There once was an evil sorcerer, who lived in a large dark cave, on a mystical mountain, in a land far, far away.
Everyone in the region knew that this man possessed a mysterious gift, and people traveled throughout the lands to seek his magic. But his powers fueled his ego, and he became hungry to gain more power. He wanted more followers, more gold. As his ego and lust for power grew, his true soul began to shrink, into a tiny tightly closed, marble sized ball of energy, which settled in the bottom of his belly. This was a powerful man, with no compassion. A master manipulator in every way. He took advantage of men, by emptying their wallets, he took advantage of women,by putting them into a trance, and entering them.
One day, a traveling gypsy came to a village, near the mountain where the Sorcerer lived. The Gypsy had her own magic and wisdom, but unlike the Evil Sorcerer, the Gypsy, had a warm heart. She smiled through her eyes. Her life had always been different. She was often “sent” places, for reasons that even she didn’t understand. She traveled by faith. Trusting her life was being weaved together by the strings of Fate.
When the Gypsy neared the village, the Sorcerer felt her presence, her strength, her power. Wearing a dark black cloak, he set out down the mountain, to get a glimpse of this powerful Gypsy. He noticed her right away, and for the first time in a very long time, he felt a real sense of fear. He knew she had the power to destroy him.
The Gypsy felt his eyes burning on her, she looked up, stared straight in his eyes and felt his coldness. She knew right away, that this man was dangerous. Fully aware of the stare and potential threat he posed, the Gypsy felt that fate wanted her to spend some time in the village. At first, all the villagers stared at her, but one woman, walked right up to her, smiled, and held out her hand. The Gypsy instantly became friends with one of the most beautiful women in the village. The woman asked the Gypsy about her travels, her strange life, her strange stones and tarot cards.They talked and laughed and shared tea. The beautiful woman, wanting to share some knowledge, told the gypsy of the powerful Sorcerer up the mountain. She told the Gypsy stories of her visits to the powerful Sorcerer and how he chanted over her head causing her to become paralyzed. He “worked” on her, while she was unable to move, unable to speak.
The Gypsy sat quietly listening to the story. She knew fate had brought her to challenge that Sorcerer. She would spread true wisdom. She began to teach techniques of energy healing, she taught about nature magic, yoga, reiki, meditation, protection.
The Sorcerer used black magic, to try to destroy the Gypsy. He sent curses her way, and even planted seeds of hatred in some of the villagers. The Gypsy endured accidents, misfortune, exhaustion, heartbreak, poverty, but still she continued.
At times, she felt his vampire energy trying to drink up her soul. She often saw him riding a horse by her house. He always stared at her. After a few years in the tiny village, and a few years of his attacks, the Gypsy was exhausted. Worn down, and feeling a little lost, she left the village, and continued her travels.
Time passed quickly. Four years past, and oceans apart, the Sorcerer was still sending psychic attacks. She met many shaman on her path, and they imparted wisdom and healing. During one healing session, it was revealed to her that it was the Sorcerer who was continuing to try to harm her. She worked to strengthen her protection magic and she developed a strong relationship with the angels, particularity Archangel Michael, and he shielded her from harm.
As the Gypsy grew in spirit, the evil Sorcerer grew old and tired. He developed a sickness in his belly. It ravaged him. He shriveled down to bones.When he had only hours left to live, he looked back on his life with regret and sadness. All his power was gone. In a vision, The Gypsy appeared at his bedside holding a small teacup. With compassion in her eyes, she looked at the dying man, smiled, touched his arm and said, “I forgive you.” She offered him a cup of healing tea. She held the cup up to his mouth and helped him drink. And after enjoying every sip of the special tea, he smiled at her, with warmth in his eyes, and took his last breath.
The Gypsy kissed his forehead and continued her journey.
A few weeks ago, I taught a beach yoga class that I will never forget. A beautiful strong class.We went into a very deep meditation. We were all blanketed in this magical feeling, and for many minutes after class officially ended, we sat silently, softly smiling, everyone feeling that ‘Yoga high’.
Well, that high ended with an accident, a horrible accident, that shocked us all, and left me confused, frazzled, and ultimately feeling very guilty.
The ocean was wild that day and the lifeguards had put up a red flag. It was warm out, blue skies, but very rough water.
