West Coast.

#14 Palm trees and white peaks

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Patrícia Mota
Patrícia Mota

Diversity is what best defines California, it seems to me.

Cultures, landscapes, possible experiences, flavors, fauna and flora, the open-mindedness of those who live here...

I think you can tell that I have a crush on this place, and although there are aspects with which we identify little or not at all, as the balance is so positive for now, I hope that this willingness to embrace diversity will be ingrained in all of us forever.

And also the "let it be" spirit.

And by the way, "all out", both working and enjoying life.

Even before I arrived here, I had an easy time understanding the ephemeral, but in California my time is respected in a different way.

If the obligations come close to family prime-time (which is sacred), there is a whole effort to compensate for this abuse.

I want to be fierce forever about abuse of this kind.

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My productivity has been high, but my availability for our team and all possible programs has also been high. And I've been sleeping well. It's about taking notes and replicating as much as possible.

We start to have routine programs with friends. At a distance from our dear friends and family, these new friends become our network, our emergency contacts, and they really are a wonderful network for which I am very grateful.

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Speaking of friends, the Portuguese/Bulgarian family we met on the beach, and with whom we have many more affinities than just language, joined us for a game of our favorites and magic happened. One of the players is Brazilian and every "VAI SILVA!!!" was decisive in the final result.

We won everything.

The game (which was close), prizes of all kinds for the children, and the promise to repeat more moments together.

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The following week another record. Hillary (a storm announced at the beginning of the school year) was ridiculous by comparison.

The amount of rain in our spot was epic. It was like a shower running non-stop for hours on end, with a gale to match.

Everything at home to reduce commuting and teleworking, which reminded me of pandemic memories that give me the creeps. And floods everywhere.

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Our jacuzzi and its sun loungers completely drowned. Record rainfall in 160 years.

Don't we appreciate diversity? Then let's have some torrential rain in California so we don't just wax poetic.

And over the next few hours, the tireless maintenance teams got everything moving and were evidently applauded everywhere. Now it's summer again.

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After the storm, you know...

We weren't familiar with the Moon's calendar, but we immediately said yes when Matias' best friend's parents offered to host the year of the Wood Dragon with all the associated traditions.

I proposed bringing rice pudding, and rice symbolizes so many good things that, in addition to the sweet tooth of those who knew and appreciated it in Asia, it was immediately advertised as THE dessert of the event.

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I made arborio rice for the price of ham, I didn't make rice "by hand" anymore (my rich bimby!), the smell of boiling milk sickens me and I didn't remember, but it came out delicious.

Prayers and incense to bless the food, good luck wishes, giving thanks for a series of privileges, a replica of the Chinese Gold Inglot that we brought home, and several red and gold envelopes with money, a symbol of fortune for all the children (17!).

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I love Chinese food, and everything I tried looked delicious.

We learned a series of generous traditions. And we're grateful to be able to share this moment with such a dear family.

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The next day was a challenging one, with our Mercedes Potter at a birthday party that even had magical creatures in the classroom. "If I like animals, there can't be any exceptions, right?" was Cuca's response to our amazement at meeting so many strange animals.

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Matias' two best friends are of Taiwanese and Chinese descent. That same weekend, we entered the lunar year in good company and celebrated the Super Bowl in a couple's house mixed between China and Kansas. I confess that the game itself didn't captivate me too much, but everything else was top notch.

Let's start with the cash bets on the squares.

I don't like wasting a penny, so it was with some resistance that I bet $2 on 10 of the 100 squares, wrote Pati down, and tried not to think about it again. Later, before the game started, Rodrigo bet on 5 more squares, so we had a 15% chance of winning something. It was explained to me that you don't need to know much about the game, you just have to guess the result for each of the 4 quarters.

I started listening, Who's Pati???? Who's Pati?? again, Pati???

Spoiler alert, I won 2 of the 4 quarters, and I had to explain several times that I had no idea what a logical outcome would be, nor who the players were apart from Taylor Swift's boyfriend, and that I even thought his nickname was Chief, instead of the team name.

It was hilarious, but the fans weren't convinced.

Fortunately, the Chiefs won, and although it was the Luso-Spanish family who took most of the prizes in the first game we'd ever attended, spirits were high and all was well!

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Meanwhile, Maria, who was certified as a babysitter and even has a rate, received the offer before the game started to look after the little ones and get paid for it. She accepted immediately and at the end of the party she received 50% plus the agreed amount (she looked after them masterfully!), and extra for Mercedes who helped her with the arduous task of controlling a troupe of ninjas while the creatures' parents watched the biggest sporting event in the country.

It was a fun and highly profitable event. The sisters came crazy, like an unexpected EuroMillions!

In the meantime, it seems that the weeks have been real rollercoasters, but with the privilege of the family team having the time and space to be constantly on top of each other.

We've gone from a house full of space and comfort to a cute but cramped apartment. But opening the door and being able to say hello to everyone at the same time, instead of shouting out to ask if anyone is home, I think can be a nice way of dealing with the reduction in living space. Even that has been a beautiful experience.

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In the meantime, Maria really wanted to contribute to the troupe, so we went along to sell GirlScouts cookies.

We strategically positioned ourselves on my campus following Jenny's instructions, and tried to stay out of the way of hungry young adults.

In total, we sold 156 boxes of cookies (6$ each), and Maria feels like she has done her duty in rewarding all that the scouts have given her.

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With the change of math class, he was also able to switch to choir (which seems to be the coolest activity among students of all ages) and this week was the opening show of the season.

Although she was still feeling insecure, for us she shone and stood out for her gestures and elegance.

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This year was also a Valentine's Day of showing love all around!

Mercedes wanted to bring presents for the whole class, plus the teacher, plus some friends from other classes whom she likes very much, plus Jenny's children.

Maria came home saying that she had received sweets and nice messages from her friends at school. She didn't get upset, she didn't think it was strange.

I asked, trying to keep it completely natural to receive 2 "valentines" from friends, why do you think these girls gave you chocolates and such sweet messages?

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And she replied quite naturally, because they like me!

One because she asks me every day for my math notebook with my homework and I give it to her without any problem. The other I'm not sure about, but it must be because of something she likes me to do.

I prepared a delicious lunch for my Valentine, with delicacies brought to me by Andreia, and it was a complete success! And one of my students won the most original message I received that day...

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Mercedes, who at the beginning of the year when we introduced her to the OSS (Outdoor Science School: 4 days camping with friends and teachers in the snow) said that it would be better not to go because she didn't have any snow clothes or friends, nor could she imagine being away from us for so long, in another language and in a strange country, told me the day before when we were packing: "Mummy, calm down, OK? it's only 4 days."

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Once again, her friends and the school community gave her everything she needed to be prepared for the mountain, and she set off on yet another adventure.

We know she's fine and that she'll come back bigger.

He took a disposable camera with him and found it very difficult to understand why the number of photographs was finite.

It is forbidden to take anything digital, let alone a cell phone.

We receive one email a day telling us that they are.

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We'll pick her up soon, we're counting the minutes.

We hope you enjoy this opportunity to live in the summer with surfboards and terraces and palm trees everywhere... and to be 2 hours away from the winter peak, with white mountains, wooden cabins and hot chocolate.

Diversity is the most interesting discovery.

As they say around here,

Have a good one!

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