Virando realidade

Things are seriously getting real over here. I told both schools where I teach 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.

ANTES 2016-12
DEPOIS 2017-07


It seems that the wet season is finally coming to an end. The upside is that there will gradually be less mosquitoes, the downside is that the heat will become unbearable. It literally knocks you down. Even local natives all need their siesta in the middle of the day to catch up on some Zzz’s. […]


Hello there! Long time no see! (ha ha, as if)

September already. Still no word about if or when we will be moving this year. We were hoping to pack our bags and leave this place before the rainy season is upon us, but I honestly just want to be out of here NOW. Is it too much to ask? D is having a hard time too. People here seem to have expectations of a pastor that are not in line with the way things should be. Theologically. Sure Theoretically one can try to adapt as much as possible, but in the end we are the way we are. Our personality, upbringing and education is not something that can be undone. In our case all of these are simply not compatible with the vast majority of the population of the region where we live here in Northern Brazil. Not to mention that we both refuse to play the hypocrisy game that people here think is “polite”. For example, they refuse to be critical of anything to you face. If you dare express some negativity about a situation, it “isn’t right” to say so. Only among themselves. Nobody is perfect, but how is being fake supposed to be a good Christian example to anyone?


Yesterday hubby gave me my first driving lesson. I have to learn to drive with a stick. Unlike North America where most cars here have manual transmission! Why, oh why?!! What a pain in the *! In our first years we were hoping to buy an automatic car one day, but we’ve realized that we will most likely never be able to afford one. First of all, cars here are much more expensive than in Canada (compared to salaries). Second, automatic cars are rare AND much more expensive than the manual ones. So, yeah. I’m learning how to drive again… The boys were in the car with us and we went to the (almost deserted) airport parking lot to have my first “lesson”. In between my (exaggerated) screams of despair (when I stalled) and shrieks of joy (when I got the transmission change), the kids asked when we would get into the plane… Soon my little ones, God willing very soon!


At home everybody is fine and healthy, which is the most important. However I still don’t feel “at home”, which translates to daily frustrations. The other day, I was wondering if we still had the “Complete Works of Shakespeare” somewhere. I realized that some of our books have been packed 4 years ago and are still in boxes… After looking though half a dozen boxes, I did find the book, but how I hate this! I’d like to buy some nice shelves (simple but nice, real wood, custom made) and unpack all my music books beside the piano, and all my favorite novels in a “reading nook”. Ah, the plans I have in my head !

I am still looking longingly at the real estate ads in our “future” town. We hope to buy what they call a chácara which loosely translates as “country house, or farmstead”. It’s basically a house that has a bit more property than a town house. I can’t think of any comparison because in some cities there are actually some entire neighborhoods comprised of chacaras… Which doesn’t make sense if you think of chacaras as country houses in a city neighborhood… Anyway. In our case it would very probably be in an un-developed part of the city because I simply don’t want to live in an apartment. Not with three children who need to run around. Not now that we live in a country where the climate allows you to enjoy the outdoors all year round. I want enough room for some chickens (fresh eggs!), coconut, papaya, lemon and blackberry trees, a vegetable garden, a tree house and maybe a couple of dogs. Dream, dream, dream…

Feliz ano novo !

Qu’est-ce qui me donne envie de festoyer? Sérieusement? Ahhh…

Les communs palmiers qui poussent dans mon jardin et qui font “frouch-frouch” quand il vente un peu et que je suis dans le hamac pendant la sieste des enfants.
Un rayon de soleil entre deux averses (pendant la saison des pluies) qui me permet d’aller immortaliser cette fleur d’hibiscus.
Les flamboyants en fleur !
Une fleur de flamboyant !

Et puis surtout, oui vraiment, toutes les couleurs de bougainvilliers que je souhaite un jour dans mon propre jardin :

Fushia et Rose pâle…
Rose pâle

Il y a aussi mauve foncé, et rouge, et orange…

… et l’espoir que cette année sera l’année d’un autre déménagement ! (Cette fois-ci sera “la bonne” — Allez, on y croit ! )

Beijos a todos e feliz ano novo!


C’est la photo de truc chez Dr.Caso et elle nous a demandé une photo de truc qui donne envie de célébrer !

A força da natureza

Am I getting used to it, or is the paint job on the floor not so bad after all? Note, however, that it graciously goes from green to red-brown to grey… 😆

This house is definitely a step up from the other one. The garden all around the house is fantastic for the kids to run, play, and chase each other while screaming. Ahhh, love this overgrown, messy, wonderful garden!

Palm trees! (Malok-the-cat) Noni trees! Hibiscus! Passion fruit!

As I opened my kitchen window yesterday morning, a light breeze came in accompanied by a delicious perfume. As if on a spell, washing the dishes, a chore that I otherwise greatly dislike turned out to be not so bad after all.

A marvelous perfume. Here some call it “café cheroso” (perfumed coffee) but my G*gle friend hasn’t confirmed that name…

At the market I would have bought half a dozen plants to the flower lady had I not been limited by weight (as usual I had come biking). I ended up coming back home with a erva-cidreira (pretty flowers and really good herbal tea) and some kind of small papyrus that reminds me of mi abuela‘s tiny but luscious backyard in Argentina.

