Last day of Movember and some new musings….

Last day of Movember and some new musings....

So after a long month (according to the beard growers!) these are the before and after pics for Jack and Brian (aka “who is that grown man” and “when did I marry Walt the Meth dealer?”)!!!
Jack has decided to leave his for now and see where it continues to go-grow… and Brian couldn’t shave his off fast enough yesterday! I can attest to its very course feel and may have resisted a kiss here and there for fear of major skin abrasions on my face! Brian decided that it would be the perfect armor in a zombie apocalypse since it would certainly provide a shield of protection against those undead teeth…. regardless it was a fun experiment and we’ll see if they do it again next year… (maybe only if we sense a zombie uprising!)
So life in Brasilia continues to move along…. everyone is busy with work, school, socializing and the never-ending quest to conquer Portuguese… we are preparing for our month-long trip back home in a few weeks and are making our lists upon lists of what we want to bring back with us… but mostly we are so excited to spend time with our friends and family and hopefully sell everyone on a trip to see us here soon! The Christmas season is here in Brasilia too, with Christmas wreaths and angels out for display — I must admit its hard to truly comprehend its actually Winter and Christmas when I am sweating in my shorts and tank tops daily but if you know me, you know this is truly my dream weather — I can honestly say I do not miss the cold or snow… and I think that after all these years abroad in tropical weather I will easily be able to make the shift and embrace a Sunny Hot Christmas season! So with that warm thought I send you love, joy and peace this Holiday Season – and look forward to seeing you all very soon! oxox Stine

Movember — growing beards and growing tales…

Movember -- my boys!

So Jack and Brian have decided to take the “challenge” and grow mustaches and/or beards for Movember (see http://us.movember.com/ if you are unfamiliar with this phenenomon) and here are their clean shaven faces on November 1st — I will keep you all posted on their progress or lack thereof!!
And yes it is N-ovember and it has been over a month since I last posted — we have been busy settling into our new digs! The boys have been quite busy with school and basketball and Ronan just returned from his Basketball tournament in Sao Paulo and Jack leaves next week…We have attended several happy hours and continue to seek out new friends! Our portuguese is still pre-beginner lol, but we keep plugging along and now I understand so fully why foreigners also mix up their verbs and nouns when they try to speak English — most other language are not as complex as ours and they just use the bare minimum of words to get their thoughts across — how practical but of course not easy to go backwards and so I am constantly over complicating my sentences! I need to learn to just say — ” I have hunger” and be done with it — someone will feed me! I have also begun working and that has kept me busy as well — its seems to be both challenging and interesting work and I am so lucky that I was able to secure this position! We also got tickets for the World Cup which was no small feat (and we might have some extras for those of you who weren’t ready to commit yet!), we are in the process of booking our tickets home for Christmas (a whole month!!) and we are making our lists — not Christmas — but wish lists for what we want/need to bring back with us from the States! Next week we have the Marine Ball and then Thanksgiving — no plans yet on that front besides a Flag Football game with the Marines… Our Kombi Shaggy Van continues to shuffle us to and fro and I love the looks I get from the locals as I drive by — a gringo — lady – no less – driving a “working class” car! The rainy season has begun and besides the deluges of rain we also have many many critters, the cicadas cry/shrill all day and the beetles drop dead by the handfuls throughout the house. But when the sun comes out — oh how marvelous it is to be in this country! We are missing you all — but not the cold weather! — and are looking forward to seeing everyone very soon! Till then — keep an eye out for my Movember updates and see what hairy creations Jack and Brian grow! oxox

My daily musings wrapped up in one word – GRATITUDE

My daily musings wrapped up in one word - GRATITUDE

This photo is from a recent sight-seeing trip inside Dom Bosco Cathedral (http://www.sacred-destinations.com/brazil/brasilia-dom-bosco) and this image has resonated with me over the last few weeks. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity – both good and bad – we have bar-b-qued with friends, gone on a moonlit boat cruise on the Lake, watched our boys play basketball, gone to PTO meetings, stammered through Portuguese classes, navigated our new country in our Shaggy mobile (have I mentioned the “guns” I am getting driving with manual steering!), read 2 wonderful books for book club (Infidel, and The Language of Flowers), broke down with a friend on the side of the road and had to quickly learn some key phrases to find a triple A equivalent!, floated in my pool with my tube from Diani Beach and reflected on those friends and family I miss so much, talked with friends and family on our newly acquired Vonage phone (why did I not do this in Kenya?!!), sent Ronan on his trip to Pantanal (pics to follow), taxied our boys to all their “playdates” (guess I should call them hangouts now that they are teens!), received our sea shipment of households goods – yay -until we realized everything was moldy and I spent the last two weeks unpacking and cleaning or discarding moldy items (who knew you could do 60 loads of laundry in one week!?), finally got to bbq a delicious steak now that our grill is here, laid in my hammock once it was de-molded, and just continued with the day to day activities that engulf us all… and then we got the awful news last Saturday from Nairobi, Kenya — our greatest nightmare while we lived there had happened — pure evil reared it’s ugly head and killed and injured so many people at a place we had just been ourselves 3 short months ago. The grief and despair I felt this past week has been paralyzing at times and I grieve with the friends still there trying to pick up the pieces and move on. It makes one once again take stock of our lives and realize how grateful I am for all the above mentioned experiences (the good and the bad) I had this past few weeks. And while I never will be able to make sense of this atrocity I will take action in the only way I know how — to continue to cherish all that have, this life, my family and friends, and to not take it for granted and to not forget this — we shouldn’t need a reminder of this magnitude to appreciate our lives! So I urge you to take the time to appreciate what you have and to pay that forward — give that street musician a donation, smile at a stranger, thank the check-out girl at the supermarket, spread love wherever you can – I know no other way to combat evil but with pure love — maybe if we spread a message of love everyday it would make a difference in this world — I have to believe it will – that is how I will honor those who paid with their lives so that I could be reminded to value mine. I love and am thankful for you all, I hope that you can make this day and all the ones that follow filled with LOVE, HOPE, FAITH, and GRATITUDE for yourself and for others and to not sweat the small stuff but rather embrace it! oxox

Happy Birthday to me from the best family ever…..

