Roaming around

We’ve had a very uncertain spring weather so far : one day is cool and sunny (perfect), next day is grey and rainy (meh). It does not stay the same for long. It’s mid-June and I’m still not wearing my summer clothes. I’m actually wearing what I considered “winter clothes” in Brazil : short sleeve T-shits (as opposed to sleeveless shirts) and long jeans (as opposed to capris or skirts).

When the sun suddenly comes out, I have a switch in my brain that tells me that I have to go out and enjoy the weather. I can’t stay still.

On one of such days, I yelled at the men downstairs (most of the time dad and kids are now playing video games in the basement, aka the “man cave”) that I was going out, enjoy the weather, with my bike. Who wants to come with me?

Only Elias came. But that’s just as well, it’s easier to go around and be distracted when I have only one other person to worry about. And he is very pleasant to roam around with, maybe he’ll become my travel companion one day. 🙂



Above & Beyond

First of all, the title of this post is the name of a band that I have discovered some time ago. I wasn’t familiar with their music because I dislike the electro-dance-trance stuff that they usually produce (the heavy beats give me palpitations), but the acoustic concert that I’ve discovered by chance on Y*tube literally enchanted me.

I’ve been listening to the full concert (Here) quite regularly these past months.

It’s now time to finally write down what I’ve been up lately.

The weather has been fantastic for the past 2 weeks. Very sunny, but not too hot (around 20C) with a very agreeable cool wind. My kind of perfect weather. So it’s with great pleasure that I’ve kept my weekly program of biking along the river for about 15 minutes to the swimming pool, and swimming for about 45 minutes, before coming back home. I’ve been meaning to do this 3 times a week, but so far I’ve only managed twice a week.

A lot of people fishing.
A big boat passing in front of Detroit.
The bike and my happy place. 🙂

You see, while swimming laps, I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I should do about earning some money while doing something interesting with my life. I love teaching, music, languages and reading. I could teach music and languages again, but after school is the time that I would need to be available for students if I did this again. For me it’s simply inconceivable that I would give up the time I have with my children to be with others… Plus, the house we live in right now is not fit to accommodate students, we don’t know how long we’ll stay here, and D’s working hours are variable. Teaching is a no go for now.

For years I’ve been doing translations, but my university degree is in Music, not languages. To earn credibility and some regular clients, I would need some kind of diploma, which costs time and money, both of which I’m short of these days.

All these thoughts were rolling around my head while I was splashing back and forth in the pool.

I am really enjoying the odd projects that my friend is giving me for her Youtube channel. I am translating her cartoons into French and recording some voice over for her. It’s fun, interesting, and pays a bit of money. Maybe I could open a Youtube channel too? It has worked for her and her family, why not me? Ha! What would I talk about? How many languages I speak? (I’m pretty sure there are people out there who speak more than 6 languages. Just do a Google search, I’m nothing special).

I wish someone would pay me to read books. Since I joined Goodreads a couple of years ago I realized that I am reading between 50 to 100 books a year. Not all of them are prize worthy works of literature, but I’ve had nice surprises. Maybe I should seriously start reviewing books. Yeah right, I can’t even keep up with my blog, who am I kidding.

Laughing at myself here, while pedaling on the pathway along the river.

Wait. Aren’t there people who read aloud for audio books?!! I could be using my voice (which I trained for so many years, might as well use it), while reading (which I usually do anyway), recording at home, in the quiet hours when everybody else is either at school, working or sleeping… And eventually earn some money for it!?? I don’t know why I’d never thought of it before.

Anyway. So, after many hours of online research and instructive videos, here I am. I bought a decent microphone, dug myself a makeshift recording studio in the basement, created a profile on ACX (audiobook creation exchange), uploaded a couple samples, sent auditions a few times (fiction in French, English with a French accent, and language instruction), and ta-dah! I am now working on my first audio book project! Quite exciting. It’s taking a lot of my time because I have a lot to learn, not only to record (I am distressed at how much I can hear myself breathing), but also all about sound editing and mastering (erasing the aforementioned offensive breathing!). Hello learning curve.


Sorry, it has been a while over here… AGAIN.

How typically Canadian of me to start a post with an apology! 😉

We have been doing quite well over here. Winter is slowly coming to an end, with snow flurries here and there, but nothing stays on the ground anymore. In the past few weeks, I finally bought a new (second-hand) bike and went for a ride along the river. It was still chilly but it made me feel alive. There is something so simple and freeing to be on a bike. I don’t know if it’s speed, the wind on my face, or the simple fact that I can go fast with the sole strength of my legs. In any case, I visited two different swimming pools, subscribed for a monthly membership (it can be used for any of the four city’s swimming pools and their fitness centers), registered the boys for swimming lessons (90% of which was paid by the city! — a program for low income families), and have accompanied them for their first official swimming lesson! It was all very exciting for me and for them.

