Category Archives: Rio!

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?)


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…


(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…


…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.


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:


(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.


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.)


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:


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

And Ellie?  She’s getting cuter every day…


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!


Filed under Brazil, Foreign Service, Rio!

It’s time.

If moving isn’t usually stressful enough, you get a dog throwing up 2 weeks ago and hearing the vet say words like “surgery” (luckily, there was no need), you have your movers showing up to do a survey and say you’re right at your weight allowance, only for that to end up being twice as much when they pack you up a week later – and a $4,000 bill (AAAAAAHHHH!!!). 

So among everything else that needs to be done, driving to Stafford, VA, with a 9 month old, to put half your life into storage becomes part of your to-do list (but you reduce that bill to $500, so it’s worth it). And when the movers were so creative labeling your boxes, with things like “Bow and Arrow” as part of the contents – and if you need to ask, no, you do not own a bow and arrow – it makes the whole deciding what stays what goes much more challenging and time consuming.  You’ll find out what ended up staying behind that you actually really needed in a few months…

Now, fingers crossed that the shippers actually show up to pick up your car, because that too had to be complicated, because of course the State Department had to ask for a document that doesn’t actually exist – thanks to the bank owning your car, not you – and after lots of phone calls to your bank and the DMV, each thinking you’re an idiot because, hello, what you’re asking for doesn’t exist, and we already gave you a letter allowing you to take the car with you, your bank and the VA DMV finally agree in making up something to satisfy State.  But now it’s too late to get a shipper to pick the car up, because yes, they decided not to book that until you provided such document.

Then today was spent driving to Richmond to get a USDA stamp on the health certificate that allows your cat and dog to tag along with you.  (No incidents there – not everything has to be filled with drama, thankfully.)

And then, the whole housing issue.  Where will you live?  Will you go to temporary housing?  They do know that in a little more than 2 weeks you will need a place to stay, right?  After 6 months in temporary housing, you would love a place you can call our own again (who wouldn’t?), so there was lots of stress and sleepless nights.

And this morning, finally, you get the best news imaginable!  No, you didn’t get the neighborhood you wanted, but your building has so much more than you expected, that the fact that the beach is a mile away (instead of, you know, a couple of blocks away), doesn’t even bug you.  You will have a pool.  A POOL!  It’s very rare that buildings in Rio have a pool, so that never crossed your mind as a possibility!  You’re even hopeful that there may be a lap pool as google maps give you just the slightest hint of that.

And this is more or less where your new home will be, come January 2014…


So yes, today we found out we’re getting a sweet 4 bedroom apartment, and did I mention we will have access to a pool?  A pool folks!  As much as I love the beach with all my heart (and I seriously love the beach with all my heart), with a soon-to-be-toddler, a pool will be much more doable than the ocean (see those waves at the bottom of the picture?  They’re the real deal), specially on a day to day basis when husband is busy doing work-things and I’m alone with the kid.  I’ll still go to the beach a lot (A LOT), but this place sounds amazing!  And Karl even gets to metro to work instead of dealing with buses and Rio traffic!

And our place is across the street from Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (it has a 7.5km jogging path around it, and things like paddle boats), and a mile to Copacabana Beach on the right, or a mile to Ipanema Beach towards the bottom of the picture.

We will have to wait until January, but our plane takes off in 3 days (to the hour!) and off we go to the next adventure.  We will be taking some well-deserved vacation at my parents (even closer to the beach) until the new years.

Oh, and can you believe this chick is already 9 months?


And let’s face it, considering how much still needs to be done before we leave, next time you hear from me will likely be from the Southern Hemisphere! 

(And I know, I have sucked in replying to comments lately, thanks to reading them one handed on the iphone, but I promise I read them all, so please keep on commenting!)

Ah, and for the record, my hip?  Still bad.  Feet?  Still painful.  Someone will need to see a doctor after landing.  *sigh*

1 Comment

Filed under Foreign Service, Rio!

Thoughts on Rio

Bidding this time was totally different!  We’re super-super-super excited about going to Rio next and then it dawns on us “that’s TWO years from now!”  When we had 2 months to get ready for our move to Manila, 2 years seems like a lifetime!  We got the news as a couple, and by the time we get there, we’ll likely even have kids (our diving trip next month is our “cannot get pregnant before then” deadline after all!).

As of now, if the timing goes according to what we bid on, we’ll be staying in Manila an extra month (yay!), leaving in May 2013, going back to the US, where after taking home leave, we’ll be settling in DC until December while Karl learns how to speak Portuguese (!!!).

During that time, I can hopefully train for the Marine Corps Marathon, since we’ll definitely be in DC then (now who’s with me and want to run it too?).  I’m also excited to run some of my favorite races…  Crystal City Twilighter, Rock n Roll VA Beach Half Marathon, Army Ten Miler…  YAY!!!!!!

The odd thing that happens in this lifestyle, even when you get your #1 bid?  All the other places you won’t get to experience…  Before putting our bids in, we had to research pretty much what’s available to us so we can make a decision that’s best for our family – how do you know what will be #1 or #2 (or #30)? 

So reading about posts where you get to live in a house with a yard makes you yearn for living like that again (definitely no houses in Rio, it’s all apartments).  When you read about all the cool side trips you can take in an area (proximity to two oceans?  SCORE!), makes you excited about the possibility of those trips.  And other little things like that:  what you didn’t get.  Regardless of how happy you are with what you DID get, you also mourn for the ones you didn’t, since you had to envision yourself living there before even putting it down on your list.  Sure, part of it is because we were really really happy with our final list, and not everyone can say that, but aside from Rio, there were also lots of exciting possibilities in there.

But back to Rio…  I left Rio in July 1997, when my dad was transferred to NYC for a 2 year assignment with the UN.  When the assignment was over, they moved back to Brazil, and I stayed behind, since I was still in college then.  After graduation, I got one job, then another that took me to DC, then finally the job at the IMF that I quit once we moved to Manila.  (I miss working for the IMF, I do not miss my job though!)

The thought of moving back for 2 years, after being away for almost 17 years (in 2014) is SUPER exciting (I know, I’ve been using that word a lot lately!).  I get to live close to my family again, close to my grandmother (who is 90 years old!), close to my brother, my cousins, aunts and uncles.  I will have instant friends once I land (which is what I miss the most here in Manila, close friends I can call anytime).  We will hopefully live walking distance to the beach, but even if we don’t, we will never be more than a half hour away.

I will get to spend TWO Christmases in a row with my family – as well as other holidays that I’ve missed for so long.  Karl will get to see other parts of Brazil, that so far he only heard from stories I tell him.  Heck, I’ll get to travel to other parts of Brazil, since aside from our honeymoon, I only go to Rio when I visit.  Karl will learn my language, and get to experience living in Brazil which will be amazing!

Until then, there’s another year (and a bit) here in Manila.  I know I’ll miss Manila, so I better make the most of it until then!  As much as some things here have been tough (like making friends), other things have been wonderful (like all our trips!  Massages!  Our helper!  Cheap dining!).  We both hope to come back to Asia in the future, but until we leave, we better plan even more adventures to make the most of it!

So here’s to another amazing year in Manila!  And to living in yet another place that has no real cold winters!  Woot!


Filed under Foreign Service, Rio!