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Nathalia Peixoto
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My dear Thai,

Yesterday you had your 4 wisdom teeth removed. You were anesthetized but could see everything during surgery. You were awake for the whole procedure. I think this is what the dentist intended. Your mouth was numb, and stayed like that for the rest of the day. Your Dad took you to the dentist’s office at 8 am and you guys came back home at 11 am. You made a video with your Canon vlog camera (the second one, because the first one broke after 3 days of us using it in New Orleans during Thanksgiving break). You are taking Amoxicillin (3x/day), Ibuprofen 800mg (3x/day), and Percocet (3x/day) until further notice. I think until we run out of the pills. It’s been hard for you at times, feeling pain around your face, seeing your face swell, and getting nauseous.  Yesterday evening I had to go to this 5-hour volleyball tournament I had committed to attending and felt so bad about it! I texted your Dad to let him know. That was a good thing, because he brought Lincoln over at 9 pm to cheer you up and it worked.

You are now (8 pm Saturday 12/8) editing a video to share with Rachel Huh. You have been doing this for several hours and I have to control myself to not say out loud that this is extremely annoying (the same audio goes on and on for hours!). This is a good test of my patience. I used to have almost no patience. Had this happened three years ago I would have already taken you somewhere, made you walk with me (maybe go to Starbucks?) or play something (table tennis?). Usually you are pretty good about doing things I come up with. I try to make it interesting to you. But for the last 3 years I have been watching myself – trying to make sure my motivation is not only “to have fun” but also to control myself. I only buy things that I truly need, or that I truly think you will eat (e.g. smores at Trader Joes). I also tell you this, but I don’t punish you if the thing you are trying out is bad (e.g. the frozen broccoli and beef, which you only ate the broccoli, and we will compost the beef). I accept that! I realized there is only so much I can convince you of.

Up until yesterday our plan was to put up the Christmas tree and decorations today. I knew that you could change your mind because of the surgery. So instead I pre-thought to not become impatient with new plans in case they came to pass. You did not have that much energy today. At 5 pm you asked if we could delay the decorations to later in the week. I gladly accepted. At that point I had done 3 loads of laundry, one load of dishes, and folded everything, put all dishes away. I went to Dunkin Donuts and got you a large iced almond latte, as well as your two favorite donuts (coincidentally that is all they had at 4pm: glazed and chocolate frosted).

You continue to be interested in clothes and makeup. I continue to become less interested in that. For example, during our Black Friday outing this year I still would have bought an inexpensive shirt and pants if I had found any that I could use to go to work. I have too many clothes for home use but find myself scrambling when I have to “dress up” (not even that much up actually). Anyway, after Thanksgiving I watched a movie about what happens in Bangladesh and China to make those clothes come so cheap to us (Forever 21 and H&M are two of the largest retailers that can force the price down. The only way to make the price go down is to pay the employees less and less). For the first time I saw in front of me that I should NOT buy the cheapest possible clothes. Until then I did not know I was making someone life’s miserable by shopping at Forever21. I need to start shopping (the rare times I want to) at one of the 30 stores that are reasonable. Patagonia is one of the ones I remember. You may buy into this too, but I think you are completely sold to the “fast fashion” model. Things go out of fashion too fast and new clothes are needed, while the old ones have barely been worn.

I have also become more aware of trash. Trash has been playing a larger and larger role in my decisions on what to buy. I think of what I will have to throw away when I buy food. If it is completely wrapped in plastic, I try to find an alternative. Until 3 years ago I also did not know of this – I am happy that I know now. I do not know how to nicely convince people to worry about this though. I will keep thinking. The movie “unwasted” was a good one (even though it is not a good first movie about trash!). I do not remember the last time I bought a tray of plastic bottles, luckily. But I remember accepting the plastic bottle from the United flight… I feel bad about that, I think. Need to stop accepting disposable plasticware, cups, bottles, straws. Today I convinced you to take your DD coffee in your own bottle. You accepted it and I am so happy about that!

You played varsity this season and I was so proud of you making the team! I knew it was not going to be all flowers, and at times I felt it was a lot of work to just play one or two sets as a DS (Anna Torres was libero, you and Huska(sp?) were DSs). You went to Manhattan Bagel several times, made little bags with gifts to your buddy (I can’t remember who it was), and worried about games and practices. August, September, October, half of November. Now we are off. I felt it was a good thing in the end. You made good friends, saw how unfair these games can be, and saw that the tall girls were the ones playing, even though they weren’t necessarily the best ones. Heck, they were sometimes so bad! Ah well. So is life – unfair. In any case, I think the fact that you made varsity gave you a break for club season. You are, for the first time in 4 years, not playing club. Phew. I am playing almost every day of the week though. Sometimes you sub with me in my 4s team, sometimes you sub for 6s teams. The games are at the Campus, near our old house (in Ashburn), so a bit out of the way for us. But it is so good for me to have something to do by myself, for myself!

Two weeks ago my Dad passed away and I am not sure I can get over it. I don’t know how yet. I cry sometimes, when I am in my room. I can’t get myself to tell people that he passed away. And, mind you, these are people who did not even know him. If I had been in Brazil and had to tell people who know him, I’d be crying in public every day. I don’t know how to tell my friends from Brazil (I could go on Facebook and tell them, but can’t find the energy inside myself to do it). I appreciate it that you don’t ask me anything about that. I prefer silence most times (about this), so I can quietly ask myself what I feel. I miss him so much. I used to write texts to him (Whatsapp) every day. I did not realize he was my main connection with Brazil. I don’t write to Claudia anymore, so now I have to call my mom on the phone as she refuses to write texts. For now I’ve been successfully talking to her more than 20 min/day. Let’s see how long I can keep this up. Sometimes it hurts me, because she is so anxious and so much like the story from the jack-guy. This guy is driving his car in a neighborhood, notices he has a flat tire. Stops, looks in the trunk. He has a spare tire, but no jack to prop up the car. Any car has a jack, so he walks over to the closest house. As he is walking over he thinks that the house owner will say “you don’t have a jack? What kind of a guy are you? You are an idiot etc etc”. His mind makes up a whole story about the house owner. So by the time he gets there and rings the bell, he is furious. The owner opens the door, and the car guy says “You can take that jack and stuff it in your ass.” The house owner has no clue what is going on and shuts the door, not saying anything. Upon seeing this, the car guy thinks to himself “well done!”. This is the end of the story. The mind plays tricks on us at all times. My Mom’s mind is the most original and creative and negative that I have ever seen.

I promised I’d only write two pages so as to not waste too many trees! The last paragraph is about your math studying habits. This last week you received an A- or B+ (not sure which) but you were so happy. I was not as worried about the grade as I had been worried (earlier in the year) about your lack of studying at home. For the last three weeks you have been keeping the one hour up. So I was proud of that (you studying consistently). For some of the trigonometry relationship proofs, you asked me a couple, and you did most of them ahead of the class day. Then in class your teacher solved one in a very convoluted way. You went up to the board and suggested a simpler way. I hope you were proud of that!

Here is what you had to solve: tan2x*sin2x=tan2x-sin2x. (I will let you try to solve this when time has passed. Come ask me if you can’t.). This one was not on Photomath, not on Desmos (our go-to apps for math problems), so it was cool that you solved it yourself. The teacher must have been impressed!

I love you little girl.

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