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.

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A lot of people fishing.
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A big boat passing in front of Detroit.
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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 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.

Anúncios

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!