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).

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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.

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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!

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Virando realidade

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

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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!