We just spent the month of July in Brazil. The kids and I traveled together. Richard couldn’t join us since we just took our family trip to Spain and he wanted to focus on work. My tribe was there – my parents, 6 siblings, and the whole crew of 14 siblings.

The plane landed in Campinas where I grew up and we took a local trip to the Monreale hotel in Poços de Caldas, Minas and another week to the litoral paulista beach Cambury. It was all in all a true treat to the soul, eyes and heart.

I didn’t take my computer and tried to take a mental break from work, writing, school emails and information. I could’ve done a better job staying away from social media but I kept wanting to take and share pictures. The food was amazing. The taste of fruits like mamão, maracujá and even bananas. The kids tried recipes I grew up eating like arroz com feijão, estrogonoffe, brigadeiros, bolo de fubá, mandioquinha, tapioca, and daily fresh salads.

In terms of my mental health, I felt overall well. I unfortunately forgot to take the testosterone injections sometimes as well as the daily venlafaxina pills.

I did try to keep up with my physical activities taking walks when I could, I played tennis once, tried beach tennis, did a yoga class, and of course caring for two active little ones. The kids didn’t want to let me leave their side. I think they were a little overwhelmed in a new country without Dad and surrounded by Portuguese. That made it a little challenging to have “me” time.

My sisters said they thought I often looked tired. I mentioned this to my therapist and she laughed. She asked me what they expected with all of the daily tasks of taking care of 2 little ones mainly on me. I did have my tribe around and lots of help with the house, cooking and laundry but someone still had to change diapers, give baths, feed them, wash bottles, hand wash all of our bathing suits, take down dirty laundry and sheets daily (the quality of diapers in Brazil is terrible so they leaked almost every night and nap). We also stayed in a few locations that had stairs so add going up and down multiple times a day with 1 or 2 babies hanging on you plus bottles, dirty diapers, sheets, clothes, iPads, iPhones, cables, food, etc. Also, someone had to be in charge of putting them to sleep and waking up in the middle of the night multiple times since they were scared, wanted light, diaper changes, and extra cuddling. Let’s not forget any daily task x 3 like change clothes, brush teeth, put on shoes (20 x a day at the beach), pack daily bag of lots of extra clothes, towels, toys and shoes and so on. My therapist thinks it’s somewhat understandable I looked and felt tired. Plus we were interacting daily with 12 cousins, 6 siblings, and the extra friends and family so that meant a few extra fights and negotiation management. While my family was eating or relaxing, I was often running around with the kids. My kids were always the first up and often fell asleep at night a lot later than usual wanting to keep up with the activities, dinner parties, and older cousins.

An island near Cambury with my three year old son Mathias


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