

my branching tree...

Use your best judgment when traveling, but once you begin improving this recipe, there’s no way back – you’ve certainly become a ‘serial traveler’ like myself, my husband and these three little ones pictured above. We can’t really stay put for long

That said, guess how we’ve been raising these ‘tree branches’ over here?

Thanks for the inspiration!

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? 😮

{Weekly Writing Challenge} Their future, through the door…

It’s about 2:30 in the morning, and I see her waking in. The little body walked through our bedroom door, and I hear the sound of the so-familiar tip-toeing business… Her half-asleep self, messy hair, teary eyes, tell me she’s lost her sleep, and has come seeking comfort and protection in her parents room… not an uncommon event, and like any other night, I guide her towards the bed. We hug, we cuddle, and while asking her the reason for her sadness, I’m told she’s afraid. My five year old tells me she had a dream, and in the dream she felt lost, lonely, and didn’t know where to go for help, who to talk to.

IMG_4656It’s about 2:30 in the morning, and I see her coming in. The little body walked through our bedroom door, and I hear the sound of the so-familiar tip-toeing business… 

Her half-asleep self, messy hair, teary eyes, tell me she’s lost her sleep, and has come seeking comfort and protection in her parents room… not an uncommon event, and like any other night, I guide her towards the bed. She lies down next to me…

We hug, cuddle, and while asking her the reason for her sadness, I’m told she’s afraid.

My five-year-old tells me she’s had a dream, and in the dream she felt lost, lonely, and didn’t know where to go for help, nor who to talk to… She tells me she’s afraid of growing up, and in becoming an adult, leaving us [her parents] behind, like what I did, in her words, ‘when I left my  mother, and became her mommy’…

I let her know it had just been a dream, and that she was safe with me – her father and I would always protect her. I then, confessed I also used to fear the unknown, and often times, was too scared to think about it…

I told her that when I was her age, I used to fear growing up, and being left by the ones I loved. At her age I also began understanding the meanings of life and death, and all the events in between…

IMG_4645She’ll never have to feel lost or alone. We’d always be there, for her, for her big brother and her baby sister…

I told her the Future is something amazing, it’s like a dream you have no idea it’s coming, until you close your eyes at night, and let your mind take over your body…

By then, the teary eyes were gone, and through the fade light in our bedroom, the little girl hesitated in opening up a smile, which she finally did… I felt her comfort, her confidence, her trust. I knew she understood she didn’t have to fear for the unknown.

The future is just part of a sweet dream all of us experience… when we close our eyes, and let our minds take us through the bedroom door… into the unknown… 😮

kids

Thanks for the inspiration! 😮 

{Backstory} This week, the inspiration comes from walking through a door… imaginary, or a physical portal… 

 

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!]

Weekly Writing Challenge: “Yo Falo Portuñol [and Spanglish!]”

Oh, well, this one should be interesting! The inspiration for this week’s writing challenge is ‘a manner of speaking’.

Recently, I just shared my very personal point of view on ‘ why do I write’, really meaning ‘why do I blog’ – and the answers are quite simple: I write, blog, share, because it’s the easiest, fastest, simplest way to reach out to other [bloggers], get feedback [from within the traveling, expat community], vent out [my difficulties, challenges] and exchange [experiences, lessons learned and why not, ‘things that one should not do while trying to raise kids around the world!’] 😮

In green, the areas where "Portunol"  is spoken in South America. Image downloaded from wikipedia.com
In green, the areas where “Portunol” is spoken in South America. Image downloaded from http://wikipedia.com

Oh, well, this one should be interesting!

The inspiration for this week’s writing challenge is ‘a manner of speaking’.

Recently, I just shared my very personal point of view on why do I write‘, really meaning ‘why do I blog‘ – and the answers are quite simple: I write, blog, share, because it’s the easiest, fastest, simplest way to reach out to other [bloggers], get feedback [from within the traveling, expat community], vent out [my difficulties, challenges] and exchange [experiences, lessons learned and why not, ‘things that one should not do while trying to raise kids around the world!‘] 😮

I also try to blog in different languages – although my posts tend to be mostly in English, my mother tongue is Continental Portuguese [born and raised in the beautiful & multicultural country of Brazil!], and to top it all off, we’re living and working in Bolivia, whose national language is Spanish. That said, my work days are spent in 2 languages that aren’t really, ‘mine’… Despite the obvious exhaustion at the end of the day, I’m surviving…

At work: I talk to people in English and in ‘Portuñol’. My staff is kind enough to ‘pretend’ they’re fully understanding what I’m struggling to tell them! Conversations with local nationals are often established in ‘Spanglish’ and in Portuñol.

