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  network of family, friends, students and neighbors, and now most of my furniture has been sold… 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, stressed, 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 has been my refuge amid the hurricane of my life these days.

Stress, emotions, relax.


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).

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.


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!

Branco e preto

Notre “tigre” fait la sieste au pied des palmes.

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He’s back!

This morning, after 1 months and 10 days, our cat has been found alive! He was hiding in a drain pipe at church, just beside our house. We think the only reason he was out today was probably looking for food. He is still nervous, has lost a lot of weight and after so long outside seems like he want to go back out again, but otherwise seems healthy!  He will stay in the study for about a week until he gets used to the new house. He needs to know that here is our new home.

You can’t see these, but those are tears of joy. I prayed so much to have him back but after one month away I didn’t want to hope anymore. Now our family is complete. Thanks be to God!

*Edit from 5 Nov. 2012* Here are some pictures of the sixth member of our family 😉

Malok-the-cat, international traveler

Malok-the-cat had been with us for 5 years. We adopted him in Ontario when he was a couple of months old.

First, he met Lily-the-bunny who ran after him all over the apartment until we decided she would be happier in the country (or else I wouldn’t have any working electrical devices at home — she was chewing on all the cables).

Having a staring contest with Lily-the-bunny.

Then we introduced him to Mikah-the-cat, another companion that later left us for another family (he needed some special care for his digestive problems and we just couldn’t do that with two cats… and the twins on the way).

When we moved to Saskatchewan with our infant twins, Malok was with us. When we moved back to Ontario, he came back with us. So, although moving a cat overseas is an additional set of paperwork, money, and yes TROUBLE, we did it all. He was part of the family, he had to come with us.

In the big plane from YYZ to GRU, we had a reservation for him in the cabin with us. We had hoped that he would fly in the luggage compartment to make our life easier (have you thought of carrying 2 sleepy toddlers, 1 infant and 1 cat around the airport?), but apparently there is an embargo for pets during the summer months: They have to fly in the cabin or Cargo. So, cabin it was. The week prior to flying D made sure all the paperwork (veterinary check-up, vaccinations, Canadian food inspection agency clearance) was ready. While we were waiting for check-in, we were reprimanded by a stewardess because our cat cage was solid — we had overlooked that “detail”: pets in the cabin have to fly in a soft carrying cage while pet with luggage have to fly in a solid cage (and rules are different with each company). So while D was waiting on line for check-in with our 2 fully charged carts and the twins, I ran (with Uriel on the baby-carrier) to the only luggage store and bought an overpriced soft-sided cage…

Thank God our flight went well.

Arriving in Brazil, customs didn’t even check the paperwork for the cat. Actually NOBODY ever did. 🙄

Malok had a pleasant stay at the in-laws. He even met Layla-the-dog. When we found out we were moving to Rondônia, we had some doubts as to how he would come with us. When we made plane reservations, the only company that flies to our small airport allows pets on board but doesn’t take reservations! It works on a first come first serve basis! How ridiculous stupid is that? (Never fly with TRIP guys!) We decided that we would show up at the airport with father-in-law so that in case Malok couldn’t fly, he could go back to their house. The agent at check-in let us pass without a problem. We were so happy! Then we said our good-byes. An hour later while we were waiting to embark, our name was called. Our pet wouldn’t be allowed in this flight after all. We had to wait for another one later in the evening… Problem solved after a miserable day between the airport, a hotel, babies crying, diaper changing, empty bottles, etc.

So, after all the difficulties to have Malok come with us, he disappeared 2 days after we arrived. 😥

We had to stay a few days at the house of new friends until renovations in our house were done. Since there was already a small cat there, the children and we were already sleeping all in the same room with the fans working and open windows (it’s hot here), D thought it best to bring him to the empty house. Malok somehow found a way to escape. We don’t know how he managed. He’s never lived outside. He must be so disoriented. D spoke to some neighbors, gave an announcement at church, left a description at the local radio station, we shared his picture on Facebook. Nothing.

I have knots in my stomach each time I look at these pictures.

Please come back.