One of my students (who is also a friend, healer, and a teacher),he walked to the shoreline, and decided to dive into the water. He unknowingly dove into very shallow water and his shoulder hit the sand very hard. He came up with his arm hanging several inches lower than it should have been, and his collar bone sticking out, it was grossly out of place. It felt like this weird nightmare, caught in between these two worlds, and I really didn’t know what to do.
The lifeguard came over and kind of knocked us back into reality. He was grounded in the situation, and he gave us firm instructions. He also said to my student, in his macho but caring lifeguard voice ” Dude, I know you are in a lot of pain, but we saw that dive and we all thought you broke your neck. You are very lucky.” I am sure he didn’t feel very lucky. And as reality sat in, so did my guilt.
My student was rushed to the hospital, and had to have surgery. And I kept thinking, “if he hadn’t come to my yoga class, none of this would have happened.”
I have tried to remind myself that I didn’t instruct him to dive into that shallow water, but the guilt is still there. The concern is there. The pain is there. The memory of this beautiful man, soaking wet with a horrible injury, is still is fresh in my mind. And I have to process and work through that feeling that somehow it was my fault..
I have tried to remind myself that although this has changed his life, it likely has put his life on a track that could only open up because of this accident. It was the tragedy of my sons seriously broken arm, that forced me to homeschool him, and ultimately allowed us to take a trip to the Azores, a trip that changed our lives, and led to the birth of my daughter. A beautiful path opened out of a very painful situation. There is a way to look at this situation (any situation) and someday understand the reason. Because there is a reason behind everything. But just because my student will get through this doesn’t mean it isn’t insanely painful. I know it is.
Recently, I have had two very close friends experience intense tragedies, both involving death, in nightmarish ways. My heart goes out to them.
We all experience misfortune. And right now, in this moment, my heart goes out to anyone and everyone experiencing grief, loss, sadness, guilt, pain, or fear. Experience it. Surrender to it. Pray. Love. Forgive.
Life and death are mysterious…We can be jolted out of our bliss at any moment. In an accident or even death. Samsara. This life is impermanent. We only have so many breaths. Everything is in a constant state of transformation. Death included.
I have been doing a meditation about death, and it is surprisingly healing. When we realize our life is impermanent, we try to make each moment count.We live each breath. We see the beauty in the sunrise and the sunset.
Last night I drove to teach a yoga class and the only traffic I encountered, was a man with a horse-drawn wagon. This was not a fancy Central Park Tourist dream wagon. No, it was an old, beat up wagon, driven by an old man with weathered skin, who was working the fields.
I have these moments, these flashes, several times a day, where it hits me, and I realize,“I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore.” In fact, just as I was finishing this sentence, a large herd of cows walked right in front of the house.
Santa Maria is a strange, beautiful, and unique place. It is bizarre mix of old world and modern world. Some people ride horses into the village to drink a beer,while others drive Mini Coopers on their way to get a manicure. Everyone has internet and satellite tv. The stores sell soy milk, oat milk, chia seeds, and tofu dogs. There are homes here as large and majestic as the ones in Palm Beach, but there are other homes that are so old, so run down, from another time, another world. . There is a dance club here, where people dance to modern American music until 7am. But there are also festivals here and folklore dances that make you feel you have gone back in time, several hundred years. There are people who live here, who have travelled the world. And there are others, who rarely leave their village, or some who have never left this island. Different worlds within the same world.
Last weekend was the Festival of Santo Christ. A festival that celebrates the miracles and magic of Jesus Christ. The streets and churches are decorated with flowers, it is beautiful, but still strange.
Last weekend there was also an Imperio here. I guess the easiest way to explain it, is that during an Imperio, nobody goes hungry. It is a religious ritual and celebration, held at a chapel, and honoring a promise made to God. During an Imperio, people cook enough soup for everyone on the island. They cook in giant black cauldrons over fire. All weekend long, people can come and eat the soups, the bread, and drink wine. They light firecrackers several times a day, as a way to let the islanders know, there is an Imperio, come eat food. They also deliver giant pots of soup to the homes in the nearby villages. Someone delivered soup to our home, and although the soup is not vegetarian (I didnt eat it), the act was greatly appreciated. It is so special and strange. And so different from the world I grew up in.
My sweeheart celebrated his birthday this weekend too. We of course enjoyed some healthy cake, a little party at our house, the festivals, and we hiked to an old lighthouse in Maia.