After planting my new finds, my boys and I ate a couple of acerolas from the tree. These little beauties are full of vitamin C – one of them contains something crazy in the ranges of one thousand times the amount of your daily needs. Super awesome fantastical tropical fruit.


In the afternoon, I sat in front of the house watching two ara birds play-fight on the highest coconut tree across the street. The wind was still blowing as if about to rain. The boys kept asking for more of the mate that I was drinking.

What a marvelous day. It seemed all the nature around kept reminding me of the main reason we came to this country. I had a smile on my face until bed time.

Falta pouco

Já mudaron?

Ainda não, falta pouco…

(“Have you moved yet? Not yet, in a bit…)

It has been weeks that we’ve been “just about” to move next door. The repairs have been done, freshly and horribly painted. The concrete floor outside has a fresh coat of paint. When D asked the repair guy why he chose green instead of the usual grey. He replied that grey looked “sad” to him! Now with the walls brown and white and the green floor outside, it seriously looks like a daycare. 😆

One of the bedrooms had a flashy pink wall so we’d simply asked to have it painted white like the rest of the house — it is after all going to be the boys room — but the guy repainted it… the same flashy pink color!!! 😯 So D had to spend a couple of days repainting that stupid wall. As a struck of good luck, on the same day he was applying the last coat of paint it started pouring rain outside and water came dripping on his hand. The roof that had supposedly no leak, had some. So now, D took care of that too.

I have been spending my afternoons transplanting all that I’ve been planting in the last year from here into the other garden. It is now starting to look pretty nice over there. Here it’s more like a war zone with holes everywhere that I haven’t bothered to patch up. They are going to destroy the house anyway. Why should I bother?

The new place is going to be better. Not great, but better.

First, it’s not on a street corner so I won’t feel the eyes of everyone on me each time I open a bedroom window in the morning, half asleep and with messy hair, or when I strangely decide to water the garden at night, once the kids are in bed.

Second, although it’s right next door to a school (and I mean really next door, there is a (locked) entrance and several windows –translucent but not transparent– on our garden side), not being in a street corner means we won’t hear the circulation all around the house and especially not as much of the publicity trucks and motorcycles. Weekdays are so noisy, I should illustrate this in a video sometime.

Third, one less bedroom (the three boys will have to share one), but a much needed garage… Which means that we won’t have to park our bikes in hubby’s office and that he won’t have to go all around the back of the church to park the car. Each thing in its place.

Now, for how long will we be living there, that’s another question.

uma voltinha do jardim

Today LIVE FROM RONDÔNIA! (well, er, almost) :mrgreen:

I have been thinking for a while (and I mean weeks — or has it been months?) to give you a little tour of our garden. I was hesitating between taking pictures or making a little video. Finally I’ve decided on the latter (also because Mahie did just that too). You’ll hear me speak en français, but I’ll write in English below.

For an unknown reason, the video stopped before I had time to finish my little tour… Sorry!

*cravo-de-defuntos/tagetes (pt) = marigold (en) = oeillet d’Inde (fr)
*peace lilies (en) = lys de la paix (fr)
*Zee Zee plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) (en) = plante ZZ en français (ha ha)

As you can see, we were out of luck this time as not many flowers are blooming. If I’d had the time to finish, you would have seen the Caju tree which is not in top shape (there are evil ants all over it) but giving fruits nonetheless. Also, this garden has nothing of the luxurious tropical foliage I’d like to have. My dream is something like this:

image is not mine [click for source]

or that:

image is not mine [click for source]
(with or without the pool… but with would be better! –please God, and thank you! 😉 )

I really like my samambaias (ferns/ fougères). I have planted no less than four different types  so far and I’ve noticed another kind in the church yard that I’ll pick as soon as I buy another hanging plant pot. My favorite is the samambaia de metro (or meter-long fern) that I have hanging in the terrace above the front window. Not only do the leaves get to be about a meter long (!), but they also have a pretty shape:

samambaia de metro (polypodium subauriculatum)
Samambaia Paulista (Nephrolepis pectinata) — the most commun — and another “curly” samambaia I haven’t identified yet.
Samambaia Azul — Blue Fern, name given by the seller, not sure of its real name — and the other curly one I haven’t identified…

I am also super excited with my two new jasmine plants that I’ve grown from branches cut from the “mother” plant, let grown some roots in water, and now voilà I have two other new plants!

This might be the first and last time you’ll see a video of the plants in THIS garden as we are to move to the house next door in a couple of months, after the current tenant is gone, and after some repairs are done to the place. The house will be better than this one. One less bedroom (the three boys will have to share one), but with a much needed garage and most importantly the privacy that is greatly missing in this house. In a hot country where one lives with the windows open all year round, one understands why people tend to have their houses surrounded by 2-meters high walls (though in larger cities it is first of all because of the high burglary rate).