Friday, August 26, 2016

First Week & the New Normal

I want to write a post about the "new normal" that will be mostly about the way we feel and how life continues after an unexpected and close encounter with death, but that will be at another time.

This was the first week back at work and my husband came back on Monday (that was great, third time we are apart & back together, but also bittersweet, since he had just gone through such a heartbreaking time in Brazil). My brother-, sister-in-law and nephews left and flew back to Cairo on Tuesday.

I had gone to work on Monday, but I taught for the first time on Wednesday and... in spite of how exhausted I continue to feel after my mega-commute of 88 miles each way... I am THRILLED, beyond excited and amazed at the fact that I have Tuesdays and Thursdays ALL TO MY OWN SELF!!! That's also part of the glorious new normal of my new work contract. I'm sure that it will greatly increase my quality of life, not to mention the quality of my teaching!

So, yeah... after an exhausting week of double-single parent and constant Olympic Games watching we had the first full week of school for the boys and first week for me. K starts next week. Yeah, the new-normal is soon going to be in full-swing.

I hope to fully enjoy this weekend and wish that you do too!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Maybe in Four Years...

... My son will be coming to school with me. :-) I hope he gets accepted here! 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Olympic Games in Rio

Over a month ago I took this photo to show that I was prepared for the Olympic games:
I bought this pair of havaianas.

While in Rio we were in such a rush that we basically didn't take photos with any Rio 2016 signs .:-( I'm slightly sad about that, but bot rweally! ;-)

The games end tomorrow and in spite of the horrific coverage by NBC I watched what I could and enjoyed it

I'll edit this post later! ;-P

Saturday, August 20, 2016

On not being there

I just wanted to register here that the memorial service for my father-in-law just took place in Brazil a few hours ago and I am sad because I could not be there.

I hope I can soon talk to my husband, but he just texted me just how to say that that it was really, really hard. :-(

I have this bad feeling that I haven't been able to have much closure following his death because I didn't experience most of it with my husband, his brothers and mother. It's sad that two of the daughters in law couldn't be part of the events of the fateful week and neither one of us four could go to Brazil to be with them now. Sigh...

There's nothing we can do. And there is some likelihood that I may not be with my husband or children when one of my parents dies -- I hope not, but it's not impossible! :-( It's all part of the hardships of being immigrants in another country.  Our own choice.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Double Single Parenting & so much other stuff...

There's a lot on my plate right now. I was supposed to be preparing for classes, having a lighter week with the boys in school and me and my husband doing projects in the house to get us prepared for the school year ahead.

But since our vacation was interrupted followed by the unfortunate and completely unexpected death of my father-in-law things got hectic. I had to pack and travel by myself with the boys (I'm a pro, but I was a pile of nerves). Then we had a relatively quiet week with K3 and his family and K's mom here, sleeping in Kelvin's new bedroom while he slept on the floor (same arrangement in Michigan, incidentally, after we got there). Hopefully being close to her first grandson gave her some comfort.

Our husbands and their mom traveled to Brazil on Monday and these have been tiresome days of "double single parenting" for my sister-in-law and I.

Being by myself on the first week of school -- two different schools now! -- totally sucks! I'm exhausted from waking up earlier than I like (before 7) and doing two drop offs, one before 7:30 am, the other between 8 and 8:15. And then there are the lunches I have to plan... oh, and breakfast, I'm TERRIBLE at breakfast (except for smoothies) and K always feeds the boys in the morning.

Good thing there's the Olympics for us all to watch, but my boys need to be put to bed earlier than they'd like because of school. Thankfully my nephew that is the same age as my youngest son is always nice to his dear cousin and goes to bed at the same time with him (my nephews are sharing a room with my younger son).

On Tuesday was my youngest son's first day of school, a half day, so afterwards I granted his wish and took him and his cousins to a trampoline park an hour away. On the way back SIL commented that she couldn't handle three loud boys in the car. Sigh...Yesterday the cousins joined my son at his school's pool party, but today we had to take the two boys to town because we needed to go shopping.

I haven't been talking enough to my husband, so I'm cranky. I hate missing stuff and I'll miss everything this weekend. Father-in-law's brother and two sisters and their families are coming for the memorial service. I imagine it will be heartbreaking, but I won't be there. I know he's not my dad, but I still wish I could be there. If only to hug my own brokenhearted parents (they lived two blocks away from each other) and my husband.

Some of these feelings are selfish, but this is "blogging as therapy," so I want to share them. I can't wait for my husband to return on Monday! Too bad I have meetings at work for most of the afternoon. I may skip some of them to get home earlier. We'll see.

Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Brasiiiiilll! Beach volleyball upset over the U.S.

