Tag Archives: vacation

Entering week four of learning to speak Mandarin (Chinese)

23 Sep

Life has changed so much in the few weeks since we have been back in the States. Well, I suppose now it’s actually more like a few months.  My husband and I both are studying Chinese; our daughter has entered American first grade (and loves it!) and Super Baby is at the daycare near the school. We’re all students and we all get the Sunday night blues…..but wow, Friday feels A-M-A-Z-I-N-G when it rolls around.

It is a privilege to be in a part of the world with true changes of season and we are especially fortunate to have a tree out our window with promises of a bright orange hue coming on – oh how we love the fall!

We're all back together and in D.C.! The summer of separation was hard as my husband finished up the post in Recife and we visited friends and family just about everywhere in the U.S.!  We love D.C. and going to museums and the ZOO!

We’re all back together and in D.C.! The summer of separation was hard as my husband finished up the post in Recife and we visited friends and family just about everywhere in the U.S.! We love D.C. and going to museums and the ZOO!

Learning Chinese is interesting and, as expected, quite hard. Our teachers are great – so patient – and my classmates (all three of them!) are interesting. We keep adding layer upon layer to this ancient language and figure out how the heck to memorize thousands of characters just to read the newspaper! To be considered literate, you must be able to read the 3,500 most common characters. (!)

Waiting to catch the shuttle bus to the metro station for a family outing at a favorite sushi spot. These two characters can eat a dozen sashimi each!!

Waiting to catch the shuttle bus to the metro station for a family outing at a favorite sushi spot. These two characters can eat a dozen sashimi each!!

We are in corporate housing south of D.C. in a complex that caters to people like us who come and go often. Our apartment is a far cry from beach-front Brazil, but it is modern and clean, and sometimes it is nice to have a place that isn’t so big that you’re annoyed by how far the walk is from the bedroom to the kitchen when you want a glass of water in the middle of the night.

We have a lovely pool, still open and professionally guarded, that up until a couple of weeks ago, was quite crowded.  I hadn’t taken the children there yet and as summer seemed to be slipping from our hands, on a Friday afternoon, we changed out of school clothes and into bathing suits and headed out.

You do remember that my kids practically lived in the pool or at the beach for two years. I had so many friends in Recife ask me what Super Baby was going to do without access to water year round, my daughter was a little fish, and I had finally figured out the best sunscreen for my too-white self (Blue Lizard, BTW).

We arrive at the relatively crowded pool and take off our cover ups.

I look around.

I am the only one over the age of six in a bikini. Hm. Well,  at least it is an American bikini and not a Brazilian-cut one!

My daughter jumps in while Super Baby and I sit on the stairs.

He freaks out. 

His pants are wet. We are in the swimming pool, after all.

No, he’s really ticked. He’s convinced he needs to take his pants off.

Now.

Right now.

Knowing how reasoning with a (my!) two-year old usually turns out, we get out of the pool. I take his wet swim suit off and wrap him in a towel.

He’s ticked.

Now he’s ready to swim.

Naked!

He wiggles away and begins to head toward the pool.

Naked

I follow behind with the still-damp shorts and shimmy them back onto his little fast and slippery body.

Holding him, I decide we should venture into the water, rather than sitting on the stairs.

He’s screaming.

Did we live in Brazil? Did this child swim 3-5 times per week? Did he have a standing order with the beach-chair lady for agua de cocoa, bubble water and a popsicle (in that order)? 

So, while still holding him, and bobbing up and down in the water, I am finally able to observe our daughter doing a handstand.

She’s finally thrilled!

The observation is cut short as Super Baby is getting madder and madder. 

I turn my back towards my daughter while bouncing up and down with Super Baby.

Naaaaah, no one is looking at us yet….

He is inconsolable and I’m getting over this swim experiment.

Wasn’t I doing this to do something nice for my children?

 

ZWhish!

 

Bikini top???????

 

U-N-T-I-E-D!

 

 

By my daughter???  She never does stuff like this!

Thank goodness I’m holding Super Baby in front of my chest.

I tie the top, turn around, deliver  the look of death, get everyone out of the pool and we all go home.

Did we ever live in the land of sunshine?

 

Underwater adventures with an underwater camera

2 Apr My family snorkeling in Japaratinga. You can see Super Baby's feet dangling in the water - he hasn't geared up (yet!) but he can say "fish" in Portuguese!

My sister visited a couple of weeks ago and brought with her a waterproof pouch for her little Cannon point and shoot camera.  It was only about $20 on Amazon and it was awesome!

She doesn’t have that many snorkeling spots near her in Virginia, so she left the pouch with me and we have already enjoyed it a lot!  I only wish we had it on our trip to Fernando de Noronha, where we swam with turtles (sigh!).

We love snorkeling as a family and appreciating nature in this underwater world.  Back in the States we loved to hike and here we have to look for nature in other places – like in the sea.  My five year old daughter is a great swimmer but we find she enjoys snorkeling more with the life jacket on so she doesn’t have to work so hard swimming and can focus on finding fish!🙂

My five year old loves to snorkel!

My five year old loves to snorkel!

Fun stripy fish in Porto de Galinhas

Fun stripy fish and a beautiful blue one in Porto de Galinhas

Coral reef in Japaratinga

Reef - they are not all coral here!

Big yellow stripy fish

Big yellow stripy fish

A school of hiding fish in Porto de Galinhas.

A school of hiding fish in Porto de Galinhas.

My friend heading out to the reefs in Porto de Galinhas.

My friend heading out to the reefs in Porto de Galinhas.

My friend on her recent visit to Brazil - hadn't been snorkeling in 15 years....like since she was 8 years old. :)

My friend on her recent visit to Brazil - hadn't been snorkeling in 15 years....like since she was 8 years old.🙂

My family snorkeling in Japaratinga.  You can see Super Baby's feet dangling in the water - he hasn't geared up (yet!) but he can say "fish" in Portuguese!

My family snorkeling in Japaratinga. Can you see Super Baby's feet dangling in the water next to me? He hasn't geared up (yet!) but he can say "fish" in Portuguese!

Fish eating bread!

Fish eating bread!

The coral reef in Japaratinga.

The coral reef in Japaratinga.

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