There are things about this place I have grown to love so much. There are people here so dear to my heart.
People dream of moving to another country, to experience a different world, reality, culture. And although it hasnt been entirely easy, I am in awe that my path has sent me on this magical adventure. ”
There are thousands of lives, within a single life.” -Tiff
Yesterday I had lunch in a tiny village named Anjos. It is the village where my ancestors are from. Yesterday, while enjoying the beauty of the day, the waves, the village, I noticed a small rusty piece of metal in the ground near our picnic spot. Always drawn to old things, treasures, history, I tried to pick it up.. The rusted piece of metal was bigger than I thought. I started digging. I kept digging. What I thought was a tiny piece of metal, ended up being a very old and large 16th century cannon. There are two other old cannons nearby, rusting away. Pirates massacred the village hundreds of years ago… And just a little under the surface of the earth, a piece of history was revealed.
As The Path Reveals Itself Often our lives play out in very unexpected ways. Lately, I have been feeling growing concern for my son’s future. He is so smart, that I fear an island this small, lacks opportunities for his growth, development, education. HIS FUTURE. Sometimes one persons paradise is another persons prison. My son has had alot of fun here, no doubt. He fluently speaks Portuguese. But he is starting to think about college, jobs, a drivers license, etc.. and these things are much more difficult on an island of 5000.
In helping me get some clarity, I asked my Buddhist teacher for advice. He did a divination, a type of astrocartography. Astrocartography, in a simple explanation, can show us the places on Earth that resonate well with our personal energy and path, and the places on Earth where life will be difficult. Based on Astrocartography, this is a very difficult place for me to live. I have the energy of Saturn running right through this small island. And I feel it. The island is beautiful, no doubt. I have gotten to share and spread the magic of yoga. I have met amazing people here. Friends, family, TREES. Adventures.
But I have also been tested. I have had to learn to put up big boundaries. My boyfriends family, tried to cross my boundaries many times. But it is a different culture with different family dynamics, different expectations, different and very specific gender roles. If a man here is seen unshaven,too thin, or looking a little scruffy, it is believed to be the fault of his wife or girlfrend. She is to blame. SERIOUSLY! Living in a different country, especially a country with very old-fashioned ideas, behavior, and rules really forces us to tap into our inner strength. ( The younger generation is slowly creating change-thank goodness). Living in a different country, especially a poor country, is also a huge eye-opening lesson. A lesson in privilege, a lesson in history, a lesson in economics, and a lesson in life.
I have been praying for clarity and doing lots of energy work. And although, the path has not entirely revealed itself, it is very likely, that we will be moving back to the United States at the end of summer. At least until my son,who is nearly 16,finishes high school. He qualifies to dual enroll in college starting this fall. College Application submitted.
On a very exciting note, over the weekend there was a Science Contest here, a big contest with teams from all of the islands in the Azores. My son was the presenter for his team!! His team made it to Nationals!!They will be heading to the mainland of Portugal next week! YEAH!
And on a funny but slightly traumatic note: NEVER let your boyfriend (who has never cut hair) experiment on yours.. AHHHHHH!!!! 😉 It will grow. This I know. The lessons we learn. Peace and patience as the path is revealed. -Tiff
I have so many stories. I am starting to write a book about my experience here, The Good, the bad, the ugly. It is certain to be a page turner! I would love advice, funding, encouragement, publisher connections.. Ha!,)
Lets go back to March 21st, 1953. There was a young, strong, feisty portuguese woman in labor, about to give birth to her third child, my mother. The house was tiny, with a dirt floor. There was no electricity, no running water, and often, there was no food. Life was very hard for my mothers family and very different from anything most of us could imagine.
My mom, spent the first 16 years of her life in a tiny village called Santana, on a tiny island called Santa Maria, in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. This is the island I now call home. My mom was one of more than a dozen children. My Grandmother was pregnant for a very large chunk of her life. I cant even imagine.
My mother and my sweetheart, share similar childhoods..they have known hunger. They both had to work at a very young age to help support their families..they both have siblings buried in the same cemetary. Island life is different now.. but there are stories, memories, remnants…
Three years ago, I had the strange dream that commanded me to come to the Azores.. A place I knew next to nothing about. I had no idea, that following that strange dream would change my life so completely.
