Strong

I poured my morning cuppa today and looked down and realized this old boy was looking a little worse for wear. And this is the best one of the lot. Ceramic floors are really unforgiving. Nothing makes me long for the architecture (and hardwood floors) of my native New England than one more shattered coffee…

Train Wreck

What was that in that dark corner? Chipped paint? Or was it… My daughter had been running all over this stadium with that diaper.. She had been playing in that corner. Was it…? It couldn’t be. I stood there by the door, barefoot, with no paper towels at hand (Sketchy Bathroom had been out of them by 11p.m.), armed only with the diaper wipes in my bag, I contemplated looking closer at what that might have been… just in case. I contemplated getting down on my knees and cleaning that floor, walking all the way across that hall with handfuls of poopy diaper wipes to brave that bathroom… And I turned my head and walked out the door.

Broken Hallelujah

Goddamn you, world. You just gotta kick a gal when she’s down. Leonard Cohen died this week, one of my favorite poets. This loss coming on the heels of Trump winning the election in the USA, and the Republicans taking both the House and Senate. Seriously, life just isn’t fair sometimes. People here in Brazil are shocked…

Stars in the Sky

My students were bickering over who had stars on the Awards Wall. One was proud of her achievements, but disgruntled that there were other students’ on her heels–soon to achieve the same thing she did. Negativity is not allowed in my English classes. I watched the dynamic for a minute, conjugated a few verbs in…

Cat’s Eye View

He flopped out of the basket and righted himself. Taking in his surroundings, he wandered on unsteady feet out of the kitchen and in an uncertain direction to explore the world. Grandma scooped him up and placed him back in the basket with a tch of her tongue. “That kitten is hungry. What a shame! Look…

Anniversary: Year Two

I’m a little late on this post. We arrived in Brazil on September 9, 2011. Somehow I blinked and this year’s September anniversary rolled by. I’ll blame it on the pregnancy, my scapegoat for all things memory-related in 2013. Last year on my one-year anniversary here I wrote about how life will slip by unless you…

Rich Bitch

She stopped by to visit and asked to see the new crib.  I adore it; it’s lovely and the symbol of so many dreams of to come.  Of course I’d be happy to show it. She’s expecting too.  Conversation naturally turned to comparing mama notes.  I showed her the new dresser we got to go…

How Many Ways to Say I Love You

The meat was sizzling on the grill. The men huddled round puffing at the flames and performing arcane rituals to minimize the smoke and maximize the heat. The women were in our kitchen pulling together some side dishes. Carrots were being grated. Collard greens were being chopped. Community news (i.e., gossip) was being shared. I…

Pick Your Direction

“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” – The Dalai Lama Did the Dalai Lama really say this?  Who cares.  Wise words, no matter who said them. I love to travel. At the same time I put down deep, deep roots everywhere I live.  Every so often I’ve also got to GO, GET…

Hygge-Happiness

Have you heard of the Danish idea of hygge (hue-gah)?  Alex Beauchamp explains it this way: The Danish word hygge (hue-gah) is a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary everyday things simply extraordinary; whether it’s using real lights on a Christmas tree or breaking out the good wine when friends come…

Ask Who I Am Not What

There. A NPR article finally said what I’ve struggled to find the words to blog for months. In just six words, no less: “Ask Who I am, not What.” No matter where I go here in interior Brazil my funny accent opens the door to the same conversation every time: “So, where are you from?”…

Delicia

There’s seven flights of stairs at my school to the dining hall, and one old clunky elevator. If you’re at all athletic a slow pace up the stairs will outpace that musty old beast every time. She rounded the top flight and blew out a gasp: “Uuuufa! Delicia!” (“Pheeeeww! Delicious!”) I like her style. What…