I’m still here…

And it’s been so ridiculously long.  I never thought I would just stop writing in this space, with a bunch of drafts saved that never got finished!

We’ve had trips, we’ve had visitors, Ellie is now a full blown toddler and so far from being a baby now! (And this picture is 2 months old!)  She still not talking much (ah, the bilingual thing is confusing…), but understands everything, makes animal sounds of a LOT of animals, knows what fruits she likes and asks for them, and in general, gets her message across.

IMG_7418Karl got his next assignment, and leaves in July for Islamabad while the rest of us hang out in Rio for another year, then DC for a year so he can learn Korean — and off to Seoul for 3 years in 2017 (crazy knowing this far in advance where we will live!).

We’ve had other news to share…

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Because life with a toddler isn’t challenging enough, let’s take the husband out of the picture for a year, and add a newborn to the fun!

We ran a half marathon in July when Kathy was visiting from DC — and was my slowest half by far thanks to under training…

IMG_5723And since then I haven’t run one bit.  Ellie hates the jogging stroller, she started afternoon day care three times a week, but it’s the hottest time of the day, and let’s face it, I’ve been EXHAUSTED.  We live so far from everything, our garage doesn’t have assigned parking, so I get anxiety every time I take the car out if there will be a parking spot I can fit my car in (the spots here were made for Fiat Unos — no one in the building drive those, so they all take more than their spot), so I never end up driving.  I walk everywhere, which includes a 25 minute walk each way to drop her off at day care, or any other errand I need to run.  This week I’ll finally get a cruiser bike with a bike seat on the back (my road bike did not work with the child seat *at all*) and should make my life easier at least until the new baby arrives.

We’ve been to Buzios for a weekend trip, went to Iguassu Falls for Easter, spent a couple of weeks in Portugal where Ellie finally stopped nursing on her own accord, and now have a trip scheduled for the end of the month — sans kid for the first time! — to celebrate our anniversary, in the northeast of Brazil, in Natal.  We booked our R&R to South Africa (but haven’t had a chance to figure out the details of anything else!), and booked a return to Maragogi where we went for our honeymoon (and I blogged it here), for a last trip before Karl goes to Pakistan, this time with Ellie and the new itty-bitty baby in tow, with my brother and sister-in-law tagging along.

We even survived (and loved it!) the World Cup in Rio and the humiliation of Brazil’s defeat.  We got to catch a couple of games in Maracana, even if we failed miserably at scoring tickets for the finals.

And I’m still sharing pictures almost daily on instagram (blogging for lazy people?) at whereiscarla.

I haven’t given up on this space, I’ll be back.  I just hope eventually I can get my crap together to go back to blogging regularly.  It’s not lack of things to share, just lack of time to sit down and write them.  But I miss it, though sadly, laziness wins most days…

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Filed under Runs

3 Mile Run!

So I only got a couple of workouts in since leaving DC, because turns out taking care of this chick full time takes a lot of time…  (She’s lucky she’s cute, huh?)

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Who knew having a baby was so time consuming?  (Wait, what, everybody?!) 

So needless to say, I’m now in Rio, the land of beach and sun and sculpted beach butts, and here I am, in worse shape than I was in the middle of DC winter.  Gah!

Ellie started daycare for two afternoons a week, so I started running from home to her day care (a half mile), dropping her off, then heading here for a few hours…

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(Have I mentioned that Ipanema Beach is a mile walk from our place?) 

Then after playing in waves and snoozing under the sun, I pick her up and run home with the stroller again.

It wasn’t easy at first, the 97 degrees and hot sun we have been dealing with makes anything harder, specially running after so many months off, but now I can push that stroller for half a mile without a break (seriously, I couldn’t at first – blame it on the heat instead of my ever-expanding ass, will ya’?).  So far, the hip hasn’t given any signs of injury, so I’ve been cautiously optimistic about it.

Yesterday Karl was finally able to pick her up on his way home from work, so I didn’t have to kill time at the beach (life can be rough), because as much as running there with her is fine, carrying all my beach crap and running to the beach is a big pain in the butt, so I usually give up after one block of sunscreen and towels bouncing around and do a leisurely stroll instead.  But with the weather looking like this yesterday…

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…I skipped the beach, and went for a run instead.  I wish I could tell you that I did 5 miles around the lagoon and it was glorious, but I’m so paranoid of reinjuring myself, that I decided that 3 miles total was plenty (and seriously, it was, it’s been a long break).  I was expecting a lot of walking in those 3 miles, but turns out when the weather goes from a hot as hell 97 degrees with a blazing sun, to a pleasant and cloudy 80 degrees, running gets much easier, specially when the stroller is dropped off at day care and I am suddenly much lighter too.

I didn’t get any faster – my pace is still averaging 11-12 min/mile depending on the headwind – but not only I ran most of the 3 miles, I was able to run 2 miles non-stop (the parts I did have to stop before I got the last 2 miles in was when I had the stroller, since there are streets to be crossed).  I was actually *smiling* during the run, because it was glorious.  Sure, the amazing view helped, the cooler weather too, but it really did feel great.  I haven’t felt that during a run in a long long long time.

I wore my running skirt for the first time in about 2 years, and though I’m far from being able to pull it off (refer to the ever-expanding ass mentioned above), reminding myself that I finished a marathon wearing that same skirt, certainly helped make those miles easy.

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I had such baby brain, that I actually thought I had run MCM with that, but turns out it was Chicago, as I wore the pink version for MCM:

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(Not that anyone cares, but I had MCM in my mind during the run, maybe if I knew it was Chicago I wouldn’t have been as inspired, who the heck knows.)

