West Coast.

#10 Thanksgiving and one of the 7 wonders of the world

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Patrícia Mota
Patrícia Mota

With life happening in the fast-moving wheel that it is everywhere, I must confess that I love this moment of pause when American families come together to give thanks on Thanks Giving. Being grateful must be one of the most important cultivable virtues.

Maria had a show before the week's break to present the 6-week intensive dance course she had signed up for. We went to see it, and although she has a dance background of many years, and we're used to seeing amazing EDAM shows, what they managed to do in 6 weeks with a top choreographer and a selected class was really unbelievable.

In the end, we were talking about it with her, and after realizing what they'd managed to do, she said: "Yes, next year I want to be in the choir..." I froze. The Choir is the Broadway-style choir from Los Alamitos High School, which for decades has won the first national choir prize, or something like that... and in less than 4 months, the prospect of continuing here (which is not at all assumed, and most likely won't happen) is treated with a naturalness and comfort that is frightening.

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However, we have to be grateful for the children's welcome and integration into everything that was new to them, and postpone the worry of maladaptation to what was our nest.

Focus on giving thanks.

During the week of Thanks Giving, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity and go with our grandparents for a stroll through some unknown territories, and some not so unknown, and relive some spots that enchanted us more than 20 years ago! Glup!

Las Vegas.

In this society and for the rest of the world, we need to be careful when we tell people that our first stop is Sin City. And with children on board.

More than 20 years ago, I experienced Las Vegas with my brother Pepi as one of the most enjoyable parts of our summer stays in the United States.

It may seem strange to those who have never been there, but despite all the craziness that exists in this city, the Family Friendly casinos were real concentrated entertainment spots, which one was more spectacular and more beautiful.

I wanted to go back and bring the children, although I didn't want to openly divulge this controversial trip to so many people.

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We arrived at dusk, which is really striking because of the amount of light (it's not hard to understand that you can see it from space).

The point is that we arrived just after the F1 had taken place, and the experience of getting around the Strip (the main street with the top casinos) was very different from what I remembered, with bridges and footpaths more restricted to traffic.

Las Vegas can't be explained. It's just living that you love or hate.

It's full of wonderful things and also super "unapropriate".

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As colleagues who have taken their children to Las Vegas have told me, "just like life", it's full of unappealing things! And it's important for children to realize that if there are things we don't appreciate, we should focus on the wonderful. And off we went.

The concentration of so much luxury in buildings, decoration, restaurants and entertainment is incredible. All the spectacle in Las Vegas must be worth it.

And the regret I have about this trip is that we didn't go with many more dollars to spend. In terms of shows alone, I would have loved to have gone to see Adele, U2, Bruno Mars, and at least 3 different Cirque du Soleil shows. With all the kids.

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Being on the Strip, with the advertisements of these monsters on stage, all on the same street, door to door, it's easy to lose track of how great the access to all this is.

Despite the seemingly prohibitive prices, it was difficult to get free tickets so that we could all attend the latest show opened this year, Sphere.

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It's where U2 are performing and where Postcard from Earth, an immersive film about the impact of our actions on each other and on our planet, is showing.

As we were able to take the girls, it was a wonderful grown-up experience. For the message and the technologies we experienced. Thank you.

Our Matias turned 4 on his second day in Las Vegas, and as Uncle Pepi says, if it was Las Vegas at 4, let's get ready for 18!

But in fact, celebrating 4 years in this crazy city isn't very simple, and in a relaxed conversation with another mother who knew the area well, I managed to organize a very sweet moment in a toy store owned by the grandparents of a colleague of Maria's, and Matias had a little party with the right to paint wood and make slime, in a fun and very familiar spot.

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In the evening we had dinner with a bunch of animals and the 3 of them ended up in the bathtub in self-management. We loved them all!

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After Las Vegas we went straight to Williams.

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We read the book (wonderful), saw the movie (lame) and lived the "Polar Express" experience in the Grand Canyon.

The most magical we've experienced to date.

I don't know if the grandparents or the grandchildren would be the happiest.

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It was freezing cold, the journey through the Grand Canyon at night, Christmas town along the way, hot chocolate and cockies, lots of singing in unison with the other passengers (we were one of the few grumpy ones who didn't wear our pyjamas as recommended) and at the end, Santa Claus came into our carriage and gave us the magic rattle.

Total madness.

I thoroughly recommend it to all age groups.

The next day we headed for the Grand Canyon.

I'd heard everything from awesome to amazing, and also "never disappointing".

Expectations are high, but with the appropriate discount, because in these parts they abuse superlatives a bit. I have to say that the best fit is Breathtaking.

I arrived at this spot on Thanksgiving Day. And I cried.

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How is it possible for a giant hole to stir the emotions like this?

But it's much more than a hole.

The immensity, the silence, the smell, the vertigo are overwhelming.



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The highlight of this trip without a doubt.

In Las Vegas we checked out. We promised to return to the Grand Canyon.

And I gave thanks.

What an incredible journey, albeit fraught with potholes, detours and vertigo of all kinds.

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We returned home with more of the world in our bodies and with a desire for more Christmas.

Thanks to the grandparents, there was Bacalhau à Brás (which I couldn't photograph because the labões were in ecstasy), Cozido à Portuguesa (I swear it's even more delicious from a distance), and a tree set up with jazz in the background.

Even though we're doing all this in t-shirts, we're clearly getting into the spirit.

And Friday was Christmas Parade day in Seal Beach. Maria was practically hired as a future nanny by two of the mothers who accompanied us.

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After returning from vacation, Matias had a birthday party with his school friends for the first time.

All in superhero mode, more than 40 people between parents and children, a meatball, a homemade yogurt and lemon cake, and a host of other local delicacies, not home made.

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He woke up earlier than everyone, saying that it was daytime, he was jumping up and down and laughing all day, and he fell asleep early on the sofa.

In Las Vegas, he left his doudou, named "Wei fluffy", forgotten in one of the beds, with whom he snuggled every night since he was born.

We called and wrote to the hotel, sent messages to lost and found, and surrendered to the horror of the disappearance of his safety blannket.

He was so sad on the first night, and the second, and the third, that I promised him we'd always fall asleep together.

And he realized how helpless he was, and every night he asked for the song I sang to him after they picked me up from the affliction of having to say goodbye to everything forever four years ago.

That dark night, watching over so many good people, I woke up to the whistles. And the music went on and on in a loop, like a mantra.

And when we got back together two days after he was born, I sang out loud many times.

When he's scared, or wants a treat, again. And it's Matias' song.

The lyrics seem to have been written for him, in that affliction.

He requested the song every night since he grew up in Las Vegas, and said goodbye forever to his cute Wei.

The a cappella chorus is the cutest thing.

I promise to celebrate Thanksgiving forever.

What an incredible journey.

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