My Initial Feelings on Motherhood

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Wednesday, November 28, 2012.

I wrote an enormous blog about my birth story and there was some kind of glitch and I lost all the information! Gah, it took me forever to write.
Basically what you need to know is that what we wanted from our birth plan was NOT what happened.
  • I was planning a home birth but I developed high blood pressure in the last 10 days of pregnancy and had to be induced (meaning they insert this gel into my cervix to soften it and start my body into labour)
  • The hospital experience was invasive and uncomfortable. I laboured for about 36 hours.
  • I wanted no pain intervention but ended up having to have an epidural to reduce my blood pressure.
  • I had to get an IV and Oxytocin to speed up my contractions
  • In the end, I stalled at 7 cm and had to have an emergency C-section, which was the scariest experience of my life and can't understand how anyone would opt for a Cesarian!
Stella is 3 weeks old now. They are not kidding when they tell you your life will change after you have a baby. My entire existence right now is devoted to keeping her alive, whether that's considered to be by choice or otherwise. She wants to eat every 2 1/2 hours or so, usually for about an hour at a time and I have the boobies, so.....

My initial frustration came from the fact that both Ro and I were exhausted on an unearthly level. We stayed in hospital for 2 sleepless nights before Stella was actually born. After she was born we had, like, no idea how to take care of her. Since I'd had a C-Section my milk wasn't in and she is a hungry baby. A bad combination, which resulted in us staying awake LITERALLY all night long the first 2 nights after she was born. Plus we were in the hospital, sharing a room with another new mom, and the stress of keeping them awake was very overwhelming.

We just didn't know what to do. We felt helpless. Breastfeeding was excruciating. It's so painful. If you're not sure what it feels like, try having your partner or a friend suck on your nipples for 12 hours a day until they are raw and blistered. I couldn't do it anymore. But she was hungry, so what are you supposed to do??

She lost 12% body weight in those first 2 days, and the 'healthy' norm is 6-10%. The solution to help her get her weight back up was to supplement her with a little tube and formula that we gave to her at the breast along with breastfeeding. For the last 3 weeks everytime she eats we have to get the syringe and little tube out and try over and over to get her to latch onto my breast with the tube in her mouth. We have to keep on waking her up, bug her to keep eating, burp her continuously (because formula makes her super gassy) and generally just deal with this huge pain-in-the-ass tube while we pump her full of formula.

The good news is she's back at her birth weight again so today we will talk about the new plan of action (because now we can't just take the tube away, we have to do it slowly).

I'm going to be brutally honest and say that especially in the first two weeks I was having feelings of regret. The biggest reason I never wanted to have children was because I wasn't ready to commit my life to them. I didn't want to be forced into being the one who ends up taking care of the baby and even though I have the most involved husband anyone could ask for, there's a certain amount of care-taking that can ONLY be done by me.

I think this has been one of the biggest challenges for me - getting over my own preconceptions and expectations of myself. I always associated my own version of feminism to reject stereotypes and social expectations of women.

The scariest thing for me is that I don't feel like a natural mother so maybe it's just a fear of failure that I have. I'm afraid of creating a similar relationship with my daughter that I have with my own mother. I don't want to feel resentful. Ro and I made a choice to get pregnant. I want to be able to communicate openly with my baby, as a family.

It's amazing how much starting my own family has made me consider the dynamics of the family I come from. I thought I had worked through all my issues but clearly, I have not!

One thing I know for sure is that I want to be a good mother and make the right choices. What I also know is that I would NOT do this for anyone else in the world, and that's how I know that I love her completely. We keep going. We wake up every couple hours all night long, push through our exhaustion, try to make her smile.

The smile that eventually comes makes EVERYTHING worth it. It's hard to explain. The brief, fleeting eye contact... the turning of her head when we speak because she recognizes our voice.... the intimacy we share as she nurses on what my body has made just for her. Those are the things we live for. I realize that the amount of interaction will only increase and it will be less about simply supplying her endless demand. She will return the love soon with smiles, laughs, hugs... I'm eagerly awaiting those moments but am smart enough to appreciate that these moments will soon be past me. And so I try to keep things in perspective.

First Post-Baby Blog

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Wednesday, November 21, 2012. Filed under: , ,

More than a month since my last blog and I'm happy to announce that our baby has arrived! Today she's 3 weeks old, in fact.  In the last month quite a lot has happened here...

