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Category Archives: True Story

The choices we make

Decisions-714972Deciding to live in another country is a tough decision. It comes with a price. It’s a decision to leave behind all you ever knew as right, as safe. It’s a decision to be far away from those you grew up with and love. It’s to know not only that you’re now responsible for your own laundry, your own cleaning, your own groceries, your own toilet paper, but also to know that you’re responsible for taking care of yourself when you’re sick, when you’re sad, and when you need to cheer up. You’ll meet new people, that’s true, but it won’t be the same.

Most importantly, to decide to move to a different country by yourself means to accept you’ll always have this voice deep inside of you asking “did I make the right choice?” In good days the voice will be so quiet you’ll forget it’s there. You’ll have moments so full of happiness you’ll think yourself to be a fool for ever wondering if it was right or wrong, and you’ll know in your heart you did the right thing. But there will be bad days, in which the voice will scream so loud you won’t be able to ignore it. You may find yourself stalking your hometown friends on Facebook and even regretting not being there when things happen in their lives. You’ll regret not going to a graduation or to a wedding, not holding someone’s baby in your arms, and not being there to see them attempting to parent said child.

I’ve been living away from home, from my country and the ones I love, for almost 6 years now. It’s been a long journey and things have not turned out as I planned, but for the most part I’m happy with my decision. Sure, there are good and bad days, but the good tends to outweigh the bad. Or so I choose to believe. What other choice do I have? Sit down and regret? Consider what if…? What good will that bring? 

In life we must make choices all the time. And since there’s no way of turning back time to try both decisions first, there’s no way of knowing which one is best. All we can do is trust our guts and hope for the best. After all, all we have is now. So make the best of it. Free yourself from the weight of guilt or regret, and enjoy your choices. Allow yourself to be happy about them, even if they didn’t turn out the way you hoped they would. After all, the choices you make are, at least at the moment you make them, the ones you want.

And when things seem to go wrong, do not waste your energy on what ifs. Allow yourself to say “Oh, well,” smile, and move on.

 

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Easter with a touch of childhood memories.

When I was little Easter was a fun time. I remember following the Easter bunny’s paw prints around the house to find the place where he (you can’t call him it) had hidden my basket. The basket would always have a big chocolate egg. And by that I mean one of those:

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Just a few examples of Easter eggs.

You can find them everywhere in Brazil (yes, I grew up there) and you find them hanging from the ceiling (or a support over your head) in grocery stores. All you have to do is pick the one (or ones) you want and grab them as if you were getting fruit from a tree.

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Easter eggs are expensive, but walking into a supermarket and see all the eggs hanging above your head is priceless.

And if you have never seen the inside of one, they look kind of like this:

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This is a homemade one. Yes, you can get homemade ones and they are simply delicious!

Of course the contents of the eggs differ from one egg to the next, but they are all hollow with candies (and sometimes also toys) inside. The chocolate on the outside of the egg also changes, matching the candy they are based on (some have peanuts mixed with the chocolate, some are white chocolate, etc.).

But they were not the only thing in my basket. There were also smaller eggs and a chocolate bunny. I always got a chocolate bunny. Maybe because when I was little someone stole my bunny, a chocolate one, so my mom decided to give me one every year to compensate. Who knows, the point is, it was magical.

But one thing was even more magical. The decorated egg shells. My mom would start collecting eggshells weeks (maybe months) before Easter  It was a tough job to get them ready. She’d break just a little piece at the bottom of the eggshell, just enough to get the egg out. Then she’d wash the eggshells, let them dry, and store them in an egg carton. Later she’d make sugar peanuts (or Easter peanuts, as we’d call them) and put them inside the eggshells. She’d use a tiny cupcake liner to cover the whole and keep the peanuts inside. Then she’d decorate the shells using watercolors and a paintbrush.

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My mom’s ones had cupcake liners under them instead of egg holders, but they looked just like these ones.

Can we just take a moment to admire the artwork on those? I have to say I admire my mom’s dedication in using a tiny paintbrush to make the tiny details on the eggs. Nowadays with sharpies it would be a much easier job. Yay for that, right?

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Here you can see the peanuts inside and the cupcake liners.

And now I’m a bit nostalgic. Gee, I wonder why, right?

How was Easter for you growing up? What things are part of your fondest memories?

Oh, yeah, and HAPPY EASTER, EVERYONE! Hope the Easter bunny leaves you a bunch of good moments to turn into sweet memories one day.

 

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Ginger, the Cleptocat

I have a cleptocat. Seriously, this is a first for me. I’ve had cats stealing the pens I was using or something before, but never one using its mouth to carry things to another room. Well, that’s what Ginger does. She grabs whatever she thinks is a good toy for her and carries it to her bedroom. The good thing is, her bedroom is the one that used to be mine. Well, I still sleep in there, but let’s face it, it’s her bedroom now. And she let’s me know by meowing at me when I go in there and turn the lights on when she’s asleep. Also, her toys are usually on top of the bed (on my side of the bed, mind you) or scattered around the bed on the floor.

Here are the toys she collected so far:

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The only ones that were hers were the cat toy ball with feathers (at least it had feathers when I got it for her) and the paper ball. She loves to throw both of them up in the air and chase them around the house. It’s adorable.

