Ubatuba

I know, I know, this is a sad excuse of a blog (last entry was 3 months ago, seriously?!), but instead of getting lost is a stream of the usual unconvincing excuses (busy or lazy? Maybe both), here are some news.

The children have their winter break for the entire month of July. D has decided to finally take a much needed vacation at the same time (his last vacation was in October 2015, when we were still living in Rondônia, before moving for 9 months in Goiás, then moving again to where we are now — 2016 was a busy year of tiring changes). And on my end, the language schools are having what they call a “recess”; the usual classes are suspended, but some individual private students still have occasional lessons. So, our month has been chaotic to say the least. Our usual routine of

school, work, church,

has been replace by

play at home, play at the park, check out the downtown parks, medical appointments, and a day at the beach (2-hours away)

all these activities performed together as a family, as opposed to the usual debate of “who is going to take the kids while the other has to work or go somewhere”. And lately, for me, night classes for the drivers license. You’ve read that right. I have to go through the whole process of a first driver’s license again… *BIG SIGH OF ANNOYANCE*

I will tell you all the sad little details of the Brazilian bureaucracies another day, because I am not mentally prepared to write anything more than AAAAAAAAAArgh!!! and *BIG GRUNT* right now.

Our day at the beach had been long awaited by the kids. They had seen the sea for the first time one very dark, cold and cloudy day when they were accompanying their dad who was conducting a service in São Sebastião. “That’s a lot of water”, they said, greatly impressed. Of course they have been wanting to go back ever since. Never mind that here July is the winter month (thankfully dry but cold by Brazilian standard, 15°C in the house this morning), and finding a sunny but not too cold day was not any easy task. MIL and I were checking the weather reports. We both planned the family excursion with relish; how long had we waited to have such an outing, including grand-parents, uncle, his girlfriend, D and I and the kids? A dream come true! We packed two cars with food and drinks for the day (it turned out to be enough for the whole week if we were planning to stay!), woke up at 6 am on a very foggy day (OMG I hope it clears up! It’s SUPPOSED to clear up!), and drove down to the sea. The road is pretty dangerous, zig zaging down the mountain, but we made it in one piece… And, oh, the view!

The beach of Lagoinha was perfect for the kids. There were enough waves to be fun, but not too deep for a long while, allowing them to “swim” by themselves. But the most enjoyable, really, is the smell of the sea and the sound of the surf. Relaxing and therapeutic.

Hexalingual

Shortly after my parents visit, the boys started their school year. First year of primary school for the twins and last year of kindergarten for Uriel. It is their first time going to different schools so I was a little apprehensive, but once again I can’t see why because they all went off joyfully to school. No cries, no stress, nothing. Pretty cool. Luckily both schools are a few streets away from home (in different directions), so we all get a healthy walk (or run) before and after school (double for me). Why pay a monthly fee for a gym when you can simply walk your kids to school? 🙂

After I left off, last time I wrote, the language school called me back asking if, in addition to the French classes, I could also teach German (!!!)  “Yes, of course” I replied, while thinking that I certainly didn’t see that one coming. Seeing that I speak six languages apparently greatly impressed them, and in their logic I can certainly teach all of them. They seem not to understand, though, that teaching French for one hour immediately followed by an hour of German is not a great idea. In the first 10 minutes of German, my brain has a tendency to have wires crossed… All the Portuguese, French and German files want to say “hello”, stumble all out of my mouth at the same time, and I get funny looks from my students. Luckily they are aware of my hexalingual status and are too amazed themselves to complain about it. So we have a good laugh and go on with our lesson! haha.

I am obviously enjoying the teaching job greatly. The school provides the teacher with the teaching program (thus reduced preparation time), facilities (classroom and white board), and students (the secretaries take care of the payments), but in return the teacher gets paid only a little fraction of what the students are paying for lessons. I would definitely earn more if I were giving private lessons. At the same time, most adult students are only interested in evening classes, so that greatly reduces the possibilities of more hours. I only teach from 7PM to 9PM, from Monday to Thursday. I told them that they could give me younger students at earlier hours, but I think that they reserve the English groups for all the rest of the teachers (there is a much greater interest in English, and consequently more English teachers — I am their only French and German teacher for both schools). It is also a great motivation for me to freshen up my German skills (lesen, reden und schreiben — reading, speaking, listening). I review the grammar and try to understand it in such a way that is easy to explain. Easier said than done, especially for me who has as very intuitive way of learning languages, but definitely interesting.

