Tag Archives: family

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.


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.


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!


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!


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.


The Market’s Fresh Goods


First Family Photo in Rio


Dinner in a Grocery Store Has Never Tasted sooooo Good!


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…


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!!


The Perfect Sunday Afternoon Beach Day in Leblon

The beach is calling…

Large Mice, Ducks, Dogs and Princesses Galore

We finally did it..we visited the Happiest Place on Earth with a toddler.

Our daughter LOVES Disney movies, the Princesses, Winnie the Pooh and even loves strolling       the streets of Downtown Disney, so she was familiar with the idea of what she was going to see, but man, it was a long (enjoyable) day.

We chose to wait to bring her until we thought she would understand what she was seeing, maybe remember it and hopefully not be afraid. But at Disneyland, you can’t really account age as a reason to be okay with what you’re seeing. Its a place like no other, really.

B was a year and a half the first time we noticed that she really enjoyed Downtown Disney. We walked through the shops, ate in the cafes and looked towards the park and talked of the future. We kept saying, someday, someday we’ll take her and she’ll love it.

Bella’s first visit to Downtown Disney in January 2012
Meeting the VIP of Disney

The time to visit was upon us with our big move coming up. We knew we had promised ourselves (and our little one) that we would go someday and that someday was now!

As native Southern Californians, we knew there was hardly a day when there wouldn’t be crowds, but we tried for a Wednesday hoping there would be fewer people.

Since this was a momentous day, we decided to take one of the grandmas with us. It had be twenty five plus years since she had visited the park and maybe four years for us, so we all knew there would be a lot of changes within the park for all of us.

I have to admit, there were a lot of reasons that we waited to go to Disneyland: the ticket price is ridiculous, (and it really did hurt a little bit when I handed over my credit card) the crowds, our initial fear of  how our daughter would react to seeing such large characters, and even, I’m ashamed to admit, the price for parking.

She loved Disneyland. Simply stated, it was magical. Some of our fears were accurate:

Yes, she was afraid of most of characters (Mickey, Donald, Goofy and even Pluto were seen from very far away), but she’ll eventually get over that.

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Yes, there were crowds in almost all of the lands, but that’s okay, we had a stroller, snacks and plenty to look at as we waited.


And finally, the price for parking WAS ridiculous, but we forgot about that once we got into the park.

Those are silly fears, really, because joy is so much greater than fear. Joy, like the joy on my daughter’s face when she met Ariel, Sleeping Beauty and Belle (“Look, mama, she my friend!”)


Belle and Bella



Telling secrets with her best friend

We saw Nemo in person (or through a submarine’s window), we followed Tinkerbell and Peter pan on a rooftop tour of London, we rode magical horses and unicorns on the Carousal, and  we even took a picture with Cinderella’s fairy godmother (see Gorge’s photobomb below) .

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We had such a great time, I know she can’t wait to go again. Maybe this time we can get a photo of her with Mickey or one of the characters.

< Photoshop Bella in the middle of her Disney friends here!

When it comes down to it though, all the reasons we waited to visit were just reasons of anxiousness. We often do that as a parent. We don’t expect our child to be able to handle, or handle a situation well, and we often shut a situation or circumstance down before we even give the child a chance to try something they might be fine with or excel within.

DSCN2107 DSCN2117 DSCN2115  Love that sideways smile of hers!