  • Ro's parents arrived and have been here for a month already
This has been a huge blessing. They have been so helpful, especially now that the baby is here, with cooking and cleaning and just helping me with the baby (even when that means I just need to take a break from her incessant crying...) I'm happy that I find myself appreciating their help, rather than resenting it. I was afraid that having so many parents in the house by myself would make me crazy but I imagine that being alone in the house with a newborn would achieve that faster than having extra hands around.... 
  • My blood pressure suddenly sky-rocketed and I had to have a surprise induction
Yes, in the last 2 weeks or so my blood pressure went incredibly high and I was being monitored. Two days before my due date, I went for a regular midwife appointment which ended in me going to the hospital where I was informed that since I was already full-term, I would be induced immediately. That was on Tuesday evening but she wasn't born until Thursday morning. Yes, folks. That's a long time in labour.

Actually, more on that surprise news... it was really surreal to be told we would be having the baby that day. Almost as if the 9 months of preparation meant nothing, because it was like being told we were having a surprise baby. We weren't ready with any of our bags, not prepared to spend the night in the hospital (in fact, our plans were to have a home birth). Generally we were expecting the baby to be late by another 7 days or so....  Obviously none of our birth plan was followed. 
  • After going through more than 24 hours of labour, I ended up having a C-Section
My hospital experience was as good as it could have been, I guess. I really don't like hospitals and the idea of having the baby there was frightening for me. To sum it up, I felt like the birth experience was much more invasive than I wanted. I understand that my particular experience was a bit circumstantial because my pregnancy suddenly became higher risk. But I still didn't like the doctors shoving the forearms up my vagina to check my cervix and insert stinging gels inside of me to induce me.
  • Our baby is here! 
Her name is Stella and she's a little warrior. I call her my little samurai. She is a fighter (literally takes two of us to get her to eat and I constantly ask out loud 'how is it that we are fighting a baby and losing???)

So please forgive my delays in writing right now but in a nutshell Stella lost a lot of weight at birth and only yesterday was back to her birth weight (normally it should take about 10 days to get back up)... My days are pretty much spent breastfeeding at the moment... Hoping for some reassurance that this will change?

Until then, please enjoy this hilariously awesome photo of Stella crying and complaining, as she mostly does! :D

Classic Stella!

Tom says "Big Changes Take Time"

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Wednesday, October 10, 2012.

Tom over at Eat Rio posted a blog yesterday called Big Changes Take Time. He happened to be talking about his blog undergoing changes. I thought it was pretty relative to my overall life at the moment.

Something I miss enormously about Brazil is my therapist. I just have so many questions and uncertainties about my family relationships and I feel ill-equipped to deal with them. I feel angry and annoyed. Often. But why? Some kind of childhood resentment that has stuck with me? Feelings that I can't seem to shake... my relationship and position within my family leaves me feeling confused, frustrated, hurt, and angry.

I guess my recent over-analyzation of my familial relationships is due to the fact that I am FULL FREAKING TERM and therefore have been thinking A LOT about how I want to raise my baby and what kind of relationship I want to have within my own family.  I guess, if I'm being honest with myself, part of my disappointment is that I am looking for a lot of special attention, love and selfless support right now and maybe not getting exactly what I expected coming home to have my baby in Canada. 

To be more honest, I think I'm looking for the family dynamic I see in my Brazilian family and that's not just fair to expect that. These two families couldn't be more different.

I try very hard to keep that in perspective. Different cultures, different family make-up, different proximity to extended family. Different, different, different. I still sometimes feel like Ro and I are going it alone though, and that kind of sucks atthisverymoment, when we need a lot of extra support and understanding and came back, y'know, kind of expecting it.  

On a positive note, my mom has provided us with the financial resources to make our space in her house personal, beautiful and comfortable. It's so comfortable, in fact, that we're now talking about doing a home birth, which is what we wanted right from the beginning. I know she is trying to make us feel comfortable here the best way she knows how.

That, and she and my sister and my friend threw us a beautiful baby shower, making us feel very loved.

Under all the 'changing' circumstances, we are sensitive right now and needing a little extra TLC...

Big changes take time, is what I started out by saying... and even though moving 'back' to your own country, your childhood city, your childhood home may not seem, in theory, much of a new experience, I think it's been a bigger adjustment simply because of that fact.

At least in Brazil, I knew everything was new and different and I felt out of place because I was different. There's a certain sense of forgiveness and patience and willingness to learn in that situation, from both parties.
 Here everything feels new and different but it's the exact same as it was before I left. I feel this strange expectation to 'understand' how things have always been but when I don't, there's an equally strange feeling of being excluded, only this time I'm not a foreigner.

