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(If you do not want to read everything I wrote here before replying to me, we are not the right exchange for you):
We living here are a family of three, led by me: a fifty-two year old American immigrant now widow with my two young children ages nine and twelve. One calls herself an American living in Portugal, the other calls himself Portuguese (their father's roots) who happens to have been born in America. One of us is still struggling in Portuguese language (me), one is fluent but doesn't use it (12), and the other fluently flows between American English and Portuguese just like his DNA. We have been here in Terceira, Azores for three years, which has already been a full lifetime of experience and living. As anyone with a family life including children knows, it is forever an ebb and flow of growing and changing in different blossoms and fertilizations every day. Our lives have been full: of miracles, magic, depth, Ascension. Of course, the pendulum sways equally in both directions, so we have had our challenges and intensities along the way. In this mature work and cultural exchange program season, we are looking to maintain our family calm, harmony, Peace, organized cleanliness and routines, with mutual enhancement from another or others. Our lives are fairly pure in terms of lifestyle, activities, diet, past times, work, health and spirituality, so it is important for us to include others who live similarly already of their own accord, and come seeking a cultural exchange with synonymous values and self sufficient stability.
I am a doctor of Ayurveda medicine, a health psychologist, and Vedantic spiritualist. We love to live and celebrate life naturally, and to share life experiences with other responsible humans. I work locally and globally (virtually) with clinical medical patients, professional students 1:1 in gurukula advanced clinical and spiritual Ayurveda, and in helping to found a global natural health sustainable living NGO (non-profit association). We are a very busy family with our own interests and projects, and substantial need for quiet alone times, too. We seek opportunities to share daily life, work and cultural exchanges with Conscious, hard-working, self-responsible others. We do not have time to host passive adventurists looking for a big experience in exchange for a bed to crash in, or chatty visitors who are just in it for full-time entertainment. This season, we are looking for family-like working visitors who have skills and knowledge to share as a visiting extended relative who comes to lend helping hands would do. This academic year 2020-2021, my children are virtual schooling from home, so our environment more than ever does not lend to disruption, chaos, drama, or needy guests. If you are mature, professional, intellectual, in tune and Aware in your own nature, non-addicted to anything absent in our environment, managing your own life stably and well, wanting to share more of a family experience in a beautiful natural paradise on earth with children, their growth and development and education, and experience an Ayurvedic family life in Azores, then maybe we are a good match for each other. We are looking to maintain and enhance our cohesion through this program, while offering a deserving other the opportunity to live with a family locally and naturally in Azores for a bit.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
The learning potential is unlimited! I am an advanced teacher of Ayurveda, Yoga, Vedanta, meditation, mindfulness, and other things. I enjoy sharing these things intellectually and experientially. Those interested will have opportunity to participate in my Ayurveda work with local clients here, too.
Our lives are a classroom in natural sustainable living, gardening, permaculture and Ayurveda natural health. Here, you will have the opportunity to grow yourself and cultivate new interests and advanced levels of anything you come already knowing. At the same time, you will help us to benefit from your knowledge and work contributions, as our lives have been too busy in our three years settling here so far, and we still have much to learn and refine and keep developing as we grow here.
My children are of course lovely, and gifted natural healers, teachers and companions in their own rights. We speak English primarily at home, but my son is fluent in Portuguese, as are many of our friends, daily visitors, patients, students and clients. We play around in Spanish and Italian language very amateurishly with desire to develop that over time. We are all interested in language sharing and cultural learning. Each of us feels more a global citizen than anything more limited. Most adults who sit and take time to talk with any of my children find it uplifting and fascinating as an exchange.
Our climate is temperate, our land and home are peaceful but productive and busy, our island is a relaxational and recreational paradise for anyone who loves nature. Our daily lives are divided by work, play, sharing, and time alone in quiet. We are very intense intellectually, and that is sometimes challenging for others who are not used to so much thought process and educational dialogue or pastimes, but you have plenty of opportunity for private time away from us, too.
We are locals living as immigrants here, we live integrated into local culture with families and friends, not completely outside of it as foreigners. It is easy to make friends and learn local life and culture during your experience with us, and you also will have time to meet your own new friends and have your own experiences, as the island is small enough to get around easily, and people are very hospitable and friendly in sharing with newcomers. For English speaking visitors, or those wanting more interaction in English, this is a great experience to live locally in Portuguese culture.
