Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Travel

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Hi everyone.
My name is Caroline!

I'm a Brazilian with Italian descent, married to an American living in South Africa busy moving to the UK.  My life is the definition of "a cultural mess".  A Cultural Mess is a weekly updated blog about life as an expat, culture, travel, faith and everyday moments from our journey.  Welcome to my crazy beautiful cultural mess!

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LOVE & MARRIAGE

Relationship

yeahyeah.co.za

Read more about our relationship and what we have learned along the way.

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Faith, Love & Marriage

Is anyone still there?

Hello again. I’m glad you’re still here. Do you have time now? I have a long story ahead… take a sit and a cup of coffee (or wine) and let’s catch up for a bit…

Sorry I kind of disappeared once we got to London.

Life was pretty full and sweet.

Granted, it took us one full month to find a flat that was absolutely lovely but that we also absolutely overpaid for it. Let me tell you, London is EXPENSIVE! Not that we didn’t know it, but it did still shock us at how much we were paying for a 2-bedroom flat.

We chose West Hampstead as the place to live and it was a really nice neighbourhood. We loved it! Our landlord agreed to sign an initial 6-month contract as we had no rental history in this country and on the 5th of March, my birthday, we moved in.

That night, after lugging our belongings around London we went out for dinner and a West End show (Wicked – which is fantastic!) to celebrate both the move and my birthday. That night we slept on the floor in the middle of the living room in the middle of all our belongings.

A week later I started working as a receptionist for a business centre in London and met wonderful co-workers who would become friends!

If life in London was a movie, this is the part where a montage to an upbeat tune would cut in with infinite scenes in the tube both very full at rush hour and empty during weekends, laughing at work with Barbora, shopping for groceries, seeing friends, cooking, sitting at a pub, furnishing our flat and exploring London. London is a fun city. SO much to do and explore!

Our first year was also filled with weekend trips throughout the UK to both explore and see if there was another place where we would like to put down roots, as we quickly realised that buying property with London prices just wasn’t in the cards for us.

After a trip to York to celebrate our anniversary we fell in love and decided that would be the place we would want to settle. We started making plans to move in 2020.

And then I fell pregnant.

It was the happiest I probably have been in my entire life. It did throw a spin in our plans, but we didn’t care we were SO happy our family was about to grow! We told our family and closest friends and I felt like I was walking on cloud 9.

And everything came crashing down a month later.

Just like that, the baby was gone. The weeks between November 2019 and mid-January 2020 are a bit of a blur. I am SO thankful my parents were here to celebrate the year end festivities with us. It helped heal part of my very broken heart.

Anxiety, insomnia, shame are all things one goes through when going through this type of grief. In the midst of it all, after being reassured by many doctors that this is common and 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, I allowed hope to grow again. ‘It won’t happen again. It was just a sad fluke’ became my mantra.

We decided to go ahead with our plans to move to York. We found a beautiful house to rent, handed our notices and a few weeks before our move, lo and behold, I was pregnant again!

This time there was no excitement taking the pregnancy test, just fear. This time we decided to share the news with no one until we could see a doctor. I was going through the days obsessing if I was sitting for too long, if I carried a parcel that was too heavy, if I ate the right things. I just wanted to do everything in my power for this baby to stick and be healthy and safe. But there was nothing I could do. 5 days before our move we lost the baby.

This time I was just angry. Actually livid. My faith was tested to an extent it had never been tested before. “Why would a good God allow me to fall pregnant just to take my baby away from me, again?!” I could feel bitterness creeping in.

The move and the new house were a great distraction, during this time. It gave me a project while I was looking for a job, and then the Coronavirus pandemic hit and we went straight into lockdown.

At first, being on lockdown was actually perfect. It was easier not having to be anywhere or have anyone expect anything from me whilst I was grieving. I was in complete lockdown with God as well. I remember telling Him, ‘I’m done! if You’re in this, the ball is in Your court… You’ll have to speak to me somehow because I just don’t have anything in me right now.’

And for a while He was completely silent. And I felt isolated. (Fair enough, most of us were isolated at that time… haha… you know what I mean, though). And then we added Miss Moneypenny (A.K.A. Penny) to our lives, our little Weechon pup, and I’m forever grateful that we did. She has brought such ridiculous joy, that absolutely helped me heal.

