OK, so it’s been a while since I posted. Sorry about that.
I was in a bit of a funk, right in the middle of the infamous “Expat Blues”, and didn’t want to write while I was feeling so negative.
Nothing makes a blog more interesting than posts written by someone who is continually thinking, “I friggin hate this place! Hmph.”.
I knew it was temporary, I knew it was MY problem and not Brazil’s fault, and I knew things would come around again so I hibernated and stewed. I withdrew and sulked a bit. I got over myself and now life is good again.
Three things have happened that helped me get past the blues.
First, we have new friends!
We live in a small-ish city with no expat community and while I really, really don’t want to live inside the “expat bubble”, I also know it’s really nice to have a few friends with the shared experience of living outside of your home country. We do have some wonderful Brazilian friends, and now we’ve added a few more friends to the circle. When we first moved here I started a Facebook group for expats living in Jundiai in the hopes that others would find us and it’s working! Slowly, slowly they’re trickling in and our little group is now growing into quite a fantastic social circle. Our common language is generally English, but we all come from different countries. We have Italian, German, Brazilian, Dutch, English, Canadian, Russian, Hungarian and Scottish friends around the table in the local pub now and it’s a great mix.
Not only that, but I stumbled across an American couple as they were just coming in to our condominium complex on the morning of their arrival. I have American neighbors! OMG, do we really sound like that? After being away for so long, that American accent is so AMERICAN, and very comforting to me.
Second, we have travel plans!
We’re spending Christmas in the south of Brazil with friends, New Year’s Eve in the mountains, I’m going on a girl’s skiing trip to Austria in January and will add on a few days roaming around Europe before heading to Houston to see my babies. Brian will join me in Houston and after spending time with friends and family we’ll most likely take a road trip over to New Orleans and spend some time getting to know the bayou country. I absolutely LOVE road trips in the US and can’t wait to do one with Brian.
I will probably also be heading up to Tacoma, Washington after that to see my dad. His health isn’t great and I’d really like to spend some time with him. If you have a minute to send good thoughts, prayers, positive energy his way I would really appreciate it. I’m sure he would too.
Third, I’m exercising.
Being a hermit and a sloth was doing absolutely nothing good for my attitude so I tricked my friend into trying out a Crossfit class. I don’t think she really understood what we were in for, but she’s a good sport and didn’t kill me after that first class. Probably because she was too exhausted to lift her arms high enough to throw a punch.
We survived our first week of initiation classes. Barely. The gym is only a mile from my house and it took me a half an hour to walk home that first day. Downhill. I probably could have rolled home quicker, and seriously considered it but the amount of stray dog poop on the sidewalks made me try to stay upright. It was a close call.
I have also never been so sore in my life! But it got better. The second week only almost killed us, and the third week was really pretty good. Now we just finished our fourth week and are starting to see some real improvement in our strength, and we’re both loving it! Not only that, but I tricked two more of the girls from our expat group into joining us and now we have a quartet of fitness misery! It’s pretty awesome.
The exercise is doing really, really good things for my general attitude. I’m sure the endorphin rush has a lot to do with that, and the camaraderie of a workout with good friends makes it even better. It’s also good for my mental health to feel that sense of empowerment at the end of every class when I finish a workout that I thought I couldn’t do. Yesterday I did 200 push-ups. Two hundred! And it was only part of the workout. We also ran* two miles, did 100 jumping pull ups and 300 squats. I had no idea that I could do all of that. I seriously looked at the whiteboard when I arrived at the gym and thought I wouldn’t be able to finish. My plan was to do the best I could, but tap out when it was too much.
I didn’t tap out.
It took me forever and I was a sweaty, dirty, chalk covered mess at the end, but I did it. That was a very good feeling and one I get from almost every single workout, and it’s carrying over into the rest of my day.
So my trifecta of positive improvements has brought me around, and here I am again. I have some catching up to do, but I’m glad to be here.
*I use the term “ran” loosely.