For this season, we are looking mostly for an extension of family in another as work exchange visitor and household member. Some work hours should be completely independent and not needing our guidance much at all, so that you are helping us with the workload more than you are contributing to it. At the same time, we prefer to include children in joint work together as much as is practical, so that they can learn and participate as well. This involves adults who know how to work with children, to encourage, invite, include, guide and mentor them, and have patience with them.
Work hours will include:
Working the land, gardening in vegetable gardens, fruit orchards, helping care for our dog and three cats who live outdoors, keeping the outside environment clean, aesthetic and organized, helping develop the ecosystem with feeding the soil and its plants and trees, building new gardens or garden beds, planting, harvesting, pruning, weeding, mulching - whatever is needed to grow food and cultivate natural harmony (2-3 hours per day)
Helping with building and grounds maintenance: Cleaning and keeping outbuildings clean, which includes a clinical treatment room, art room, retail kiosk, fruithouse, cat house, storage units and wood storage, entryways and relaxation and recreation areas. (1-2 hours a day)
Helping with family house-holding duties, some as work hours including helping with laundry, grocery shopping, meals preparation, housecleaning and maintenance (which we prefer to do altogether, but often times kids are limited and this falls more on we adults). Some house-holding duties of course are expected not to be counted as work hours, as we all live here together and we all are expected to participate in the maintenance and keeping of our interior home lives together (sweeping, mopping, setting table, dishes, some meals, keeping bathrooms and kitchen clean, etc. are not you working for us, they are all of us living our lives together, right?. We are very easy going and flexible in some ways, but in the ways we are hospitable, easy going and flexible has often given us less than ideal exchange situations with visitors who do not live a clean, organized, daily active, healthy personal life already before their arrival. Many come from backgrounds where others take care of them more than they take care of themselves, and that does not work in our self-sustainable lifestyle here.
Each of us works about 8-10 hours a day, participates in housekeeping and land work 2-3 hours daily, enjoys 1-2 hours of outdoor recreation and exercise daily, and have adequate time for self-care, social life and sleep. This does not allow for a lot of sloughing or unorganized time, although we relax and have creative hobbies more than most people we see. You will only be happy here with us if you are a time manager, multi-tasker, organized mind person who generally knows before you wake up how you should start your day without someone else having to tell you, and if you are adept at your own daily cycle of responsibilities and commitments to this earth and life and yourself. At the same time, rigidity does not work here any better than it does in all of nature: we have to ebb and flow, adapt, be flexible, especially in the face of growing children and their ever-changing ecosystem's needs. Only those who are children and family centered adults will be happy in this experience with us this season, with these intentions.
For this season's experience, we are offering stay in our guest room and shared meals in exchange for your family help and contributions. The guest room has a double bed, desk, chaise lounge and more than adequate space and storage for your personal belongings. Our home is a 4 bedroom home with 1.5 bathrooms, a large common living area and a large kitchen. Our outdoor spaces include gardens, fruit and nut trees, domestic animals, my treatment clinic room, a family art room sometimes used for workshops and small gatherings, a small retail kiosk run by my children, a fruit house and plans to add individual student living huts, more community areas, a healing cabin, and 2-3 other purpose structures.
We are a pet-free home indoors, but have three cats, a dog, and lots of frequent daily animal visitors outdoors. We keep a clean home and try to stay organized, although our daily flow of activities makes for a lot of tools and supplies used all over daily and needing help being returned to their resting places with adult guidance often. Our home is concrete block without whole house climate control or modern insulation, so we wear very light clothing in summer months and extra layers in winter months. We do use air purifiers as needed for dust and pollen, etc for those sensitive to environmental allergies, although windows and doors open is a necessary part of our natural ventilation.
