Rendez-vous dans dix ans

I have been following a certain blog for ten years. TEN YEARS! Which means that I, me myself and I, have been blogging (on and off) for more than ten years! (Actually, I started one year after getting married, before moving from Montreal to Niagara, 14 years ago…)

My fellow blogger asked me and the others who commented on her original post, ten years ago, to reply to the simple and , oh so complicated, question of where were we 10 years ago, today, and how we see ourselves in ten years from now.

It gave me a bit of vertigo.

Ten years ago, I was writing this post. In July 2008, D and I were living in Niagara. We were childless, only one cat (I can’t remember if we had the Lily-the-bunny then, too), and had the freedom to decide at random to go to the movies on a weekday or spend the afternoon biking around the region (when we were not working) and come back home with the sun. On Saturday we would often walk downtown (a 20 minutes walk from where we used to live), have lunch at our favorite sushi place, and follow it by aimless hours at the public library.

Ten years later, we are a family of  five humans and two cats (the same first cat is now eleven years old). We no longer live in Niagara. In the mean time we have moved 7 times, we spent one year in Saskatchewan, moved back one year to Niagara, then the big move to Brazil, where we lived 3 years in Rondônia, less than a year in Goiâs, and another less-than-a-year finally close to family in SJC, before deciding that Brazil was not what was best for our family.

I feel dizzy again.

We can no longer make spur-of-the-moment decisions. Our escapes to the sushi place have to be planned in advance to coincide with the kids being at school and both of us not working. We managed to go to the movies only a few times in 10 years, when we were lucky to live close to the in-laws and they could keep an eye on the kiddos. Now I go to the library with the kids when it coincides with the organized craft activities, so that I can read quietly for 30-minutes before someone comes to show me his work of art, gives me a book, asks if he can go to the bathroom (have I ever said “no” to that questions?), or wants to use the library computer (for games — why do they have computers at the library?).

Professionally I was working a lot ten years ago. I had a job as a bilingual secretary which I disliked. The hours and the pay were great, but I was either bored or stressed most of the time. Luckily I was also teaching music in the evening, and I really loved that. I had a very busy life, but with no perspective. D was studying for ever, we didn’t know when that would end, and where we would go after he had finished.

Nowadays I am teaching piano only to my Goddaughter once a week. I had started teaching music to my boys, but my patience is not as good with my own children. I am concentrating in their swimming lessons right now. Maybe I will try music again sometime later.

And then I have these audio books projects that are taking most of my waking hours… Yes, I had the bad idea to accept a second audio book project before finishing the first one. The due date of the second being before the first one, I am a bit stressed. Actually I shouldn’t even be wasting my time writing a post right now!

In retrospect, I am as stressed today as I was 10 years ago, only for different reasons! 😕

Our lives have changed dramatically in ten years, not necessarily for the better, not for the worse. Just different. We try to make the best of things, but let’s say that I had probably imagined something more stable 10 years ago… It is my wish, hope and dream that we will have put down some roots somewhere (anywhere, really, please ô God) in 10 years from now.

(The following song as nothing to do with the post. I am just a bit obsessed with it at the moment).


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 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.

Papi et abuela

The car we use at the moment is not ours. A friend from church as lend it to us for as long as we need until we can afford something, or an arrangement has been found by the church. Usually the Lutheran churches (from our domination) (in Brazil), own a car to be used by the pastor, and a house for his family. But not the church here. They are renting the house where we live now, and don’t know what to do about the matter of the car. So, meanwhile, we use this car, an old car, which is ok for small errands in town, but we don’t feel super safe in it to go on long trips.

So when papi and abuela (my dad and mom) arrived on my birthday (Dec. 28th), I had a driver pick me up to go welcome them at the Guarulhos airport and drop them off at the hotel where they are staying (our house is only big enough for our family of five). I felt like a very important person, with my very own chauffeur in a big black car! 😉

My dad arrived from France (via Portugal) and my mom from Argentina with only one hour difference between the flights. That was rather well planed. It gave us the time to hug, chat and walk across the terminals. I had not seen my dad since last time he visited us in Canada. The twins were toddlers and my youngest only a baby. Five years ago. My mom, of course, I had just seen in August, for my grandmother’s funeral. But as for both my mom and dad together it had not happened since before I was married. Fifteen years ago?! Yeah, all these numbers give me a headache too. Let’s just say that I’m happy to see them, and glad that the kids finally get to meet their grandparents in person.

Sadly, the weather has not cooperated. We’ve had rain, after rain, and more rain after that. The locals tell me that summer storms are normal in this season, generally at the end of the day, but so much rain every day, morning day and night, is uncharacteristic. To me it is very much like the rainy seasons we had in Rondônia. A pain to hang dry the clothes.

The first few days were leisurely spent at the hotel  the side of the pool from the hotel. The boys had never been in a real pool before. So many things that I thought would be a given when coming to live in a tropical have simply not happened where we used to live!

The days are exhausting. We all want to enjoy the precious time as much as possible, so they come pick us up (the kids and I — D is not on vacation) late morning before lunch and we come back after supper around 9PM (everyday except Sunday — to my great chagrin my parents don’t go to church). After the first day with the boys, my parents both looked at me in wonder asking how do I do it. Ha! Well, when at home I don’t usually spend all my waking hours playing with them. Just looking at them play is exhausting! Especially Natanael who has so much energy he could climb the walls! No joke, I’m seriously thinking of finding a rock climbing club for him.

Thankfully, once the kids were familiar with their grandparents, I let them spend days together without me. When my body gets very tired doing unscheduled activities, I tend to sprain my ankle. Last time it happened was years ago, so that’s not really a regular thing, but it happened TWICE in the last weeks. No big deal. Just a sign for me to slow down.

In the mean time, I sent my resume to all the language schools in our neighborhood. When I didn’t receive any feedback (they were probably closed on vacation), I also sent it to the one school that is right around the corner from the hotel (farther from home). Luckily, it just happened that they were looking for a French teacher! It’s a big franchise of language schools in Brazil of which they have three branches here in SJC. So I will be teaching two classes in the school close to the hotel and one class here, closer from home. It’s not much, only six hours per week, but it’s a start. They know that I’m willing to teach English too, so we’ll see. The pay is not the greatest either, but it will make a notable difference in our family’s budget. Plus, hopefully, it will be an interesting job to get out of the house for.