Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Sisterhood of the Trailing Spouses

I got a blessed call from Morgan today, fellow Sister of the Trailing Spouses, informing me that she would be picking us up for a playdate in 15 minutes. I think I may have suggested, in my profound haste to successfully make human contact with an actual grown up, that Katie 'shotgun' her yogurt breakfast. Morgan came with her adorable son and her NEW NANNY. I was practically salivating as I wished Ms. Maria a 'Bom Dia'. We all hopped into Morgan's borrowed car (which is the current high standard of luxury in my tiny world. 'You have a car? A Honda Fit?!? Ooohhhh!' I am truly impressed.) We took off on an adventure to Erica's house. In the world of isolated motherhood, the bigger the herd of children, the higher the mama's rank (It's all about playdate options). With 5 sweet and beautiful kids, a well stocked pantry, a Kitchenaid, AND a car, I'm pretty certain that Erica is an Empress. Mama Elise met us too with her precious little guys in tow and for 4 delightful hours, the world was a perfect and normal place. The kids played and stuffed themselves on grapes, cucumber wedges, and the contraband of Wheat Thins. I think Katie was ready to trade me in for any one of the STS's. We talked the 'Mama Shop' of schools, foods, recipes, and volleyed around ideas for our socially conscious entertainment. Looks like I will not shrivel up and take on a hunch back as I had suspected would happen with long term isolation and despair. At afternoon's end, I found myself back home with Katie, baking powder and baking soda in my pantry, vanilla in my fridge (a million thank you's, Erica), the phone number and offer of a nanny/housekeeper (Morgan, you're the best), and a renewed friendship with the ever sparkling Elise. It seems as though I have been plucked from obscurity by the Sisterhood of the Trailing Spouses....and for that I will forever be grateful.

On a side note, I then delved into the fascinating world of 'Pool Cleaning 101', of pump priming, chemical balancing, and random other lessons in 'things I cannot possibly afford to allow other people to do for me'. And for the final thanks of the evening, I send my father the biggest hug and appreciation. Your example has made me a fearless tinkerer of things which may or may not be repaired, McGuyver Style.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Be Thankful..

Be thankful that you are not a chicken in Brazil. This little fella gave me quite a start when I opened the wrapping, only to find his head and feet sticking neatly out of his bum. Yes, they use EVERYTHING here. I quartered it and saved the wings and back for soup. I'm not quite ready to use the head and feet, yet.

Hello Brazil!

After years of consideration (cultivation of a home, a family, a suburban life), hubby went and joined the Foreign Service. With stars in our eyes we sold the house and the cars, said 'so long' to our friends (thank God for Facebook, Skype, and email), and headed off to Washington D.C. for 8 months of training to prepare us for....Brasilia, Brazil. I had every intention of starting this blog way, way back when but as life often does, things got busy.

So we find ourselves here in Brasilia, it's the rainy season, green, wet, lush. It's beautiful in an unbridled kind of way. One can almost feel the land straining to break free of the last six months of drought and to grow, unfettered.

The two mango trees in our back yard are HUGE. Django Mango and Fandango Mango drop their prize fruits like rocks and it's a race between people and insects to claim them. We've given many away and I try to pile the 50 or so extras in various states of decay around the base of the trees to rot in a tidy pile, which is laughable because nature here is far from tidy. We have a lovely little kidney shaped pool, the tiles lining the bottom are indigo blue and covered with a murky film of insects and dirt. I have yet to glean the knowledge of how to work the pumps and such but as soon as that occurs and a good cleaning takes place, we'll be swimming.

The house is big and echoey. It smells a bit like neglect and wear but it has a Brady Bunch meets George Jetson charm that can't be denied. It is large and I still easily get lost in the halls, attempting a quick walk from one end to the other often ends in retracing my steps on the cool hard wood floors. There are so many turns from here to there, I almost get dizzy doing the daily minutae.

I have managed to find a kind of comfort in the daily chores like cooking and laundry. As that there is not yet a car nor neighbors we know nor anything familiar, it is a lonely, quiet, anxious feeling that sits in me most of the time. I feel so funny for the time being, playing minute by minute entertainer to my 3.5 year old daughter, pretending confidence in doing the dishes, and heaping the hopes and joys of my day onto the expediency in which my hubby can get back home to me. I believe a walk and a car will work wonders. We have yet to explore the 'neighborhood' on foot. A road branching out to another road, tall grass, unfamiliar people speaking a rolling and exaggerated language like poetry and nagging. Farther than I know for sure, a store, brimming with laughably overpriced, somewhat familiar goods. Something to let my mind pretend to find fascination in, just to roll up against the mild nausea of monotony.

I know, I know. It will all change and improve and worsen and run into a future but for now, it's an experience, moment by moment.

Hello Brazil