Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The worst or the best moment to become a citizen?

So, yeah...

Our citizenship interview is scheduled for Thursday. I didn't really blog about this, I only mentioned it in passing in one of the 2018 posts. We got the letters for the appointments when we came back on  12/31.

Sigh... my brothers-in-law are joking that now we're going to have that man's signature on our citizenship certificate. :-( Serves us well for waiting for so long, right? Maybe it is the best moment to become a citizen, though. I can't wait to vote!! 

I'll let you know how it goes. After they interview they have to schedule our swearing in ceremony. I won't be celebrating this event, it's just one more rite of passage in our lives as accidental immigrants (whoa, when I wrote that post in 2009, we had been here only 13 years. Now it's been 21.5!).

My apologies for not being in a good mood today, but I hardly ever am when I talk about this whole process, particularly the fact we have to promise to bear arms. I guess I'm ok with the pledging allegiance part, somewhat.

In any case, wish us luck. I'm hoping it won't take too long. My friend from Belize said she had to wait FOUR HOURS to be called for her interview. That would be awful! I'll report back.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

From Summer to Winter — Bedding edition ;-)

This is one of the things I did on January first. It was/is so cold this year that even though I adore our two year old Spring & Summer bedding (and didn't do the switch last year because of that very reason), I decided to change it to our heavier winter one and I also swapped the thin comforter we had under the duvet by a down one. I also have winter curtains, so I changed those too.

Pardon my messy bedroom (later that week I cleaned the clutter next to the window. I'm still working on the stuff on the other side (my side of the bed):
The Spring/Summer bed:
When I bought this duvet cover (which I found "accidentally" browsing something on Kohl's website, but then bought it elsewhere because it was cheaper) I already had those decals* on the wall, but don't they match perfectly? I LOVE botanicals and I truly adore this duvet cover. *most of which I got at Target, some from IKEA and online.
The Winter version:
This bedding is the one I purchased (at JC Penney! On clearance!) because the comforter/bedspread we had at the other house (photo here, third photo from the end) didn't match the sage green of the walls -- it is now used inside the "summer" duvet cover!

And... I made a quick time-lapse of the whole thing. The music is the introduction to Ivan Lins' "Formigueiro" (ant-house). I had a lot of fun adding the music. I will start playing more with videos, now that I have a phone that takes great photos and video.
from summer to winter from Mama(e) in Translation on Vimeo.

Last Day/ First Day

"Yesterday"  (meaning Tuesday, 1/16, I'm still awake, so it's still Wednesday for me) was my last day of the winter break, so I spent extra time in bed after dropping off my son at school at 8:50 am, which led to a spectacular parenting "fail."

I never thought I'd sleep until the home phone* rang at 11:55 am with my son asking me whether I was going to bring him lunch. I had not only silenced my cell phone, but also turned off vibrate when I started getting too many texts from a group of friends in the early morning, but I thought I'd wake up at 11:30... I never put the alarm (which surprised him).

My 15 year old was very understanding. He patiently listened to me getting up, heading to the kitchen and frantically telling him the options for food (frozen Indian or lasagna? No. A sandwich? "You? No!" [apparently only daddy makes good sandwiches], until I said, "Well, what about veggie dogs?"  "If you have hot dog buns, then yes, why didn't you mention that earlier?" Luckily I DID have the buns and I didn't mention that earlier because I hadn't thought of it yet, DUH! I kept asking what else he wanted and he was very nice about it, "Just put mayo on the bread, mom. How long is it going to take?" Said he with a quiet voice that implied a bit of impatience. "Ten minutes, max!" I barely had enough mayo for the three hot dogs, but I thawed some home made tomato sauce to season it (in Brazil we cook the hot dogs on a type of marinara sauce, for big parties they are actually thinly sliced, when cooking for the whole family I just slice them lengthwise so they'll go farther, but I put three whole ones for Kelv).

When I said to him what a big failure I'd been he only chuckled and thanked me for the food. I love that kid! I went back home, put a load of clothes in the wash (laundry has been pretty intense this early January -- too much stuff piled up from December and I'm not done with all the bed linens yet), then later I drove to town -- my first trip pretty much since before Christmas (I did take my son to buy a backpack the day before school, but that was it!) and I was only able to stay for an hour and a half (went to Costco & Target) because I needed to pick up the boys at 5.