Today I feel the hip, but it’s not something that can be considered painful just yet.  I got a recommendation for a orthopedist, and if it does hurt, I’ll have to finally get it checked, because a 3-month running break should have fixed whatever it was, and if it didn’t it’s definitely bad news, so fingers crossed…

Tomorrow the plan is to get another run in, we’ll see how that goes.  It’s meant to be a high of 88, which I’m sure will kick my butt if the sun is still out.

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Filed under Rio!, Runs

Almost a month in Rio

I’ve been thinking about the blog so much lately – I WANT to write, and at the same time I feel like there’s nothing to write about.

Remember when I used to run?  Since feeling hip pain after the MCM 10k at the end of October, I took a ton of rest, got massages, stretched, iced…  And the pain?  Is still there.  Sure, it’s not in my face the whole time, but once a day I get a reminder that things are not ok.  That if I do even a short run, it’ll be back to being super sore again.

But I’m still not settled.  I haven’t been brave enough to start driving here, even though my dad has been so generous and let us borrow his car, since ours will take about a decade to get here.  It’s been super hot so I haven’t really explored much around us either – I’m walking distance to Ipanema and Copacabana (a 15 minute walk!) and not once have I ventured out.  I hate using the baby as an excuse, but having her in the car with me, does make me more hesitant to go out and explore with Rio’s crazy drivers.  The extreme record-breaking heat and blazing sun, does make it tougher to go out of the house for hours at a time with a ten month old!  And we’ve been at our new (fabulous!) apartment for almost 3 weeks, and my toes have yet to touch sand – and the beach is only a mile away!  (I’m in love with being at the beach, it makes me truly happy and recharges me, always, so this is a big deal!)

So the thought of searching for a good orthopedist to check out my hip just seems like too much work.  I know this is temporary, I know that I need to start setting a routine for myself again. 

We have a gym downstairs and Ellie’s video monitor gets reception at the gym so really, why haven’t I gone yet to get back into the swing of things?  (I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of afraid, because remember when I could lift heavy-ish weights?  Ha, yeah, now it’ll be interesting and humbling.)

Maybe it’s because our things aren’t here yet.  It’ll be a few more weeks for our air shipment (UAB) to be released, and the rest of our stuff only gets here in another couple of months (or more).  It’s hard to make a home a home when you don’t even have things like spices to cook with, a bath mat (we ended up using hand towels for that – we don’t want to slip – so now no hand towels), your baby’s crib is still not here and you miss your own pillows (though surprisingly the pillows we got in our welcome kit turned out to be pretty comfortable – and I’m super picky!).

Gosh, and if I sound like I’m not liking Rio so far, it’s not true.  I have seen my parents multiple times a week, and my brother at least once a week since I arrived.  I haven’t lived in the same country as them since 1999!  And now my baby brother is a few minutes away!  He comes with his wife Lara every weekend and we have beers out in the balcony!  We play in the pool with Ellie!  And I can have this every weekend for the next 2 years – I’m already dreading leaving!

And the consulate folks?  So warm and friendly!  For real!  This is such a HUGE contrast from Manila!  I met some amazing people there, and by the time we left, I had found my place and was sad to leave so many good friends behind, but the vibe was just so different.  Maybe because it was such a big embassy and everyone was spread out all over the place.  Or because people’s feelings about Manila varied so much (it was very much love or hate and though we loved it, there were lots of hate about the place).  I had such a hard time at first when I met so many other spouses who said “let’s go out for lunch next week!” “I’ll invite you over to my pool!”  “I’ll give you a call so we can plan something!” and then they would never text me back.  It was such a tough time when I was brand new in a country, didn’t know anyone, so I had such a hard transition (and I never really wrote much about it, because how can you write about people who you still hope will be your friend and not out of pity?).  Sure, by the time I left, I had made some incredible friends, lots of expats (thanks to the MADS pregnancy and moms group) as well as other embassy folks.  But the first year?  It was tough!

But here?  Our neighbors have invited us over multiple times.  Everyone who said “you should come over sometime” actually followed through.  And they’re NICE.  Like truly, genuinely fun people who I would be friends with even if we weren’t all thrown together in a foreign country. (Yes, I know, Brazil is not foreign to me, but after 17 years away, it’s pretty foreign to me too…) 

And our apartment is so big we have had multiple discussions of “so should we make this the guest room and the other one the workout room, or would that one be better as a guest room?” – if the place was small, the decision would have been made for us – what a good problem to have!

And for real, I’m typing this looking at this view…  (Literally taken right now.)

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Though we had nets installed (since this baby will be getting into trouble soon, and though it was a small fortune, I rather have no accidents), so my view is more like this:

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But I’m getting pretty damn good of taking pictures avoiding the net completely!

And Ellie?  She’s getting cuter every day…

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Cannot believe we’re starting to plan her first birthday!  Where did the time go?

And today may be a good time to explore.  I have our balcony doors wide open and actually have goosebumps on my arm from the breeze coming in.  It’s a “chilly” 72 degrees right now, so if the rain stays away, I’m definitely going for a walk with this chick after her swimming class!

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Filed under Brazil, Foreign Service, Rio!

We are home!

For the next two years, this is our view…

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I cannot believe how lucky we are!

(We have no internet, so posting from the wordpress app. Sorry if things look a bit wonky. I’m posting a ton of pictures on Instagram, just follow me at whereiscarla.)

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