The pen and the tag she got from my bedside table (I was using that tag as a bookmark). The red leaf is from a potpourri I have on my coffee table in the living room. The wine stoppers (blue and green) she got from the kitchen sink. Yes, she did carry every single one of them to the bed. Sometimes she puts those things on top of where my toes are in the middle of the night. I think she does it on purpose because she knows I’m going to move around and the noise of them falling on the hardwood floor will wake me up. That’s what she wants, because then I’ll get up to see what it is and she can meow and try to take me to the kitchen to give her tuna for breakfast.

Oh, and here’s a picture of her stealing her toy back because she didn’t like that I was taking pictures to use as evidence of her crimes.

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Have you ever had a cat (or any other pet) stealing your things like this?

 

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Of name changes and refrigerators.

I woke up this morning and I just knew her name was Ginger. I tried to name her Phoebe yesterday, but who was I kidding, I can’t name her, she names herself. And that’s how I woke up thinking “Ginger. Ginger is her name.”

Maybe she was whispering that in my ear during the night. Who knows? I just know that that’s her name, just like I know that she picked me when I went there to adopt a cat. She adopt me, and not the other way around.

So after I woke up this morning I went looking for my mini purring machine. She saw me passing in front of the kitchen and gave me a meow. She was on top of the fridge, hiding behind the cereal boxes.

I went on with my morning routine, got some coffee, took a shower, got dressed, etc. When I was brushing my teeth I heard a noise. “Great. Did she drop my cereal box behind the fridge?” Just imagine the mess. Plus, if it was one of the opened boxes, I’d have cereal under the fridge and that would be a mess I didn’t want to clean up. But no, all the cereal boxes were still there. Weird.

It only took me a few seconds.

I started pulling the fridge away from the wall, yelling her name (the right one, mind you) and nothing! Not even a tiny meow. When I pulled enough I looked and there she was, not moving. I know the poor thing was scared to death, but couldn’t she at least let me know she was alive?

When she finally summoned the courage to jump out of there I hugged her tight and didn’t want to let her go. Then I pushed the fridge against the wall as best as I could.

She hasn’t been there since then. We’ll see.

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Look at me. Do I look like anything other than Ginger? Of course not.

 

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I have a feeling this will only make sense in my head.

That moment when you forget you had something in the oven so you rush to rescue whatever is left of it, but then you get there and the cheese is overflowing and the chicken is all “Rawwr,” and you’re like “Get over it, chicken. You’re just a chicken,” and you realize how much you miss your mom.

Does this make sense?

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This is the look I was going for, I guess. The actual end result was… well… a bit scarier.

 

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Reading, cooking and playing pranks, that’s what vacations are all about.

Right now I’m enjoying some vacation time, and that means visiting my home country, my family, my friends, and my cats. My days are filled with reading some new stories and re-reading old ones, cooking with mom a few of my favorite dishes, and obeying my cats wishes of when and for how long to pet them.

But that’s another story. Let’s go back to cooking. The other day we were able to verify my grandma’s been senile for a very long time. We were using a handwritten recipe book my grandma wrote for me a few years ago. It’s full of dead people’s recipes. Well, my grandma wouldn’t say it like that, but let’s face it, most of our ancestors are no longer breathing.

Anyway, although I love my grandma’s effort in putting all the recipes together for me, I do have to question her at times. I think she forgets I’m not really that used to being in the kitchen and am not sure how to caramelize a pan with no ingredients listed or steps to follow (I do know now and I have to say it’s easier than it sounds).

But some of her recipes are also missing a few basic steps, probably because they were too obvious for her. She doesn’t tell you to bake things, for instance. How long and at what temperature to bake something? Oh, please, of course she doesn’t tell you that! How dare you ask!

Now, the best part was to throw away a whole batch of cream because it was not thickening, just to realize soon afterwards that we were supposed to add the egg yolks before, not after cooking the cream as specified in my grandma’s recipe.

Another important lesson I learned that day: do not try to be funny when your mother asks you if you know how to do something. She starts getting upset, you can’t stop laughing, then you try to make another joke and end up laughing and crying uncontrollably in front of the freezer.

Good times. Good times indeed.

Do you think that’s why she decided to wake me up from a nap using a spray bottle? Nah, of course not. She wouldn’t be seeking revenge, right? Right?

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Say WHAT?

I’m about to leave the house and I notice I’m a couple of minutes late. Okay, that is not that big of a deal, I know, especially because I always leave the house with enough time to be where I’m supposed to be at least 5 minutes early. Still…

So I start looking around for my keys. I can’t find them. They are not by the back door where I always put them. I pat my pocket. Of course, they’re in my pockets. I left the house earlier in the morning (as in still-too-dark-outside early) and kept them in my pocket.

I reach for the door knob to open the door. It doesn’t open. Well, this shouldn’t surprise me, since I didn’t even unlock the door yet.

I unlock the door and leave. Then I remember my cell phone. I go back in. I can’t find it. I look at the normal spots where it should be and nothing. Then I look at my left hand. Oh, there it is! I’m already holding it.

I finally leave the house (for real this time and by now I’m really late) and shake my head.

Apparently waking up at 3:30 a.m. can transform you into a grandma looking for glasses that are right under her nose.

P.S.: I arrived at work 3 minutes late. Say WHAT?

 

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