Wonders of life as a Foreign Service Family – Life at the New Post.

Greetings from Brasilia!

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After several weeks of ‘transitional homes’ we safely made it to our permanent housing assignment. And why is it important to mention it is a ‘permanent house’? Maybe for the curious ones, with friends cruising thru the joys of the Foreign Service life, there’ll be a long explanation out there waiting to be spelled out. ūüėģ For now, it’s enough saying we’re glad we don’t have to move to a difference residence. We’re comfortable and settled¬†down. At least, as comfortable as possible – kids have enrolled into a Summer camp program, and we’re getting to know new families, learning the ropes for the city…

What and where to find our immediate needs for the house (forgot to mention that, although we like our ‘new place’, it’s pretty bare, hence the need to go out and buy not only groceries, but trash cans, cleaning products… You name it!).

The illusion of two hands together reaching up to the sky creates the Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia
The illusion of two hands together reaching up to the sky creates the Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia

Despite all the usual initial difficulties, inherent to the nature of the move, we believe we’ll have a nice time here. That’s the ultimate hope. We now have cable TV and internet – a great milestone! Kids have already made friends with some other children who would likely be attending the same school. We’re trying to build our own niche, despite the smell of fresh coat of paint that greets us every time we come back to the house… ūüôā

I believe we’ll be happy here – at least we’ll try… Right now, wearing my most-hopeful-foreign service-spouse hat… The only one I was able to fit on our suitcase… Yeap, the same suitcase I’ve been living out of, for the past 8 weeks… But, who’s counting, right? ūüôā

Now, let me get back to checking on my 3 little ones – just heard some clapping, so, I’m assuming the movie outside-and-popcorn event just ended – will go hug my kids with the most thankful smile to the Summer Camp supervisors and organizers: they enabled this very busy mom to enjoy some quiet time (and a coffee!), while getting back on the blogosphere horse!

Ate mais!

Wonders of life as a Foreign Service Family – Random Thoughts on Home Leave

Well, we’re back in Washington, DC – the last part of our ‘transitional’ Home Leave, surviving thru the perks of living out of our suitcases since May 19… but you know, not bad at all! ūüėģ No complaints on hauling our three children around, departing¬†La Paz, Bolivia, heading to California for some family catch up… taking the kiddos to Disneyland and Legoland, surviving the long lines, the¬†screaming, the cries for attention and for over-priced popcorn… picking up a few family members along the way, driving all of us to witness in loco the magnificent views offered by the Grand Canyon… and flying back to the East Coast… much has happened, and definitely, no time to spare… not even for blogging!

Need to do a¬†better job trying to catch up with our lives… Haven’t had much free time, I must admit – the little ones keep me on my toes, and as any parent around here must know, Summer Break has all of us [parents] pulling our hair trying to find educational, recreational, interesting and fun activities for our lovies, during this time… it’s work, people… and we’ve been doing this for some 5 weeks already.. again… living out of suitcases, staying with family, long car rides… a few car sicknesses along the way… always fun! ūüėģ

Now, it’s home stretch – a few days in the DC area, and we head out to our newest work and life adventure – Bras√≠lia, the capital of Brazil [yeap, the beautiful country that just put out the most unbelievable performance during the recent World Soccer Cup – don’t even get me started on that… as a Brazilian-born soccer-passionate soccer-mom-wife, I’m still recovering from the ‘bad dream’ many of us witnessed these past weeks…] Our family will be¬†in Bras√≠lia for the next 3 years. Husband’s duty, as many wives/spouses here would relate and sympathize... ūüėģ

Presently¬†writing from a government-per-diem-acceptpleasant hotel room, packed with my noisy and¬†restless adorable and very understanding little children, enjoying some quite time while I gather my blogging thoughts together [who am I kidding?? And why do we need to have both TVs on, and so loud??]¬†But, all in all, I guess we’re ready for what’s in store for us… let’s wait and see! ūüėģ

Classic pic, right? Gotta have your moment in the sun with Mr Mouse! A quick snapshot from our first stop during Home Leave 2014 - not-yet-tired parents at Disneyland!
Classic pic, right? Gotta have your moment in the sun with Mr Mouse! A quick snapshot from our first stop during Home Leave 2014 – not-yet-tired parents at Disneyland!

 

 

14 Days to Depart Post…

I believe we’re ready to begin saying goodbye to Bolivia – our home for the past two years – with a big THANK YOU! ūüėģ

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Sixty Days in La Paz – and I’m in love…

We’ve been at post for two months now. A lot has happened during this period, especially regarding our foreign service community, worldwide. We’ve got friends posted everywhere. We’ve got friends working back home. We’ve kept in contact, ensuring that all of us are well, safe, sane. We’re all, somehow, moving on with our lives, it’s our work, our lifestyle, our choice… And we’re proud of our choices.

