Recapitulation 1

Hellooo, I’m baaack! And happy new year everyone!

Now happily reporting live from the other side of the Americas, from the land of Ice and Snow! Seriously, what a contrast.


Extreme Cold Warning

Issued at 16:19 Friday 05 January 2018

A prolonged period of very cold wind chills is expected.

An Arctic ridge of high pressure continues to bring cold temperatures and brisk northwesterly winds to Southwestern Ontario. Windchill values are expected to drop this evening and overnight to values of minus 30 to minus 35.


Extreme cold warnings are issued when very cold temperatures or wind chill creates an elevated risk to health such as frost bite and hypothermia.

Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada.

A lot has happened in the months that I haven’t written here. It was a very stressful few months, a very difficult time for my family (more for the parents, than the kids, thank God), but also a lot of happy and wonderful things happened. We witnessed once again that it is in the most difficult times that the true nature of our family and friends reveal itself. The people that matter the most are really there to help, and the help sometimes comes from family (sadly not always), sometimes from very dear friends (that are like family to us), and sometimes even strangers! I thank God for surrounding us with such wonderful people.

I stayed in Brazil with the children at my in-laws that I love, and tried to maintain some sort of normalcy (walking to school every morning with them, teaching languages in the evening), while D had traveled ahead to Canada looking for a job, a car, a room to stay temporarily until we came, and a house for us to move in at the end of November. Not having any job in sight, not knowing where we would live, was extremely difficult, but the hardest for D and I was… to be apart. In our 14 years of marriage we had never been apart for longer than 10 days (last year when I traveled to Buenos-Aire because abuela died). Two whole months apart was necessary and ultimately we knew we would be together in the end, but I also realized how much we support one another on a daily basis. There were days I would definitely have appreciated his shoulder to cry on!

To add to this stressful situation, we’ve had to deal with a dishonest (Brazilian) moving company (GINTER — absolutely NOT recommended).

Before considering the move we had looked carefully at our savings and calculated how much would cost the plane tickets for the whole family (including the two cats and their paperwork), how much “extra” we had to spend on the move. Was is worth it to contact a moving company, or would we take the bare necessities in our suitcases? Our decision came down to the fact that even if we sold all our furniture (and we did), even if I sold and gave away most of my books (I did too. Can you imagine how heartbreaking that was?), we still had a lot of tools (the digital piano, my sewing machine, and D’s power tools) that would cost a lot to buy again “on the other side” even if we bought these things used. Plus, there are all the little things that are of no monetary value but remind you of a person, a moment, a time in your life.

So, after we made the decision to spend half our savings to have our most important stuff and memories shipped to Canada, they came to our house and packed our things. Shortly after, while they had our shipment ready at the port, they sent us the very salty bill that was the double of what was originally agreed! THE DOUBLE!!! So, when we realized that we simply didn’t have the money, we cried (well, mostly I did), we panicked, and decided that we would simply abandon everything! Let the crooks keep our junk!

Unfortunately we later learned that in order to abandon the shipment, we actually had to pay a very hefty fine (half the prize of the entire move – the amount we originally planned to pay) to the port authorities, because our container was already waiting at the port and wasn’t under the moving company’s responsibility anymore.

We didn’t know what to do. We lost a lot of sleep. I cried a lot. We prayed on our knees. (In all my life, I can’t remember if I ever prayed so much in my knees).

At the time it happened, I was at my in-law’s and when I told them what was happening and what we had decided to do, they said that it simply couldn’t happen. They would help us, they would help us with their savings, we could not lose everything like that. Not only did they open their house to us, fed us, helped me to take care of the kids, but they were going to lend us money?!! I felt the love. ❤

At the same time in Canada, our Russian friends Y&A (friends that are like family) helped us tremendously by connecting D to a Chinese friend, then a friend of a friend (strangers), and that’s how in the matter of a couple of weeks my husband first found a room to rent for October, then a house to rent for us when we arrived in November, then bought a car (from our friends who were about to change their car), and finally found a job! Our friends also showered us with gifts, all the electronics (computers, tablets, cell phone) that we needed (because after 5 years in Brazil, all our electronics had greatly suffered with the heat and dust)…

I am still an emotional wreck when I think about all this. Amazed and thankful.

Our things finally arrived here on December 29. All had been nicely packaged and arrived in great shape. The Canadian moving company that was taking care of the Canadian part of the move (The MI Group — highly recommended), comparatively, did an awesome job of communicating with us every single step of the way.

We had a very simple un-decorated Christmas this year. It brought me back to our arrival in Brazil, 5 years ago, when we spent our first Christmas in an empty house that was leaking from the roof, in a very noisy street corner where it was difficult to sleep at night, and constant sticky heat and humidity (our move took 7 months to arrive then). We felt so lost then. This year was similar in the sense that we only had the essential (a roof above our head and heating in the house), and the most important (each other, our family together), but we did not feel lost, no.

