Monday, February 22, 2010

Living in the Present – the View from Four Feet

Houston, we have a problem. We’ve crash-landed into our non-holiday life back in Belo Horizonte and we seem to have lost our direction. It’s Monday and the roar of morning traffic filtered up to our sixth-floor apartment starting at 5:45. Cars, trucks, motos (motorcycles) were all revving their way up the busy street outside our apartment entrance, horns blaring by 7. The only thing missing was the city buses. It appears the drivers are on strike today which ended up having profound effects throughout the city’s businesses as a lot of the workforce was unable to get to work. I miss waking to the sound of birds.

We’ve been back since Friday night so have had the weekend to ‘re-enter’ normal life. The kids’ war cry has been how much they miss life in Florianopolis. Who can blame them? We spent the last two months living at a leisurely pace. We were a 5-minute walk from the local beach. We mastered various forms of the sand castle. The kids experienced pure joy frolicking in the surf. And we spent a lot of quality time together since Brian conducted no research and spent only half-days writing up his findings, leaving the rest of the day to play. But it’s back to work for Brian now and back to reality for Bas, Ginger and me.

We’ve been in Brazil over six months now, with a bit over three months to go. I can feel the pull towards planning life upon our return to the U.S. Lining up play dates. Re-connecting with friends. Visiting family. But a funny thing happens when you stop living life in the present. It disappears. And I need to be mindful that we are experiencing something life-changing for the kids, even though Brian and I have both lived abroad numerous times. We need to view life from under four feet and appreciate how to make our last few months here meaningful for Bas and Ginger.

Have you ever gotten down on your knees in the surf and seen how big the waves seem to a three-year old? Well, Brian and I did this and appreciated the view. Our kids have reminded us that what we take for granted can seem pretty daunting to a child. Speaking a foreign language, trying to make friends, trying to understand another culture to name but a few waves crashing down on them.

The kids have not had any formal education here. We have focused on learning about life experiencially which has been fantastic seeing Brazil through their wide-open eyes. But it’s time for Bas and Ginger to finally make some connections with kids their own ages. Tomorrow we have an appointment with the pre-school down the street to see if our kids can enter school for the last three months of their time in Belo Horizonte. Bas has been biting at the chomp to go to school and run around with a pack of boys. Ginger gets rather teary-eyed at the mention of pre-school so I’m not so sure she’s quite as ready as Bas. But until we try, we’ll never know.

So send some positive vibes our way as we try to keep our feet on the ground without getting stuck in the mud.


  1. What a lovely entry, I really enjoyed reading your blog. Get those sharp children of yours into preschool. Mateo is already speaking Portuguese! Last week he started a public preschool program. The staff are super friendly and the school day comes with rice and beans, no joke they feed the kids breakfast and lunch. Mateo likes the school and the lunches a lot. Some days I think he's more impressed with the chocolate pudding than the learning. Oh, to be four and remember the important things in life.

  2. Hello! My family is in the process of moving to BH (we're arriving on Friday). I have an 8 year old, a 5 year old and an almost 3 year old. I'd love to connect with you. Could you email me at srkelz at gmail dot com? Thanks!

  3. Greetings from Cyprus, enjoyed your blog,Regards

  4. Awww sweet :) I am sure they will do great in pre-school. What an amazing thing for your children to experience, living in a foreign country.
    Good luck.
    By the way, your children are adorable, but Im sure you get that all the time :)