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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Filed under Runs

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…

Home!

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?

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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*

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Filed under Foreign Service, Rio!

45 Days. Commence Freak out.

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When I first set up my countdown app for our move to Brazil, it seemed like such a long way out – Ellie wasn’t even born yet!

And here we are, 5 months after leaving Manila, 4 months after getting settled in DC, and in a month and a half we start the whole process again.  Sorting air shipment (600lbs) from freight (max of 1,000lbs we have leftover from Manila) from personal luggage (two 70lb bags for each of us).  Figuring out the pets’ vaccines and international health certificates.  Figuring out what we will need as soon as we arrive, and what we can wait a little longer for.

I thought that having time in DC would mean I would be hopping in the metro every day and exploring museums, but the shutdown of the ONLY elevator to the metro in Crystal City ruined that fun, because I cannot bring a stroller, and though both Ellie and I love her carrier, my poor feet can’t handle multiple hours with the extra weight on.  (The elevator has been out of service since JULY.  It was meant to be back up in October, yet nothing has been done.  So much for living close to the metro convenience!  WMATA sucks big time.)

I also thought I would have so much free time!  But life with a baby doesn’t lead to a lot of it.  Now that Ellie has set times for her naps (and boy does she get cranky if she misses it), my days revolve around them.  Sure, I’m letting her dictate my time, but life for her is going to go upside down again (in 45 days!) so let the girl get her rest now.  Ellie is an easy baby, so I honestly cannot complain, but she likes company, she likes interaction, so that leads to even less free time.

But you know what?  I love it!  NEVER in my 20’s being a stay at home mom was something I craved for.  I had ambition and wanted a career!  But being at home with her is such a luxury!  I know a lot of my friends who work would take my place in a heartbeat, specially when their babies were still so little.  I know it won’t last forever – DC life is far from affordable, and if we’re ever back here for an assignment (instead of training like now), we won’t get free housing, so back to work I go.  But until then?  I’m enjoying the time with my little girl.

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I started sorting things out as much as I can, started making lists of things that need to be done before we go (quite a bit).  Trying my best to see friends, but it’s been so hard to fit it all in, as crazy as that sounds!

And of course, the fact that we still don’t have a housing assignment, even though Karl starts work 58 days from now, is not helping.  I’m hoping the delay eventually leads to good news and we get the neighborhood we want (Leblon – near the beach, not too far of a drive from my parents place in Barra, not as touristy as Copacabana).  I know others arriving in Brazil after us (but not necessarily in Rio) who already know where home will be.  Not knowing adds to the stress.  In this lifestyle full of unknowns, I try to grab for every little certainty we get.

And running is still going, or at least it was.  I’m still not any faster, and not any more graceful, but I was doing ok until the MCM 10k.  Then that afternoon my right hip felt very tender to the touch, inflamed really.  But it didn’t hurt to walk on it, so I ran 4.25 miles on Wednesday and definitely felt during the run.  And since then it hasn’t gotten any better and it’s been hurting to walk.  Like I need more injuries!  So skipping today’s run and debating the Wilson Bridge Half Marathon I had signed up for on Sunday.

I do keep meaning to update this blog, I’ve just had no inspiration, but soon I’ll be back posting daily again, I know it, that like everything else, writing comes in cycles.

For now, guess who turned 8 months (8 MONTHS!) yesterday?

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Filed under Foreign Service, Random

Back to Normal Life?

Remember how I used to blog here?  And share about my trips?  And runs?  And other random crap?

I’m finally “settled” in DC, I had my parents in town for the better part of a month, and my sister-in-law just spent three weeks here with us.  To make things extra special, the week I had in between visits my computer decided to rebel and I had to restore it to factory settings (after spending lots of $$$ to recover my pictures, since I had failed to back them up after leaving Manila).

Visitors are gone, and Ellie finally naps during the daytime (OMG!), and goes to bed consistently around 6:30/7pm every night, so I predict more blogging to come (I hope someone still reads this!  I will go back to blogging about trips and running and baby!).

And Ellie is getting cuter and cuter each day.  Case in point…

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Life has been super busy thanks to all the visitors from Brazil (but oh so fun!).  I may have given up running the marathon, but I haven’t given up on running…  Aside from the Ridiculous Race (which was more fun than running),

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I ran the Crystal City Twilighter in July, the 9/11 5k, and the Navy Half Marathon just last weekend (I did better than I expected, but horrible compared to my other half marathons, thanks to extra weight, still being out of shape, plus blisters and foot pain – but I’m still vain and can still smile at a camera when I see it one!)  Kathy and Jen ran the half with me, and provided amazing company!

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I still have the Army Ten Miler and the MCM 10k to run, before winter sets in. The much cooler weather in DC should help the running too!

I even got my sis-in-law, Lara, to wake up butt early with me yesterday and run to DC, and though she’s still a new runner, so she had to walk quite a bit (plus she was testing out her Newton shoes), she still went 5 miles, which is a record for her!

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Ellie had lots of firsts during the time Lara was visiting…  First taste of solid food at 6 months…

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First time riding in a shopping cart…

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First visit to a museum…

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First metro ride (though this picture is from her 6th metro ride or so).

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First zoo visit – see the sea lion swimming behind her?

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First time petting a cow (this brought giggles out of her!).

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First swimming class (which she LOVED).

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And we also had Lily’s first visit to Old Town Alexandria (yep, the puppy has not been forgotten!).

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Ellie is also liking her stroller more and more, and though I have now mastered wearing her on my back, my poor feet just can’t handle it for more than dog walks or shopping trips (I really really need to call that orthopedic surgeon already to get his opinion…  2 hours is still the limit they can handle a day – whether walking or running – before horrible pain sets in, and when carrying Ellie, it comes much sooner due to the extra weight, which sucks).

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Karl is still busy learning Portuguese, and he got a lot of practice when my parents and Lara were here.  I can’t believe that exactly 3 months from today we’ll be arriving in Rio de Janeiro.  Time is flying by…

Until then, hope to update much more often, as I still have a lot to catch up to!

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Filed under 5k, Baby, Half Marathon, Lily, Non-Running Stuff, Pictures, Runs