Penny

After a while I felt ready to I start spending time with God again and He started showing me that my trust, for a long while now, has been on a specific outcome rather than on Him. And that somewhere along the way I attached His goodness to Him saying ‘Yes’ to things in my life. I also attached my identity in what I was doing and lost sight of who He really made me to be.

As the weeks have gone by and we have all been adjusting to this “new normal” mid-pandemic world, I have learned a few things through these dark times:

  1. My trust must be in the God who is good and who will walk with me through my process. He’ll have my back no matter what. Even if we have infinite miscarriages, or if we never have children. He is still with me and He will somehow use this situation for my good.
  1. My worth as a person is not related to what I am doing or what role I have in my life. I am worthy of love because He made me. Period. His plans for me have not been derailed and He is very much in control.
  1. Quarantine goes by REALLY quickly if you have a puppy!

Today would have been the day we would meet our first baby, and I decided to share this story because I felt I needed to come out of hiding and be vulnerable and share that this is what I have been through. And if you, or someone you know is going through this, I’m here to talk, or not talk.

Because miscarriage is not something discussed publicly very often, it is incredibly isolating. And usually, when it is, it is spoken from people who have overcome their journey and are sharing their victory. Don’t get me wrong, I love and live for these stories of God redeeming a bad situation, and I pray we will be here sharing our victory too one of these days, but it is rare that people share their story while they are in the midst of it. Down in the dumps. So here I am, sharing from our messy middle. It is painful, it is hard, but it is also beautiful and filled with hope.

How about you? How have you been?

Faith, Uncategorized

God’s plan is messy

Last week, when we were watching a Christmas program that my niece and nephew took part in, it totally hit me. God’s plans usually are very messy!
And I’m not saying, it’s messy like when we say to a guest visiting our house “Excuse the mess!” after we spent all day cleaning… I mean proper messy!

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Expat Life, Travel

We are moving!

After almost 10 years in South Africa, and finally being settled and creating a life here, we are again on the move!

If you had told me four years ago that I’d be gearing up to start all over again in a new country, I’d laugh in your face and say, “No, thanks. I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt”. But God laughs when we think thoughts like that.

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Uncategorized

12 Days of Christmas… movies

It’s 12 days until Christmas Day, a time to be with family, exchange gifts, eat way too much and celebrate the birth of Christ. And to get you (and me) in the Christmas Spirit I have made a list with my favorite Christmas movies of all time. Here they are:Read more

Faith, Love & Marriage

God told me to use Tinder and other confessions… My journey navigating the Christian dating world

Let me preface this post by saying that this tale happened before I was married to my wonderful husband, A-Aron, whom I love to bits!

Ok, so you may be wondering why in the world I would be sharing a post about dating?
I’ve always been pretty passionate about the subject and while I see hope in a slowly growing new vulnerability move in the church, it is still an area that has caused SO much hurt and SO much confusion in people’s lives that I feel my story should be shared to maybe encourage people who feel they’re alone. Also, this is my little corner of the internet so I guess I’m sharing about it because I can.

While this is in NO WAY a prescription to what people should do, I hope it’ll bring freedom to a few people who may be battling with the same things I did. So, brace yourself. Here goes nothing…

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Expat Life, Travel

Our last days in South Africa

Moving countries is not for sissies, I know that now. When we decided to leave South Africa we were tasked with the mammoth challenge of getting rid of 95% of our belongings and doing all the admin involved in closing down a life in a country (i.e. closing accounts, making a plan if you need a document from that country while you’re far and booking tickets).Read more

Love & Marriage

Being in an intercultural relationship

Relationships are not easy. No matter the nationality of the parties involved. It takes an enormous amount of understanding to make it work. Intercultural relationships are no different, and if anything, they require an extra level of open mindedness, patience and understanding.
If you also find yourself in a relationship with a foreigner some (or all) of these points will reflect your reality.
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Expat Life

The anxiety of feeling displaced

Living in a different country is a privilege, however, it can be dramatically romanticized (especially by social media). Simply open the Instagram of an expat and you’ll see how exciting their lives are.

But let me tell you a little secret… we usually only capture the best snapshots and the best moments.

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Travel

5 Tips to survive long flights on a budget

How can we make those extremely long hours and tiny seats feel a little more comfortable? That is the question I ask myself every time we are about to board a flight. The dread of being stuck in tiny uncomfortable seats and not being able to rest have is the worst.

In this post I will share my 5 tips to make the journey a bit less weary and filled with a bit more comfort.

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