I noticed it first last year, but more so this year: most of the American women I know disappear from Brazil in June and July. They go home to the United States, typically with their children and leaving the mister here in Sao Paulo to work.

I understand why they do it (and I envy them), but it sure makes it tough to maintain momentum on new friendships! Whether they are gone for months at a time, or take several week-long trips, I distinctly feel their absence. Plus, there are people being reassigned and new people arriving at this time of year, which puts bumps on the paths of friendship at any time.

Expats For Life

Most of my friends, wives of Tom’s coworkers or women I’ve met through the International Newcomers Club and American Society, spend anywhere from four weeks to three months out of Brazil in the summer (winter school vacation here), visiting family and breathing deeply the air of home. I see their posts on Facebook and yearn for the family barbecues and friend reunions. Summer is a tough time to be away from the States.

Last year I didn’t really notice, since I didn’t know that many Americans here, and the ones I did know had just arrived, so most didn’t take the summer months off at home. This year, there is a noticeable dearth of American women and children in Sao Paulo!

Fortunately, Liz, one of my great new friends, has stuck around most of the summer, and we’ve been able to do things together and as couples. But, it’s tough launching our book club in July. Next year, I’d know better. So, of the 19 possible attendees, I think we have five in Sao Paulo this week for the first meeting. 

But the gray skies are lightening as more people return from their home visits, and can now be called up for fun and adventure. Plus, we have the prospect of best-friend Woody coming to visit us for three weeks starting this Friday. If we can’t get home, we’ll bring home here!

Most people will return by the start of school at the beginning of August, so friendships will pick up then. At least until December (summer holidays here), when those same moms and kids will pack up for another visit homeside. But they’ll be back by February, until June, when they’ll pack up again…