July Holidays

My holidays started on June 28th and finish on August 3rd (my birthday!) – it’s been a lucky year, with 5 uninterrupted weeks + the World Cup days off.

Pierre and I spent the first two weeks in Santos with Mum as her maid took a two-week break and I did not want to leave her to fare on her own. Mum is almost 86 and getting somewhat absent-minded. I also invited our son Jacques to come with his 1 year-old daughter, Melina,  as I felt she needed some respite and a break from the heavy 11-hour stay at the day-care center her working parents submitted her to. The breeze from the sea and a milder weather would offer a healthier environment for her to recover from a recurring cough and sneezing small children are often exposed to in closed places in the São Paulo winter.

Though it was not easy to manage the schedule and workload (different waking times, meals, washing-up, etc), everyone did their best to comply and help. We had a great family time together with lots of wine and narratives in the evening. We even watched some of the World Cup games, including the match between Belgium and Russia (guess who we rooted for?), and the vexing performance of the Brazilian team against Germany and the Netherlands.

The weather was warm and sunny and we made the most of it, going for walks in the morning and afternoon. Melina, who had just started walking a week or so before, gained some leg muscle and independence running (almost) unconstrained in the Santos gardens and my Mom’s big apartment. Melina reacts with enthusiasm to ample spaces: Her eyes light up and from the depth of her heart comes a delighted “Awww” while she stretches  her little arms out as if to encompass it all. Another passion is books (and covers of books) and paintings on the wall, which she points to and pronounces a long and interesting but unintelligible stream of noise. Kids are a never-ending source of wonder (for grandparents at least).

The third week Pierre and I went back to Santos (this time without Melina, who stayed with her mother and other grandmother). The maid was back and I took advantage of this to ask her to do a good cleaning. I dusted and organised my mother’s drawers and folders and, in the process, managed to get a wealth of official documents with important information to put together my father’s biography.

Last Friday we took Melina to the countryside as we had not been there for almost a month and it was her weekend with us. Jacques joined us in the evening and Camila and Tita came for lunch on Saturday. It was cold (temperature dropped to 7 C during the night) but very sunny and the bluest sky ever during the day. Again, Melina had a great time running in the garden and enjoying an afternoon nap under the trees. When the sun went down, we lit the fireplace and sat wrapped up in blankets, drinking wine to warm up the body and the spirit.

I did some cooking (as usual) – just love my clay pot for making osso buco, played Scrabble against the computer (no connection to anything there – no Internet, no mobile, not even a 3G), read a few paragraphs of Claxton’s The Heart of Buddhism to get myself in the perfect mood and…big argh of disgust – treated our dog’s (Ozzie) tail- he had to undergo an operation to remove a screwworm infestation.

I’m presently back in São Paulo, working on this website and preparing myself to resume the second half of my school year. Also, looking after things related to Christophe’s wedding, which will take place on October 4th. (Just hate to have to decide on dress colour and style, shoes, hair, makeup and all that goes together with it but must face it).

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