Big changes take time. I might argue that I'm currently experiencing one of my biggest changes of my young life. But if Brazil took 2 years to adjust to.... what does that mean for Canada??

Top 10 Things I Hate About Being Pregnant

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Wednesday, September 26, 2012.

I am not the kind of woman who dreamed of being pregnant, or who even particularly enjoys being pregnant. Actually, until very very recently (as in the last 3 months) I compared the idea of pushing a baby out of me to pushing a watermelon out of a straw. Inconceivable, and I was certainly not going to clean up that mess! Pregnancy has had its ups but just for humour's sake, let's discuss the many many (many) downs.
  1. I am a bloated beach whale.  At 8 months pregnant, my hands and feet suddenly OUT OF NOWHERE just swell up like I'm blowing helium into them at that very second. Only they don't feel light and airy. They feel like a fat, tingly mess.
  2. The baby is sitting on my cervix. Sitting is actually an understatement. The baby is smashing her head against my cervix over and over, as if out of frustration, causing searing pain to blast me like a lightening bolt all day long. What did I do baby? Is your home not small and warm enough??? 
  3. Clothes don't fit me. They haven't really fit for a while, but I've been trying to make it work as long as possible... But somehow a little lower tummy hanging out because your shirt actually doesn't physically stretch over it doesn't have the sex appeal you might think it would...
  4. Doggy style is getting boring. You heard it here first, folks. Doggy style is the only position possible now and it's getting boooo-ring. 
  5. I can't move without grunting. It doesn't make for more opportunities to have repeated doggy-syle sex either. Grunting when you move isn't sexy. It just makes it easier to physically move my big ol' whale body.
  6. Lots of flatulence. Gas in general. I wake myself up in the middle of the night burping.  Who does that?!?!? Oh. PREGNANT WOMEN.
  7. Sleep is totally messed! I can't fall asleep before 1 or 2 a.m., I wake up during the night to use the bathroom, and then I'm awake at 5 a.m. unable to fall back asleep. So I get up with my husband but then I'm exhausted around 11 a.m. so I have a nap for, like, 3 hours before doing it all over again. Why????
  8. Totally distorted body image. I don't even recognize myself in the mirror sometimes... my body has changed so fast and so drastically, I can't possibly see how it will go back to its original size.
  9. Bending quasi-impossible. Imagine if you had a watermelon strapped to the front of your body. Try putting your pants on. Now try tying your shoes. Try putting them on first.  Oops you dropped the soap in the tiny shower. Try picking it up. Try to SEE YOUR VAGINA. You cannot do any of these things so stop trying.
  10. Baby moving inside of me all day long. I actually SEE little feet pushing my belly out. The feeling isn't so 'nice'... but even I have to admit... that's my BABY in there. That little baby is going to come out of my body. My husband and I made this with our BODIES!
And I can't. Freaking. Wait!

Foreign Friendships

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Tuesday, September 25, 2012. Filed under: , , ,

I had a really hard time making friends in Brazil. Lots of factors played into the challenges, but language, cultural differences, and location were the biggest hardships. I figured coming back to Canada would be easy... I would have all my old friends back!

Did you realize that people's lives continue without you when you leave a place? No? Me neither... Yeah, well it's been an unexpected challenge trying to get together with my old best friends, simply because our lives are running on different schedules. The best part about the difficulties in getting together with my besties is that I have not been disappointed and they are still just as amazing as ever. Love keeping friendships strong.

But what to do about the gap I feel in losing those close friendships with people who understood all the difficulties in adjusting to a new culture and language? Who understands adjusting to another culture and language better than other foreigners? Now that I'm back in Canada, I'm just normal, not foreigner anymore, not special. 

One of the biggest surprises, I'm discovering, is how much I am relating to and bonding with foreigners who have moved to Canada. I'm taking this TESL Diploma program right now (which I am LOVING, and Danielle can attest to this as I update her with my newly acquired linguistic knowledge just for fun!) The funny/ironic part of this program is out of around 20 students, I am one of three English as a First Language speakers. The large majority of students are relative newcomers to Canada (let's not comment on how odd this is in a program of people wanting to teach English...) but what I do love is how interested I am in my colleagues trials and tribulations of immigrating to Canada and how much I have in common with them.

Without Brazil, I'm sorry to say, I wouldn't have really thought twice about how difficult it is to adapt. Sorry!

It's really promising and uplifting realizing that I can have a similar friendships with foreigners who have moved here. It fills the hole (and through the Brazilians and Portuguese friends I can still speak Portuguese!)

