Friday, March 30, 2018

Did she finally come around?

Last week my mom surprised me. When I left Brazil 22 years ago next June, my mom desperately sobbed and cried at the airport. Over the years, she has never hid her pain and sadness that we moved so far away. Thankfully she and my dad were able to spend lots of time with us and the grandsons because they both retired one year after my oldest son was born and if it weren't for their help, I would have never finished my PhD.

My brother left Brazil in 2006 to live in China and then in New Zealand, but he went back to Brazil for nearly four years (2014-January 2018). He is now in Indonesia and he doesn't plan to come back. His move was hard on my parents because my brother has two young children, 5 (the boy) and 3 (almost 4), the girl.

Brazil is in turmoil now. The president was impeached to years ago and her party, the Worker's party, which had been in power for ten years is being charged with corruption. Violence has gotten worse in Rio de Janeiro, prompting the president to send the armed forces to take care of security. The presidential election has become a circus and the country's recent past has literally become a Netflix series, The Mechanism (with all names changed).

So last week, my mom sent us a voice message over WhatsApp that really surprised me! She said that she thinks my brother is right in leaving Brazil and that it's good that I don't live there either! She also said that she and my dad won't live much longer, so it doesn't matter that things are bad, but she seems happy that we're out of there.

WOW, just wow! I'm not happy that my home country is falling apart, but I sure feel better that my mom seems to be much more reconciled to us having left the country. I hope her feeling holds, and also that things don't get too bad so she and dad can be OK there.

In any case, also good timing with my citizenship thing as well, right?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Safely Back!

Both of my "babies" made it back safely!

My washer and drier were very full last night, but my heart was fuller! ;-)

P.S. the day after my oldest had left for Peru (3/16), I became a citizen of this country. Right now I don't have a post in my about that, but I feel bad holding back that information from you. Incredibly, there seems to be a "silver lining" to this, and I will blog about that soon, promise!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Childless for Four Days...

... after having an only son for a week.

In about 18 hours I won't be childless anymore and in about 20-21 hours our family will be complete again! It hasn't been bad, really. There were some moments things felt strange, but not having to worry about what to feed them and just doing our own thing, my husband and I, it was pretty ok. ;-)

The boys texted and called with regularity. The oldest was in Cusco, Peru, for a mission trip. He had bought an international data package, so he could text and call as much as he wanted or needed. One day (possibly Wednesday), there was a 40 minute phone call because he enjoys just being on the phone while he and I are doing various things, and I actually had to basically hang up because I was tired of being put on hold for a few moments at a time. This morning he woke us up at 8:40 (we had taken naps yesterday afternoon, then stayed up really late watching a movie) and we talked for over 30 minutes while he was at the airport, at times frantically searching his backpack for his allergy medication. Their flight had been delayed several hours, so he felt like calling me and just talking for a while. It was good to catch up on what he'd been up to since Thursday. Then, when they finally got to Lima and he had Wi-Fi at the hotel he called me to seemingly ask me what drink he should by at the soda machine (K and I were on our way to eat out and I had to say goodbye and hang up again because we had arrived at the restaurant). Later, he called quickly just to request that I make sure I have tons of ramen noodle so he can make it for himself as soon as he gets home! :-D From what he's been telling me, they all had a wonderful time, in spite of the horrible food and some people getting sick (possibly food poisoning) at the end of the trip (yesterday and today). I know I will have to spend hours seeing all his photos and videos!

Our youngest went to Tennessee for a robotics competition and his texts and calls were a bit more anxious (he forgot a towel, he was unhappy with the food and how different "American" food is), but he did great for most of the time. This morning he texted me after their first two competitions, then in the early afternoon he said that they hadn't done very well in their robot's run. A few hours later, though, he texted me SUPER excited saying that they were the champions! Now they are headed to Florida in early May and I will be a chaperone again, except that this time I'll have to drive all the way to Orlando and back. :-( Not as fun as flying to San Francisco and getting to visit Yosemite and do other fun things... ;-P

Today my husband decided to start the Spring cleaning. As a matter of fact, he decided he will spend more time doing projects around the house and I'm thankful about that. It is a double-edged sword, though... Sigh... I will have to endure lots and LOTS of pestering on how many shoes or scarves or winter hats I have accumulated over the years... Not very fun. I did manage to separate several of each for donation today and we have a HUGE donation pile with many of items we haven't used in years. There is a long way to go in cleaning the house and de-cluttering, but hopefully we can do a better job this year than we've done before.