At home: it’s a mix. Met my husband several years back, while still in Brazil, and the two of us would have long conversations in Portuguese. Years went by, and now we created a mixed language that tends to gravitate towards the ‘one who’s the most tired’: if it’s me, than, we talk in Portuguese. If it’s him, the conversation will move toward English. But we’re not done, there are the 3 kids, adding to this lingual melting pot: the older ones, due to the international school, show some preference to English, while the toddler showcases her abilities in Spanish Paceño [typical of La Paz], with a few words in Aymara [indigenous dialect], here and there… 😮

Somehow, all of us, who are continuously swinging between two or more languages, find our way to adjust, to adapt to new scenarios, and keep on moving. We keep on talking [and boy, I’m a chatty cat, if allowed to be!] – communication is one of the most powerful tools our society’s got, and when well used, it’s not only a diplomatic tool, but it also enhances our chances to improve social relationships at home, at the work level, and emotionally. ♥

" Amanhana, yo hablo!"
” Amanhana, yo hablo!”

“Amanhãna eu hablo. Si queden tranquilis!”

[this is a classic example of Portuñol – very likely, the intention was to say: ‘I’ll talk about it tomorrow, stay calm”.]  Photo credit here.

For the Spanish-speaking readers here, this sentence probably sounds like a joke… and guess what, was produced by one of Brazil’s former President, while addressing the Mercosul community!]. Jokes aside, I’m proud to have a mixed background, and even more proud to have the ability to share that with my growing children. I speak Spanglish. I speak Portuñol. Yo hablo whatever mix between these three languages is required to have the conversation going… The goal is to communicate. Hopefully, I’m on the right track… and if not, I’ll graciously find my way out: ‘yo no comprendo…’ 😮 ‘ I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about...’ And, if I’m lucky enough, I won’t find myself lost in translation through life! ♥

In order to wrap it all up, a poem, written in the “most pure Portunol“, by a Brazilian GauchoMario Quintana:

Don Ramón se tomo um pifón:
bebia demasiado, don Ramón!

Y al volver cambaleante a su casa,
avistó em el camino:
um árbol
y um toro…

Pero como veia duplo, don Ramón
vio um árbol que era
y um árbol que no era,
um toro que era
y um toro que no era.
Y don Ramón se subió al árbol que no era:
Y lo atropelo el toro que era.
Triste fim de don Ramón!

 

{Weekly Writing Challenge} Why do we, parents, do what we do? A few visual reasons…

Parenting isn’t an easy task. There aren’t many solutions out there for our ‘day-to-day challenges’. And yet, we all keep on going… And why? Many bloggers/parents may relate to these statements, and who knows, even add more to the pot! With that in mind, and a bit of inspiration provided by this week’s suggested writing challenge from The Daily Post [Image vs. Text], had the perfect scenario for a ‘pictorial explanation’ of, ‘why we do what we do’ for our children!

IMG_5689

Parenting isn’t an easy task. There aren’t many solutions out there for our ‘day-to-day challenges’. Yet, we all keep on going… And why? Many bloggers/parents may relate to these statements, and who knows, even add more to the pot! With that in mind, and a bit of inspiration provided by this week’s suggested writing challenge from The Daily Post [Image vs. Text], had the perfect scenario for a ‘pictorial explanation’ of, ‘why we do what we do’ for our children!

Hopefully, the plan for this post will work. The images should provide at least a clue about the answers to these proposed questions… check the list below, and let’s see if you agree with the ‘suggested reasons’! ♥

* Why trying to prepare that special treat they love, knowingly we’d be tired after a full week of work, and the weekend is our only chance to recover and rescue ourselves before the upcoming work week strikes again? 😮

Slide1

* Why teaching our children the importance of group activities, the meaning of camaraderie and why being part of a team is greater than knowing how to work alone?

DSC_7455

* Why having your house ‘invaded’ by little ‘barbarians’, who love to scream and cry, fighting over toys and games with their peers, during a so-called ‘birthday celebration’?


* Why teaching kids to love and respect their cultural traditions, their distinct backgrounds and their personal stories? 



* Why getting up early in the morning, making sure our children have all they need for that particular school day, even if sometimes, we need to come up with a ‘last-minute’ solution for a very special request for some school activity?

