Archive for March, 2015

Souss-MaldonadoNewsletter 2014

March 2015

Dear Family and friends…. 2014 has been over for several months now…and I think for the first time, I’m this late in putting our newsletter together. I hope your 2015 has gotten off to a great start. As I look back on 2014, in a way, and not to be ungrateful, I’m thankful the year has ended. It was a year that brought many unexpected events, the saddest one being the passing of my father and realizing that now there is no mom or dad anymore. On the other hand, there were also many wonderful things that happened in our lives.

Miami Zoo 1/2 Marathon

Miami Metro Zoo 1/2 Marathon

I literally started the year running my yearly ½ marathon at the Miami Metro Zoo. It was quite a challenge as half of the trail was dirt and rocks, something I wasn’t expecting at all. I managed to complete it, considering that I wasn’t able to train as much as I should have.

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Papi’s 90th Birthday

The last weekend in January we went to PR to celebrate with my father his 90th birthday. What a wonderful weekend and what unforgettable memories. We took him to his favorite restaurant.  I got quite a number of balloons and he was the center of attention at the restaurant and just loved it. Everybody would stop by to congratulate him and tell him how good he looked for 90. He was ecstatic and it was a weekend we will never forget.

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Papi undated photo – Interesting Cuba license plate

We always think are prepared for this difficult moment, but, but we all know we never are. My father lived a very fulfilling and long life and I was very lucky to be able to celebrate with him his 90th birthday. It always amazed me how his curiosity led him, at his age, to explore Facebook, how he loved to surf the Internet for the latest articles on medical & science research,  and politics. He always blessed me with his wonderful  emails, he was simply amazing. Of course, he always loved to ask for guidance and advice from his private advisors, his 2 grandsons Johann & Sahid. When we last talked he was curious about iPhones and an iPod so that he could listen to his classical music while doing his daily walking routine of 20-30 minutes on his treadmill. My dad touched many people in many ways. He was always the center of attention any where he went, he loved being around people, talking and exchanging his ideas.  He was always on top of the latest news – an amazing reader and therefore a walking encyclopedia.  He was truly and example to me and one I will for sure continue to follow.  He is very much missed.

Johann moved back in with us in March and stayed through June.  He decided to enroll again at the University and finish his diplomaMaster’s.   He also decided to start the process of joining the Peace Corps.In June he got a job to teach a Biology class in Oregon for the summer. In November he moved back again to get ready to go to Tanzania with the Peace Corps. He finished his Master’s Degree in Biology – we are so proud of all his accomplishments.   Professionally this is a wonderful move for him and upon completing his assignment in Tanzania we know that the job opportunities will be excellent especially in the agricultural field which is what he wants to follow. Below is a picture of the Peace Corps/Tanzania 2015 Health and Agriculture training class upon arrival at the airport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  The Peace Corps staff in Tanzania wrote to tell us they are doing extremely well and that they are in great spirits.  He has been assigned to his village along with 3 other volunteers (4 volunteers per village, 2 in agriculture and 2 in health) and each one is living with one family during the language training months (first 3 months).  There he is studying intensive Swahili lessons and by living with the family he is able to practice it. We talk to him once a week and he is just having the time of his life in such a beautiful country.

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Tanzania Peace Corps Volunteers

Sahid got off to a great start at Miami Dade College. After being accepted at Embry-Riddle Aeronatical University in Daytona Beach, he deferred his acceptance to the Fall of this year. He has been taking all the basic college courses at Miami Dade and at the same time studying to complete his FAA licenses. Last summer he drove again to TN with his girlfriend Emily to the Bonnaroo Concert-and as always, they had a blast. To be young again! He has been doing great in school and we’re very proud of him.