OK, I will now end this scattered post to go to bed & be prepared for their arrival tomorrow.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

16 Years a Mother/ Trip Update

On Friday my oldest turned 16 and I enjoyed spending about half an hour with him right next to me in our bed (with my husband putting away his clothes near us) as the time of his birth, 4:14 pm, came and went. I had the scrapbook of his birth photos in my hands and he didn't want to look at them, but I'm thankful that he was content enough to hang out with us at that special time. He even let me take photos (even though he was making a scowling face) at 4:14 and I only shared those with my parents and brother. We talked about our recent trip, since I had just picked up is dad from the airport bus (we have one now!!).

Kelvin's birthday celebration stretched for a week and a half because his birthday present was a trip to Los Angeles with my husband and I. He ADORES traveling (he is truly our son and our parents' grandson -- the oldest!) and he's just about to travel again this coming Thursday on a mission trip to Peru. This year, exceptionally, my husband's professional association conference coincided with our Spring Break, so he was planning to take me with him to LA, but then our son asked to join us.

Both boys missed 3 days of school. Friday 3/2 and Monday and Tuesday. Our youngest stayed with his cousins and my sister-in-law (my BIL was traveling) and we flew from the airport closest to their house to make it convenient to drop L off and pick him up. LA was awesome and I posted some photos to Instagram & Facebook. It rained all day Friday (our first day there), but we enjoyed our visits to the Getty Villa and the Getty Center in spite of the rain and the lack of views

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On Friday night we headed to Banning (towards the Desert/Palm Springs) where our friends live and it was awesome to see them again! Their daughter was my student (from 2nd-4th grades, once a week English class, she doesn't even remember) and she was one of the flower girls in our wedding. They left Brazil two years after we did and since then we've seen them in 2003, 2016 and now (my husband also saw them back in 2005 when his conference was there too). We talked for hours, and visited Joshua Tree National Park on Saturday.

On Sunday we headed back to LA and visited the Griffith Observatory and had dinner with a dear friend after checking into our fancy apartment in downtown LA. On Monday, our last day there, Kelvin and I took the metro and walked around downtown (City Hall, Disney Hall) then met up with my husband at the SkySpace which has awesome views. We ended the day seeing the sunset and meeting up with another group of friends (husband, wife, two daughters) we hadn't seen since 2015. He was my "accountability partner" when I was writing my PhD dissertation and he was finishing his thesis for his D. Min. Now he's pursuing a Ph.D. at Fuller University and we're very happy for him. While we talked, Kelvin did a time-lapse of the sunset.

The trip was intense, but the perfect blend of sight-seeing and catching up with friends and I think Kelvin liked to meet our friends. He certainly got to listen to A LOT of Portuguese which is good for him. He wishes we could go to Brazil more often, he loves going there and it's pretty much the only time he speaks Portuguese. Sigh... All day Tuesday was wasted with our trip back and it was tough on him having to wake up early again to go to school in spite of the jet lag. Now he's gotta get ready not only to travel again, but to spend a week at extremely high altitudes in Cuzco Peru. I hope he'll be ok!

Oh, yeah, to finish off the narration of the birthday. The day didn't start great because Kelvin had a nose-bleed and both boys were late for school on account of that, but I made up for the upset by taking him to get a Subway sandwich for lunch, making the traditional "vanilla ice-cream-cool whip Oreo crust" ice-cream cake. Then on Saturday he invited his two best friends and I cooked his favorite food (Brazilian-style stroganoff with veggie chicken and rice) for lunch as well as the dessert he asked me to make (a trifle dessert with cake, berries, and two kids of cream (one condensed milk based).
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I think it was a good birthday overall! I also posted 60+ photos of him from birth until now to Facebook and I enjoyed reading the comments!