I didn't work on my syllabus until late in the evening, but I wasn't worried, since I only needed to make some small changes.

The other "fail" for this first day was the snow that never came, so there was no snow day as my son so wanted and secretly me too! ;-) I had to drive on very light snow during my last 20 minutes of the drive and I thought I'd missed the bus, but I hadn't, the app was just weird.

It was a roller coaster of a day... I won't go into details, but I was upset and stressed that 16 of the 45 students I had last semester didn't register for this semester's sequel class. Then, I had an unexpected and unexpectedly good meeting with my colleague and spent hours writing some emails and trying to leave. I didn't leave until past 5 pm. I stopped at a bunch of stores along the way and only got home close to 9 pm! I still cooked some pasta for the boys and got them to go to bed because K had to stay late at the university.

Yeah... this sounds like a typical "first day" to me! Working is wholesome. Yeah... I don't know what else to say about that now. Hopefully it will get better someday... I hope it'll be a good semester. In spite of the lower number of students. I have a feeling it will be!

*yes, we still have a "home phone" line -- it's a VOIP & we pay 6 dollars a month for the line. I can no longer call 60+ countries (we paid 39 for that for years), but I'm using Google voice to call my parents. I still like to have a phone line, and for 6 a month, I don't think it's bad.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Goodbye Spring-Summer Look, Hello Fall-Winter! (Living-Room edition)

I wrote most of this post on 10/2, but only managed to upload the photos on 11/23/17 & 1/15/18!
This post is almost two months overdue!
I changed some of the pillows in my couches back on October 2nd (here's a post from 2012 showing in detail how I came to finally settle on my "summer" pillows). It is a subtle change for the sofa (the solid ones stay). Maybe I'll buy more pillows to change looks 3 or 4 times a year... we'll see! My oldest son hates the cold season pillows because they are filled with pesky feathers... sigh. What could I do? It would be horribly time consuming to open the seams to remove the inner pillows and replace them. (Cheesy humor ahead: see, this is literally a "fluffy" post) ;-P
 Good-bye Spring-Summer look:
Hello Fall-Winter:

A lot of the decorations in my house involve several shades of my most favorite color: aqua green, teal, or turquoise. And also brown because I love brown, and lots of different shades of green because green is my favorite. I need to post more photos of the house sometime! 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Family Internationalization - 2018 Update

Eleven and a half years ago in 2006, I documented our family's "internationalization" on the blog when my brother moved to China and K's uncle to South Africa. I think that a more catchy title would have been "Our Family Goes Global!"

A year later, in May 2017, I added part 2, about Klebert's second brother K3 (third out of four) moving from TX to Turkey to teach in an International School. In Feb. 2008, while we and K2 were in the process to get our residency, we found out K4, the youngest brother would be emigrating to Canada and a month later it was confirmed that my brother was moving from China to New Zealand! (we never got to visit either place, but in three years my brother may be back in NZ for good).

I only blogged this briefly and in retrospect, but in 2009, the year K4 moved from Brazil to Canada, my in-laws were forced by circumstances to move back from the U.S. to Brazil (long frustrating story). Fortunately, in the same year K3 moved from Turkey to Brazil to teach in an international school and there he remained until 2014 --  it was very nice for my in-laws to have a son and his family, particularly the young grandchildren, close by. (I don't know the exact years, but K's uncle moved from South Africa to Mozambique for a few years, then came back to the U.S.).

In August 2013, to the great joy of my parents, my brother moved back from NZ to Brazil with my 1.5 year old nephew and 3 month old newborn daughter. Then, in March 2014, K2 and his family moved to Egypt (they moved back to the U.S. last year in August, not because they wanted to, but because of my BIL's reoccurring cancer) and not too long after their uncle moved to Tunisia.

In 2015 I wrote a quick post to report about the uncle and say that my brother had gone back to Brazil, but I think I never mentioned in the blog that in August of that year, K3 and his family moved from Brazil to Qatar to continue teaching at an international school. (I did say that back in October '17 when I blogged about our thwarted travel plans  and the events that didn't allow us to spend Christmas with them in the Middle East this year).

