Okay, I will apologize now for saying that winter is inescapable, because it sounds like all of my loved ones north of me have been dealing with mounds of snow, record-breaking low temperatures, and frostbite-bestowing wind, while our temperature has had highs between 76 and 85 the whole time we've been here, but there is one facet of winter that we were not able to escape.
The whole getting sick part. Bah.
True, it has not been as bad as last winter (yet!), because it hasn't lasted as long. (Last winter was a two month stretch of seemingly nonstop stomach flu, fifth disease, croup, and more stomach flu.) But, who knows? It's still only January!
We had been in Brazil for LESS THAN A WEEK when Jill came down with a fever. Then the kids and I all got runny noses. After about four days, it seemed like Jill was better. That only lasted a day or so. Then EVERYONE WAS SICK. Jeff was the only one who never had a fever, but his throat was giving him a lot of pain. Alice, blessedly, was the least affected of us all. (Breast milk, perhaps?)
After ten days of bearing it semi-well, we contacted the embassy doctor to ask for recommendations on where we could go locally to find out if we were dealing with more than the chest cold that was going around. (The kids and I are not officially affiliated with the embassy since we came on our own as tourists.) Bless his heart, the doctor didn't care and let us all come in to be seen. (On a non-working holiday, no less!)
The verdict: Jill, Daniel, and I have strep throat. Alice seemingly has nothing right now. Jeff had a cold and was dealing with postnasal drip. Honestly, I think Jill and I have strep throat and a cold. Antibiotics are being administered, and we are all well on our way to feeling better.
But it just seems so wrong to be in this gorgeous place with such fabulous weather and be sick. Thank goodness this wasn't a short vacation, or we would have been sick the whole time.
You may notice that Alice has a magnolia tucked in her ear, courtesy of Jill. We have a magnolia tree in our backyard. I love it. The flowers smell so good!
Sickness aside, I have little to complain about. People have been very nice. I may have already mentioned this, but on the day we flew in, there were groceries, toiletries, and a homemade dinner waiting for us at the house. And two days ago, someone else brought us dinner. And multiple people have offered to drive me to the store or out for errands if I need anything. We've been invited to eat dinner at other homes, swim in pools, meet at the park, and go on play dates.
Obviously people are super nice.
Which leads me to wonder: Are people really just this nice? Or am I just really blessed? Both? I have moved a lot, and in every place, I have been surrounded and supported by really nice people.
I will admit that I make an effort. After having been here for a week, I made five phone calls. Three were to women I had not spoken to before, and two were to women I had met briefly. Three were in Portuguese; two were in English. They were all from church or the embassy (or both). It was really hard to make those calls. I actually felt sick to my stomach and kind of wanted to cry instead, but I made them, and lo and behold, everyone has been really nice. And I feel like I have friends (or at least people willing to let me become a friend) even though I have barely left the house.
So whether people are nice everywhere, or I have just been fortunate in where I have ended up, I am really grateful for it. It makes moving so much easier. I am very glad that people are being nice to us even though we'll be gone in March; they still seem to think we're worth the effort. Nice. So nice!
Jill is so happy that this house has a tree she can climb.
She is really good at it, except for when Mother Nature reminds her that trees have bugs and bees, too.
I think I have mentioned that there is a park at the end of my neighborhood that has access to the lake. Also at the park is the beginning of a trail path. One day I walked for over two hours (of course that included walking back as well) and still haven't found where the path ends. I might have to give up and try using google map to see. It is a really nice path, regardless of where it leads. It follows the edge of the lake and goes behind the backyard fences of lots of really nice homes. It has street lamps and the occasional bench and pier.
We were walking on it the other day when I said to Jill (Daniel and Alice were both asleep), "Oh, look, aren't those cute little baby palm trees?" Jill promptly instructed me to take their picture, so I "wouldn't forget them." Well, I followed her instructions, and here is their picture. Never to be forgotten.
Don't you want to come visit and walk on this path with me? ;)