Pedro did a lot of work related traveling in 2014. He went to Haiti, Nicaragua twice and Mali twice, the second time being caught in the Ebola craze. Below is Pedro with his colleagues. mali His projects were most successful and he is looking forward to a very busy work schedule in 2015. Upon his return from his second trip to Mali, which was to be Bamako-Paris-Miami, he was told in Paris by the French Dept of Health, that he would have to travel through NY per CDC regulations for people that have been in Ebola stricken countries. In NY, he’s taken aside and examined by the CDC, temperature & vitals taken, plus all his information of where he has been and lives. They give him a cell phone with a direct line to the CDC and a thermometer, and he has to report every day, morning and evening, his temperature on a chart – if it rises, he needs to call the CDC immediately.  A week after he gets home, FL Department of Health calls, by mandate of the Governor, all people that have travelled to Africa need to be seen by a local government doctor. So we had a doctor come to the house for 21 days (incubating period of Ebola), in the morning and in the evening, to take Pedro’s temperature!!! Even on Thanksgiving day!!!   Of course we knew he didn’t have any Ebola…but…it is what it is. We almost adopted the doctor!

I continued taking my Portuguese lessons – so much fun. I read two books in Portuguese by Paul Coelho, “O Alquimista” & “A margem do rio Piedra eu sentei e chorei”. And of course, I read the first book of “50 Tons de Cinza” – now I’m on my second, in Portuguese (I’ve read all 3 in English).  Anything to practice my Portuguese, no? I also enrolled in a Human Resources Management Certificate program in the spring and a Business Coaching Certificate Program in the summer. All this to better improve my HR skills at work and be able to better support my team. I continue to take HR courses, a field that I have grown to love very much.

2014 was more of a play year for the book club than a read year – L.I.F.E. (Living Intensely, Freely & Enlightened) never gets bored. We went to see Julio Iglesias in concert – talk about a bad concert, but, getting together was all that mattered. We celebrated birthdays, went out to dinner, the beach, the opera to see “Tosca”. We also saw Danny Rivera & Chucho Avellanet in concert, along with Vicky’s mother, as well as Roberto Carlos and the annual Valentine’s Concert at the Deering Estate – this year, freezing to death. We did manage to read, “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed, “The Shoes of the Fisherman” by Morris L. West, and “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd. We also read some excellent short stories. We were always ready to have a good time, regardless.  In June we celebrated several of our birthdays. Claudia even organized a yoga class for the book club and we had our yoga graduation in July.  And the highlight of our club…being there for the opening night of 50 Shades of Grey!

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And then there was 50 Shades of Grey!

And then there was 50 Shades of Grey!

Christian Grey - here we come!

Christian Grey – here we come!

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In May we decided to go away for the long weekend to Naples, which amazingly Naples1enough, we hNaples2ad never visited. We fell in love with Naples – what a spectacular weekend in all senses of the word. That Sunday, the kids came to visit us to spend the day at the beach. A great weekend we will never forget.

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Julio Cesar

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Go Colombia!

And how I loved the World Cup craze – I had never been so addicted to soccer and just loved it. Working for the Latin American division of a company – it was amazing to see how my colleagues live, breathe and eat soccer! The first day Colombia was playing – all Colombians got together to decorate the cafeteria and we all watched the game – company allowed it for all games where L.A. was playing, otherwise I think there would have been a mutiny in the office :-)! And of course there was the goalie for Brazil, Julio Cesar, and that is why I wanted for Brazil to win!!!!

Like so icemany out there doing the ice bucket challenge – I was caught in the craze when my boss challenged me – HAD TO DO IT!   I guess it was the perfect time for Pedro to take revenge :-)! That water was fricking cold!!!

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Chale & Mary Helen

In September I took some time off to join Pedro in Nicaragua. As many of you know, we lived in Nicaragua for about 4 years and Sahid was born there. We returned around 2005 so that Sahid could visit his home country as we had left it when he was 2 years old and I hadn’t ben back.   It was so much fun to go back again after so many years and see dear friends Mary Helen, Chale and Mina – what great memories we shared after all these years. We spent 2 days in Managua and then went to the

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Our tree house!

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With Mina.