Our family life tends to be very busy and flowing all day from sunrise to 9:00 or 10:00 pm. We do not watch television or allow its noise in our common areas. We very occasionally have a family movie night, but more often, choose other activities instead. We are avid readers, and our family dinners tend to take some evening hours of preparation, enjoyment and cleanup. Our dinner conversations tend to be fairly intellectual and with good family humor. Most of our meals tend toward vegetarian, although all three of my children (including my thirty year old in America) are big "foodies", so they enjoy good fresh organic well prepared food from many sources. I am also a very liberal mother, so my children maybe too often eat food truck kabobs, local hamburgers, pizzas, and other not such pure hard core health foods.
I tend to get too busy in my work, so my flow is often more of a gush and conscious flowing rush, faster than my children's during work hours, and often leaving them waiting patiently for me for something they need, while 2-3 other adults might show up all at the same time waiting and needing something as well, during daytime hours. It helps greatly whenever we have another aware, responsible adult anywhere in our environment to help balance all of that, just as a go-to and another adult pair of hands or guide in those moments when one mom is not enough.
Your stay with us will be much more pleasurable for all of us if you enjoy some time alone, too, as we all do every day in our own quiet calm in our own corners or spaces. We feel more joyful when our visitors are happy to go out exploring alone, or with some or all of us, and do active things to enjoy this experience fully for themselves. Most of our visitors enjoy walking to the grocery store for short trips just as an experience to get out, or catching the public buses to go explore anywhere on the island, our friendly taxi friends for some rides, or our family car. Biking is not very easy because of our narrow busy roads and abundant hills, but it's a bicyclist's paradise for avid riders. You can see everything on foot if you are a hardy walker, most things of public outings are about a 30 minutes walk from us, within 7-15 minutes by car. Ocean experiences are vast and nearby - we swim daily in the ocean when weather allows, kayaking, surfing, whale watching and fishing are all abundant here, but not obnoxiously touristy (yet). Walking trails are top notch and world class premiere destinations right now, among all nine of our islands in the archipelago. Travel between islands is fairly inexpensive by air or boat, although weather often deters and delays set plans. If you want to island hop while you are here, allow extra weeks, but you can do so on a small budget. Social life here is delightful, especially for strangers! Our island is known as the hospitality island, or the playground and parties of the islands - family fun and cultural sharing, deep traditions and a need to laugh and share everyday for locals. You will have no shortage of people to talk to if you are outgoing and need more chit-chat than we give in a day. We have a small but good group of ex-pats and foreigners living here from all around the world.
Terceira is known as "the island of the Holy Spirit", and if you feel drawn here and come here, you will understand why. The nature here and its energy are beyond words, not to everyone's idyllic fantasies, but the people and their place are totally Real, in all the glories and depths of humanity and earth, together. This is not the Greek isles, nor Hawaii. When my fellow Wisconsinites arrive, I say "Welcome to 1970!" for me, it is like that, in all the parts I treasure the most, and all the ways I become impatient with the laid back "inefficiencies" sometimes (but, that is why I immigrated here, too).
You can ask us any questions, and we earnestly ask for your honest transparency and responsible answers and choices in return. We have had our share of not so great exchange challenges, as we are a family, and many travelling through these programs are not of the same work and life habits required to keep our home and life in its balanced flow. If you are looking for a place to destine to just to have a new experience and a place to sleep, we are not the best place for you. If you read carefully everything I have shared here, and you feel a responsible desire to meet and share a mutually beneficial experience in this place and time, we have the opportunity to share, in exchange for your hard work and earnest living, too.
Terceira has wonderful local social and activity groups in an array of activities, for example yoga classes, tai chi, kayaking, local musician and artist and performance groups for every season and holiday occasion, monthly cultural and religious holidays and big celebrations. With Covid precautions, things have been quieter and more isolated, but we have been mostly Covid-free on our island and most of the Azores islands, and we are still allowed freedom in outdoor spaces and recreation. We have had open public cafes and some restaurants since June, and we have been free and unlimited compared to most of the world dealing with more active Covid risks.
However, due to Covid and the reopening of our islands, we will have to take into careful consideration anyone coming for a stay during this time. Portugal government requirements are often changing, so when we decide on any exchange, first local laws and procedures will dictate isolation, testing and precaution measures, and then we will decide together what is best to assure your and our family's continued health and safety. It is very likely that we could require testing and 14 days isolation even if our government stops requiring it, for some time going forward yet.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week