IMG_5142

* Why going over and over their school homework, despite sometimes having a splitting headache and zero inspiration to help them with their writing assignments? 😮

IMG_4718
A letter of ‘appreciation’, from my resident first grader…

* Why volunteering your very scarce free time, to join them in some activity at the school?

August 2012: New life, new school, new friends. School kids receive their 'welcome' with a traditional 'Salteñada'.

 

* Why teaching our children that they need to share their life skills and abilities with others, in a selfless way?

IMG_4796

 

* Why is it necessary to show our children they’re special, unique, important in their own way, and always, unconditionally loved?

"Kids in Red", Delaware, USA.

* Why we, parents, end up doing exactly what we do, despite our list of countless complaints, which include tiredness, lack of resources and sleepless nights? We do it because we care. We care for their well-being, we care for raising emotionally resilient children, who will mature to become grounded adults, for a more compassionate and stable society. That’s why we do what we do… ♥

Hail... to The Redskins! Hail Victory!

♥ Thanks for the inspiration, and for reading! 😮

“You’ve been Freshly Pressed… Again!”

freshly pressed

I’ve been blogging for exactly 22 months [the first post went live on March 11, 2011, about the Largest Street Carnaval in Brazil – and apparently, it didn’t take long to be picked up by Pop Pressed‘s radar, on March 2011. Link here for full post]. 

But it’s always nice to get that sweet email from the WordPress editors… Especially, for the second time.. what are the odds? 😮 Thank you all for reading! ♥

A bit of Math here [and my former Algebra students who thought they were free from this!]: The chances of being Freshly Pressed are, on any given day, about 12 per million. Well, considering that just happened for the second time, it brings the odds to… 1 in 6,400,000,000

Maybe I should move on to playing the lottery?!

Curious about the ‘map it out post’? HERE it is! 

{Weekly Writing Challenge} Map it out!

[Backstory, inspiration from WP] “As bloggers, we scan through photos and descriptive tales from our fellow writers who share their travels with us… Maps symbolize the places we’ve been, the places we want to go, and the places we’ll end up, even if we don’t know it yet… ”

That said, I’m taking up on the challenge, and ‘mapping out’ the places in my life. Just the important, ‘life event’ moves. 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 met the so-called husband. Maps are a frequent guest at my posts, and this time, responding to the challenge, I’m ‘mapping out my life’, the moves I’ve endured as a nomad child back in Brazil, the ones leading me to a new path as an expat, mother and ‘trailing spouse’… ♥

Moving as an expat…

[Backstory, inspiration from WP] “As bloggers, we scan through photos and descriptive tales from our fellow writers who share their travels with us… Maps symbolize the places we’ve been, the places we want to go, and the places we’ll end up, even if we don’t know it yet…”

That said, I’m taking up on the challenge, and ‘mapping out’ the places in my life. Just the important, ‘life event’ moves. 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 ‘best-half’. Maps are a frequent guest at my posts, and this time, responding to the challenge, I’m ‘mapping out my life’, the moves I’ve endured as a nomad child back in Brazil, the ones leading me to a new path as an expat, mother and ‘trailing spouse‘… ♥

The beginning: ‘this child is born’, in a small Japanese colony, in Southeastern Brazil:

Itaguaí, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Itaguaí, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The original family moves to the nation’s capital, for a fantastic couple of decades of friendships, schooling, learning, growing, language, cultural and life experiences:

Professional opportunities keep leading that grown child to keep moving up… and North!

Life presents itself in very strange ways... and sometimes, love, personal life & work seem to agree with each other… a few fortunate moments, that one must take advantage of… and move on! Again, keep moving up… and North! The new home, now officially an expat, the “D” city indicated by the map – working as a foreign research fellow, in Davis, CA.

One day, we all come to the realization that it’s necessary to say ‘YES’ to a lifetime commitment… and so I did! And the acceptance brought me to a new address, some 2,800 miles away, to new work opportunities, to a new life as a spouse:

What happens when a ‘nomad child’ marries another ‘nomad spirit’?

