A story for Riley

Riley asked to hear a story about Brazil. I’m not sure this is a story, but it’s a start…

Countless nights, we would be up at 3a.m. and would all decide to get together so the boys would go kayaking on this lake, or just talk…. maybe fish. I rarely ever made it home before the sun was out. I had no reason, really.

Some other times we’d drive to this very spot just to make fun of the couples who apparently had no private place to go and be “intimate”. You could totally tell what was going on on those shaky and foggy cars.


Now that I think about it, most of the nights, I was the only girl in the group. No wonder today, I’m the only woman in the office. I’ve been around the guys so much I sometimes forget I am, technically, not really one of them.

My best memories are at night. Me and my friends are all night owls, I’d say.

While all the surfers and the pretty girls would spend the day at the beach, we’d reach it in the middle of the night and watch the sunrise above the rocks. Just a bunch of nerds.

Except for Serginho, the life-guard. Kindest person you’ll meet in this lifetime.


To this day I am not sure if I was part of the group or if I just tagged along with them randomly from time to time. I know Penna didn’t even like me at all at first, but he was just so unique and cool and admired by the whole group that I wanted to write a book about it. He is the reason why I have a hard time acknowledging that I was as much a part of their lives as they were of mine, since they are the coolest people I have ever met.

This kind of shit makes me miss the old days and it makes me sad that, no matter what I do, I don’t get to go home.

The reason why I can’t go home, even to visit, is because “home” is not there anymore.

The greatest people I’ve ever met, the best group of friends anyone could ask for, they are not down the street like they used to be.

We have all grown up and moved away. All of us. We have become a little buzz on each other’s phones… and boy, how happy that little buzz makes me.

Sometimes I get a little heart from Leandro… ’cause there’s nothing left to say. We have been talking for over 20 years and could talk for a billion more. I’ll tell you a secret, I miss him every day.

Sometimes Guilherme will send me a song, like he did today and make my day. He’ll make my day ’cause his voice feels like home wherever I am. We have been friends since I was 9 years old. He’s the soundtrack of my life. Whenever I feel alone or scared, I look for his voice again and I feel like he’s there, growing, changing, becoming a parent and facing the world with me. And again, I am ready for anything.

There is a chance I’ll see Serginho again. A good chance. A very good chance! He’s the kindest soul I’ve ever met. He’s made me a better person just by being who he is.

And then, there’s Diego. He’s the little piece of me that’s missing right now. I am having a hard time enjoying all these great things without him.

I wish they’d all live down the street again one day…

Ok… but there’s still a lot to go, and this story is quite short. So, I’m gonna show you some pictures now.

This is what the beach looks like during the day, Riley:


Yes, you can actually drive your car there, which I notice most people find very weird. I was never your beach-girl, but yes, I could walk there for 4 or 5 hours. I’d normally stop because whoever was with me couldn’t keep up. I was a different person. I absolutely miss that person and I wish my girls could play on this sand some day, but the news we get from there are scarier and scarier every day.

And this, Riley, is a ship. It got stuck there (I’m sure there’s a term for this) in the 70’s I think.


This is what the ship looks like today:

Ver‹o Numa Boa

This is a little bit of home. I have more stories to tell. Too bad it’s such a different place now…

Good night, Riley.

The scar

Ever since I quit my job, which was not even a week ago, I have been marathoning “My so-called life” yet again. Needless to say I was immediately transported to a parallel universe where emotions are very real and intense.

I remember watching Angela fall for the emotionally confused and not-that-bright (yet perfect) Jordan Catalano when I was 13 years old and having my life revolve around the live versions of that character I found along the way.


Long pause after visual effect.

I remember vividly new year’s eve 1995 as I wore my pink skirt and wished myself a happy new year since I was sure that’d be the year I’d have my very first kiss. I was happy… excited and hopeful. I was a teenager with typical teenage girl dreams.

yeah, I was an idiot.

At one point I stopped wishing my Jordan Catalano on new year’s eve. Apparently, I wasn’t Angela Chase after all and my story would be different.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a romantic (That’s what my best friend has been telling me forever at least) but I did wish for it for years. It’s the power of the movies in your head.

When wait was really hurting I did what every reasonable emotional young adult would do: I got a tattoo to remind me of how much that moment hurt.

The tattoo was a scar with stitches and a little button shaped like a heart attached to it.

I vowed that I would never take those years for granted or forget about how much it hurt to wait for true love.

I know, it’s not world poverty or a terrible disease… but being loved mattered to me, for as shallow as it might sound compared to the terrible, terrible things we see every day on the news.

The tattoo came out ridiculous. The guy just couldn’t…anything. He should have been a janitor judging by his ability to draw. But it was there. That terrible thing on my arm.

