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This is how it all began...

I'm Brazilian. I've lived in New York City for 15 years and I have a ten-year old son who's Brazilian and American. Eternal soul child that I am, I have always believed that every child should be cared with love of course but also with a chance to dream.

When Lorenzo was born, I felt a great longing for home and I needed to find a way to convey my roots to him. I began having friends with Brazilian children over to my house every week and ended up getting more and more enthused about the idea. I've been tweaking things over time, doing theme afternoons according to the seasons and historical dates. I went along making progress as Lorenzo grew and grew.

Actually, what I was doing was trying to replicate the beautiful childhood I had in Brazil, at the home of my grandparents. Playing in the garden with so much imagination, originality and freedom. And all to the sound of Arca de Noé, by Vinicius and Toquinho. I was also fortunate enough to be able to count on my grandparents in recent years, because even over the phone, they would remind me of games and pass on delicious recipes. My maternal grandmother, Grandma Nita, as a creative and observant – albeit retired – teacher, raised a crucial point for me to get to a place that I insist on presenting today: playtime must be supervised but it must also be free. At first, she would say to me, "These days you guys don't let children be children. There's no need to tell them how to play – a suggestion is all that's needed." Then more memories would rush back: how to make animals with vegetables and toothpicks, hideaways in the garden, cordless phones and . . . time . . . Lots of time – with no set time to end.

So it was from all this having fun, with the aroma of homemade cake, that Peki was eventually born.

Apart from all the magic of the old days, I found kids who, from a very young age, were caring about our planet and were open to creating lots of fun things out of recyclable materials. Inspired by this universe, I came to the conclusion that we can continue bringing our culture very close to us, simply by playing. Today, my son not only speaks Portuguese fluently; he has a total affinity for Brazilian culture. I must confess though, I never thought that Lorenzo would be the poster child for this endeavor. However, he is indeed a positive example of the multicultural citizenship that I speak of. Although it may not appear to be simple, I believe that with our meetings it is easier and – first and foremost – fun to convey our roots. It's surely worth it! I hope you enjoy Peki!

As always, with affection,

Vanessa

#photo

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