Well, they move, together with their first ‘world citizen‘! This time, as a ‘trailing spouse’ and a mom, I’m going back South… to Southern Africa

It came time to welcome our second child… so then we moved to a neighboring country, for a little while…

We were done with our work in Africa, and had to return to our original home. Back in Washington DC, before heading out to our next adventure… From “A” to “B”, landing in “C”, and welcoming our third child into the world [of traveling!]:

But since we’ve got ‘itchy souls‘, common to world travelers, we may not stop… We’re always moving, and as a result of work, lifestyle and adventurous minds, we find ourselves in a different place, the beautiful country of Bolivia… for now! 😮 Thanks for following us, and… what about you? What is YOUR JOURNEY? Feel free to leave a link at the comments section for others to ‘live thru your experiences’!! 😮

Related: Writing Challenge: Map It | Fi’s Mutterings & Mumblings

Snapshots of Artistic Expressions in La Paz. Part I: Paintings.

Art galleries in La Paz have been springing up like cactus flowers after the rains. Many are within an easy walk from one another. Is there a better way for getting to know the beauties (and resources) this colorful city offers? Now, that La Paz is our home, and I’m comfortable enough to walk around the city, I’ve begun a series of posts about art in La Paz, this initial one bringing up a list of resources for other visitors/expats, life myself. Got some free time to explore, what about nicely educating yourself on the country’s history, art and endless man-made beauty? That’s what I’m doing! 😮

Quenua Tree [oil on canvas]

My most recent creation, showcasing the love affair with a unique tree – the Andean Queñoa, from my front yard!
Like many others, I need color in my life. A few years back, I discovered a good way to cope with the intense life of the foreign service, moving every so often, and raising kids along the way – through artistic expressions. We’ve been at our new posting for a little over 2 months, and I’m getting back together with my passion: painting. I’ve been learning, touring galleries, listening to stories…

Art galleries in La Paz have been springing up like cactus flowers after the rains. Many are within an easy walk from one another. Is there a better way for getting to know the beauties (and resources) this colorful city offers? Now, that La Paz is our home, and I’m comfortable enough to walk around the city, I’ve begun a series of posts about art in La Paz, this initial one is about ‘Painting’, bringing up a list of resources for other visitors/expats, like myself. Also, this month I’ll resume my painting classes – something I’d stopped while back in Brazil when  my baby girl was born (2010). Here in La Paz I already got one canvas out, but still feel the enormous need to improve my skills, and learn more techniques… Oh, the temporary advantages of being a ‘stay-home-mom’! Got some free time to explore, what about nicely educating yourself on the country’s history, art and endless man-made beauty? I’ve got, and I’m slowly educating myself... through art and history! 😮

[All images provided here were taken by me – with permission – at different art galleries throughout the neighborhood of San Miguel, La Paz].

Feeling very proud of my 'creations', right now...
Here, 3 of my “creations”…

Find below a list of gallery websites, and/or related resources:

Bolivian Painter Claudia Soria
Online gallery of paintings by Bolivian painter Claudia Soria.

Bolivian Painter Emma Rosario Imana de Murguia
Biography of the artist and some art work samples (Italian).

El Retorno de los Angeles
Amazing online exhibition of Bolivian baroque paintings (angels, archangels, virgins and saints).

Galería de Arte y Cultura de Bolivia
Art and culture gallery. Paintings, masks, enbroideries, books, and videos for sale.

Jorge Crespo Berdecio
Artist in metal work, serigraphy, xilography, and lithography.

Jorge Hurtado’s Fine Art Gallery
Works in fine arts, illustration, and graphic design. Nice site.

Mamani Mamani
Collection paintings catalogued by theme: mothers, flowers, archangels, birds among others.

Marcelo Videa – Surrealismo Apechurrado
Surrealist art. Paintings, drawings, sculptures, and ceramic.

Orlando Arias Morales
Creative ecstasy in the works of Bolivian painter Orlando Arias Morales. Portfolio.

Paula Lopez – Art Gallery
Resume, exhibitions and pictures.

Pedro Portugal
Bolivian artist. Paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and murals.

Sanjines Art 
Website for Bolivian Artist and Photographer Marcelo Sanjines.

Taipinquiri
Culture, architecture, and arts center. Paintings, sculptures and books.

{Weekly Writing Challenge} I wish I were…

I wish I were

nowhere else, but here. My home is where my traveling heart is.

I’m a woman, a wife, a mother, with a restless spirit and an endless thirst for life, for knowledge, for passion. I need passion in my days, and passion has always been given to me. Gradually, and consistently…

I wish I were no wiser than I’m now, nor I wish I were more innocent than my current acts may appear.
In honor of Daryl’s post, we ask you to finish the following sentence for this week’s writing challenge: “I wish I were.”

