On the Waters of Key West

Here I am
On the Waters of Key West
Facing the Gulf of Mexico
In good company

Astounding morning views
Inspiring sunsets
On the deck
Friends from distant Brazil always come

Reinvigorated we move on
Waiting for the day to go back to our place
Called home

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Filed under Carla Arena, City, Culture, Impressions, KeyWest

Public Garden




Public Garden

Originally uploaded by carlaarena

Green all over, people, a family fun afternoon. What a better way to spend the day?

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Family Picnic


Family Picnic

Originally uploaded by carlaarena

Summertime carries with it the joy of kids’ happy faces in a family picnic
Unforgettable moments of closeness and laughs.

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Filed under Carla Arena, Food, Healthy Living, KeyWest, One Sentence Project

Keeping Up with My Healthy Living Project – One Sentence Project

I can’t believe it’s been a month since I wrote about body, soul, and my disconnections. I traveled, had guests at home, but blogging has helped keep me focused on the healthy living objective.

Good news. I’ve been making exercise a routine that works for me and my family.

My findings. Not that their new, but I’ll report them here as reminders to my brain:

  • I’ve found out that I love to walk at sunset. Just love to watch the sky colors changing into a mix of colorful shades that seem to have been painted. I love to see the sun goes down in a special place, on a bridge near my house. It simply makes me happy.
  • At this time, I’ve already fed the kids and they are ready to go to bed. Even if they wait for me to come back as they’re on vacation, they are already winding down. Good timing is essential to keep up with your plans.
  • No excuses. There’s always a certain time of the day that can suit our needs.
  • The perfect playlist is and has always been essential to boost my excitement to exercise.
  • I love variety. Changing tracks, adding another type of activity. This motivates me.
  • I need a watch to beat myself to new challenges even if it’s getting to a spot one minute faster than the day before.
  • Writing has certainly helped me.

Interesting that things tend to come to you in unexpected ways when you have a plan. Today I was reading a blogger I follow, Michele Martin, and she talked about the One Sentence Project which she heard from  Gretchen Rubin’s blog. Well, I tracked back Gretchen’s blog and found out about her Happiness project blog, and spent a great deal of time reading and smiling. She has such a straightforwardness to deal with things that might be preventing us from being happy. Just fun. I came across her 11 tips for sticking to a schedule of regular exercise, which is supplementary to what I wrote here.

So, here’s the deal. I know time is an issue here. I can make this healthy living project a one sentence project by blogging here my impressions of the day in a very objective way. The healthy living project has everything to do with Gretchen’s happiness project, so I subscribed to her blog and take advantage of good advice which is never too much as a reminder of what really matters in life.

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Taking Care of my Body

I’ve been treating my soul well, connecting to friends, learning, teaching, interacting, playing with my kids, being with my husband, reading interesting books, listening to music. I’m blogging as never before. Here, not as much as I’d like to, but my Explorations is being well-treated.

However, it’s time to feed (or must I say not to!) my body. Not to give more food. No! But in the sense of taking better care of it. I’m not treating it well at all. I’ve changed my eating habits since I got to the US. I haven’t gained weight (If I had I’d be a ball rolling all over!). No. This is not the issue. If my kids and husband are not home for lunch time, I don’t eat lunch. My breakfast is reduced to always the same bread and coffee. I’m not eating as much fruit as I used to. Well, I eat salad, but I’m forcing to eat it, for the lettuce here seems to be plastic. I don’t know why. I don’t know why fruits and vegetables here don’t have the same taste and juice as in Brazil. I long for a sweet papaya in the morning…

Of course in Brazil I was totally spoiled with Luzineide cooking and beautifully setting the table for a family lunch together, but no excuses. NO!

I was also more consistent with exercising in Brazil. Maybe because of the motivation I had of exercising with friends, doing those crazy coreographed trampolin activities with wonderful Caé and friends, or dance classes. Even the workout, there was Moisés, our faithful instructor, who takes us to the limit. Here, though I have access to very well-equipped gyms and for free, I find all excuses to not go. It’s a lonely journey. I think this is my biggest excuse as I’m a gregarious person…

Why am I saying all that here? Well, if blogging has changed me and my soul and fed my spirit, maybe by blogging I could act upon something that’s really bugging me. I’ve written journal entries for my eating habits before as part of my Weight Watchers stuff, but here it’s open to the world. It’s not a diary, for a diary presupposes something closed, secret, not open. I’m here exposing myself and hope that my words go to my brain. I need to act now to balance body and spirit into a happier soul. Let’s see if it works!

Just two actions for this week to start improving and changing things:

  • Eating more fruits
  • Getting back to exercise. Anything will do, playing basketball with the kids, getting back to jumping ropes, gym. Whatever!
  • Starting now!

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    Filed under Carla Arena, Food, Health, Impressions

    On the Wide Streets of Washington

    Washington Mosaic

    Washington. Historical. Wide. Open spaces. Colossal buildings. Breathtaking art. Family trip. March 2008 will be always imprinted in my memory as a celebration of happy family time together. From the many museums we visited, to the fun walks with Caio always dangerously defying the laws of good sense (he loves to run, jump, walk on edges!) and Dudu’s curiosity and eagerness to learn, Washington was a present which is now past, but vivid in our photos and smiles. It was fun to discover the space in the Air and Space Museum, travel to ancient times in the Library of Congress, make a morning stop at Starbucks for some steamy coffee to scare off the cold outside. Magic was to walk on the streets of Georgetown University with the blossoming of all colorful flowers. Taking the subway for an unpredictable day of learning, art, or just some bowling, film or a walk on the wide streets of DC. Now we head to the majestic Union Station for our next stop, New York. But before leaving, we’ll certainly stop for a coffee, a baguette and look back to appreciate the beauty of every curve full of history at the Station which inspired us to dream, to dare and to always be a family in search for adventures, pleasure and closeness.

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    Back from Brazil


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    A quick trip home. What a treat to be surrounded by family, friends, former students, virtual (now touchable) students. Exhilarating. It was just so special to surprise dear friends and see a mix of emotions going through their faces and, finally, a big smile to see an old friend. Not that we haven’t been in touch. On the contrary, some had even visited me less than a month before. But it was just unexpected. I had that discourse that I was not coming back for one more year, that I should spend my money and time getting to know more places in the US with husband and kids. Perfect rationale. However, our hearts beat stronger, our roots call for the known, the references. After a year away, so much happening, I felt like going home, being home with mom, in-laws, friends.

    tia gracinhaIt was awkward to arrive and not hear the open laugh of “Tia Gracinha”. She’s gone, emptiness, or should I say she’s everywhere, but I miss her colorful looking, her openness, her uniqueness. What could I say to her kids who tried to seem OK, but we could see sad faces behind the smile. No words. A hug could tell much more than any well-thought comforting sentence. I was not there when she left us, but she’ll be forever part of who I am. She taught me about standing for what you believe in, being positive, always smiling, and, above all, about generosity. If we told her we liked something she was wearing, she would just take it off and give it to you right away. I still don’t know how to deal with losses. I wish I could be of more support to my mom. Maybe my way of doing that was just going there with her grandkids to cheer her up.

    Being back to Brazil just gave me the positive energy for one more year abroad and the certainty of who I am and where I come from. Nothing is more comforting to be among the ones you love and see that you matter to others. No words will ever express the feeling of fulfillment of being in Brasilia and watching my kids’ smiles, laughs, running around and being with friends. We were home.

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    Filed under brazil, Carla Arena, Impressions