I just realized that it’s been more than a year since I updated my blog. That wasn’t intentional. I meant to keep writing. I meant to keep taking photos, developing delicious recipes inspired by our travels, and generally chronicling our life. But, to be quite honest, doing it during the pandemic felt heavy. I felt uncertain about the state of the world. I was really overwhelmed trying to manage virtual schooling for our elementary-aged kids (even from the position of privilege I occupy). We renovated our house in Virginia (again), which also ended up being more time-consuming than I expected, what with supply chain delays and soaring demand in our area for good contractors. I wanted more time to host friends on our newly-built backyard patio in furtive little outdoor groups. There was never enough time.
And then — and then, a year after we arrived in Virginia — we packed everything up yet again and moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil.
We’ve actually known about this move since the fall of 2019, when the world looked really different. We knew that my husband’s job would take us back home to the US for a year (yay, friends and family!) and then to Brazil, which seemed exotic and exciting. As a family, we felt that we were ready for a new adventure, and we found a school for the kids that seemed fantastic. The hubby was excited about living in a totally new region of the world, and I swooned at the FOOD and CULTURE that I could write about!
But then, as we all know, the world slowed down. Wayyyyyyy down. The year we thought we’d have in the US turned out not to be. Our kids struggled emotionally with the idea that we’d promised them this incredible year of bonding with friends and family versus the reality of having to stay home to stay safe. We all fretted as the COVID rates in Brazil rose astronomically, making it one of the hardest-hit countries in the world. We questioned whether we’d be able to move at all and what implications that might have on my husband’s career.
Even with all of the heaviness of 2020 and early 2021, I still feel incredibly lucky in so many ways. We all emerged with our health and our jobs, which I know was not the case for many. We found bright moments in spending time with our neighbors, who have become a second family to us. We still got to see our extended families a couple of times, and we cherished those moments with a gratitude that I don’t think we would’ve had before the pandemic.
In July, the COVID rates in Brazil appeared to plateau, so we took the leap and landed here to a city that was subdued but hopeful in its rapid vaccination of the city’s 21 million residents. And now, almost four months later, we’re settled in an apartment just south of the city center, one of many tucked among high-rise apartments with hints of tropical lushness dotted here and there. The neighborhood we live in isn’t hopping with trendy restaurants or a buzzy nightlife to speak of, but it has everything we need — grocery stores, little cafes, a very decent burger spot, and even a BIG, which is literally a Brazilian Walmart.
As for how my family is faring — we’re doing great. We had some hesitancy at first given what we’d read in the news about COVID in Sao Paulo before we arrived, but we’ve become more and more comfortable as vaccination rates climb and the infection rates steadily decline. The kids adore their new school. I am absolutely enchanted by the warm, open embrace of Brazilian people, so much so that I redoubled my efforts to learn Portuguese. The kindness that total strangers have shown us here is unmatched by anything I’ve experienced anywhere, and we’re so excited to start tackling this city that never seems to end.