Life In Brazil
Temporarily moving to Brazil came with its own share of peaks and valleys, laughter and tears. Brazil is my country, the place of my roots and my family. Wherever I go I see people smiling. I enjoy the tropical weather and speaking in my native language.
In November we went to Jeri town for over twenty days, it was amazing. If you are not familiar with Jericoacoara (also known as Jeri), it’s a touristic beach village with movable dunes, strong winds, and beautiful sunsets. The streets are paved with sand. There are atvs and beach buggies on every corner. Donkeys, horses, wild cats and dogs, all getting along. It feels like the Wild West meets the beach, but with peace and love style. It’s easy to forget the world once you are there. It’s all so harmonious and naturally beautiful.
Once we came back to Fortaleza, the city I was born in and where my family lives, the challenges started coming up. We started experiencing the post pandemic economic and political reality of the country. Several businesses have gone bankrupt, there are a lot of people on the streets, unemployment and inflation are high, and our president seems to live in La La Land. I know this may also sound like the USA but trust me, global issues hit harder on developing countries.
The silver lining is that Brazilians keep their hopes up despite the circumstances. They ‘samba’ through bad times with such style. There’s a hashtag I see everywhere: #vaidarcerto, which means, “it will work out.” I also hear people saying this all the time. It’s a lovely way to keep the spirits high no matter what. It’s been great to be a part of this collective of positive energy during my third trimester of pregnancy.
And with style I had to ‘samba’ through my biggest challenge since landing here: The house we planned to stay in had mold and everybody got sick from breathing toxic air. The mold issue wasn’t so evident at first, making it difficult to figure out why the house had such bad vibes. After a couple weeks of sneezing, low energy, coughing, and digging for answers I found the issue. There was mold in all walk-in closets, including the ones in the kitchen.
At first I was like, crap! Months of planning thrown out the window. My dad lives next door, so does my uncle, and cousins with little children just like Jasper. The garden is gorgeous, the common grounds are extensive enough for long walks with a stroller, there’s a pool, a playground, and family within reach. The house itself is huge,
the master bedroom has an extra large king size bed that fits my whole family in it, including our soon-to-be-born baby girl. I’ve been coming and going to this house since I was fifteen. It felt like the perfect place to go into labor and deliver my second child.
Except, I knew how detrimental mold is to one’s health. When I started telling my aunt, cousins, and even my dad about the mold they didn’t think it was a big issue! My mom was the only one who quickly agreed it was a real problem. I heard so many things like: Open the windows, let the fresh air in, make sure to clean the closets every day, buy this or that product.. blá, blá, blá…
Here is the deal: this house is located in the middle of a jungle (that’s how my dad maintains the garden, like a tropical jungle), the trees are so big, not enough light comes through the windows. The climate is hot and humid. The house has been empty for about five years since my aunt and uncle divorced. On top of everything, it's the rainy season until March.
Everyone had quick solutions for a big problem. Nobody seemed to think of the long term effects mold does to our health, especially in little kids. After a few conversations, my dad realized the dimension of the issue. He suggested removing all the closets in order to eradicate the mold. Something I wasn’t willing to do at this stage of my pregnancy. I had no other option but to move out.
At my eighth month of pregnancy, Fulvio had gone back to Florida for work and I stayed here with Jasper searching for our new home. It wasn’t an easy task. I needed something furnished with plenty of outdoor space for Jasper to play. Even the most expensive rentals weren’t cool.
I thought, ‘Man, how am I going to have a homebirth under these circumstances?’
Luckily, I found the perfect place. A condo with resort style amenities located on the beach where my dad built a water park over thirty years ago. Not only was I familiar with the location, the unit itself had many positives: Open views, plenty of natural light and fresh air coming from the sea. The beachy decor was fresh and harmonious.
The ocean was just a few steps away, there were playgrounds, pools, and people having fun. The only thing missing was a hammock, but the landlord had no issues with me adding two to the space. I signed the contract and within a couple of weeks we were moving in. It took a few days to make this new home our own, but we did it! We aim to stay here for the next few months.
While going through it all I kept on thinking about the hashtag #vaidarcerto. It’s been about two weeks since we moved in, and everything has indeed worked out. Breathing in clean air, walking barefoot on the sand, swimming in the pool with Jasper, and just resting have been helping my immune system get strong again. My cough went away and my energy levels are better. Jasper’s dark circles disappeared and he’s sleeping better.
Changing our plans last minute was emotionally and physically draining. At the same time, listening to my intuition and taking action (even when everyone was telling me that mold wasn't a big deal and I should just buy a couple things to help get rid of the smell) has brought me immense happiness and strength. It wasn’t easy to make everyone understand how toxic mold is for one's health. It’s an invisible threat and everyone here is already dealing with many visible ones.
I’m happy to inform you that this drama is now in my past. We are currently climbing towards the peak again. I feel at peace and creative energy is flowing through me. I’m ready to focus all my energy towards birthing a new human. I feel safe knowing that my babies will be growing in a healthy environment. I have a nice team of helpers. I’m eating lots of fresh fruits, pão de queijo, and chicken soup. I’m finally at home in my own country.
The only question left is: Will I have her at home or at the hospital? Our home is a bit far from the hospital, in case we need to activate plan B. Though I would love to have her at home, just like I had Jasper, I’m allowing this answer to unfold naturally. I’ll soon know what to do. I’ll keep you posted. xx