I just got home today, after thousands of miles of driving with 2 kids and their crap and one international flight with a child and all her crap, I am back to the good ol USA and even though we had an amazing time, with memories that will keep us warm until our next summer vacation, I am glad to be back. I am still working through all the laundry and organizing I have now left to do, but all that can wait while I try to summarize our fun time.
1st leg of our vacation took all 3 of us to S Fl to my parents house. Lots of summer days, delicious drinks, lazily lounging days filled of pool and sunshine. The kids both got a nice little tan and lots of love from the grandparents.
Than it was time to pack and repack and organize all suitcases and dd and I hopped on a plane to Brazil (Ds didn't want to go so he stayed behind being spoiled by the grandparents and attending camp) while dd and I made the 9 long hr flight to Rio. It was the first time I have flown internationally with dd and I was pleasantly surprised what a great flier she is. She slept before we boarded, I boarded with her sleeping, and she didn't wake up again until 6am, 2 hours before we were about to land. Easy peasy. Getting 4 70lb suitcases, 1 bookback, 1 purse, 1 stroller and 1 child through customs and security was a whole other mess, but we won't dwell on that. She was a great flier, the plane didn't crash, all good :)
I haven't been home since Ty was 3 years old, so the purpose of this trip was for dd to meet her great-grandparents (lucky child has 3). Well she met them all, got loved on by her cousins, spoiled by aunts, played, laughed, ate so much junk and just had a good old time. Language barrier didn't stop her or them. Somehow she communicated with everyone and everyone just loved on her. She came back thinking she was all that :)
I had tons of fun. This time I had no desire to see any landmarks. I have seen them all a million times, dh wasn't with me, and dd is too young. I had a strong desire to remember how people live and see if this is something we could do in the future. You see I left Brazil when I was 13, there is a golden rule that after 7 years in America, everyone that returns have a really hard time adapting and want to come back to live in the US. For vacation is amazing, to live is a whole other different story (more at part II) so I wanted to experience daily life and see if this is a possibility in our near future. My aunt was more than happy to oblige.
She took me to work, I rode the bus (the majority of Brazillians ride the bus because of cars so expensive and gas prices double of what the US offers (even though we are a huge export of gasoline (don't even try to understand how that works)), the whole country rides the bus. The bus system works. There is a bus every 5 minutes and because you ride the bus you walk. You walk here there and everywhere. Thank goodness because if wasn't for all that walking, I would have gained a good 20 lbs in 20 days ;)
So I rode the bus (standing up because it was packed), paid to go pee (public restrooms are a rarity and at the shopping center you pay 50 cents to go pee), I went to work with her, I went shopping (and carried all my groceries a good 10 miles, than lugged all of them on the bus and than lugged all of them home), I went clubbing, I went to bars, I played beach volleyball, I ate churros filled with dulce de leche from the street vendors, than 5 seconds later I ate a chicken crepe, than a half hour later I ate pork skins and before the end of the day I bought sweet peanuts from a toothless centenarian street vendor. One day I walked so much and so far, I had blisters from my flip flops..lol.
I had an amazing time seeing all my cousins aunts and uncles. I met new cousins that recently joined the family and a couple more that will join the family pretty soon after getting married.
I am the first one to provide grandchildren/great grandkids so therefore to say my kids are spoiled with love is an understatement. 3 years ago they spoiled ds and this time they did the same for dd. They could do no wrong and since there hasn't been a child in the family in a long time, you can only imagine how everyone acted around her. She was more than happy to oblige. The amazing/scary thing about dd is that she will go with anyone. She will blow kisses to strangers, talk to anyone and let anyone pick her up and love on her. If you have long hair, a plus because she loves to suck her thumb and rub anyones hair. So, she easily got held by everyone all day long. Even strangers on the elevator talked to her, kissed her, and just fell in love with her.
I had a lot of time and many eye openers during this trip to think and rethink about my life. Just to give you an example, the only place I stay is at my aunts place. She is my mothers youngest sister and my favorite relative ever. We are very similar. Well she lives in a 1000 square feet 2/1 apartment and it lives her, her son that is 9, her 22 year old daughter and her parents (my grandparents). There is many other places that I could have easily stayed and had a lot more space, but I decline them all because my aunts place is home. She is the absolute best host ever, last time I went to Brazil with the hubby and ds, I stayed and her place, this time I stayed at her place, and will stay again anytime I go. It was very eye opening for me. In this current rat race that we are for bigger and better (house, cars, toys, etc), to realize how comfortable I feel in very small living quarters and to learn the lesson that being a good host has absolutely nothing to do with the size of your place.
Next time I will talk more about that, I have talked plenty, and will leave you with some pictures.
After my aunt let her play with water and make a mess, she gave her this makeshift dress in order to dry her clothes!
Playing with cousins hair!