But it also changed my mother’s life, because once I bought the ticket to come and explore the Azores, my mother also bought a ticket, and came home to her birthplace, for the first time in 40 years.
Naturally, coming back to the island, brought up many memories, emotions, and tears.. but it also reconnected my mother to her roots, her story, her family. She hugged cousins she hadn´t seen in years, and reconnected with her Godmother, the first person to hold her, my grandmothers best friend (and cousin)..
Sometimes my mother cries that I live on the island where she grew up.. How did I even get here? Let alone fall in love with someone from this tiny place.. It is very strange.
My mother has now come back 3 times, every summer to experience the magic, the beauty, and the memories of her island home. I know when she is gone she misses it. The music, the malasadas, her childhood.
Today my sweetheart and I went for a hike and had a picnic lunch. I saw the village my mother grew up in, and I felt compelled to take a photo and share a little post..
Somewhere in history, my grandfather is sitting outside of a little bar in Santana, playing guitar, drinking, winking at pretty women, and laughing..
Somewhere in history, my mom, a young girl is running around, barefoot with her brothers and sisters, chewing old gum she found on the ground, eating malasadas, and running to the airport to get a glimpse of the rich americans who had a layover on this island.
Somewhere in history, my grandmother is smiling, thankful her kids have eaten, and enjoying the song my grandfather is singing.
The house my mother was born in, is still standing, fully modern, and is now owned by my sweeheart´s cousins.. (it just keeps getting weirder)..
Someday, I will write the story, and it will begin with my grandmother, my mother, me, and then my daughter..
Connections, life is weird..
My hair is standing up, chicken skin, because I just got a message from my mom (as I am finishing this post) that today, Jan 27th, is the anniversary of my grandmothers death..
Share our stories.. there is beauty even in the pain.
I am typing and nursing at this very moment. I realized I never wrote the story of my daughter’s birth. I write because I love it, but also because I believe it is important to share our stories. My favorite books are ones of challenge, adventure, and strength. And the story of the birth of my daughter is all of those things. When we share our journey we help empower each other.
If you know me or have been following my blog, you know that at 29 weeks pregnant, a week before I was supposed to move to Portugal, my midwife found a problem. My uterus was measuring 6 weeks too small. I was sent to a high risk doctor. After an ultrasound and fetal non stress tests, I was told I couldn’t fly, put on strict bed rest, informed that likely I would be delivering early, and that my baby would need intensive care. My placenta was not functioning properly. My daughter had severe asymmetrical IUGR.
At that point, I didn’t even have a place to live, my life was packed in suitcases, and my sweetheart was far across the sea. Frozen in shock, I almost lost what is left of my sanity. Ha! Luckily a dear friend offered her home, her support, her love.
Physically, emotionally, and mentally, bed rest is terribly painful. Add waiting in limbo, knowing there is a problem with your baby, and it is real torture.
There were many incredible people in my life that really helped me through that time. One of them was my doula, a massage therapist, a single mother, a kundalini yoga practitioner, a dancer, and an amazing healer. She is a ‘Wise woman’. Through rituals, body work, chanting, and real magic, she helped me dig up strength I didn’t know I had. She was so supportive during my pregnancy, my labor, and postpartum. Friendship and the power of love. I highly recommend having a doula. It makes such a difference.
Fast forward to 33 weeks pregnant; Amniotic fluid was low. 2 failed fetal non-stress tests. Baby was off the growth chart small, sliding further and further down. I sat outside the door to the Drs. Office listening, while two doctors loudly debated what to do with my case. I knew what they were talking about. I had read every article I could find about IUGR… From the worst scenarios to the best. I have a friend, a Florida midwife who I often talked to regarding my pregnancy. She gave me advice and good questions to ask the Dr. I was terribly afraid. Finally, the high risk doctor came out and explained that my situation was very complicated. We were on a tight rope. Deliver early and risk organ failure, or continue close monitoring and wait, until we could wait no more.
It was decided we would wait. Fetal non-stress tests 3 times a week. Cord flow was checked once a week. The Dr’s instructions “Lay on your left side, eat, drink, rest, do fetal kick counts, and go straight to the Emergency room if you don’t feel movement. “ Days were long, minutes were like hours, my body hurt. When there was no fetal movement, fear struck intensely. Anxiety was high, there many tears.
