We knew for a long time that we wanted to move to Brazil for a period of time. We felt that it was important for our children to know their Brazilian relatives and the Brazilian half of their heritage. After all, they are first generation Americans on their father's side and only third generation Americans on mine (my mother is a first generation American). We had saved money for a long time. We purchased, renovated, and rented out a home. With his mother, we purchased and renovated a building in a developing business area. In this place we carved out a store, an apartment for ourselves, and an apartment for his mother. I threw every extra penny I had toward my student loans in an effort to move to Brazil debt free, whenever the day would come. $52,000 and five years after graduating, my student loans were completely paid off.
We planned to move to Brazil in December of 2015. But as they say, "God laughs when man makes plans." In July 2015 my mother-in-law was frequently complaining of back pain. We thought it was because, ever the tough lady, she was moving a lot of bags of concrete and other building supplies on her own. When the pain wouldn't go away, she went to the doctor's where she discovered she had ovarian cancer. I got the news from my sister-in-law on my lunch break at work. I remember feeling like the world dropped away from me. I felt my body hyperventilating, but it was almost like viewing myself from the outside. I felt removed from it somehow. I called my husband immediately, frantically. He was taking it much better than I thought and I suspect he was also in shock. A month later we found out it was stage four. Two weeks later, in September 2015, we were boarding a plane for Brazil.
This sounds incredibly selfless, but the reality is that it came from a place of great fear. My husband had not seen his mother in almost 11 years. I felt guilty for keeping him in a country far, far away from her. I felt guilty for obligating him with two children and a wife and a house. My husband wanted to wait until December to leave as we had originally planned. I refused. I couldn't handle the guilt if his mother passed away and he was unable to spend the last of her days with her. Living in Brazil is not easy. Some days it's like living in a tropical paradise. Most of the time it's difficult and tedious and hot and full of bugs. But my husband has been reunited with his family, my children have met their grandmother, and coming here is a decision that I will never regret.