After a rather long trip, my wife, two toddlers, and I arrived in Recife yesterday and are now settling into our new apartment.
Traveling with 15-month old toddlers can be quite an experience, and I have a renewed respect for parents who travel with young children. Our task was made more difficult by all of the luggage we needed to carry in order to live in Brazil for five months. To get a better picture of what this means, our carry-on luggage consisted of one roll-on small suitcase, two diaper bags, two car seats, a stroller, two baby carriers (i.e., think of a backpack that is designed to carry babies), and a couple of small tote bags. For our checked luggage, we had three large suitcases and a pack-and-play. It’s hard to tell if this is a little or a lot for a long trip for two adults and two toddlers, but it is, assuredly, the most luggage I have ever been responsible to take on a plane.
For the most part, the travel went well — the planes were on time, which is always a relief. We did discover, much to our dismay, that American Airlines doesn’t seem to offer pre-boarding for babies/toddlers, which I’m used to with other carriers. That meant it was a bit more difficult to try and install two car seats on the plane for our babies and get all of our items situated. With that being said, the flight attendants were quite helpful. At one point, a very understanding flight attendant held one of our upset babies while we negotiated leaving the plane. Our little ones handled the trip remarkably well, but Rosie surprised us upon landing in Recife with a bit of a throw-up, but she seems quite fine now.
My host professor from UFPE (the university that I’ll be working at) picked us all up at the airport, and although getting all of our stuff into his car was a bit of a challenge, we made it work. I must say that I am incredibly appreciative of the help that my host professor has provided me and my family to help us in understanding Brazilian culture and showing us around the area. The owner of the apartment we are renting was also very accommodating and welcoming. So, all in all, the experience has been quite positive so far. In general, I’ve found Brazilian people to be very warm and gracious; in fact while I was waiting at the airport in Miami, I met a chemistry professor from IFPE in Recife, and he made an offer to show me and my family around the city once we arrived and settled in.
We are renting a furnished apartment in the Graças neighborhood of Recife. The area is full of many amenities–grocery stores, restaurants, and a mall–within close walking distance, which is one of the reasons we chose the area. It’s also relatively close to UFPE (the university that is hosting me). The apartment is quite nice, complete with all of the standard kitchen accoutrements, and seems like it will suit us well for the next five months. We’ll be spending the rest of today exploring a bit of the neighborhood and getting acquainted with its amenities. We’ll also be busy baby-proofing our new place!