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Our little linguist

Our daughter has a vivid and wild imagination. She’s a fun loving and creative girl who loves to invent stories that are, if you ask her, not invented, but real.

She's still the family princess

She’s still the family princess

Take the fact that she has another family. In China. She’s never been to China or even Asia, but if you ask Bella, she’ll say that she has a WHOLE family in China that includes brothers, sisters, grandparents and of course, parents. And in her eyes, China is perfect. Her mother in China allows her to eat whatever she wants, stays up later than in Rio and even, get this, not bathe.

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The land that Bella invented

We encourage her to be creative and so we’ve taken her on a magical airplane ride (made of our kitchen chairs) to China. On her journey she has waved to aunts and uncles in Bolivia, laughed and pointed down to cousins playing in their backyard in California and eventually we flew into the airport in China. map of china

She was the pilot of course and all her dolls and purses were the passengers and luggage. We’ve also shown her some youtube videos that show what the country of China looks like. But the best thing about China is the language.

So everyone is clear, Bella is 4 and she doesn’t yet grasp that the people of her imagination are not entirely real. In fact, to Bella, everyone  in china has pink and purple lips and they love wearing make up, so the fact that her new language sounds a lot like Brazilian Portuguese is okay with us.In her mind, they are real people who look and act like this family, but there are more family members to play with.

She naturally speaks Chinese, fluently. And sings in it too. Bella can sing in Chinese, Portuguese and English, we’re working on Spanish, but maybe we’re asking for too much. Did you know that you must bow when you say good night in Chinese? It’s a long exaggerated ” Guh Nighe” too. Sometimes the phrases and words sound like Portuguese and sometimes responses end in :”menta”.

Bella’s conversations often begin with, “Mama, in China…” and we never know how they’ll end

To Bella, China is a magical land that has flying cars and a place where boys and girls get to wear what they want. The hand soap tastes like fruit and little brothers turn into big brothers who can run and play with you. Sometimes I wouldn’t mind living in her China, but I think we would have to be invited to live with her family there, We’re still waiting on that invitation…

flying cars wings

It’s really no wonder where she got her imagination, my mom told me all about my other family when I was younger, she says I had multiple imaginary friends who were constantly getting married, and running away. but other languages and details about appearance? This girl is good.

P.S I tried to get a video of her speaking Chinese, but it didn’t work out 😦

Family ties

Hello from Rio, old friends!

It’s been awhile and we just wanted to check in and let you know that we’re still around. In fact, our family has grown since the last time we’ve written….We will try to update a few pictures here and there, but we just wanted to let you know the reason why we’ve been distant for the last few months…

The Pulido family in Rio

The Pulido family in Rio

Did you notice something different about that picture? We have a new addition to our family of three. Meet Diego, our son. We’re still getting used to saying it. And now, our Bella has a little brother to torment, I mean love.

Two weeks old

Two week old Diego

She's still the family princess

She’s still the  princess of the family, but now there’s also a prince.

Hope you’re all doing well!

I made a new friend today…

I’m not trying to brag, but it’s not hard for me to make friends with strangers. I’m friendly and curious about people. It also helps that I’m naturally a people watcher and love to learn about new cultures. Today, in our observance of one of Brazil’s national holidays, Proclamação da República, my daughter and I made a new friend. Before I start that story, that I feel made me a little less homesick, let me teach you a little bit of what I researched for one of my adopted country’s special holidays.

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The man who declared Brazil a republic, Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca.

Today is the day that many businesses, schools and government establishments celebrate or observe Dia de Republica, or the day Brazil ceased being a monarchy and became a republic. (I hope I retell the history of the important day correctly, if I make a mistake, please forgive me!)

Brazil began as a monarchy in and as time passed and the times of the world changed, so did many of the monarchy’s old doctrines and ideas. The country and its people disputed against the monarchy’s idea of abolishing slavery and eventually a man named Manuel Deodoro da Foncesca overthrew the king, Don Pedro II.  He declared the country of Brazil no longer a monarchy, but a republic.

My little family and I enjoyed the day by walking to the beach and being so thankful for the sun and the holiday. We didn’t stay long at the beach because we started to hear the grumble of our tummies as it was close to lunchtime, so we decided to head towards the shopping area. We were all craving different things so we split up into different little shops, Sushi-style fast food for him and Mate (Rio’s favorite Iced Tea; they have several shops dedicated to their refreshing drink of choice) and Pao de Queijo for the girls.

Bella and Spiderman

Look at Bella, she’s a friendly girl, her friends even include superheroes

As I said earlier, I’m a friendly person, but my daughter is even friendlier. Maybe it’s because she’s so cute, (okay, I’m definitely bragging now) or maybe because she’s so little but talks so much, everyone is attracted to her.

pao-de-queijo

My girl could live off of these delicious little treats!

Today was no exception to her friend making abilities. She and I were talking in the cafe about the delicious food we ordered and one of the employees began talking to us. Our new friend gave Bella a free Pao de Queijo and Bella was smitten. After a while she noticed that we weren’t from Brazil and we started a quick  but  meaningful conversation.

You know how you don’t need to know a person for very long to really, really like them? That’s how I felt after meeting Eva.  Our new friend is from Angola and we really connected.

To be honest, I didn’t really know too much about the country of Angola except its national language was Portuguese and it’s in Africa. After talking to Eva a little more, I learned a little bit more about a woman who I felt I really made a connection with in the short amount of time that I knew her.

Eva can’t be much older than me, but she has three kids. a thirteen year old, a twelve year old and a two year old. She’s only been in Brazil for two years but she misses Angola. I could see her longing for her country in her face when I asked. It was obvious and apparent to see. When I asked her if she had traveled back for a visit since she has been here, she said no. If she had gone home, she probably wouldn’t have come back, she missed home that much. Sadly, she knows she probably won’t return to Angola for that reason for a very long time. It reminded me of the sacrifices we make for our dreams, for our aspirations.