Edited to add: when I wrote this post I didn't know that in "regular" volleyball the Brazilian women had just LOST to China. Some of my friends thought that was a great game to watch. 5 sets X 3 :-)
 
YAY! I slept for most of the game (on the couch while my sister-in-law watched), but got to see the very end. Kerri Walsh-Jennings lost her very first (and last?) Olympic game.

Now I hope the Braziilians Bárbara & Agatha may win the gold!!

Monday, August 15, 2016

And just like that... He grew up!

I want to write more, lots and lots, in fact, about this, such a momentous occasion in my firstborn's life, but here is a quick note not to let these milestones pass without record.

Last Wednesday we went to our son's high school (it's a boarding school in which he will be a "village kid") and submitted his work permit. On Thursday he began work -- in his favorite place, the IT department! I couldn't believe how fast it all went. One day a child, the next technically an adult.

And today was his first day of school as a high-schooler. My baby sure grew up! I'm very proud of him and how much he is maturing and developing every day, but I do feel wistful at times. Transitions like these have surprising effects in one's life. I need to get used to them because milestones will start to pile-up, 8th grade graduation last May was just the beginning!

Monday, August 08, 2016

Grief

The fields are covered by my favorite flower (see blog header) and we are driving home with our sons and nephews today.

My mother-, brother-, and sister-in-law are staying behind a day or too because my father-in-law is being cremated right now (I was writing this in the morning, it's probably over now) and I feel like crying... The thought is too unbearably sad and there has been no "good" crying or closure for me at all. 

The immediate family and two of my sisters-in-law who were here and who came before he died already has a chance to cry a lot and process it. They all had a chance to say goodbye to him, but I (and my SIL M) didn't and won't. 

I was with my parents in Brazil, who are considerably older than FIL and who were very sad about all of it and fragile (also because he boys and I were leaving, my mom cries and cries every time). So while I'm Brazil I had to be strong and couldn't really cry. Of course I cried in the bus and on the plane as soon as we found out FIL had passed away, but I don't know if I will really be able to do much more than that. 

I have been doing my grieving mostly by writing and seeing photos of him and the family. I think it will be a slow process, less dramatic than the one of the wife and sons who went through it all. 

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Live with no regrets

My father-in-law passed away peacefully on Thursday. He felt no pain at any point (and he wasn't given any pain medication until the very end) and in the moments in which he was awake from the coma he had many meaningful interactions with his four sons and his wife. They all got to say goodbye and come to terms with him going peacefully, the way he wanted.

During the flight back from Brazil to the  U.S. On Thursday night, I wrote a lengthy post to share on Facebook, which read like a letter to my beloved father-in-law. After I finished writing the post, which ended with me saying I had no regrets at all, I wrote this, which I meant to be shared here:

For me, living intensely is the only way to live without any regrets. There is no need for regrets because you don't ever leave anything behind, as much as possible. You savor each moment, you love deeply, you interact with your loved ones everyday as if that were your last day on earth. You leave nothing unsaid, you open your heart. You even argue if needed, but you patch things up right away and tell people you love them. You kiss, and hug, and caress like there is no tomorrow (I'm like that with my sons and husband, my father in law was just like that too, as is my mom).

You get over the little things that irritate you that don't matter, leave those behind, you put people and family first. You have your friends over and cook their favorite foods for them as often as you can. Work, and a clean and organized house are not that important, making that photo book and giving it to loved ones for a special occasion is (my hubby will hate that one!) As is buying that perfect gift for a friend, taking the time to plan your trip around seeing as many friends as you can then talking all night with them and going out of your way to see them is the way I like to do it. After all, it's only once every few years! (In our case, when we go to Brazil).

Spend money on trips together, even if it's a lot -- travel and time with family is worth more than things. Go to meaningful places, make memories, take endless photos and then look at them later to savor the moments (my husband is against the photo part sometimes, but maybe he has changed his mind now). Eat at places you love and that will make you happy, enjoy treats like ice-cream, gelatto, or popsicles with the kids while on trips or at the mall (just did that with my 14 year old son a few days ago).

Spend time helping people, making things for them for special occasions, even if it involves hours and hours of your time. (I know not many people can do that, but I thrive on it). Put other people's needs ahead of your own, stay behind to help whenever you can. Be last in line at potluck so everyone else can eat and help clean afterwards.

Stop to listen to people, many of them are craving attention and need someone to lend a willing and sympathetic ear. That takes time too, but it's an incredible gift for them.

That is how I live my life. I love every minute of it and I have no regrets whatsoever.  It's intense, it's exhausting, it's demanding, but worth it. 

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Pile of Nerves

I need to blog to calm down.

I don't want to drive my husband crazy and hurt his feelings by asking too many questions.

It's hard not to know when he can come home  to us from being there with his dad. It think it will be harder when we arrive back home on Friday without him. Maybe not? I hope not. If it is I don't know what to do to dope.