Good things are happening... and after a really happy weekend I feel more positive about our future here.

Keeping Our Secret Language Alive

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Wednesday, September 12, 2012. Filed under: ,

Now that Ro and I are back in Canada, we have the new responsibility of "keeping up the Brazilian" in our lives. (That was a failed Keeping up with the Kardashian's joke... wow, please forgive me.) Big butts aside (haha pun so intended), while living in Brazil, that's easy-peezy.  I would be hearing/speaking/seeing/smelling/6th sensing Portuguese all day long so when we came home, English was our my break from that, plus it was our secret language that we secretly very obviously took pleasure in having.

We could speak English loudly and proudly (although all expats know that after you've been there a while, LOUD English speakers are the most obnoxious people ever, so we truly didn't speak loudly). But we COULD make fun of people right to their faces, or complain about situations happening right in front of us, and 90% of the time we could get away with it. Don't ask me what happened that other 10% of the time. Ouch.

We have always spoken English together since our first night hookin' up in my apartment. Haha. We made an explicit arrangement to always speak English doing that and young lovers in love do that a lot so you see why we just started speaking English all the time anyway.

Now that we're back in Canada, we have lost some highly important characteristics that made us unique in Brazil.  
  1. No more secret language, what??
  2. Can't make fun of you in front of you anymore, pardon??
  3. Not special or different in any way? Damn.
Case in point. When we were just FOB, this was something I had to get used to again. We were at my favourite fast food restaurant Wendy's (ugh, could we be any more North American???) and there was a guy in front of us ordering. Only he asked for a quarter pounder. I laughed LOUDLY and in my best 'you're a giant idiot voice' boomed,

It unraveled in slow motion for me as Ro whipped his head around, like Nooooooo!!!!!!
"People UNDERSTAND you here!!!!"
I buried my face in his shirt, totally embarrassed, but not before seeing the guy turn around and look squarely at me while calling to his wife who was standing, y'know, a hundred percent beside me.

Luckily for me, Canadians are completely passive, or at most passive aggressive, so I would never have to worry about someone fighting me. The guy probably actually apologized in all reality. But the POINT is, I don't have the freedom to make these comments anymore because everyone speaks our secret language! And that's just balls!

So, we have been making a SUPER giant effort to speak Portuguese together. For all of you in multi-lingual relationships, you know that whatever language you started speaking in, is usually the language you speak in for your whole relationship because:
a) It's awkward as hell to switch, and
b) You already have inside jokes and stuff so changing seems like it will = less funniness

So hopefully you can recognize our efforts in changing our spoken language. It equals me feeling a little shy and us actually having to force ourselves to communicate (in Portuguese), as well as being very aware of every thing you say. In the beginning, it's almost like making awkward small talk but with someone you know very well, just so you can speak words.

Now, it's not all the time. Habits take time. Sometimes, I especially, just need to express myself in English. But it is absolutely getting easier and feeling more natural.  We are speaking for extended periods of time, at random, unplanned moments (at first it was like, 'ok so let's speak in Portuguese now'... awkward), on the phone, texting, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, when we have to complain about something or someone who is standing right in front of us.

Now, isn't that what secret languages are for? God, I love being in a bilingual relationship.

Cleaning: Here vs. There

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Sunday, September 2, 2012.

I took me a looonnng time to 'get' the cleaning apparatuses (apparatae?) of Brazil.  The rag on a stick mop, the dust rag (where you need to do a pre wet wash, followed by a dry wash with another rag) and actually, rags in general.  Brazil is a country where the tattered rag is King. 

But upon trying to clean my current space with my pre-Brazil 'tried and true' Swiffer Wet Jet, Swiffer Duster, and Swiffer Tile Cleaner,  I realized something.  Brazil has GOT IT FIGURED OUT when it comes to thorough, awesome, cleaning.

This is the cheapest and best 'mop' you'll ever find...
What the hell is a Swiffer anyway??? It's this crappy, breaks-in-my-hand-if-I-apply-any-force, surface cleaner. Where's my drain in the floor so I can pour a bucket of soapy water on the floor, scrub the dirt with a straw broom, and squeegee the shit out the place??? THAT is real cleaning.  Not this "wet wipe on a bendable stick" crap.