All this to share two very exciting pieces of news:
  • My brother (it's his 44th birthday today!!) and his family JUST MOVED to Indonesia! They left Brazil a week ago today and have been in their new house for two days only. He is going to work for a large paper company named April
  • This summer, K's brother K3 and family will relocate from Qatar to South Korea and they are very excited to work at an amazing school there.  
My parents are understandably broken-hearted, particularly because my nephew and niece are only 5 and 3 years old and they lived in Brazil for the past 4.5 years. I am quite worried about my parents, but that's the subject for another post. Maybe we'll visit my brother in Indonesia and we are really excited about the prospect of visiting South Korea! Maybe I should create a tag/label for all these posts and call it Global Family or something. ;-)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Retroactive Blogging or 17/71

Written last week on 1/4:
It's not about the 77 posts, it's more about getting posts from last year out of the drafts folder and still in the last year, and also other New Year's Eve related posts that don't belong here in January.

So I will do some retroactive blogging in the next day or two, without any guilt because it's my blog, my life, etc.

I also want to write some more New Year minded posts before it's too late.
OK, so in the end I only wrote three posts (on 1/9) and because 71 is 17 backwards I think those to posts are enough!

The first is a list of things that were kind of new/unique in 2017 -- my apologies if the post is a tad negative. Sigh...

The second was also a list (yeah, I know, I'm way too much into lists and looking at the past and figuring out what happened every year) of the family reunion holidays since I started blogging THIRTEEN YEARS ago! :-)

And the third is a list (with brief commentary) of all the films I watched this summer -- most were Marvel!

Yeah, so there you go, I hope you enjoy my "retroactive" posts. ;-P

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

In 2018...

... I hope no one in our family dies (first thing I wrote back in Dec. 2016). Thankfully nobody did in 2017, unlike 2016. I think this will be a standard wish every year now. And I know that people will die at some point. :-(

... I hope any health challenges family members experience won't be too overwhelming and life-threatening.

... I will get politically involved to help elect Democrats locally. I hope the Dems take the house in November.

... we may become citizens. And maybe I will be able to vote!!!

... my youngest will graduate 8th grade and start high school. I hope he won't suffer much from anxiety in this transition.

... my parents will come for an extended visit. I hope they are healthy. We may travel with them to either Canada or maybe to Asia (more on that later).

... I hope my brother's family will have an OK transition in their big move (which deserves its own post).

... I have to undergo a review in my job. I hope and pray it goes well and my contract is renewed.

... we will see all of K's family again in July. I hope all goes well. My brother is supposed to come for Christmas and I am looking forward to that long overdue visit.

... I hope against hope that things won't get worse with that man in the White House, but I dare not hope too much, because I know it can get worse very fast. :-(

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy New Year!

Yeah... I never got to post and reach my goal of 77 posts in 2017. So lame!


We left the rental house past 11 am, and since we had to stop by the airport to pick up our other car that K's brother "K3" had left there as they went back home to Qatar, we decided to stop for lunch on the way at our new favorite fast food place: Blaze Pizza. We actually invited K2 and his family to join us, so we had a few more moments together with them.

Then we picked up the other car, stopped at Trader Joe's and Aldi to do some grocery shopping and didn't get home until past 7 pm. I did my best to cook a relatively ok New Year's Eve meal and then... we decided to end the year watching a movie with our oldest son -- Batman Begins. It ended shortly before midnight and we saw the stupid ball drop.

It was then I realized I hadn't blogged. oh well!

The truth is that I don't really like my work laptop. I didn't want a Mac, so I went for a PC (Dell) and it turns out that I cannot install or update ANYTHING because I don't have administrator privileges! SO USELESS! My brother said it was the same thing with him, so I don't feel that awful anymore, but if I knew this, even though I have come to dislike Mac laptops (I am still 100% in love with the iMac I have on my desk at work and which will be removed at some point, since I have the laptop).

Anyway... I don't like laptops and wish I could use our home's desktop instead, but our son, the gamer, is always on it.

I will try to post the pending 2017 posts tomorrow. Perhaps "cheating" on the date (as I am with this one, publishing one hour earlier than the actual time).

Happy New Year!