Obrigada, vizinha

Stress, emotions, don’t think.

The last weeks have been once more a whirlwind of activities around here. We have sorted through all our belongings, decided what furniture to sell, what few piece to include in our move, what to donate, what to toss in the garbage, what to give to the in-laws, what to keep for the next 2 months, etc. What exactly will fit in the luggage at the end of the 2 months is still a mystery, but one step a time is my motto these days.

Stress, emotions, keep going.

I have donated boxes of children’s books to the schools libraries. They were surprised to receive donations, and didn’t seem to know what to do with it, but I told myself that giving books to the public schools will give more chances for the said books to be read.

Stress, emotions, I feel lighter.

A box of young adult fiction novels in pristine, near new condition, in English, have been sold for a ridiculous low price to the language schools where I teach. Better than nothing, I guess. We would have paid too much to have them moved back to Canada anyway.

Stress, emotions, that’s OK.

I gave bags of clothes to charity. Clothes that I used to wear in Canada before moving to Brazil 5 years ago. I could probably have used them again in a couple of months, but I needed to get rid of extra weight, of extra volume, and my old layers of skin.

Stress, emotions, I don’t care anymore.

 

When it came to sell furniture, I didn’t know how to approach the problem. In Canada, it would have been as simple as posting pictures on Kijiji (or Craiglist, if you are in the States) and that’s about it. I did the same here, but to no result. Then I posted a public post on FB. A lot of shares and interest, but only one or two sales from it. Finally, talking to a very friendly neighbor (she knows the whole street on a first name basis) and her sister (who has lived in Australia and Italy, and now works as an ESL teacher here) (I gave her two dictionaries– she was very happy), they have spread the word to their large family, friends, students and neighbors and are responsible for selling most of my furniture… I am very thankful!

Stress, emotions, I am grateful!

On the week prior to the move, our oldest cat (Malok-the-cat) got very sick. We still don’t know what happened, but he simply stopped eating and drinking to the point that he was unresponsive when D called his name (he is usually like a dog and comes running when you call his name, especially hubby, ‘his’ special human). So D had to bring him to the vet and he stayed overnight with intravenous. After some tests, there is apparently nothing much wrong with him, except that he is old and stopped eating. So we need to force-feed him every day… (If you have ever done that, you know how increasingly difficult that is).

Stress, emotions, please move back with us.

The movers have come on a Friday.

D and I were both extremely sick with an ugly flu/ conjunctivitis combo, so we were all the more grateful for the packing team (half a dozen employees) that came with the truck, container and all the packing necessities. We were basically there only to supervise. In a couple of hours, they had already packed all our stuff! I was so out of it that I didn’t even bother to stay until the end, I left after lunch time for a nap, and D was there only to sign the inventory.

Stress, emotions, I thought I was dying.

The following days were a haze of accelerated back and forth between the “green house” (that’s how the kids call it now) and my in-laws house (where we are now sleeping), emptying our kitchen of all food, bringing over all the small stuff that we will still use  during our stay, then leave behind. The green house is empty of our belonging, and all cleaned, but we still have some furniture which is slowly being sold. I will most probably call the second-hand store to come pick up the left overs by the end of the week.

We have booked our plane tickets. D is now gone to Canada. Over here I try to maintain a bit of normalcy with the kids, going to school every morning, until we leave ourselves in two months.

The following piano piece has nothing to do with anything, except that is what I’ve been listening to.

Stress, emotions, relax.

Anúncios

Princesa Gatinha

Last year, when we were still living in Goiás, the cat above appeared one morning at our front door. More precisely, she was hiding under our car and the kids saw her. She was a small famished kitten, so young we could still see the umbilical cord. It had happened a few weeks before with another small stray cat, but he was so noisy, poor thing, we decided we didn’t want another cat and brought him to the river bank with some food, hoping he’d find a way to survive in the wild…

The small silent cat still had no name and we thought she would stay a few days and disappear to wherever she had come from. But no, she stayed. She ate some, played with the kids, got petted, ate some more… Then I named her. (You can shake you head too).

