02 May, 2011

Is this goodbye?

Not to come across as too melodramatic, but in light of the fact that Abby hasn't updated here in a couple of months (it's been a lot longer than that for me), who knows what else will end up on this blog. Indeed, our time in Brazil is waning. India beckons, and with this knowledge we have neglected to give the proper props to Brazil before we leave. It is with this in mind that I compile a top 10 "Things I'll miss about Brazil" list. The top 10 list isn't about Brazil, it's about Brazil through my eyes. It's about how Brazil has affected me and the experiences it has afforded my family. So now, without further ado:

Top 10 things I'll miss about Brazil

10. Monitors. These are the people who watch your kids while you're at a restaurant eating a nice meal. Or at a kids' party and you want to talk with other adults. Or any other place where kids go. These people are paid by other people to watch my kids. My kids do activities with them, play with them, play with other kids while monitors.... monitor them. Monitors are great.

9. The food and drinks. I love picanha. There isn't a cut of meat on the planet that I'd rather have than picanha. For some reason, they don't cut it this way in the states. It's beautiful, tender and amazing. The kids will miss rice and beans with their meat. We'll miss the fresh mangos and papayas, the acerola juice and - for those of you who have visited Brazil before - the caipirinhas. Lime and sugar with cachaca. It's really amazing.
Capirinhas are good

8. The weather. With the exception of about 50 days a year, the weather is between abou 70 and 85 degrees here every day. Sure, it rains sometimes - usually in spurts of a week or two at a time - but I really don't think there's a single location in the US that has such regularly excellent weather. Maybe some part of California, but who wants to live in California? Correction: what teacher wants to live in California? No thanks.

7. Graded School. This is the place that brought us here. I will always be grateful to our first director, Rick Detweiler, for hiring us straight from the states. We have lots of friends who are making a career out of teaching and living overseas. Aside from the fact that we find ourselves moving to India in a couple of months, I don't have any reason to believe that we'll be making an entire career out of this. But either way, the opportunity to move on to such an amazing school in Mumbai (ASB - check it out) now is a product of having had the chance to work at Graded. The kids love their school, and we have some colleagues who are excellent, committed teachers and outstanding friends.

6. How Brazilians fix potholes. Seriously:

5. Beaches. I know, it's shocking that Brazil's beaches would be missed. But seriously, it's perfect beach weather about 300 days of the year, the beaches are beautiful, beachfront hotels are totally affordable, and beach food it freakin' good! What's not to love? I only lament that we didn't go more often. We've only been once with Stella, but she made it clear that she is not ready for beach life. So it's not our fault! I have a feeling we'll compare every beach we visit to Guaruja, Praia do Tombo, Ipanema and Leblon for the rest of our lives.

4. Zeli. Zeli is our nanny, and she loves our kids. She's so good at all the things she does for them, but most of all, she loves our kids. And most of all in loving our kids, she loves Stella. If I didn't trust her so doggone much, I'd be worried that she's going to kidnap Stella right before we leave and move back to Bahia in northern Brazil to live with her little blonde-haired, blue-eyed Brazilian "Baby 'tella", as she calls her. She cooks, cleans, and takes amazing care of our kids when we're at work... and on Friday nights so Abby and I can have a life, too. We'll have household help in Mumbai, but we won't have Zeli.

3. Athletics for the kids. Noah and Sophie get to spend their after-school time doing swimming lessons, ballet for Sophie, soccer for Noah, and a variety of other after-school offerings at Graded. The things they get to do at the Portal are things I have a feeling we'll recognize that we took for granted as soon as we move away. Zeli takes the kids to their activities once they get off the bus and they stay at the gramadao or parquinho playing until dinnertime. A high quality childhood if you ask me!

2. Friends. We have been blessed to live among friends that I can safely say we will stay in touch with for a really long time. While most of them are fellow North Americans (I'm trying to be inclusive of those strange Canadians here), many are Brazilians. There's even a Brit and a few Argentines that I'll miss quite a bit. Living in a situation like this definitely lends itself to counting on colleagues and neighbors for all of those friendship needs that can happen more organically elsewhere. Given that, we have been extremely lucky with the friends we've had here. That's ALL of us - kids included as the photo below shows! We'll miss most of them, though some are headed to Asia along with us.
Easter egg hunt at the Portal

1. Our home. Sao Paulo is a gigantic and ugly city that somehow manages to provide an adequate to good life for nearly 2o million people. In the midst of this gigantic and ugly place is the Portal do Morumbi, where the skies are always blue and the grass is always neon green. The trees are tall, the air is fresh, the pools are refreshing, and the club food is... well.... this place is almost perfect. For three wonderful years, our children have grown up here. I will always remember this Club Med oasis in the midst of a chaotic urban jungle. Aside from the great friends we have here, living in the Portal is the thing I will miss the most about Brazil.
Our Brazilian souvenir with mommy at the club

So there it is. Though Sao Paulo has its challenges - pollution, traffic, chaos and ugliness - these are things that go with the territory of living in many of the world's big cities. I suppose I could do a top 10 list of things I most assuredly won't miss about living here, but I that would imply that there are as many bad things as good things, and that just isn't so. It's been a great ride for three years. But we are excited and ready to move on to the next ride. Hello, Mumbai. We'll put a link up here sometime soon to a new blog. A blog that will capture our life in India. Who knows, maybe we'll even start it before we move to chronicle some of our preparations. And maybe we'll even update the blog more often than we have here lately! Time will tell. One thing we've learned for certain: you never know what lies ahead in life.

Tchau for now....

1 comment:

Cara Tebo said...

I'm moving to Brazil now!!!!!!!!