West Coast.

#1 First report of these days in LA

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Patrícia Mota
Patrícia Mota

We want to send you the first report of these days in LA, which seem to us to be more than 200 hours long instead of 24, given the amount of fronts and energy they are sucking out of us.

The first impression of the people and the area we're hoping to settle in is excellent. Everyone we meet tries to ease our logistics in various ways, and although it may be usual in American culture, the curiosity and hospitality of welcoming outsiders helps a lot to get over the discomfort of so many changes at once.

Needless to say, in these days so far away from everything and everyone, there has also been room for meltdowns in turn.

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Mimi was the first. At the airport, when we were told that "we're sorry but as Mel's carrier is missing screws she can't fly, it's a safety issue"... Mimi broke down and begged for a solution - we're going to be without her for a long time, Mel is family, it's all going to be so hard... please let us take Mel... literally sobbing.

Then it was me... after so many hours of flying and battling fatigue with 4 suitcases weighing 23 kg, 5 trolleybuses weighing 10 kg, 5 backpacks, 1 XL size dog carrier, 3 children and 1 dog, we managed to get on the shuttle and get home.

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We had dinner at 5 a.m. and went to bed melted. At dawn I woke up with a migraine and went to look for my backpack, which contained not only my SOS medication but also my computer, my wallet with all my identity documents and bank cards, and the folder with all my other documents: visas, originals from the embassy, certificates from the Spanish school, vaccination certificates, ... EVERYTHING. And it wasn't there.

I woke Rodrigo up in a panic, and with all the commotion Mercedes said: "já sei! A mochila ficou no shuttle, eu escondi-a bem por detrás de uma das cadeiras e esqueci-me de a tirar." And the panic grew exponentially... After insistently calling the shuttle company and being told on the phone that they were sorry, but they couldn't do anything because they didn't have any alerts from the Lost and FoundI was the one begging them to double-check the van with the driver, and that we had ALL the documents there that allowed us to be legal in this country, that without that we wouldn't be able to put the kids in school, that we'd probably have to leave. We insisted through messages and phone calls and we got the feeling that they didn't want to listen to us anymore, and after 4 hours of suffocation they called to say that they had shown up, and that they would deliver us to the house if we paid for the trip. And life was beautiful again!

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In 3 days I've checked into college, we've opened bank accounts, we've enrolled Matias, Mercedes and Maria in schools, we're in the process of applying for the house we want to rent, we had a welcome dinner at Jenny's house, who is the Principal Investigator of the team I'm joining (in other words, my boss), and who is an American fitter than me.

Our hosts at the airbnb where we're staying bought us a full breakfast with milk, cereal, bread, fruit, butter, eggs, plus vegetables and fruit from their garden, and warm cookies for the weekend. In addition to the welcome dinner, Jenny has lent us balls, scooters, lots of things for the kids and her car while she's away at a conference. It doesn't seem like it, but these gestures have a huge impact on the kids who notice generosity in strangers and that's a good thing to experience.

Even so, the next meltdown was that of Matias, who has already asked when we're going back to our little house. He doesn't have his books here (which he chooses every night) and he wants to sleep in his room.

And with each meltdown we swallow a little dry and try to hold on tight to the idea that change always costs... And that fear, damn it... fear when you embark on an adventure like this is not insignificant, and it confuses your intuition, but it's not an option to paralyze it.

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I think Maria has realized that these days. Yesterday afternoon she told us, after the five of us had spent three hours driving back and forth between the Immigration and Borders Service and Social Security, that we were like players in a championship where the levels of difficulty are increasing, like levels in a computer game.

We were all silent... and then he added; What counts is that we have the best team!

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I honestly hope that this adaptation to so many new things will make them realize that it is possible to feel at home on the other side of the world. And that this experience is enriching in as many ways as possible, but if I could I would spare them the temptation to paralyze...

At the weekend we were in LA: Farmers Market, Venice Canals, Venice Beach and Santa Monica.

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The girls say they don't need to go back to Venice Beach, they don't like the smell of cannabis, nor were they dazzled by the artists and the graffiti there. But they got to know the iconic place up close, and loved the market where we had lunch and the Venice of California.

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We also went to the beach with Mel wearing a scarf we bought her at Clearance, which we later realized was from the Pride movement, which gives it a very fun look!

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We hope that this week we'll be able to wrap up some loose ends that we still have, that there'll be room for some grub, and that our boys will have a great time at the end of the vacations (even though we didn't notice the start!) before school starts!

On the door of Maria's school was the following slogan: "Be yourself, try your best and never be afraid to dream." How can you not trust?

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Thank you all so much for your messages and good energy, and a tight hug from each and every one of us,

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