This is all the fun stuff.

Then there is the other side of the coin that makes hubby and I constantly wonder if we haven’t made a huge and expensive mistake moving from Canada to Brazil. There is too much I would like to say about this, it will probably be for another post. It saddens me and exhausts me too. I don’t want to move again so soon.

Our spiritual  and financial struggles are weighing down on us.

Papi et abuela

The car we use at the moment is not ours. A friend from church as lend it to us for as long as we need until we can afford something, or an arrangement has been found by the church. Usually the Lutheran churches (from our domination) (in Brazil), own a car to be used by the pastor, and a house for his family. But not the church here. They are renting the house where we live now, and don’t know what to do about the matter of the car. So, meanwhile, we use this car, an old car, which is ok for small errands in town, but we don’t feel super safe in it to go on long trips.

So when papi and abuela (my dad and mom) arrived on my birthday (Dec. 28th), I had a driver pick me up to go welcome them at the Guarulhos airport and drop them off at the hotel where they are staying (our house is only big enough for our family of five). I felt like a very important person, with my very own chauffeur in a big black car! 😉

My dad arrived from France (via Portugal) and my mom from Argentina with only one hour difference between the flights. That was rather well planed. It gave us the time to hug, chat and walk across the terminals. I had not seen my dad since last time he visited us in Canada. The twins were toddlers and my youngest only a baby. Five years ago. My mom, of course, I had just seen in August, for my grandmother’s funeral. But as for both my mom and dad together it had not happened since before I was married. Fifteen years ago?! Yeah, all these numbers give me a headache too. Let’s just say that I’m happy to see them, and glad that the kids finally get to meet their grandparents in person.

Sadly, the weather has not cooperated. We’ve had rain, after rain, and more rain after that. The locals tell me that summer storms are normal in this season, generally at the end of the day, but so much rain every day, morning day and night, is uncharacteristic. To me it is very much like the rainy seasons we had in Rondônia. A pain to hang dry the clothes.

The first few days were leisurely spent at the hotel  the side of the pool from the hotel. The boys had never been in a real pool before. So many things that I thought would be a given when coming to live in a tropical have simply not happened where we used to live!

The days are exhausting. We all want to enjoy the precious time as much as possible, so they come pick us up (the kids and I — D is not on vacation) late morning before lunch and we come back after supper around 9PM (everyday except Sunday — to my great chagrin my parents don’t go to church). After the first day with the boys, my parents both looked at me in wonder asking how do I do it. Ha! Well, when at home I don’t usually spend all my waking hours playing with them. Just looking at them play is exhausting! Especially Natanael who has so much energy he could climb the walls! No joke, I’m seriously thinking of finding a rock climbing club for him.

Thankfully, once the kids were familiar with their grandparents, I let them spend days together without me. When my body gets very tired doing unscheduled activities, I tend to sprain my ankle. Last time it happened was years ago, so that’s not really a regular thing, but it happened TWICE in the last weeks. No big deal. Just a sign for me to slow down.

In the mean time, I sent my resume to all the language schools in our neighborhood. When I didn’t receive any feedback (they were probably closed on vacation), I also sent it to the one school that is right around the corner from the hotel (farther from home). Luckily, it just happened that they were looking for a French teacher! It’s a big franchise of language schools in Brazil of which they have three branches here in SJC. So I will be teaching two classes in the school close to the hotel and one class here, closer from home. It’s not much, only six hours per week, but it’s a start. They know that I’m willing to teach English too, so we’ll see. The pay is not the greatest either, but it will make a notable difference in our family’s budget. Plus, hopefully, it will be an interesting job to get out of the house for.

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