We felt that after a strange 5-year long Brazilian chapter of our lives, we are finally back home in Canada.



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.

Chega de saudade

Ce matin j’écoutais la radio en allemand (sur Radio Garden, je conseille vivement) et je grelotais de froid. Il ne faisait que 20°C chez moi. Que voulez-vous j’ai perdu l’habitude, c’est le vrai hivers brésilien ici, quoi! Et puis, cinq minutes plus tard, j’entend les allemands se plaindre de leur été frisquet cette année… Il ne faisait que 17°C chez eux. Ha ha.

Quand j’ai raconté cette petite anecdote à D, il a bien rigolé. Lui qui a le sang chaud n’a jamais souffert de l’hivers canadien, par contre ici son malaise est extrême pendant les mois chauds. C’était carrément l’enfer pour lui en Rondônia. Par contre pour les enfants et moi qui sommes plus frileux, nous allons avoir un sacré choc quand on retourne au Canada.

J’ai bien dit “quand” et non pas “si”, parce qu’en effet, oui… Nous retournons au Canada!

Ce n’est pas un secret, même si je n’écris plus souvent par ici, les cinq derniéres années au Brésil ont été très difficiles pour nous. Spirituellement, émotionellement, financièrement, culturellement. Et en fait, depuis que nous sommes ici nous avons eu le constant incomfort de ceux qui ne font que passer. D’abord Rondonia était tout simplement la fin du monde. On voulait que le supplice (qui a duré 2 ans et demi) passe aussi vite que possible. Puis ça c’est un peu amélioré pendant l’année passée à Goias, mais c’était quand même pas super; la ville trop petite et loin de tout pour s’imaginer “grandir” là trop longtemps.

Alors puisque nous étions a une distance raisonnable de Brasilia, nous sommes allés mettre à jour nos passeports canadiens au service consulaire de l’Ambassade du Canada. Juste “au cas où”. Je pense que ce que l’on aimait le plus de nos brefs passages à la capitale fédérale est que tout y était tellement propre, la ville bien planifiée, et le climat tellement agréable que l’on se sentait presque de retour au Canada!

Maintenant que la décision est prise, on se souvient de plusieurs moments avec une sorte de double vision. Par exemple, quand, tout juste arrivés au Brésil, D a fait les démarches pour nos contributions pour la retraite, il a eu la forte sensation que c’était de l’argent jeté par la fenêtre. Et chaque mois, quand je retournais au guichet de la Loterica pour faire le paiement, je me disais la même chose… Était-ce une vision, une intuition, ou wishful thinking?

Autre exemple plus récent, quand L (ma belle-mère adorée) a offert des manteaux d’hivers aux garçons au mois de mai (début des fraîcheurs hivernales ici), je me suis dit: “Ça c’est bon pour l’hivers canadien”, mais j’ai repoussé cette pensée en me disant simplement que ces manteaux étaient un peu exagérés pour le Brésil!

Pour l’instant, nous sommes encore à l’étape préliminaire. D va annoncer sa décision dimanche  l’église. Il n’y a pas grand chose que l’on puisse faire pour l’instant à part en parler avec nos meilleurs amis canadiens et américains qui prient pour nous, et penser à tout ce qu’il faudra vendre, donner, jeter, emboîter (une fois de plus).

D ira loger chez nos amis qui habitent à W (Ontario), d’où il cherchera un emploi dans la ville-même ou plus loin si nécessaire London, Guelph, etc. Tout est incertain de ce côté là. Aprés avoir empaqueté nos choses, prètes à envoyer, et libéré la maison, j’irais vivre chez mes beaux-parents avec les enfants en attendant de savoir quelle sera notre nouvelle adresse. Je n’ai encore rien dit ni à mes parents, ni aux écoles où je travaille… Notre période d’attente risque d’être plus ou moins longue dépendement du marché du travail en Ontario, et je ne veux pas avoir du stress supplémentaire.

Nous sommes quand même tristes que ce soit la situation de l’église qui nous pousse à retourner au Canada. Nous sommes aussi tristes (gros PINCEMENT au coeur!!!) d’aller vivre encore une fois loin de la famille. La lueur d’espoir, quand même, est que maintenant qu’ils sont tout les deux retraités, ils envisagent de vendre leur (grande et belle) maison pour venir nous rejoindre plus tard, quand nous seront installés! Et E (mon beau frère) et M (sa copine) envisagent eux aussi de nous suivre… Qui sait, peut-être que d’ici quelques années, nous vivrons à nouveau tous proches de l’autre côté de l’Amérique!