This morning was not a horrible morning, but a challenging one. As I was doing the dishes, I was trying to figure out why it felt so much more overwhelming. It started out when we realized that we were out of butter (we did lots of baking and cooking for Thanksgiving). I knew that a trip to the grocery store was in order, but I just hadn't been able to schedule it. This week is particularly busy (extra rehearsals and concerts for Matt, and the end of the year all day event on Saturday, which includes me having to find a full day of childcare for the kids...), so trying to schedule a trip to the grocery became the piece that put me over the edge. My husband and I had some "intense fellowship" (as a friend of our liked to call it), and then we notice that the cat is pretty much camped out in the litter box, or peeing in the corner of the dining room. Great. Another thing I wasn't planning on having to deal with the other day. But of course this problem comes from the fact that I couldn't find the medication that he is supposed to be taking for his ongoing urinary infection (2 drug stores and 2 pet stores in our neighborhood didn't have it, but a clinic several miles away has it, but I couldn't must up the Portuguese to call them to ask if they could deliver....). And then there is the ongoing issue of the bank card being blocked because someone at the bank tried to help me to make the transfer for our vacation rental, and ended up causing more problems. AHHHHHHHHH!
Okay, I'm breathing now. So, I managed to convince a very obstinate 3 year old to take a shower, take the kids to the vet, to find out that we should just come back with him to give him a shot until we can track down the medication. So, return home, chase down cat, and back to the vet. Shot. Return home. Clean up from breakfast. Turn on the tube to help me gain some sanity. Phone calls to arrange for childcare on Saturday. Phone call to cancel class today because I have to meet with Sebastian's teacher, and the only time I can is during my class. Make lunch. Make lonches (snack), feed children, do dishes again. Check to make sure cat has not peed in the corner. And now I'm here. Rambling, and venting (thank you again internet).
So, I think that we've figured out how to manage our life, if everything goes as plans. But in a family of 5 with a sickly cat, nothing ever goes as planned. And in the States, I had back up plans, and people I could call, and family and the language, so it made it somewhat easier to cope. But here, it's just little old me and hubby, trying to navigate the crazy waters. I was realizing over dishes, that many of my blogger friends are married/dating/in relationships with Brazilians, and I know that comes with it's own challenges, but when living in Brazil, I think it's helpful to have someone close who can help you understand. As foreigners, we just have no "native" skills for interpreting what is happening, no local knowledge, and all our assumptions and expectations that we bring as to "how things should work." I think that's why so many people are surprised when they meet me and they find out that I'm not married to a Brazilian, but I'm living here. But, I have to say, that if there ever was a partner to help me stay sane as we live in another country, it would have to be my dear hubby. Even though we bicker about butter and responsibilities and many other important and less important thing, he works his tail off to take care of us. And he's just so good with people. And he's a lot of fun in the process.
Thank you for listening. I've now got to go take the kids to school, but that crazy feeling I had at the beginning of this post has disappeared, and I'm starting to feel grounded again.
Whew! We've just finished our Thanksgiving dinner yumminess, kids in bed, and about to crawl in bed myself. It's been a full week: we bought a car! we successfully made an apple pie from scratch! i went to my 2nd Filarmonica concert, with Dora! Did I mention we bought a car? Hopefully pictures and more details coming soon....I have a crazy full week. Not only do I have a normal workload of students, but also an end of the year performance at the Canadian school on Saturday, that will last T W E L V E F U L L H O U R S. And have I arranged childcare? Heck no! I'm so Brazilian!! Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving, and are starting your Christmas shopping!!
So I should be working (yes, I know...Saturday night!?! In Brazil!!? It's getting to the end of the year, so there is lots of last minute editing, preparation and extra "things." Like learning Michael Jackson's "Heal the World" so I can help 5 teachers sing it at their end of the year presentation. Which, by the way, the end of the year presentations in Brazil are C R A Z Y!!! We're talking rent an extra hall, have the kids buy nice new outfits and graduation gowns (when are they ever going to wear those again!?), making sure the kids are POLISHED with their singing and choreography, hiring professional musicians to accompany said kids, and hiring profession photographers and videographers to capture all this. So, all to say, I'm busier than usual. But here's a little something that made me cry in the sacolão this week, and it wasn't because I had to go shopping with my kids (that is a recipe for gray hairs).
Pears on sale! This comes out to about US$0.94 a pound. I'd bought some a few days before, and they were really good, so I went to get some more. And this is what I saw:
I can't get the image to flip, for some reason. But these pears are not Argentinian, they are from the US, and from Wenatchee, the town where I was born!!! I tried to ask one of the guys who works there why it said Argentina, but I couldn't understand him. And then I told him that these pears were from my homeland. He said they were pretty good, but he didn't really seem to care. But I know all you will care!! Now, back to work.
