Sunday, October 26, 2008

Never judge a girl by her bikini

So we got back from the beach a couple hours ago, and my husband shoved me into my computer chair with a cup of milk and Haagan Daas (Chocolate Midnight Cookies) and told me to blog.

Sidenote: Yes, I have the most incredible man in the entire world. Pbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbt.

Our camera is still broken (no comment on that one, in align with my don't-let-your-thoughts-go-anywhere-near-depressing-subjects strategy), so I will use my friend Google to induce envy and awe in you. We stayed at the Aldeia de Sahy, if you're interested. HERE:

Two and a half days of no dishes, decision making, food preparation, laundry or phone calls. Now THAT is paradise. Because really, why do we vacation at the beach? Most of us just sit in a chair and read. We could, technically, do that at home. Instead, we spend too much money just for the privilege of sleeping in sandy sheets. And the afore-mentioned paradisaical reasons, of course. (Incidentally, I am of the lounge-chair beach variety. Though I love me some wave jumping, too.)

Brazilian beaches are truly in a class of their own. I already feel sorry for myself when we move back to the States. It's like mangoes. You haven't had mangoes til you've had Brazilian mangoes.

The sky is much bigger here - the beaches surrounded by rain forest-y, lush foliage - tropical birds waking you up in the morning - colors so vibrant and true you feel like you're dreaming. And the SERVICE, here, people. Did you know we don't pump our own gas? Ever? And there's valet parking at McDonald's? And the waitresses offer to hold your baby so you can eat your dinner in peace? And they call Brazil a third world country .... Sheesh.

Though I will say that I'm not a fan of masculine beach fashion here. Speedos with gold chains? Gag me. Forcibly, unwillingly reminded of the lounge lizard in "Only You." (In the words of Bonnie Hunt. "Arrrrrr.")

So usually when I'm on vacation I'm socially reclusive. I'm on vacation to escape from social obligations, after all. Add that to my definition of paradise. However, Little Prince and Ouro Branco made friends with some other kids playing in the sand (they had really cool tractors - my sons are nothing but social climbers) and conversation with the mothers was inevitable.

I had noticed these mothers. They were impossible not to notice - it is an inevitable fact that everyone checks out everyone else at a beach. You're always slipping covert glances at your next-umbrella neighbor to see if she has bigger thighs than you. (Sidenote: I was NOT the only one in a one-piece bathing suit. There was a little girl in a very cute pink number with ruffles around the sides. So there.) Anyway. So these two particular mothers were absolute Barbies - size zeroes with long, lean yoga legs, fresh manicures and fashionable wraps over their fashionable bikinis. One had two kids - a 2 1/2 year old boy and a 5 month old girl, and the sweetest arsenal of baby products known to man. Her stroller made me drool. The other mom also had two kids - 3 year old twins - and a nanny tagging along behind the family.

I should mention here that I'm kind of a reverse snob. I looked them up and down on the very first day and decided we'd never be friends.

But after small-talking these women for fifteen minutes, I need to ask public forgiveness. They were ... just like me. The twins' mom spoke openly about her struggle with post-partum depression (!!!!!!), and joked about battling over potty training and sharing toys. The other mom shared her trials about her son's health - he was born with a cleft lip - and was actually brought to tears when she spoke of her sensitivity and worry for him. Now her baby daughter has a (benign) tumor in her eye, and she mourned for her children's health and prospects of getting teased at school.

We are all alike - everywhere.

The latter mom was born and raised in Canada for ten years, then moved to Italy - she considers herself Italian. The twins' mom was Brazilian, and me - American. So there we were, three moms from three different continents, crying over the same things.

It makes me think of you.

Regardless of where we're from, how many kids we have, what God we worship or the state of our living room floor - we all worry about the same things. We all have good days and bad days, and we all put on pants the same way.

Really, does anything else matter?

13 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I think it's so true.

If there's one thing I learned from doing the Post Secret post, is that everyone has problems, even the people we think are perfect.

Glad you had a good time!

lizzy-loo said...

so glad you got to relax and it sounds like you met the perfect people for you. it can be easy as an expat to fall into that reverse snob pattern. embrace what is got in this strange lifestyle and remember you are just as good as anyone else. nanny or not.

Becky said...

Oh, I adore this post!

One Sunday in our Marriage and Family Relations class, a lady was joking with me about how I never got mad at my kids or had too much stress in my life. I was speechless. Was she kidding?! But no, she honestly thought I had it all together. I didn't know whether to pee my pants laughing or cry like a little girl because it simply wasn't true.

And yet I feel like this with other moms all too often. They make it seem so easy.

I'm glad you had a good time, and I'm even more glad you got to talk to those women.

heidizinha said...

your post made me think of one of jill's (remember jill?) posts:

http://owneroftheband.blogspot.com/2008/10/eternally-women.html

it's totally true. aren't we all more the same than different? yet we take so much time to think about the differences, instead of the similarities?

and p.s. i go to hawaii in 4 days. to sit on the beach and read.

ORGANIC GIRL said...

Hi Becky
I'm a Brazilian who lives in Atlanta, Ga. I have just stumbled into your blog and read about your Depression struggle. I have been struggling with the same problem, I wish that some day I'm going to wakeup and it's going to be gone...Since 2006 when I had the first serious breakdown I never been the same. I'm taking day by day and doing lots of therapy, I also trying to focus on the good aspects of my life, I have a wonderful husband and a beautiful daughter that make me wanna get up every morning. I do have a very hard time making American friends and I always feel that I don't belong, so I think that's a big part of my depression. I think it's just very hard to be out of our elements.

I wish you all the best and if you try to look passed how those Moms look you will see that it's actually very easy to make friends in Brazil. I hope you feel better

:P

Brooke said...

I've come to realize that A LOT lately. We really are all the same. We all have our own sets of trials and temptations and things that we deal with. No ones life is perfect. I heard a quote at church yesterday that made me laugh "If you think the neighbors lives are perfect, you just don't know them well enough yet."

Lara said...

I've learned this over and over. And usually, I decide that the trials I have are the ones I'll keep, thanks. :) It is always nice to know that nobody really has the perfect life. It makes it somehow easier.

I'm glad you got to go relax and escape from life for a little bit!

Abra said...

Sounds like you had a nice time! It's nice to get away for a bit to regroup.
And ps, your husband does sound amazing!

JustRandi said...

I can't decide if I'm a snob, a reverse snob, or maybe I'm just a recluse. I don't want to talk to ANYBODY when I go to the beach.

I'm so glad you had fun and you're feeling better. And YAY for husbands who get it!

Erin said...

Our sacrament meeting yesterday was on overcoming trials. I learned that our R.S. president has a son who has been in and out of prison for drug use. And a seemingly "perfect" woman in our ward went 10 years between kids because she couldn't get pregnant. I completely agree with everything you said on this post!

Heather of the EO said...

I love this post. Yes, it's so true. We're all here, struggling along with our insecurities, our trials, our faults.

It's so good to know we're not alone in that

And good to know there's grace.

I'm jealous of the beach. It's suddenly gone FREEZING here...yuck.

Jen said...

Mom babes in bikinis really are kind of terrifying. Why is that? But I do love how we're all living these totally parallel lives - it's so true.

And now I need to go to the beach!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I wonder why we have so much in common on the inside, and so many differences on the outside? And isn't it interesting that our minds put people with better body types in a totally different class?It makes me think of that scripture in Samuel about how the Lord seeth not as a man seeth because he looks on his heart and man looks on the stature. Great points, thanks.