Regardless of eating all day, my belly was small. I remember getting on the elevator, and having a well intentioned woman say to me, “I am really good at guessing how far along someone is in their pregnancy, let me guess, 24 weeks?” I was 35 weeks. I held back my tears and offered a fake smile.
At 36 weeks, a friend of mine, A Buddhist Lama from India, came to Florida and blessed my baby. He did a healing ritual. It was powerful. I will never forget that experience. White Tara. Afterwards, he talked to my baby, and then he said to me with a smile, “Don’t worry, sometimes a very small baby makes the delivery easier and faster.”
At 36 weeks and 4 days, I was told we could wait no more. I was instructed to go home, pack my bag, and that I would be induced the next day. My friend came over and we made a belly cast. She told me with sadness and concern in her eyes, that whatever happened, I had the strength to get through it. We both cried. As painful as it was, I knew she was right. Whatever fate had in store, the time had come, no more limbo.
We were sent to a hospital with a level III NICU, the highest level of intensive care, we knew there was a good possibility my daughter would be spending time there.
We actually had a very nice hospital room. Large windows overlooking a beautiful fountain, palm trees softly swaying, and a regal sign in the distance “Olympia”. Strangely enough, Olympia is where my son was born. But we were nowhere near Olympia, we were across the country, and I was giving birth in South Florida.
The nurse gave me a hospital gown, the ugliest thing I have ever seen. A giant pink tent. Literally I could have slept inside it… along with several friends. Ha! Horrible. But my clothing was the least of my concerns.
My Doctor knew I was terrified of a c-section, and though she told me to be prepared for one, she promised she would do everything she could to prevent one.
With that, I was hooked up to fetal monitoring and given cervadil, to help open my tightly closed cervix. I started having mild contractions. Fetal heartbeat was stable. My Doctor said we would see what my body did with the cervidil, and instructed me to sleep, for I would be giving birth in the morning.
Morning came, and I was put on pitocin. The contractions came on strong. My doula arrived, and with her arrival, my sterile hospital room was transformed into a magical birthing temple. She set up an altar, put on my favorite yoga music, and sprayed the room with essential oils. She instructed me to bring my awareness to my breath as she massaged my lower back. She helped me call my spirit guides for assistance.
My Doctor came to check on me, my cervix was still barely open; this is after hours of strong and painful contractions. She decided to break my water and said it would speed up my labor. She left the room for perhaps three minutes. During those three minutes, my baby moved. It was a big move, which created painful complications.
When the doctor came back, ready to break my water, she suddenly paused. She said “Oh My GOD!” She sat in silence with an expression of concern and confusion. We stared at her and we waited. Finally she said, “Your baby just turned. She is now feet first breech!” She sighed and gently shook her head in disbelief, “I am not attempting a vaginal delivery with a tiny IUGR baby that is feet first breech.” With a puzzled expression, she continued “Never in all my years delivering babies has this happened.” Again the room was quiet. Finally she said, “We can either set you up for a c-section now, or I can stop your labor, we wait a few hours for your uterus to stop contracting and then I can try to manually turn the baby. But there is a good chance it won’t work and we will have to c-section anyways. Those are the choices, I leave it up to you.”
With the support of my doula and sweetheart, I decided to wait. My contractions slowed and then stopped. The doctor came back. And with her strength, she began to manually turn my baby. It did not feel good. In fact, it was extremely painful. I yelped out in pain. I wanted her to stop. But she kept pushing and pressing, for several more minutes. Finally she took her hands off my belly and satisfied she said “We did it! But this baby is very small. I am going to break your water now so she doesn’t have enough room to turn again.”
Pitocin drip back on, water broken. Strong contractions, I came in and out of normal consciousness. No pain medicine. And no progression either. Hours later, evening setting in, my cervix was still 1 cm dilated. The contractions were there. And with each contraction my baby’s heart rate dropped drastically. I stood up and rocked from side to side, moaning, sighing, crying, breathing. The pain of labor is indescribable. But my yoga practice helped immensely.
The drops in fetal heart rate were getting worse. The Dr tried to change my position, wondering if there was a cord problem. I was given an oxygen mask which helped stabilize the fetal heart rate. My contractions continued. The doctor did not hide her concern. She said this was a very difficult labor. It was time to prep for a c-section.
