Escola de m*

The school year has been over since the beginning of the month of December. The boys are home all the time and… I’ve been relieved. Yes, when they go to school I had some much needed time off from 7:30 to 12:00 every morning, and yes, we were lucky to have “free” tuition at the private school next door, BUT I didn’t like a lot of things in that school.

My main complain :

The kids were always sick.

It all started at the very beginning of the year when Uriel’s teacher came to talk to me to say that the snacks I was giving to the kids were not very popular. That day I had given some slices of apple in tupperwares to each of my three boys. They love fruits at home, so I was surprised, but told the lady that it didn’t matter anyway because if they don’t have a snack in the morning they eat better at lunch! Oh no, but I didn’t understand, in that school they teach the kids to “share” stating with.. their lunches. Imagine the pool of bacteria on all these dirty preschoolers hands generously sharing their food and coughing and sneezing on each other. It seems the teachers never heard of some little things called germs. They are invisible, you know. So, the problem was not that my kids wouldn’t eat their own snack, rather that given the choice all the other kids were probably fighting for a piece of cake rather than a healthy bit of apple…

I was pretty pissed. I lectured my boys to eat only what I gave them or not at all, but I suspect my instructions were not always followed.

Another problem arose regarding the toothbrushes. You see, kids in Brazilian schools are asked to bring their toothbrushes. Brazilians are taught oral hygiene from an early age! I had heard about it and thought it was fantastic.

How wrong was I. First, if you do something like that with young children, it goes without question that the task HAS TO be supervised. Right? The instructor shows the kids how to do the thing, then checks that it is done well. After loosing the toothbrush once, replacing it, and loosing it again two weeks within the first month of school, I went to speak to one of the teacher to explain that if Natanael didn’t have his toothbrush in the last week it was because he had lost two of them already and I wasn’t going to buy another one. He is brushing his teeth everyday before bed after all. To my astonishment the teacher (another one) hadn’t noticed! She apologized saying that there too many kids to supervise and didn’t see that one of them was not brushing his teeth. (Probably fooling around and sticking the brush in the toilet bowl… Who knows! :/ )

Then they constantly had all kinds of special activities that didn’t make any sense to me. Who ever thought that a pajama party at school for pre-schoolers was a good idea? How about visiting a sick mate at his home? Sure, this is alright or even fun for older kids, but we are talking about small children that barely manage to wipe their own ass!

Plus with so little school time, I’d rather have the teacher do her job of teaching how to count, read and write, and leave all the rest for after school activities.

So between the total lack of hygiene and all the fluff of “special” activities (I mean, how special is a party if you have it thrice a month?), and because just saying “no” it’s not a good enough answer for Brazilians, I had to invent a lot of half-truths, “Sorry, my kids won’t be doing that, I have some French lessons planned for them that day / We have something else planned that evening as a family”.

Next year they’ll hopefully go to public school.

Goiás

So, it’s now official : we are moving from the state of Rondônia to Goiás, from Northern Brazil to very much in the middle of the country.

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The bad news is that we are exchanging a small town for another even smaller town, but the good news is that this other small town is at reasonable driving distance (150km) to Brasilia, Distrito Federal. Our thinking is that even if we end up in another difficult situation, at least we will have the possibility to renew our Canadian passports, get registered at the French embassy, and be ready to leave if things get unbearable or if the opportunity arises.

We have a hard time saying “at least it can’t get any worse than here”, because knowing the Brazilian reality, it could indeed get worse. No library? No park? Bad schools? Ha! What am I whining about? Some families here live in wooden shacks with no electricity, no bathroom, no car. Some kids don’t go to school because there don’t have access to one.

As for us, we will get the opportunity to travel once again across the country. Move, see and live in another part of Brazil! Talk about another reality.

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We are going north of Brasilia, south of the national park.

Plus, we will finally have somewhere to go on our day off. A chance to visit Brasilia, which is the capital of the country after all! I have read about it a while ago, its urban planing and modern architecture, but now that we will be visiting I’m even more curious.

Apparently the National Park da Chapada dos Veadeiros is a sight to be seen too. Will there be hiking and biking trails, I wonder?

Once again, we are moving into the unknown. There is a lot to organize and coordinate in the mean time. The housing there is being rented out right now, so we have to wait until it’s liberated for us to move in. Then there is the mater of the moving company. Do the people there know of someone who’s in the business? Or will we have to find a company on our own? Will D be traveling with the truck driver, our stuff and the cat? And will I have to travel by plane with the kids on my own?

Oh, the headache.

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Not home yet

It’s no secret. Since we arrived in Brazil three years ago, we’ve had our set of challenges. We have generally been unhappy to the changes in our lives. We left Canada in the hopes to: live in a more reasonable climate, be closer to family and hopefully buy our own house. D also thought that he would serve better as a pastor in his own language. I didn’t mind learning a sixth language.

None of these things have happened (well, except maybe the sixth language thing).

Instead of the extreme winter cold of Canada, we’ve lived in a constant heat that has left us not sleeping well at night and sleep walking during daytime. Zombie zone in our house.

We were placed at the other end of the country from the Brazilian family. 2500km away. 2 small plane rides away. Tickets are expensive. Visiting my family abroad is not even a possibility.

The strong chance to have a placement in hubby’s home town has crashed and burned. The pastor has finally retired, but the church assembly has voted for someone else. The politics happening within the church has left us with a sour aftertaste in our mouths, and great sadness too, because it shows once more that the people in authority who should trust in God the most are in this case failing the most. Never mind, how could we do anything more than to pray for them and for us?

So, needless to say, we won’t be buying a house anytime soon.

D is also not using his own language to its full potential because the level of education of the majority here is in another level altogether. How do you communicate ideas (faith, history, life) to illiterate or near illiterate people? We’ve learned to understand better the efforts of Martin Luther who in his lifetime emphasized how important it was for the population to get educated and learn how to read the Bible, to think on their own.

I never thought that I would say this, but as much as I’m getting better with my Portuguese, I miss talking in English. Thank God for the internet, Netflix and my Kindle!

In the end, ironically, Brazil has taught us that we were more Canadian than we thought.

***

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While on vacation, we’ve decided that there were a few things that should be done as soon as we got back “home” to improve our immediate quality of life. Frankly, we should have done all this three years ago.

We finally installed the air-conditioning in our bedroom. Instead of the temperatures above 30°C and sticky humidity, we now have a blissful constant dry 25°C. We have named the bedroom our “little bubble of happiness”. :)

I also bought an elliptical trainer that I’ve installed in the said cool bedroom. When we were away at the in-laws I tested the machine there and loved it. Since we have received it here, I have been doing between 30 and 45 minutes of exercises everyday. It does wonder to my mood and am finally shedding the extra mama kilos.
Uriel (my youngest boy) just turned 4. It’s about time.

I’ve also bought a whole bunch of nice furniture online. Real wood. It takes about one month to be delivered here. So I’m still waiting for it to arrive and slowly meet again with the books that have been hiding in boxed for four, five, no wait, six years?! Anyway, I can’t wait to finally unpack all this shit.

Wait.

Oh that’s right.

D just received a new Call.

Yes, it took us three years to finally decide to get comfortable, but now we are moving again!

You can laugh now.