I wish I were

nowhere else, but here. My home is where my traveling heart is.

I’m a woman, a wife, a mother, with a restless spirit and an endless thirst for life, for knowledge, for passion. I need passion in my days, and passion has always been given to me.

Gradually, and consistently…

I wish I were no wiser than I’m now, nor I wish I were more innocent than my current acts may appear.

Wisdom and innocence are two parallel states of mind. I’m grateful for the ongoing ability to recognize the difference.

I wish I were no younger than I’m today,                                                                                                     it wouldn’t be fair with my younger self – she ought to have experienced and learned from her own mistakes. Why try to be older, when your mind and soul seek learning through life?

I wish I were no older than my true wrinkles tell the world. Aging is a critical part of this wonderful process called ‘life’. And life is good.

Right now, I wish I were no more than what I represent to my family, to my loved ones, to the world. I’m comfortable in my own skin and not scared by my own thoughts. The ‘little voices in my head’ keep me going…

I wish I were

nothing else, but what I’m right now.

I’m grateful for my present, and I look forward to living the future. Savoring a day at a time. No more, no less…

**************

♥ Thanks for the inspiration! 😮 

{Backstory} Last week, WordPress grammar guru, Daryl, talked about the oft-mysterious subjunctive mood in If Hairs Be Wires, Black Wires Grow on Her Head. Use of the subjunctive mood isn’t as common in English as it is in other languages. As Daryl mentioned in his post, the most common uses of the subjunctive mood in English are conditions, suppositions, wishes, demands, suggestions, and statements of necessity. At least once in our lives, we’ve all muttered, “I just wish I were…” or “If I were more like…”, knowingly or unknowingly invoking the subjunctive mood. In honor of Daryl’s post, we were asked to finish the following sentence for this week’s writing challenge: I wish I were.”

Let’s see how I did it! If you liked it (or not!), share your opinion here… Is writing something for everyone, and the one thing we need is inspiration? Thanks for reading!

Other “wishes”:

{(young kids) + (sleep deprivation) + (long working hours) = (when exactly did we sign for this?!!)}

There was a time I used to love Math…

Nowadays, I’m not so sure…

I’m still trying to figure out the Mathematics of “life with children”!

Once upon a time, there was a young girl who loved children, had a great time playing with other people’s kids, and believed she’d make a great mom, when the time came…

Well, this young girl got older, found her prince charming, and once again, they (so naïve!) thought:

“We’re gonna be parents! We’re gonna be the best ones! We love and cherish children! Our kids will be the best behaved ones, always clean, always loving and respectful”

And then, the family started growing: first we were, as some friends (already with 3 children) used to call us: “a couple with a child”. We had it easy! Once kid #1 was sound asleep, mommy and daddy could enjoy some quality time (and even some wine!) at the end of a long day of work.

myself, a realistic impression, according to one of my kids!

I guess I’m bringing these memories back because my baby is now almost 2 years old… and the sleep deprivation days are becoming fewer and fewer… [at least, that’s the hope!]

There was a time I used to love Math

Nowadays, I’m not so sure…

I’m still trying to figure out the Mathematics of life with children!

[Backstory] Once upon a time,  there was a young girl who loved children, had a great time playing with other people’s kids, and believed she’d make a great mom, when the time came…

Well, this young girl got older, found her prince charming, and once again, they (so naïve!) thought:

“We’re gonna be parents! We’re gonna be the best ones! We’ll love and cherish children! Our kids will be the best behaved ones, always clean, always loving and respectful”

And then, the family started growing: first we were, as some friends (already with 3 children) used to call us: “a couple with a child”. We had it easy! Once kid #1 was sound asleep, mommy and daddy could enjoy some quality time (and even some wine!) at the end of a long day of work. So, here was the formula:

f = [(a loving husband) + (a loving wife) + (a brand new baby) = (a happy family!)]

Life and Math seemed so easy and manageagle: we were living overseas, had support and household help. We then decided to increase our legacy. Here came kid #2, and with it, a way more challenging routine, accompained by several sleepless nights…

We had no idea that with two kids, the chances of having one of them sick, at some point in time, are extremely high!

We, the “once before-pretty smart” parents, learnt that our “Math skills” weren’t gonna cut…

Take a look at the “new & improved” formula:

f = [(still loving, but very tired parents) + (demanding toddler) + (a brand new baby)

= (a still happy, but somewhat confused family!)]