My doula with her wisdom, spoke out, “If she needs a c-section, she will need an epidural, right? Is it possible, that we can give her an epidural now, and see if her body relaxes enough to allow her cervix to open?” The doctor said, “ I am not opposed to trying this, but I will give it one hour, if her cervix doesn’t begin to open, we have to c-section.”
With that, I was given an epidural. The strangest sensation of cold flooded up and down my spine. The pain was gone. The contractions were still there. But they didn’t hurt. I felt good, I felt dizzy, everything blurry, I was so calm. An alarm went off, people were rushing around, all of it a fuzzy dream. My heart had nearly stopped beating. They injected a medicine to get my heart pumping again. I remember vividly hearing and feeling a loud drumming in my chest… and a rush of energy and sudden awareness. Apparently this is one of the many big risks of an epidural.
Stable once again, still with oxygen mask, the painless contractions continued. My Doctor said I was now 2 cm dilated. We could wait a little longer. It was late, 11pm. I told my doula to go home; at this rate, likely I would not have the baby until morning. My doula is the mother of 2 young boys and was still breastfeeding. She had helped more than enough.
Soon after my magical doula left, I started feeling the contractions again. Mild pain. My oxygen mask suddenly smelled like chemicals. I felt I was going to throw up. My partner, who had not left my side, or eaten in 2 days, caressed my face and calmed me as I told him that the chemicals in my oxygen mask were making me sick. I took the mask off, fetal heart rate instantly dropped. The nurse came back in. She put the mask back on. I told her I wanted to throw up. She said cheerfully “Great, I will go get the Dr.” In 50 minutes my cervix had opened from 2 cm to 10. It was time.
My doctor arrived, along with a team of pediatric doctors and nurses all prepared to greet my tiny baby. Just after midnight and with three gentle pushes, my baby was born. At exactly 37 weeks. 4 pounds and 6 ounces. Like all IUGR babies, she looked old, elf like. I was amazed, relieved, frightened. She was skin and bones. Her arms were smaller than my pointer finger. Welcoming her to this world, I kissed her. My tiny, old, newborn, elf-baby. She started nursing right away.
The Dr’s checked her blood sugar and gave her a brain ultrasound to see if she had suffered brain damage, but she was fine. We were all amazed a baby so small was so strong. We spent two days in the hospital, and she needed no intensive care. She never left my side. We did have to spend 1 hour in the NICU to do a car seat check, but that was merely a precaution because she weighed less than 5 pounds. The Dr’s never determined the cause of my daughters IUGR other than saying my placenta was extremely small, and that sometimes with “advanced maternal age” this happened. I was 36.
Before we left the hospital, my Dr. came to visit in our recovery room. She told me that I had the most fantastic labor support she had ever seen. She is right. Between my sweetheart, my doula, my dear friends, my family, and a great Dr. who didn’t give up, I don’t think this birth story could be more magical. That hospital room became a temple.
My daughter’s birthday is almost here. I look at my beautiful, owl-eyed daughter and I smile. Like life, her birth story, our story, was one of challenge, pain, strength, and love. We named her in honor of the moon. The moon; the maiden, the mother, the crone.
Honoring the cycle. Namaste. ~Tiff
I apologize for neglecting my website. We are living without internet at the moment and my days are spent running around after my little moonbeam, and doing yoga whenever I can. But the stories are still there, and I hope to start posting more regularly soon.
Two years ago I had a very vivid dream. In the dream, I was given a message, more like a command, by my stubborn Portuguese grandmother (who died several years ago). In the dream, I was told, very clearly that I needed to go to the Azores. I woke up and knew this message was not to be ignored.
I have learned it is very important to pay attention to vivid dreams, signs, messages, visions, and intuition.
Magically and with very little effort on my part, everything lined up (including the money for the plane tickets), and my son and I were soon on an airplane.
I still had no idea why we were making such a trip. I had no idea what to expect..Other than a few short trips to Canada and Mexico, I had never even left the United States. I was STEPPING INTO THE UNKNOWN……….with nothing but faith and a Portuguese phrase book.
And now here I am two years later, living in the Azores (Atlantis) in a small cottage in a picturesque village. I have a beautiful little Portuguese baby, I am in love with a handsome and loving Portuguese man, and my teenage son is having the best time of his life and he is fluently speaking Portuguese.