I can't help but worry about how my in-law's travel insurance (which was originally for THREE DAYS! They requested an extension yesterday) will pay or not pay for extended ICU stay (it seems they have a limit of days), not to mention the thought that they probably don't cover rehabilitation costs -- but maybe they have to, depending on the medical condition and the impossibility of travel. and what if they say it can't be extended? Too many scary what-ifs money wise.

Packing is extremely stressful for me, my husband was going to handle that as he does every time. He's a pro.

The shopping lists I have, for me and for friends are long and then after buying all that I have to PACK all those things.

Then there are the sad background thoughts...

... he is only 71. His parents lived extremely long lives (92 and 94, if I'm not wrong). We took it for granted he'd live that long. At least I did.

... his mom died last year after a stroke and being intubated for a long time and resuscitated multiple times. He does NOT want that and has actually discussed these issues before with family members.

... he is way too conscious of everything around. If he recovers, that's great, if not, it's heartbreaking.

yeah

Vacation, Interrupted (short version)

I wrote a longer, more detailed post, but decided to pull it. If you got it in your feed, "good for you" (I used to HATE this expression, sounds so much like "teasig" , at least how it would sound in Portuguese, but now I'm used to it).

Summary of situation: This vacation has been pretty incredible, but unfortunately it's been interrupted by an awful and unexpected event: my father-in-law had a serious stroke soon after arriving in the U.S. for my brother-in-law's doctoral graduation on Friday. It was a three day trip, but now we don't know how long it will last for them.

Last night my husband is flew to Chicago to join his three brothers and mother to be by his father's side (one brother flew from Brazil with his family and the other came from Montreal). We all had a horrible night Saturday night because we received devastating news and were told by the doctors that my FIL was likely going to die or not ever recover. After a few hours of sleep we woke up on Sunday to news that FIL had woken up from his coma, opened his eyes, and could move arms and legs on command. The grumpy and blunt neurosurgeon that had talked to my BIL last night said it was a miracle.

The situation is extremely serious, though. FIL is stable, but he could still get worse. We don't know what the prognosis is. We don't know how long it will take before he can return to Brazil. I haven't talked to my husband yet since he got there, maybe I'll give a quick update after I talk to him.

Please keep my FIL and our family in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Foggy, Hazy Rio de Janeiro, but Sunny Christ Statue!

This is a photo post. My children have been amazingly blessed this past year in terms of seeing incredible natural wonders: they've been up close to the Matterhorn, the Momt Blanc, and Jungfrau mountains in the Alps; then a few weeks ago we went to the k credible Iguazu Falls and today we arrived at a very foggy & hazy Rio. It was still great (and hopefully better tomorrow) and staying at the local house of friends is very special! 
Bright blue from the back:

Sunny front;

Foggy city below:
This was supposed to be an incredible view of the Sugarloaf mountains:

A few more:


And Incredible sunset with "sea" of clouds:


Looking forward to 2nd & last day tomorrow. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Brasil Trip Continues

sorry for leaving the z out, I prefer Brasil with s the way we write in Portuguese :-)

I'm visiting my brother's house for the first time in 10 years! He lived 8 years abroad and I haven't been to Brazil for the past 2.5 years.

A quick summary of the past two weeks: after we arrived back from the trip to the state of Paraná and the Falls, my sons spent a week hanging out with their cousins who are closest in age (sons of "K2" who lives in Egypt). They rode bikes, played tons of WiiU and some Minecraft and we all spent an afternoon making tie-dye t-shirts for ALL the kids in the family -- the 8 grandkids of my in-laws + K's aunt's 2 grandkids and 2 shirts for my twin friends' kids (the two that were there with us), plus two t-shirts for my mom and one for me). And I still dyed a giant towel with the leftover dye.

My sister-in-law was at her mom's house all week with my niece (who is 3 and the cutest, sweetest little girl ever) and nephew (4.5), so I spent as much time with them as I could.

In the middle of the week I went clothes shopping with my mom at a nearby town that has lots of textile factories and stores and we also got hundreds of liters of spring water from a local spring (my parents do that every few months so they don't have to buy good drinking water).

Then my husband arrived on Friday (7/14) and his family members started to arrive, one brother on Saturday and the other o Sunday for the BIG reason for this trip: his grandmother's 90th birthday party and family reunion. My mother-in-law's two sisters and two brothers and their children were there on Saturday already and we had a lovely lunch celebration at her cousin's house. The birthday celebration on Sunday night was awesome and the next day nearly the whole family went to a hot water springs resort a few hours away where we stayed until yesterday (Friday).

It was great, but a lot of the kids got sick with the stomach flu. :-(

I hate to end on this negative note, but this will be a BIG week -- we're going to Rio for a whirlwind pre-Olympics tour!!