I used to swim a lot, eons ago, when I was a young (and fit!) student. The only team sport that I actually liked to play was water-polo, which I played regularly for a couple of years in Montreal. I like to find myself in the rhythmical balance of breathing and movement, it’s soothing. Ironically, before moving to Brazil, I thought that with the year round beautiful weather over there I would certainly find a pool and swim more regularly than I did here. Unfortunately, unless you pay hefty condo fees to have access to a pool or a club membership, there are no public swimming pools like there are here in first world countries. Sure, theoretically there are amenities such as schools, pools and libraries in Brazil, but like most things, there are not easy to find, not easy of access, not affordable for the general population.

As the Brazilians say, é complicado.

Early morning view of Detroit on my way to the pool on the pathway with my bike. Happiness.


Vale do Paraíba

(Uriel turned five! He had a party with his grandparents, uncle and tía — it feels so good to be surrounded by family!)

Now reporting live (meaning once in a while, really) from SJC, state of São Paulo, Brazil.

We have  officially moved more than one month ago already, and a lot has happened. It has been a whirlwind of packing (boxes & luggages), cleaning before and after, traveling, unpacking, school registration, vaccinations, transferring bank account, changing addresses, etc… I am only barely starting to catch my breath.  It was the second time in one year, and though all moves, big or small, are exhausting, this one was in a category of its own.

The house where we are now has been rented for three years. That is a relief in itself, because at least we know that we will stay here, in the same house, for the next three years. One very unsettling aspect of our lives so far had been NOT KNOWING for how long we would stay somewhere: a few months or a few years? We didn’t know. We couldn’t get too comfortable.

Another big relief has simply been to get things done that had been dragging for so long because we have been living in remote locations.


The oven light bulb had fried when we were in Rondônia and I had not been able to find a replacement. I haven’t been able to look at my baking for MORE THAN ONE YEAR. In the grand scheme of things, it’s no big deal, I know, but still I like to have things in working order around the house. Here, I walked down the street to a small electronics shop and found what I was looking for in mere minutes. I couldn’t believe how easy it had been! In SJA (Goiás), I had to go through all the small stores of the small town for every single stupid little thing that I needed, and sometimes I wouldn’t even find it. It was exhausting.

The same miracle (?) happened with our fridge. We had bought a brand new big fridge in Rondônia that had stopped working after only 2 years . We suppose that because of the many power cuts, uneven current, and the constant heat and humidity, some electrical circuit had fried. In SJA, we called a repair guy who charged us for the visit, told us that he needed to order the defecting piece, but never showed up again. In the mean time we just used that big piece of appliance for storage… (Again, no big deal, but hey, I don’t like to live like that). Here a repair guy didn’t charge us for the visit and came back a week later with the replacement piece. And voilà! The fridge is working!

Oh, oh. And there is more!

There is a cyclovía (a BIKE PATH!!!) in our neighborhood, a real bike path, just for bikes, right in the middle of the main avenue!!!! (There is another one too, but I don’t use it as much). Did I tell you I like to bike? I love my bicycle. Unfortunately, even if (mostly poor) people use that mean of transportation all around Brazil, a lot of small towns are not paved and touring the countryside is far from pleasant on dirt roads with random speeding vehicles trying to murder you. But here, I first took my bicycle for a spin when we had just moved in. I went from my house to my in-laws taking the bike path and I couldn’t — gah — I was so00 happy! I felt exhilarated, a bit on the crazy-happy way. I wanted to smile, laugh, sing! Oh, bliss!

There is more, yes, yes, much more to tell you, but it will be for another day.

Até mais! (See you later!)

Canção pra minha bicicleta

Very soon after we had moved here, it became obvious that I would need a bicycle. (Actually, now that I think about it, I was probably dreaming about it waaay before we knew where we would be living).People here drive like maniacs! There are motorcycles zigzagging everywhere, right! left! From all the dead corner, even the ones you didn’t know existed! Plus, all cars are manual and I’ve never driven with a stick in my life!

For many years, in Canada, I had been riding my bike to work daily, rain or shine, summer or winter. I would bike to work everyday even when it snowed, and for many reasons: First, because in the early years of our marriage D and I didn’t have neither a license, nor a car. Then, when we had both, we realized that we actually needed the daily exercise in our routine. Plus, it was just cheaper to use our leg muscles rather than spend our money on gas. Not to mention the laughable bus schedule in the city we were living in, and, oh yeah, saving the planet.

Then I became pregnant with the twins,
then we moved to Saskatchewan in the middle of Canadian Prairies,
then we moved back to Ontario and I became pregnant again with numero tres.