Happy Birthday to me from the best family ever.....

What an unbelievable surprise… all my sisters and brothers and wonderful hubby got me a Galaxy SIII — really -I wasn’t hinting on my Kerry Post but apparently I have been talking non-stop about upgrading my dinosaur I-phone 3 and I left the Apple Cult to join the Android believers! Brian tried to tape my surprise as I opened the package that arrived from Sarah but unfortunately he never hit record and while he thought he was taping me, well he wasn’t! But there were tears of joy and maybe a few curses of exclamation — really this was not expected and way too nice of a gesture from you all BUT I promise now to take flawless pictures (first one shown here — from my backyard) and share them all with you — be patient though — the phone was an international version and so everything, including the manual was in French so its taking me quite a while to set up and learn how to use all the awesome features on this phone! (Thank god for Youtube Tutorials!!) and Thank you, thank you, thank you all so so much– I am deeply touched by your love! ox

Really, I am NOT high maintenance but…

Really, I am NOT high maintenance but...

after living out of a suitcase for 3 months, one starts to become irritated over the littlest things — “I have to wear this dress again!” So it was with much glee that both our air shipments (one from Kenya and one from USA which ironically were sent months apart) arrived yesterday! You would have thought that Christmas came early, or that a leprechaun crossed my path! Yes the expat life comes with its perks — world travel, new adventures and a true appreciation of “living simple” — something I have happily embraced — because honestly, we all have way too much “stuff” in our lives!! However, I cannot express how nice it was to cook with more than one cookie sheet, and use my new Ikea dishes (rather that washing the only 4 plates they gave us in our welcome kit!) and most importantly sleeping on my memory foam pillow with my comfy comforter — sometimes you just need the little reminders from “home” to make your new home, just that — “New”… so for now we are in bliss until the big payday hits when our sea shipment arrives in the next few weeks and then I will rant about how we all have “too much stuff”!

the silver lining…

the silver lining...

So Saturday Brian and I, armed with our map and limited Portuguese headed out to find the Chaveiro (locksmith) to make some more keys for our house. The directions in our “welcome kit” said we were headed in the right direction and that we would find “Oscar” between blocos C and D in the North Section of 114 — seems relatively simple right? Oh even you must have caught on to the fact that nothing is easy to find here lol — we got to the place described above but we did not find “Oscar” but another locksmith (did not get his name) he was very friendly (or at least seemed to be since I didn’t understand a word he said as he supposedly called Oscar for us and told him something about “americanos” looking for him — at the end of this conversation we think he was telling us that Oscar was in the “South” and not “North” where we were — ok — Obrigada (thank you) as we tried to leave but he kept saying something about vinho (wine?) and traversa (travels) and despite our please of “nao falo Portuguese” (No speak Portuguese) he kept babbling on and on like we understood — we finally had to just make a somewhat hasty and rude exit because at this point he was wasting his breath and Portuguese on us! So we got back in the car, took out the map and now located the equivalent address in the “South” — yes we were determined little Key Seekers — when we got to the “South” — much to our disappointment there was no Oscar to be found… guess we really didn’t understand what our friend was trying to say — maybe he wanted to go out for a glass of wine with us lol! On the bright side, there were some nice shops in this section and we stumbled across this Organic Food Store pictured — despite everything being in Portuguese we might have to make a trip back here one day for some organic wonders — um, that is if we can remember how to get here again without our friend in the “North”!

Night out…

Night out...

So we have been trying to stay quite busy here so that we  can a. make some new friends, b.  enjoy ourselves and c. practice our Portuguese. I am not going to lie, we mostly are aiming for “a” and “b” and if “c” accidentally happens, well there’s an added bonus! Friday night, we went to a happy hour at the Marine House — it said it was from 19:00 to 01:00 (translate — you need to learn military time!) so since we already have learned that nothing starts on time here (hmm — must be a tropical weather thing because nothing started on time in Kenya either!)– we didn’t leave our house until 19:45 and arrived around 20:00 — well epic fail on our part since we were still the first arrivals besides the Marines of course lol! However, we got to talk with some of the marines and enjoy a couple of drinks when slowly other people started to drift in… a familiar face (another newcomer) and nice conversation followed and then we realized that we were by far the oldest people there — time to make our exit; not sure if this is going to satisfy “a” and “b” of our going out criteria and it certainly did nothing for “c” since everyone spoke English, although we did learn that you absolutely, positively need to learn Portuguese to “survive” here — ugh — we might need to bump “c” up to “a” in our priority list! Anyways we dashed out around 21:00 (is this military time getting annoying yet?! — welcome to my life!) and headed over to the Lake to get some more drinks (“b” on our priority list) and enjoy the view. We sat out on the deck of the Bierfass ( ) and had a beautiful view of the lake and of many couples making out on the pier — seems to be very common here to express your affection quite openly in public lol! After enjoying a bottle of german beer and some chicken wings (only took us about 20 minutes and google translate to order these — so I think we satisfied “c” quite nicely!) we left the lake and lovers and headed home — all in all a nice night out with my hubby and the beginning of many more adventures out in lovely Brasilia!