We managed life. We found our niche, learnt from other couples new strategies and ground rules to apply to our own routine, began training the kids on life skills (sleeping, eating, drinking, bathroom needs).

Regarding our Math knowledge, we sort of came back from a lousy D to a pretty solid B

We were back, baby!! We knew how to survive with kids, lead an enjoyable life, took short trips with the whole family, went grocery shopping… We had it down! And the excess of confidence and maybe some extra  excitement about our new FS assignment, responded for kid #3…

 

And then, the third one came into our lives. 

We’re a family full of life and joy. Today, we don’t sleep as many hours as we used to, let’s see, six years ago, when we were sure to be the best “parents-to-be”.

Today we may not have the face-time with our spouse, the way we wanted, but if the kids are healthy, fed, dry, and the most important of all – sleeping – we, as parents, are pretty satisfied.

Our definition of happiness may have changed a bit, and we’re taking a day at a time. A sleepless night might be followed by a great day, who knows?

At least now we’ve got an idea on what’s in-store for us. We know kids give us a hard time when it comes to sleeping, eating, getting dressed, getting ready for school, and pretty much anything else.

But at least now, we know we need to be prepared. And we’re learning. Also, we decided to give up on our Math skills – raising kids has no formula.

Life with kids is just a massive equation, with tons of variables… We’d be silly trying to map it out. And the worst and maybe the funniest of all is that, at the moment, we’re graded by a team, whose combined age doesn’t even reach 13 years! 😮

In sum, I’m thankful to all the readers and parents out there, for the support during my parenting experience, and I guess, gotta thank my own children, for the ENDLESS INSPIRATION they provide to my blogging days! ♥

Related Posts:

Children in adult-oriented places: a collection of [random] thoughts!

I found this theme really interesting, and intriguing… almost poking on us, parents of our loving well-behaved little ones:

“Everyone loves kids, right? Right! Except when they don’t. This week, we’re particularly interested in what you think about kids in adult-oriented places. I think most of us can agree that it’s not a good idea to drag little Sally to a bar at 1AM, but what about a museum? A fancy restaurant?” [Michele M. from King of States].

at the museum
Well, as a parent of 3 little kids (oldest one just turned 7), moving every two years, due to family work requirements, having to adjust not only to a new country, as well as to new cultures, new languages, there’s yet the expectation that [shockingly!] my kids should also re-invent themselves and adjust/adapt to new social demands/requirements,

I found this theme really interesting, and intriguing… almost poking on us, parents of our loving well-behaved little ones:

“Everyone loves kids, right? Right! Except when they don’t. This week, we’re particularly interested in what you think about kids in adult-oriented places. I think most of us can agree that it’s not a good idea to drag little Sally to a bar at 1AM, but what about a museum? A fancy restaurant?” [Michele M. from King of States].

at the museum

Well, as a parent of 3 little kids (oldest one just turned 7), moving every two years, due to family work requirements, having to adjust not only to a new country, as well as to new cultures, new languages, there’s yet the expectation that [shockingly!] my kids should also re-invent themselves and adjust/adapt to new social demands/requirements, showcasing the pristine behavior only found in movies about expat children attending boarding schools, spending their spear time learning an instrument and being part of book clubs!

Clearly, that doesn’t happen. It never did, and very likely, it’ll not happen in any future

This theme, discussing the pros and cons of having children in adult-oriented/adult-only social places got me thinking. And I began reading through what others had to say about it [I’m such a curious cat!].

I’m always searching for resources related to raising children in multi-cultural settings, I take part at parenting forums, I respond/comment on discussion lists, I blog about raising TCKs, and seek help for that…

I’m also the ‘household fairy’, you know, that one silent worker, that makes the breakfast show up in the morning, the lunch packs being ready before the school bus turns the corner… the ‘laundry fairy’, the intense PTA volunteer. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough time to ‘school’ my children on the ‘perfect social behavior‘ [whatever it is or means] – I’m still trying. And my children are also trying to learn, the best they can. They’ve been to restaurants, airports, family gatherings, embassy functions, social events, you name it!

So, answering the original question, should kids be allowed at adult-oriented places? PROBABLY NOT. And I’m stating that as a MOM, speaking my heart out from my life experience, as a mother, and a former teacher. NOTHING AGAINST children. Love them. Deeply. But in my very humble opinion, there are some adult-oriented places that little ones should no be taken to – and that includes some of our beloved evening pubs, bars and dining places – unless the latter is kid-friendly, otherwise, one should only take a [especially the very young ones] to a bar or pub, if looking for some unforeseen sickness, and a parental headache for the following days! 😮

making pizza, at a ‘kid-friendly’ restaurant!