I've become just as bad as you Brazilians. You Brazilians and your impeccably clean homes, free of dust and streaks.  Free of animal hair, even though you house more than a couple of dogs. Am I complaining? No, I am not. It just seems that Canada is not ready for my eager-Beaver (haha Canada joke) approach to cleaning. While Brazil seemed so 18th century in their cleaning approach, I see now that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

In times like these, I summon my inner-Alda. (She was our housekeeper in Brazil and damn could that woman clean. DAMN)  Time for me to go out and get a bucket, a wooden pole, several old tattered rags, some spandex shorts, old Havaianas and long manicured toenails with wild designs on the big toe.  It's the only way I'll be able to do a good job and make Brazil proud.

Teaching English in Can-eh-da

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Thursday, August 23, 2012. Filed under: , ,

The time has come to get a job. I seriously didn't reeeeeeally consider how I would make money coming back 6+ months pregnant ... Everyone keeps saying "employers can't discriminate..." but, let's face it. If an employer is interviewing two people for a job and one is guaranteed to leave in 2 months and the other one isn't, who would you hire? I wouldn't blame them either.  So for now, I decided to go the 'working online' route. That way I can also work from my sofa!

There was this HORRIBLE commercial for an English school in Brazil that used to play all the time. Probably the most irritating commercial I ever saw while living there (WAY more annoying that Giraffas, Danielle! But that being said... I like the Giraffas commercials, haha)

Cheeeecher.... UGH! HATE! I vowed never to work for this school because of this commercial!

But then I got to Canada... and I have a baby on the way... a course that I'm starting (more on that later)... and so, ladies and gentlemen, you are looking at the newest addition to the OE team!

Actually upon further inspection of this school, I really liked their methods and views on teaching and it seems to be pretty open in terms of various teaching styles. Plus, they're flexible with my schedule. So in fact, it's a pretty great option for me right now. The only downside is the really brutal salary.... especially after teaching in Brazil where you can expect anywhere from R$30 working for a legitimately good school (not a big-box school) to R$60-80+++ teaching privately.

This school pays NINE dollars. My American friends... is this even minimum wage?????? In my province minimum wage is $10.25 - not that it's much better, but it would help if I could start at min wage at least.... oh well beggers can't be choosers and I've emailed them to see if I can start a liiiittle higher.  We'll see what happens.

In other 'back to' news, I registered for school again! Now I'm going back to work AND school which will keep me busy until the baby is born... I decided on a TESL Diploma program so that once I'm back working full-force, I'll be able to teach in public schools and Universities if I so choose.  My crappy little 40 hours TESL certificate will take me nowhere here... it's really amazing how many more opportunities there are in Brazil, just by speaking English and having a degree. 

My biggest fear now is how it'll be managing a new baby and a college program... The words look crazy even as I type them.  I'll have a little break in the beginning but I have no idea what to expect REALLY. I know what people tell me... no sleep, no schedule, life all about the baby... but I will really have to see for myself how I'm going to deal with it all.

Why would I put myself through all of this right now? Because seriously, I love this shit.

P.S. I wouldn't leave you hanging and not show you my beloved Giraffas commercials... Bahaha both are equally amazing! 

Transit System: Here vs There

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Thursday, August 16, 2012.


Yesterday was my first 'big girl' day, out of the house, on my own, figuring out the local transit system of the city I grew up in.  Coincidentally, my mom was amazing at always giving me rides everywhere I needed to go, so as a child I used transit pretty rarely (and when I did, it was only for idiotic things like going to and from the mall).

This time I had to go all the way into the next city over.  *gasp* I know. Grown-ups have bigger places to be, too.

Right on time...
So, the transit system here should be way easier, in theory, because all of the buses operate on a timed scheduled.  And for the most part, they actually arrive at 8:37am when they say they will.  The biggest (I guess we'll use the word) flaw, is that the buses of these suburban cities run down streets, not routes.  And I needed to be down some streets, over some streets, and down some more streets.  That means 3 buses.  BOO!

What's not easy about that, Spoiled Grasshopper?

Well it's timing everything so you don't end up waiting for like 25 minutes between each connection! Because now that I know the scheduled times, I know how long my wait will be (UNlike in Brazil) and that kind of takes away from the surprise element of waiting for a bus you're not even sure will arrive in the first place! (It makes waiting for a bus less boring, ok??)

Ta Da! Fancy...
But back in Canada means back on a system of schedules and punctuality (and a lot of people with hot air up their butts! hehe) But! (no pun intended!) it ALSO means back on a system of A1 Customer Service!  So when I approach a bus stop and I'm not sure what time the bus is coming, or if my bus passes along this route, I just call this fancy number and get an easy-to-follow recording OR a REAL LIVE PERSON WHO ACTUALLY HELPS YOU!