Pacific and stayed at the Aqua Wellness Resort in Tola. What a spectacular place – like only Nicaragua has to offer. Beautiful, secluded, the nature was spectnica4acular. Even though it had its own private beach, we were only a 40 minute walk away through a beautiful forest to Playa Gigante, a surf & hippie town! The second day we are there I decide to go kayaking, yet the ocean was quite rough but since I had never kayaked in the Pacific, I wanted to take the chance. As I was coming back to shore, the waves through me off the kayak. I guess the throwing me off the kayak, me trying to swim, the movement I made, messed up my back! Messed up our vacation – we’re in this secluded resort, I didn’t want to go to the nearest town and with motrin and wine tried to subdue the pain which totally didn’t work. 3 days after returning to Miami the pain was still awful – go to the doctor and he gives me vicodin and flexeril – was on a nice trip but nada to my back – so I go back, get two great injections + prednisone. I had taken prednisone before and I hated the side effects. So I stopped taking it and after two days and then I develop a horrible pain in my left leg – COULDN’T f…. walk!!!! 3 days after, I fall in the bathroom as my left leg couldn’t hold me. Go back to the doctor. He sends me to emergency. There I get a CT scan – herniated disc, go home with Percoset & Flexeril – another nice trip. Then I follow-up with the spine center, get an MRI – confirmation of herniated disc that is causing the weakness on my left leg. I tell the doctor I don’t want more drugs, forget the prednisone or any steroid, so he puts me on lirica to reduce the inflammation of the herniated disc and tells me to do these old people exercises – ME!!! I was furious, me who runs, have done 4 half marathons, do yoga, pilates, cardio, kayak, bicycle!   So now I’m doing the rounds among doctors – first time in my life to see what I can do to get back to normal. So…the options for a quick fix up were surgery – went to neurosurgeon and he doesn’t think I’m a candidate which is true – then I go to the Pain Management doctor – he gives me the option of an epidural and I just said hell yes – can’t deal with the pain in my leg any longer and I don’t have the patience for doing 6 weeks of physical therapy to wait for this to improve. I had the epidural done in November. Looking at the bright side of all this, it didn’t hurt to see the good-looking neurosurgeon though! I’m back to normal – being much careful now with my back…I’m again doing yoga and pilates, riding my bicycle and running little by little, up to 5 miles – my goal is to be by 13 miles by the fall and hopefully do another ½ marathon, we’ll see.

Rain or shine, walking like a penguin or not, I was going to go to Homecoming in October. And what a fun weekend it turned out to be. We had great weather and we even won the football game!!! Saw many friends I hadn’t seen in a long time – it was great to catch up. I was also able to see Letzen the Friday I got there and the Sunday when I left – a very special visit indeed.

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For the first time in many, many years, we didn’t do Thanksgiving at our house as we were invited by Emily’s mother to her house. It was a delicious Thanksgiving dinner and the company was what mattered the most.

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As the year came to an end, we had our work Christmas parties and our long awaited, family Christmas trip to PR. With my work we went to Ft. Lauderdale to have dinner at Steak 954 at the W Ft. Lauderdale. I gave all my colleagues Kazak hats and my boss a hat from Mali.

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For Pedro’s job, we went to Touche and drank and danced the night away….and ended up at the E11even afterwards….definitely a night to remember, Robert, you sure know how to party!

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And then off to PR for Christmas. It was one of the most special vacations I can even remember, most of all because the 4 of us were together and I wasn’t sure when we were going to be able to all spend a vacation like this spending quality time together. I will never forget it.  We were able to see all the family and also spend some time with my father’s best friend.

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In February we went to PR for the weekend to celebrate Tito’s 60th birthday. What fun and what a blessing to be amongst dear lifetime friends. Definitely a party to be remembered (what I remember) forever! Special moments to last a lifetime! Pedro was ecstatic to see so many people he hadn’t seen in years.

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2015 is off to a great start. Johann with his MS in Biology, settled in Tanzania, Sahid is doing great and ready to go to Embry Riddle in the Fall. Pedro has great contracts lined up. I look forward to an awesome 2015, to being me again. I want to spend more time with my family, with my friends, I want to do all the things I like to do, and I want to continue running again!  I can’t let another year just fly by without stopping and smelling the roses….Brad Pitt got married and I didn’t even know about it!!!!!!

We wish you a magical 2015, most of all we wish you love, peace and health.

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.”~T.S. Elliot~

If you’re ever in this part of the world, remember you have a home here.

Lots of love from the Souss-Maldonado Family, including Lupe & Rocket!

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March 29, 2015 at 5:55 pm 2 comments


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