But, should we, as parents, carry out our frustrations to a public setting? Would it be enjoyable to ourselves, and to others?

Kids deserve people to respect them. And, do you believe they [the children] would be receiving their deserved share of social respect, if others [adults] would feel uncomfortable with their presence? Tough call.

My parents always had to travel for work. We moved a lot. We were also three children, the only difference was that, being the oldest one (9 years older than the youngest), I was responsible for their social behavior.

A ‘quasi-responsiblity‘, if I could put it like that. And I remember getting the ‘rolled eyes’ from others, the ‘evil looks’ at restaurants. There was no nanny at that time. Two working parents. Going out to restaurants was a rare treat – we definitely had to ‘earn our way’. Today, I’m the parent. I’m the one flying with screaming  kicking bored wonderful children. 😮 The ‘looks’ towards me are still there. I can feel them. And I’m sure my children also sense them coming…

For all that, even if it’s hard, logistically challenging, last-minute need, try to find yourself a baby sitter. That’s my little 2 cents of advice, and one may do whatever it wants with it, even completely discard it. Just my humble suggestion…. Adult-oriented places are for adults only [clever conclusion, right?!].

Unfortunately, for the ones who would like to spend quality time with their children, tagging them along wherever they go, I’m sure there’ll be other alternatives… they’re called ‘kid-friendly places’. Trust me, kids don’t enjoy adult-only scenarios. I’ve been there. I’ve tried both ways, and I’d stick to the second one. It’s safer for the adult parent, the adult company, and for the children.

Good luck to all of us raising kids – what a tough job, man! 😮

180 years later, an analogy with Charles Darwin’s Beagle Voyage.

The most recent Wordpress Writing Challenge, is about “writing style”. Quoting WP:

“Like it or not, we all have our own style. Where we’re from, our local colloquialisms, our favorite writers, and our preferred subject matter all influence the tone and language in our posts. We do not blog in a vacuum…Better yet, you can tell us about your favorite writer’s tone, or you can take it a step further — after all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Highlight a particular element of your favorite writer’s style, and incorporate it into a post of your own. Whether it’s their delightfully wry wit, the rhythmic insertion of repeated phrases, or lackadaisical sentence structure, become your favorite writer for a day (or an hour).”
Here’s my original post, writen under the format of a ‘quasi-journal’, taking advantage of the suggested Writing Challenge from Wordpress, and the fantastic journey reports from another Biologist,Charles Darwin… Am I trying to ‘imitate’ Darwin’s style, comparing our family’s journeys with his? Not at all – trying to be humble, and realistic…But, as a researcher, former scientist, and now traveling mom, the challenge of comparing both memories is intriguing and exciting. Hope you enjoy it!

Brazil-PTWP

The most recent WordPress Writing Challenge, is about  “writing style“. Quoting WP:

“Like it or not, we all have our own style. Where we’re from, our local colloquialisms, our favorite writers, and our preferred subject matter all influence the tone and language in our posts. We do not blog in a vacuum…Better yet, you can tell us about your favorite writer’s tone, or you can take it a step further — after all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Highlight a particular element of your favorite writer’s style, and incorporate it into a post of your own. Whether it’s their delightfully wry wit, the rhythmic insertion of repeated phrases, or lackadaisical sentence structure, become your favorite writer for a day (or an hour).”
Here’s my original post, writen under the format of a ‘quasi-journal’, taking advantage of the suggested Writing Challenge from WordPress, and the fantastic journey reports from another Biologist,Charles Darwin… Am I trying to ‘imitate’ Darwin’s style, comparing our family’s journeys with his? Not at all – trying to be humble, and realistic…But, as a researcher, former scientist, and now traveling mom, the challenge of comparing both memories is intriguing and exciting. Hope you enjoy it!