These past two months have been filled with cultural, linguistic, social adjustments for our family. Our oldest son is an active first grader, and thrilled with the discoveries that the ability to read has brought him. We, as parents, are pleased and keep encouraging his success. Our middle daughter has a more intense social life than her parents, invited to play dates and birthday gatherings with her kindergarden peers. And our baby girl, who’s approaching her second birthday, is simply enjoying life, chasing birds in the yard, having picnics on the grass with her mamma, exercising her constantly learned Spanish skills.

The Que√Īoa Tree, with its beautiful red bark, grows higher than any other tree in the world.

We’ve been at post for two months now. A lot has happened during this period, especially regarding our foreign service community, worldwide. We’ve got friends posted everywhere. We’ve got friends working back home. We’ve kept in contact, ensuring that all of us are well, safe, sane… We’re all, somehow, moving on with our lives. It’s our work, our lifestyle, our choice… And we’re proud of the choices we’ve made.

These past two months have been filled with cultural, linguistic, social adjustments for our family.¬†For the five of us. Our oldest son is an active first grader, and thrilled with the discoveries that the ability to read has brought him. We, as parents, are pleased and keep encouraging his success. Our middle daughter has a more intense social life than her parents do, often invited by her kindergarden peers¬†to play dates and birthday gatherings. And our baby girl, who’s approaching her second birthday, is simply enjoying life, chasing birds in the yard, having picnics on the grass with her mama, exercising her constantly learned Spanish skills

All in all, we’re fine. And as I stated earlier, I’m in love. I’m in love with this new, calm, high-altitude, slow-paced life. I’m in love with the possibility to spend more time with our kids, and to be more involved with their school, offering my help and skills to the American community.

And I’m in love with our yard, our Fall-colored plants (even though it’s Spring here!), the eco-projects I’ve been working on, and, most of all, I’m in love with our tree, the typical Andean Que√Īua (or Kenua) – the first thing I see in the morning, from our bedroom window. I wrote about it before [excerpt below], and, as a way to bring my mind back to good things, a strategy to temporarily forget about recent unhappy events, I decided to create a memory of this one natural feature, painting it on canvas. We still don’t have our HHE, nor my brushes, paints, but a simple problem that was easily solved. So, in order to honor my ‘newest love’, here it is, the recent creation, with a few other ‘creations of mine’… and I’m proud of all of them!¬†‚ô•

Cheers to building memories!

Feeling very proud of my ‘creations’, right now…

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[From original post about the Que√Īua Tree]

[Espa√Īol]¬†La¬†ke√Īua o que√Īoa de altura¬†(Polylepis tarapacana) es una¬†especie¬†de¬†planta con flor¬†de la¬†familia¬†de las¬†ros√°ceas¬†(Rosaceae). La especie se distribuye a lo largo de la Coordillera Andina desde¬†Per√ļ¬†hasta¬†Chile, incluyendo¬†Bolivia.

La especie se encuentra en floraci√≥n entre diciembre-enero y marzo-abril. Fructifica abundantemente, en racimos. Parte de las hojas y de las √ļltimas ramificaciones, cae durante el invierno; cuando el nuevo follaje est√° completamente desarrollado, se desprenden las hojas restantes.

La especie se distribuye en un rango elevacional entre 3900 hasta 4700¬†m, algunos individuos aislados pueden llegar hasta 5200¬†msnm en el¬†Parque Nacional Sajama.¬†Es conocida mundialmente porque en su distribuci√≥n la especie alcanza m√°s altitud que cualquier otro √°rbol en el mundo.¬†Que√Īoales¬†eres una comunidad vegetal en que es dominante la Que√Īoa (Polylepis¬†spp.), √°rbol caracter√≠stico del Altiplano.¬†Los troncos, de madera dura, son generalmente retorcidos, y est√°n cubiertos por una corteza exfoliante, formada por m√ļltiples l√°minas de color casta√Īo rojizo.

[English] Polylepis woodland is a distinctive, high-elevation Andean forest habitat that occurs above cloud level (3,500-5,000 m) as patches of woody vegetation surrounded by paramo (e.g., Festuca species) or puna (e.g., Ichu species) grass and shrub (e.g., Baccharis species) communities. These high-altitude woodlands tend to be relicts of a once-widespread habitat and comprise mainly evergreen trees of the genus Polylepis (Rosaceae) which are highly drought tolerant. The trunk and branches are laminated with brown-reddish bark that peels off in paper-like sheets as a protection against extremely low temperatures, and often have mosses and lichens growing on them.

‚ô• Learning something new everyday here! ūüėģ