When she asked me why I was in Brazil, I told her in short for work. I told her I was a teacher at the American School and that I teach English. She said she really wished she could learn English and afford to have her kids learn English as well. I hear that a lot here in Brazil. In fact, I’ve also been asked why we chose to come here when so many people are trying to go to the U.S. The U.S is the land of Opportunity, not Brazil, they say. I always reply, not to me. To me, this is my opportunity, my dream. But then again, the grass is always greener on the other side, isn’t it?

map of angolaI asked her if she left her native Angola for work but she said no, it was actually for the opportunity for her to get an education. Unfortunately, work has gotten in the way and she hasn’t been able to go to school here yet.

Although our conversation was brief, I really enjoyed talking to her. We were both comfortable talking to one another and by the end of the conversation, I asked if I could give her a hug. She laughed and said of course. We hugged and laughed and I think the moment was good for both of our souls and helped us feel a little less homesick.

And on the way out, she slipped a chocolate croissant for Bella into my hand. I told you Bella had a way of getting on people’s good sides.

I hope she has a brighter day because of our conversation, I know I did.

Hi from Brazil!

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We’re taking off!

Sorry it has been so long since the last update, but as things take a long  time when settling in, we’ve just gotten internet and some tranquility. It’s been a busy and exhausting month since we’ve arrived, but we’re here!

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We’re Leaving on a Jet Plane..

Rio is as we expected, paradise!

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We’ve been blessed to live in the safe and centrally located part of town known as Leblon. It’s within walking distance of everything we want or could need: two grocery stores, the beach, two shopping centers, taxi points and countless newly discovered fun spots.

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The Market’s Fresh Goods

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First Family Photo in Rio

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Dinner in a Grocery Store Has Never Tasted sooooo Good!

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Avocados, Pineapples, Coconuts and a Cutie Pie!

Every week outside our door, there’s an open air feira with fresh veggies, fruits, home goods and many more purchasable goodies. Too bad it’s on a Thursday and we always miss it…

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Quinta Feira…

Hope everyone is well! We miss you all and hope that life is treating you well! I will definitely be posting sooner than later!!

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The Perfect Sunday Afternoon Beach Day in Leblon

The beach is calling…

We’re Down to 16 Days, Friends

We just celebrated our little one’s third birthday and our departure with a Rio themed party with several of our closest friends and family. It was an especially hot day and when we realized that the heat was not going to let up in time for the party, we were afraid no on was going to show up to celebrate our little one. But people came! They came with food, presents and an attitude to celebrate with us. We danced, we ate, we jumped in a jumper, we had our face’s painted, and  we reminisced; it really was a great way to introduce our Brazilian culture to many of our friends who were unfamiliar with it. Many people asked for seconds of the pao de queso, or cheese bread, the churrasco,  or Brazilian bbq, and the Guarana, Brazilian soda.

Happy Third!

Happy Third!

Every day that passes is now precious and fills us with thoughts of, “this is our last time we’re going to do this,” or “this is the last time we’re going to see that for awhile.” It’s kind of surreal feeling.

We’re ecstatic to be so close to be going on our adventure, but at the same time, we look around our comfortable, family and friend filled life and wonder, “what are we doing leaving everything we love and have ever known?”

Adventure, my friend, all for the sake of adventure. We’re going to leave behind our traditional life as comfortable Americans and see what the world holds.

Am I scared? Absolutely. Am I going? Well, my bags are slowly getting packed…I’ll tell you when I get there!

38 Days

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This is kind of how I feel right now…

We are really excited to be moving right now, but HOW did we gather so much in the last five years?!?! And honestly, we don’t even have as many things as last year. Last year we moved all our possessions from our own comfortable 1600 square foot house into a storage unit as a temporary situation. We purged ourselves of the few things we thought we wouldn’t need anymore as we tried to decide what to do with our lives. Big changes were coming, we just didn’t know how big.

And now as we are leaving for our big trip to Rio, we need to categorize everything we own into three groups: take, sell/donate, keep (for our return someday). And sadly, most of it is mine :(. I’m not a hoarder, I just can’t part with pictures and things from my teen years. It was important then, it must be important now, right?

So, we’ll be having a garage sale in a few weeks and I’ll have to face the fact what the experts always say, “If you haven’t used it in a year,…”

I have already decided that all I’m taking is 5 boxes and 4 suitcases..I’m also hoping that I’ll bring some of that back when we return for a visit after a few months..

Here’s to wearing my big girl pants and getting stuff done!

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“Having kids – the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings – is the biggest job anyone can embark on. As with any risk, you have to take a leap of faith and ask lots of wonderful people for their help and guidance. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to parent.”
― Maria Shriver

So, I was having a not so good day today that was filled with many toddler tantrums, not wanting to eat, not wanting to nap and so much more. And then I read a blog post suggested from a friend about parenting and how I’m not alone in my efforts as a mom to do our best with our children when we are just so tired, incompetent, frustrated. It turned my day around. It encouraged me.  I felt like I wasn’t alone in my efforts to do my best. ( I mean, am I the only one who prays for patience constantly and also for nap time to come sooner than later??)

I found this quote and loved it. It makes me think of so many of my good friends who I have come to with ENDLESS questions about child raising.  Questions that sounded a little like:

“Why does she…”, “Is it normal that..”, “Did your kids ever…”, “I feel silly for asking, but…”, “Okay, I know I’ve asked you this before, but um…”, “HYPOTHETICALLY speaking, if one were to…” and so many more questions.

Regardless, I’m so thankful for this journey as a parent.