Stay Calm & Carry On

We all have our strengths and our weaknesses. As I lay here in a chair for two hours at the hospital for my glucose tolerance test (staring at a blank curtain while trying to keep my sanity in check), I am reminded once again that patience isn't on my list of acquired strengths just yet..
..that's the American in me talking I guess.  Always wanting things done now. Or better yet, yesterday!  Brazil has taught me a LOT about patience.  In the states you find a clock in every room. Many times there will be multiple in one room, on each wall and desk (heaven forbid we must turn our heads.. for that may in fact mess up our schedule!).  In Brazil if you don't have your phone with you, or a handy dandy wrist or pocket watch, you may never know what time it is. Doctors offices, salons.. all the places I so meticulously "pencil in" don't give me the option to stare at the clock to make sure I'm going to get out of there "on time".  If you show up to a birthday party at the time indicated on the invitation, you might even beat the guest of honor there!  To be safe, everyone arrives at least 30 minutes late.  It is a constant concern as to the country of origin your host belongs to.  How else would you know if dinner is at a "Brazilian 6:00pm" (aka 7pm) or an "American 6:00pm" (don't be late or your food will be cold, and your hostess annoyed!).

I am a scheduler by nature. I DESPISE being late. If I'm running 10 minutes late, the smile you see on my face when I finally arrive will most likely be forced. It makes me feel disheveled and unorganized which turns to annoyance and (depending on the situation) grumpiness. You have been warned. ;)  But here in Sao Paulo, there are so many factors beyond your control.  Okay, one major one really.  Traffic.  Unpredictable and without real rhyme or reason, a typical 15 minute route can turn into a 2 hour fiasco just because it wants to (or so it would seem).  But no one seems to complain.. unless they're are a foreigner that is.  "Oh well! We'll get there when we get there.." - an attitude I have slowly begun to accept over the past 16 or so months.  Sometimes, you gotta just roll with the punches!

Don't believe me that I've grown in this area?  Well, here's a current example that packs a pretty hefty punch, encompassing all of the above:  We're moving.  GASP!  I know right?!  But we just got here!!! ..welcome to the unpredictability of expatriate life!  A "3 year contract" can mean 2, and it could mean 5..  "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it" is a term that an OCD scheduler (aka yours truly), threw out there while still naively imagining that in 3 years to the day (oh ok, I'll give them a week!), we would be packing our little bags and leaving this beautiful country that we've come to call home.  Naive.  Part of the unwritten agreement for expats is the ability to be flexible. You bend, or you break!  Breaking sounds painful. 

So, I know what all you schedulers out there are dying to know:  Where are you going and WHEN?!?!  Well my lovies, that is the question.  Or should I say questions?..  We have two opportunities in the works (that for pure torture and suspense purposes will remain nameless for now), but I WILL tell you that neither of them bring us back to the U.S. as of yet.  I LOVE my home country, don't get me wrong, but I'm not ready to give up these adventures as of right now!  It's strange really.. I anticipated learning more about a new culture when we moved here, but I did not anticipate how much I would learn about myself!  The personal growth and change that have been acquired in the past 16 months have been more substantial than I ever could have imagined!  I have come to love the challenges associated with foreign living (almost to the point of addiction), and am literally craving a new experience with a new culture, new language, new people and new experiences.  Both of the pursuing opportunities would fulfill all the above perfectly! :)  But as to WHEN??  Most likely it'll be right after the baby is born (the little man is due the end of January) and has acquired all of his passports and other vital records that we'll need if we want him to join us on our next adventure (yes, I think it would be nice to have him tag along!).  So in the words of my husband, "Most likely sometime in March".  But of course I now know what that means..  Could be February.. could be June!  If only you could see the calm and collective look on my face and hear my heart beating at an incredibly normal pace, you would be impressed!  Somehow, I am TOTALLY and completely a-ok with not having any specific answers. Why?  Either I've lost my mind already and was too busy or stupid to notice, I've been injected with a Brazilian "relax you over-anxious, controlling American" chill pill, or chalk it up to the fact that I have acquired a deep faith that we will indeed (eventually), go WHERE we need to go, WHEN we need to go there.  I have officially put my clocks and calendars on hold and just want to enjoy however much time we are granted left in Brazil.  Because the truth of the matter is, it is going to be incredibly, excruciatingly hard to say goodbye to everyone and everything that we have come to love so much here! :(

So, here's to taking one day at a time.  To living each moment out without looking forward to what tomorrow brings.  I will tackle tomorrow when tomorrow comes!  And for all of my beloved friends and family who hate cliff hangers, this one comes with a promise - when I know, I will let you know! ;)


  1. Crazy! I think you should call me sometime and fill me in....

  2. I hear ya about needing to know big life plans way ahead of time! Good job for being so calm about it :) Can't wait to know where you're going!

  3. Just glad I get to visit before your move. Somehow the "I'm going to Brazil to welcome another grandchild" scenario loses its appeal if said grandchild (and said grand child's family) aren't there when I arrive! Excited about the next adventure! :0). P.S. Call your sister, please!

  4. Finally got to read this, Erin, and I'm so impressed with your ability to take all this in and handle it with your great sense of humor! Very excited to hear where you'll all end up next!