Hooray--the first "installment" of Matt's 13th month salary was deposited in our bank account today!! This Décimo terceiro salário is something I'm VERY thankful for, and something I love about Latin America. In addition to his regular December salary, Matt get's an extra paycheck. And we just realized that there is no medical taken out of the 13th salary. Which makes sense, because you can't pay for health insurance for a month that doesn't exist. In addition to this extra paycheck, we will get an extra "bonus" of 1/3 Matt's paycheck to pay for his vacation. I still don't quite understand this, but I guess the idea is that you need a little incentive to really go on vacation. Hooray!
I'm soooo thankful for Matt's work, and his work schedule. There's really not a regular schedule, but he will either work 3 hours in the morning or 3 hours in the afternoon. He usually is able to either pick up the kids from school, or drop them off. He doesn't have to leave the house until about an hour before his rehearsal, and he can usually walk, or grab the bus if he needs to. He has about 2 concerts a month, and has had the opportunity to travel the Northeast (Belem, Manaus, Natal, Recife, Salvador, Fortaleza), has gone a quite a few tours (São Paulo, Uberlandia, Juiz de Fora, Inohitm). All on the Filarmônica's dime. And when he gets back from his tours, he has days off. And the cherry on top is that his last concert of the year is December 16th, and he doesn't start work in 2011 until February 28th. So, all this "extra" time affords him the opportunity to play extra gigs, plan his own personal concerts, and even take some private students. It is a beautiful thing. Plus I get to enjoy all the beauty of the concerts, the practicing, and the quartet rehearsals in my living room. Thanks Matt!
Seriously, this morning I thought George was going to die because he was making red xixi in the bidet. After the 2nd trip to the vet, we've now got him on antibiotics, and a special healing diet to get him all better. As much as he is a crazy, un-affectionate, early morning meower, he is a part of our family.
There were several things yesterday! I received 2 or 3 "mob" hugs from small children yesterday at work where I had to peel the kids off me. I'm also grateful that Dora's illness has passed, fever is gone and she's pretty much back to normal. And at the end of my long day at work, I walked to the bus, and there was a guitar on the bench. I struck up a conversation with the owner, and he complimented me on my Portuguese, and I really could understand what he was saying. I'm findin that comprehension is coming along and improving. This is a great things!
Oops, got a little behind! But here they are. They go from the end of the party to the beginning:
Brazilian pumpkins are not as big as the kind of pumpkins we use at Halloween, and more flat. But they make for cute jack-0-lanterns. Sebastian and his jack-o-lantern Bea, Elise and Clara. It was the first time that Elise had carved a pumpkin, and she LOVED it. Clara, one of Bea's favorite friends here. Kevin helping his mom bob for apples. This was by far the highlight of the party. Kids and adults loved bobbing, and got totally soaked! Very cute cake, made by Corinne. And absolutely delish... My witches brew punch: the witch only managed to lose her pinkies. All the kiddos in their costumes. Bea and Kevin Sebastian--the costume only lasted for about 10 minutes, but he loved being a ghost. Bea, eating cookie #12 of 207. Sugar overload! Mariana and Dora--Mariana was a bat, and Dora an angel.
On Monday night, Dora did her homework almost entirely by herself! She has really come a long way with her Portuguese, and is feeling much more confident. They've been working on learning parts of speech (nouns, adjectives, etc) and she told me that she actually was helping some of her classmates, and teaching them what verbs are! I'm so proud of her!!
It's come to my attention recently that I'm complaining quite a bit. I've always tended towards the "glass is half empty" world view, and I think that I've made strides in this area, but at the 8 month mark here in Brazil, and with the approaching holidays, and the increasing saudade I have for my family and all things familiar, I'm whining. But in the spirit of November, I'm going to practice a little more thankfulness and focusing on the things I love about Brazil. So here we go!
I love the kindness I find on the bus. Yesterday I decided to bring the guitar back home from work, so I had to carry both my back pack and the guitar. Unfortunately there were no seats (this is normal), but two people who did have seats offered to hold both my guitar and back pack. And later, when I was getting off the bus, a young man pointed out that my back pack was open, and zipped it up for me. These small, polite acts make me so happy!
Yesterday at work, I heard a little girl singing the same song that Beatrice has been chanting for months. I've been trying to figure out what it is, and the teacher's assistant told me the name! I'll put it in both Portuguese and English:
Success! There was a little rain at the beginning, and a lot of wind which prevented the streamers from staying up, but we had a fun Halloween party! Big thanks to my partner in crime, Corinne! Apple bobbing, pin the nose on the pumpkin, decorated sugar cookies, carved pumpkins, a really cute Pumpkin Cake, and lots of candy and children running around in mostly homemade costumes. It was a great time. Hopefully I'll get some pictures up tomorrow. Boa noite!