“Our traveling family has just departed from Brazil. On a plane, not on a ship. We didn’t have a crew, nor shipmates, just the five of us, 2 intense parents and 3 children aged 6 and under – but still keeping a diary of our experiences, encounters, a way to tell our stories, share lessons learned and comment on challenges and small victories…

In July 5, 1832 – HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin departed Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was in Brazil from Feb 28 until Jul 5, 1832. The same week he departed, but, 180 years later, our family also departed Recife, Pernambuco, northeastern coast of Brazil, heading to our next adventure… An interesting coincidence, for several different reasons, and one of them, for sure, led a fellow blogger/researcher to kindly invite me to prepare a guest post for his blog, The Beagle Project. According to the site’s author, Rob Viens, “The Beagle Project – is an attempt to read and reflect on Charles Darwin’s Beagle Diary in real time over a five year period – 180 years to the date the original entries were recorded.” As the author likes to describe himself, “He currently resides on the planet Earth, on the Eocene Blakeley and Renton formations in Bellevue, with his wife, daughter, son and cats“. Find more about the creation of this Project, here.

Photography: Exploring the mangrove biome on Itamaraca Island, Brazil.After departing Brazil, 180 years ago, Charles Darwin headed South… nice coincidence: our next posting is La Paz, Bolivia, and after a short stop back in the US, our family, led by the International Affair’s father and his right-hand Biologist wife (aka, the Mother), will again, be heading to South America! 😮 Hey, please don’t get me wrong: no intention to compare between the 2 biologists! 😮 I’m humble enough to admit myself as being a passionate researcher, who loves to learn and is eager to share experiences I’ve acquired through life, with our growing children.oyster colonies growing along the tree branches

During these 2 years in Brazil, our family had the opportunity to really immerse into the culture, and personally, I was grateful for the possibility of letting my children experience what I grew up with in Brazil. As a family, we traveled through most of the northeastern region of Brazil, visited historical sites, dating from the Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish colonization days. We experienced the intriguing architecture of this nation’s capital, Brasilia; and as an exploring couple, my husband and I got to visit several unique sites, like the paradise beach coast of Jericoacoara, one of the ten most beautiful beaches on Earth and the world’s heritage site, [Archipelago of] Fernando de Noronha, coincidentally, one of the Brazilian sites visited by Charles Darwin’s expedition [other posts about Fernando de Noronha here and here]. and . We saw spinning dolphins, volcanic rock formations, horizontal trees, manatees, baby sharks, deep blue lagoons, and hiked through untouched natural settings… We experienced life to its fullest – always sharing our findings with our offspring… who knows, maybe one day, they’ll also become passionate explorers, life their parents? 😮

Through the aerial roots of this old tree...

While living in Brazil we saw different color sunsets, and once-in-a-lifetime sunrises. We lazed in hammocks dipped in the deepest blue water, listened to volunteers talking and showing the importance of preserving the sea and green turtles, and watched them hatch… at the end, we simply enjoyed the wonders of nature… We learned about conservation and the importance of respecting the natural creations, as well as, its limits. We learned about the use and potential of the “green energy resources“, and talked about it with our colleagues. We boarded on the visiting Rainbow Warrior Greenpeace ship for a live lesson on Conservation of Natural Resources…IMG_4108

Our children are learning to love and respect their mixed culture and the importance of learning how to explore, how to care, how to preserve.

They’re beginning to understand historical events, their causes and consequences. They’re learning that any country is not just about land, but also, its people, their beliefs and their sense of social respect. Hybrid cultures are a rich experience. They will grow up comprehending that the world they live in is much bigger than geography may present itself. And a country’s boundaries go as far as its people. We bring our culture with ourselves. Our traditions, our honor, our respect to others. Wherever we are. Wherever we move to. We’ve departed Brazil with a heavy heart and lots of good memories, that we’re trying to register through this interactive quasi-travel diary… And, as Charles Darwin himself wrote on his Diary, our adventure will also continue:

[July, 1832] 5th A little after 9 oclock we tripped our anchor, & with a gentle breeze stood out of the bay.— Capts Talbot & Harding accompanied us beyond Santa Cruz.— As we sailed past the Warspite & Samarang (our old Bahia friend) they manned the rigging & gave us a true sailor-like farewell, with three cheers.— The band at the same time striking up “To glory you steer”.— The Captain had intended touching at Cape Frio, but as the lightning did so.— we made a direct course for the South.— Near to the Isle de Raza the wind lulled, & we are now becalmed & shall probably remain so during the night: |190| The moon is now shining brightly on the glassy water.—every one is in high spirits at again being at sea & a little more wind is all that is wanted.— The still & quiet regularity of the ship is delightful; at no time is “the busy hum of men” so strongly perceived as when leaving it for the open ocean.—”

Thank you, WordPress Readers! And the journey continues!

Picture the World Project: Representing Brazil! (3rdculturechildren.com)