Being life this ironic little thing, when we moved to Canada I had to get the tattoo surgically removed, for it was too visible for certain jobs and the result was a scar. A real one. Like the one I have inside.

Now, my husband asks me if I ever regret getting that ugly tattoo I had to remove and if I’m sorry I ended up with this huge scar on my right arm.

I always tell him that actually no, am not. I love it. It’s a big part of me. If it wasn’t for the scar, I’d be a different person and maybe he wouldn’t even love me.

I can take next to nothing.

Even though I am and always have been panicking for all sorts of reasons, I am still conscious enough to realize my reasons are small.

There’s a saying in Portuguese that says God will only give you as much as you can take. If there is in fact a God up there, I’m happy He realizes I can handle next to nothing and that’s fine by me.

At the end of the day, we are finally living in Canada, I finally got a decent job, and my girls are perfect. On top of that, we all love each other.

Today, I came home with chest pains.

I called my cousin during lunch and she told me that not only her 14 days old baby probably had a syndrome , it’s possible that he’ll need brain surgery. As in, his soft spot is not soft, leaving his brain no room to grow, as the skull is not flexible as it should be at that age. Hopefully, the x-ray will show that the skull is just overlapped. I mean, that’s what I am hoping for after trying to google some good news.

She was desperate. She hasn’t slept ever since he was born. She is afraid of looking away. There’s absolutely nothing she can do to help her child and that killed me.

I pray to this God I believe from time to time that things always work out for me. I am not strong at all. I’m afraid of birds. Tiny birds. That’s how much I can’t handle problems. I am just not prepared for this world.

Our kids are a handful. I sleep with one eye open. I haven’t felt rested in about 3 years. I am exhausted and I miss tons of things. that can only mean one thing: We are the lucky ones.




Goodbye from beyond

I could try to begin to explain what Stella was like, but that’s just too hard. The creature (and I say that with love) came straight out of a comedy movie into real life.

She didn’t study much, she never left the city, she could barely understand how her cel phone worked but she always made us laugh.

She’d tell my mom stuff like “I’ve done the dishes and it took me forever you BETTER NOT leave any dirty dishes for me to wash tomorrow morning!”

Oh, and technically… she was our made.


She’s been with the family (back and forth) for 40 years. And she’s the reason I started taking showers longer than 2 minutes after a while (like, when the girls were around 10 months old).

She played with them and taught them how to samba while watching the movie ‘Rio’ every single day.

I’ll always remember our last day in Brazil when she held their 2 bottles in her hands, close to her chest and said with all the feelings in the world mixed together “These are the very last bottles I’ll ever make for them”.

She stared at the bottles for a second and handed them to me.

I chocked.

I wanted to hug her, I wanted to cry. I wanted to tell her that it wasn’t true… but it was. We both knew it was.

So, she took her things and never said goodbye properly. She was trying so hard not to cry -much- in front of me and the girls.

I was trying not to cry too.

The stupid decisions I make in life. Not to make a scene, instead of holding the ones I love for the last time.

Last week my mom called me and said that Stella had a terrible cold, but she wouldn’t stay home. – She was being stubborn , like always.

Until the day she did stay home and they had to run with her to the hospital because she couldn’t breathe.

Just like that.

She had a cold, she couldn’t breathe. I knew she was in the hospital on Saturday… and on mother’s day she was gone.

I was alone with the girls. My mom was on Skype with me all day. It was a sucky day. I couldn’t understand it or believe it and I kept thinking about how she was so excited about visiting the girls she missed so much here in Canada.

So many things were just not going to happen. Did I say goodbye? Did she know we loved her?

So, I went to bed and everything changed.

She came back and said goodbye.

She said that she was dead and that she had to go, but she wanted us to know that she loved us very much and blew us all a kiss as she waved goodbye and left to the other world.

When I called my mom this morning… I found out she had stopped to say goodbye to her too.

I really wanna believe it was her… she was smiling and she had the same big heart as always.

And today, at work, the office smelled like her food for a bit.




One easy day

There’s isn’t much to write about yesterday, and maybe I even shouldn’t, but the fact is I want to remember it forever.

A nice Saturday. Nothing major.

We went to Walmart.

They do not request feeding every 2 hours anymore. They don’t wanna be carried around (although they still enjoy it). And, if they get hungry during our “trip”, we can just get them some regular milk and fries from McDonald’s. Which basically means there’s no more carrying the huge baby bags (we could never fit everything in one) with the diapers and the formula and the bottles, baby wipes, towel, extra set of clothes and a bunch of stuff I don’t even remember anymore.

But it’s not like that anymore. Not yesterday. Yesterday , they enjoyed spring for the first time in Canada. I documented it (poorly) as it was the first time they ever saw the little yellow flowers. “Wooooow” – they said. While carefully touching them without ever attempting to catching them.