My not-so-daily exercises during the two last years in Canada have consisted of walks to the park with the double stroller (and numero tres in the baby carrier in front of me). Nowadays when we walk to the park I have only a single stroller with the twins holding to either side of it, but I wanted something faster to enjoy the little free time I have during the boys nap.

Ah the joy when I mounted my bicycle for the first time in three years! The freedom! The wind in my hair! The SPEED! I felt I could ride for ever, from the North to the very South of Brazil!

Très vite après notre arrivée ici, j’ai réalisé que j’aurais besoin d’un vélo. (En fait, maintenant que j’y pense, j’y rêvais sûrement bien avant de savoir où nous allions vivre. ha ha).Les gens ici conduisent comme des tarés! Des motos zigzaguent partout, par la droite, la gauche, par tous les points morts imaginables et que vous ne connaissiez pas! En plus, les voitures ont la transmition manuelle, pour moi qui ai toujours conduit une automatique, ça va être galère.

Pendant des années, au Canada, j’allais au travail à vélo tous les jours. Qu’il pleuve, qu’il fasse soleil, en été comme en hiver, j’allais au travail à vélo même quand il neigeait. Pour plusieurs raisons: D’abord parce que dans les premières années de notre mariage D et moi n’avions ni le permis ni la voiture. Puis, quand nous avions les deux, nous nous sommes rendus compte que nous avions besoin de cet exercice journalier. Aussi c’était plus économique sur notre maigre budget d’utiliser nos jambes plutôt que de dépenser pour l’essence plusieurs fois par mois. Sans oublier que dans la ville où nous habitions l’horaire du transport en commun était ridicule et… ah oui, j’oubliais, on veut tous sauver la planète, n’est-ce-pas!? 😀

Et puis je suis devenue enceinte d’Elias et Natanael,
Puis nous avons déménagé en Saskatchewan en plein milieu des prairies canadiennes,
Puis nous avons redéménagé en Ontario et je suis devenue enceinte d’Uriel.

Mes exercises (plus vraiment) journaliers pendant les deux dernières années au Canada étaient nos promenades jusqu’au parc avec la poussette double (et Uriel dans le porte-bébé devant moi). Maintenant quand on marche jusqu’au parc ce n’est plus qu’avec la poussette simple et les jumeaux qui se tiennent de chaque côté, mais bon je sentais le besoin de quelque chose de plus RAPIDE pour profiter de mes quelques instants de liberté pendant la sieste des garçons.

Ah quelle joie la première fois que je suis remonté sur mon vélo depuis trois ans! La liberté! Le vent dans les cheveux! La vitesse! Je me sentais tellement bien, j’aurais pû pédaler du nord jusque tout au sud du Brésil (si j’avais eu l’temps 😉 )!


Bicicleta – Palavra Cantada

Quando pedalo pedalo
E entro no embalo
Começo a sonhar
Fico tão leve e veloz
Como se fosse voar

(When I pedal, I pedal, and I get momentum, I start dreaming, I’m so light and fast as if flying)
(Quand je pédale, je pédale, et dans l’élan je commence à rêver, je suis si léger(e) et rapide comme en vol)

Quando pedalo pedalo
Eu quase não falo
Pra me concentrar
Fico como um colibri
Me equilibrando no ar

(When I pedal, I pedal, I barely speak to better concentrate, I am like a hummingbird balancing in the air)
(Quand je pédale, je pédale, je parle à peine pour me concentrer, comme un colibri je m’équilibre en l’air)

Quem anda de bicicleta
Se sente um atleta
Sem ter que pular
Nem bem se manda daqui
Num minutinho está lá

(Who rides a bike feels like an athlete without having to jump, as soon out of here, over there in a little minute)
(Qui va à bicyclette se sent comme un athlète sans avoir à sauter, à peine sortit d’ici, là bas en une petite minute)

Mesmo sem ter bicicleta
Ninguém é pateta
É só caminhar
Mas tendo uma bicicleta
Posso também flutuar

(Even without a bicycle nobody is silly just walking but having a bike I can also fluctuate –do both)
(Même sans bicyclette personne n’est maladroit, il suffit de marcher, mais avec une bicyclette je peux varier)

Não vai cair não
Quem pedalar
E a vida assim vai

(One won’t fall, no, who pedals, and so life keeps on, going on)
(Il n’y aura pas de chute, non, en pédalant, et ainsi va la vie, continue)


This was my first attempt, ever, in a Portuguese to English translation. I thought these lyrics so simply beautiful that I hope I got the meaning of the text across. It describes so well how I feel!
C’était mon premier essai de traduction portugais/anglais/français. J’ai trouvé ces paroles tellement simples et belles. J’espère que le sens est passé parce que c’est une description véritable de ma sensation à vélo!