So riding the bus answered a few of the nagging questions I had developed about Canada, while living in Brazil.

1) Is there really a better bus pass system in Canada?
Yes. In my area of the Toronto suburbs this card lets you on all the buses in the surrounding cities, including transfers (which are unlimited in a 2 hour period!!!! *GASP*) and discounted fares!

2) How do the buses arrive places if they don't drive like maniacs?
They have a schedule and they actually drive slooow to get to their stops at the scheduled times.(!!) I arrive on time AND alive??

3)Are the bus drivers really friendlier on Canadian buses?
Well, of the 6 buses I took yesterday, every single driver said hi to me and more than one gave me helpful assistance with directions.

So those are my top preferences about buses in Canada.  They still don't have the charm of Brazilian buses, y'know, things like:
  • flagging down your bus like a taxi cab (gets my excitement up)
  • taking one bus to get to my exact destination (only in Zona Sul, however)
  • talking to people at bus stops, asking for directions
  • not needing exact change because the sleeping cashier will make it for you (when he or she is awake - it's all part of the charm!) ;-)
 I still can't come to a final decision about which system I prefer because at the end of the day, while the Canadian system is way more efficient, the Brazilian system has that beautiful view (oh, AND, preferential seating for preggers, which Canada does NOT have). 

The jury is still out on this one....

Where We Are - 4 Weeks In

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Tuesday, August 14, 2012.
1 Comment

We returned to Canada on July 19, 2012 after having lived in Brazil for 2 years, 8 months and 4 days. 

Why did we return? 

Well, it's complicated and also not complicated at all.  Our plan was never to stay in Brazil forever.  It was to stay for a year.  That year turned into two, which (after struggling to find our amazing apartment which came with a 30 month lease) turned into three more potential years but then we decided to have a baby.

So we quit our jobs. Broke our lease. Sold all of our belongings. 
So now we're back in Canada.  Six months pregnant. Completely confused about our position in life.

I know we made the right decision for our future and our baby by coming back to Canada.  I didn't expect to miss Brazil as much as I do.  I didn't expect to have so much confusion at the beginning... running around trying to find work, trying to get our living arrangements in order, trying to re-adapt to Canadian culture, trying to re-adapt to living with family again.  

Who knew that hearing English everywhere again would feel so weird?

Those last weeks before leaving Brazil were very very emotional... saying goodbye to a period of my life which I struggled to find my place in, but eventually had, was very bittersweet.  Saying goodbye to my adopted family and my amazing job teaching English was especially difficult.

The biggest things I missed about Canada (aside from my friends and family) were bureaucratic...getting cell phones, opening bank accounts, renewing driver's licenses - I definitely am loving how easy it is to do all of those things here!

The things I didn't really expect to bother me so much are the things like consumerism in North America. The sheer amount of shit that people have, people want, people talk about wanting, people talk about buying, how much money things cost, how much money people make, how successful people are.... wow, my list could go on.  This is something that is bothering me HIGHLY. 

I loved learning to be more modest in Brazil. Learning and appreciating cooking more at home. Learning not to buy impulsively or buy things that weren't really necessary. Learning not to always start conversations with 'what do you do' 'where do you work' 'are you more or less successful than me?' (that last one is of course only in the back of everyone's mind...)

I'm also missing being pregnant in Brazil. To be honest, I had very high expectations in Brazil that weren't always fulfilled (I blame everyone for telling me I would be an automatic Queen!)  I had to ask someone (non-deserving) to move out of the preferential seat more than once.
BUT! But, but, but... people were just way more magnetic towards me!  They would come at me hands first, touching my belly, talking to me, asking questions... at first it was totally weird and took some getting used to. But I'm experiencing the opposite treatment here and it makes me totally miss the Brazilian "non-awareness of personal space" norms. People don't touch me (or at least they ask before giving a little pat), and they generally don't give me extra attention/special treatment. Priority lines/parking spaces/first pieces of cake for preggers?  What are those? And now that I've been spoiled in Brazil, I definitely definitely miss it. 

The other thing that I did expect to bother me (and is) is living in a suburb.  Everything is so damn far and requires a car. I miss living car-free and having everything I needed at my fingertips.  I have to keep remembering though, we only achieved this level of comfort at the end of our time in Brazil. 

Patience will be my mantra for the next little while.

At least they sell bus passes here. 

**Did you miss my first blog Gringa Goes to Brazil?**