I think that’s special. And I could not dream about these moments just a couple months ago when they were so dependent and they would absolutely not sleep through the night – nor for more than 20 minutes during the day.


So, we came home and I was psychologically prepared for the wining and watching them so they don’t throw stuff on the toilet… you know, the usual. But what happened was, they slept for 2 hours – which gave me time to set up the shoe rack I got for their playroom while we don’t have a car to go shop for proper furniture (and Ikea charges 100 dollars to deliver. Does anyone else have a better idea? I’m rather new here.)

So, I did that and when they woke up, they spent the rest of the day playing with their toys.


Aurora did get too excited with the new yogurts and threw up around mid-night, but that’s basically just because earlier that day I had giggled when I read Bumbi’s mom poem and the universe HAD to get back at me.

But I won’t remember that part.

Just a nice Saturday…

*And I kept it under 1200 calories… I don’t really get hungry when I’m this calm. =)



Visit to the doctor

After sitting on my desk through lunch and having my carbs-free wieners with cheese, I was perfectly content – except of course for the fact that ever since I found out my aunt has ovariun cancer, I’ve been feeling all kinds of pains UNLESS I FORGET TO THINK ABOUT THEM. But this has been my life forever, so there’s nothing I can do about THAT.

This one particular time, when I was 14, I didn’t eat for two weeks because I was so nervous due to a meningites outbreak that was going around that I couldn’t swallow at all. I clearly remember making a huge effort to eat half a yogurt. Since I didn’t eat, my head obviously hurt. I was so dizy I could barely stand up. I freaked at the very thought of getting sick.

So, my mom takes me to this doctor and the doctor says I’m doing it on purpose because I want ATTENTION. I was suffering for days, I couldn’t eat, it was KILLING ME INSIDE and the doctor’s conclusion was that I wanted attention? For real?

And that’s been happening ever since, or even before that.

I have such a great way of controling my body with my mind that I actually “get” sick every time I watch a movie about someone who is sick.

I couldn’t remember a thing for days after watching “Still Alice”.

That’s just my way for seeking for attention, of course. It’s fun and I absolutely do it on purpose.

Good news is I found a doctor that accepted us and I’ll be doing a check up soon. Whenever I find out I’m ok, I just tend to stay away from the thoughts that make my body ache for a few weeks.

If I’m lucky, even months.

My mind and I seriously need to start working together and not against each other.

The nice part was, the girls had a blast. We took the train for the first time and they actually realized they were inside a too-too like Peppa Pig and sang the song!

A train day… Oba!!! #train #livingthedream #toddler #oba

A video posted by Shell Born (@badubop) on Apr 22, 2016 at 11:54am PDT


We also stopped by this adorable poutine place, were we had fries and listened to Rock N Roll music! My husband was thrilled and the girls were actually very well behaved.


A video posted by Shell Born (@badubop) on Apr 22, 2016 at 3:19pm PDT


The blood tests results (all 36 of them) were done in less than 24 hours and despite all the drama, I’m happy to announce that I’ll live!

I needed a day off. I can’t wait for us to buy a car and explore Canada as a family – Well, at least the area around us!

I missed that!


There was a time in my life when reality wasn’t a friend. I’d choose to stay in bed for hours after waking up , daydreaming about something far more interesting than getting up to walk from my room to the kitchen and back again about 20 times before it was time to bed again.

I had a list of movies in my head I was starring. I’d play them over and over, change the scenarios, change the endings and my co-stars. This was basically me, daydreaming about Johnny Depp, Chad Michael Murray, Macaulay Culkin, Kieran Culkin, Zac Hanson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jared Leto and the guy from Scrubs… to name a few. Yes, I’ve had my share of daydreams.

I guess most girls daydream about some hot guy from school asking them out or whatever. I do not know how normal girls behave actually, but I did that too. Then, one day I realized it was really embarrassing and rather disappointing. The boy in my head was not the boy I met at school the other day, so, if I spent those endless hours at the bus imagining what it would be like to run into Jordan Catalano back in 1994, there was no way I’d ever be disappointed by him in real life. It wasn’t real. It couldn’t reject me. It didn’t hurt.

But things change.

If you told me a couple years ago things would change I wouldn’t believe you. I had no faith and the numbers were against me.

So, now I’m tired. Exhausted. I use my hands to climb the stairs… Still, I can’t sleep. I don’t want to. I wanna live and enjoy the moments and this place. Reality has taken over and I no longer wake up to daydreams. I no longer stay in bed wishing things were different.

I do miss my free time – ’cause I’ll always find a reason to complain – but I might dare saying I’m living the dream.

The dream isn’t over yet and it isn’t complete, but I’m glad I’m awake to see what happens next.

Things change, people. They really do.