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Getting all the attention in the world.

Charlotte. Contraction of chat (cat) and rigolote (funny) in French. She is my funny cat. What can I say, I am her human! She follows me everywhere, and she talks to me!

Thankfully she seems to get along quite well with Malok-the-Canadian, our older cat. At the beginning they were only tolerating each other rather than friendly, but now they seem to have found a daily routine. As soon as I open my bedroom window in the morning, Charlotte jumps inside and on my bed (the cats sleep outside). Then she follows me into the kitchen, and goes back outside where she has a small invigorating fight with Malok, as soon as I open the kitchen door (that’s their cardio). Then they come back inside, best of friends again, and spend the rest of the day napping in the middle of the biggest bed of the house.

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Something great about their relationship is that they balance each other quite well. For example, Malok is quite a dirty cat. He dislikes liking himself. You should have seen him when we were living in Goiás, where the red dirt is everywhere and dust is in the air (specially during the dry season), he was not a black-and-white cat but rather pink-and-black then. Thankfully Charlotte is quite the opposite. She is extra clean and sometimes spends A WHOLE half hour on my lap “having a bath”. And when she is done with herself, she goes find the other one, always dirtier than herself, and lick HIM clean! Thank you, my dear.

On the other hand, Malok doesn’t eat much (never has) but Charlotte eats for two. He is skinny, she is getting fatter. He thinks he’s a dog, she knows she is a cat. He is very quiet, she purrs all the time!

Now that I think of it, there isn’t much “balancing” going on. She just lives larger. Ha ha.

Do you remember the story of Malok-the-travelling-cat who was born in Canada 10 years ago, and who followed us in our many moves? Then he disappeared for a while when we arrived in Rondônia, and miraculously showed up again. Well, now he is following us back “home” and there is a little Brazilian princess coming with him too!

Virando realidade

Things are seriously getting real over here. I told both schools that we are moving soon, how “soon” is still uncertain but I wanted them to start looking for my replacements. They won’t find someone who can teach both French and German, so it will have to be two people. I’m particularly concerned about the German group, because I really like those guys. Best students ever; intelligent, eager to learn, good attendance and mostly doing their homework. As for my French students, there is only one or two of them that I care about, she studies and hasn’t missed a class since we started, as for the other ones I am still wondering why they are taking lessons. I mean, if you come to class once in a while and never do your homework, what’s the point?!!!

Since we will be paying for the international move on our own this time, D and I have started sorting through our books… again. Surprisingly I still had a bunch of photocopies of music scores, copies of entire operas (piano reductions, not the orchestral scores) , and copies of the songs of all my recitals that I sang during my studies (uh, 15 years ago!!!). It was a huge pile. Why did I keep all this, I have no idea. In my ten years of teaching music I never had a student asking me about the songs I sang as a student myself. And why would they!? I still have in my possession a lot of “real” printed music that I bought for references while I was teaching. Most other books that I want to keep are novels and hard covers that I love. So,  although I can’t bring them all along with us this time (too heavy), I don’t want to give them away either. I have save my precious books in boxes and stored them at my in-laws. Eleven boxes of music and novels. My in-laws will bring them along with their own stuff when they join us in Canada. In a year or two. Or if that doesn’t happen (they can still change their mind, after all), we’ll find a way to have them shipped to us once we don’t have to count our pennies anymore.

The kids don’t seem to be worried about anything. Even if I did go through their books today and discarded about half of them in various boxes and bags (I am giving some of them to their schools libraries)…

I am constantly going through my mental list of things I will miss about Brazil (the weather), and things I definitely won’t miss (driving here — manual transmission and insane people), and things I’m looking forward to (driving in Canada — automatic transmission is heaven). It is necessary to keep in mind all the good and bad stuff, so that we embrace the change with the eyes wide open.

What I will miss the most is to leave my windows open all day, every day, and step out into my small garden and watch green stuff grow.

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