I hope you are doing well! Around here, time is flying! I forgot how crazy the Fall semester was, but I’m feeling the weight on my shoulders way lighter than last year. I think I got used to the fact of being busy, so instead of freaking out all the time, I’m just doing what I have to do without overthinking.
One of the craziest parts of living abroad during graduate studies is the situation of having friends and family visiting (and staying in your house). As I said at the end of my last post, my mom and my mother-in-law (The Moms) came to spend two weeks in St. John’s with us. This travel was their first trip outside Brazil, and since their English is as good as their Hungarian, I was pleased they arrived safe and well. Arthur and I were so used to the silence at home that having my mother-in-law yelling at us to guess what was “the age that Joan of Arc died” in her Trivia game was a little bit overwhelming at first, but then things got better.
In the first day, we went to the mall so they could buy proper and warm clothes, and on the way back it was h-a-i-l-i-n-g! As they didn’t use “come back” and “Brazil” in the same phrase, I thought they should/would (hopefully) be OK. Between various “have we arrived yet?” and “are we arriving now?” we walked in beautiful trails, went to several places, and had a wonderful time seeing the different colors of trees and downtown houses. We also chose the perfect day to go to Signal Hill, as you can see from the image below. My mom had the time of her life seeing the white landscape. Thanks, fog!
With the idea of getting out of town, we went to La Manche park, where I had the discovery of my life. We found nothing less than seven lazy seals hanging out on the rocks below the bridge, and I am now pretty sure I was one of them in my last life. We also went to a hockey game (my mom felt she was in a soccer game, and whoever saw her screaming thought she cheered for the Growlers since she was a kid), and had all kinds of delicious, but far away from healthy foods (poutine, Moo Moo’s ice cream, and garlic fingers!!). My mom and mother-in-law also understood how the weather has this enormous influence in our lives, how it’s important to use the right clothes, how the adaptation is hard, and how things are entirely different from Brazil. We took my mom for a MUN tour, and she was amazed by the infrastructure, the labs I work in, and mostly the wonderful people around me. She told me she would go home happy and relieved to know that I was surrounded by people I could trust.
One interesting thing that I observed during these two weeks was how the “language barrier” is not a barrier at all, and how the communication difficulties can be overcome whenever there’s love, good feelings, and good energies involved. Due to some super crazy coincidence, my mom went to Toronto in the same flight my supervisor Fran (the reason why I’m here today) took to go to a conference. Even though they couldn’t understand each other’s words, they were able to understand each other’s feelings, a way more powerful thing. My friends from Canada could also understand the subject of our conversation in Portuguese, and vice-versa. Of course, a lot of Portuguese/English mistranslated situations happened, and thanks to those we had tons of fun!
In summary, “The Moms” really enjoyed St. John’s and didn’t want to leave! I was glad they made all this effort to come and see us, and how they dealt with all the different/out-of-control situations that happened during their stay. I think we all grew and learned a lot, which is the main idea of traveling and putting yourself out there.
My life is back to normal now, but this break helped me to clear my mind, and understand some things about my research that I was struggling before. Now, the idea is to enjoy the few days we have left before the snow arrives, and pray for the Game of Thrones Gods to give us a mild winter because we already know it is coming!
I hope you all have a wonderful end of semester! See you in the next post 🙂