Friday, November 26, 2010

Home, it does a Body Good

 I'm heading stateside to my native land to celebrate the holiday season and then some.  I'm excited for all the obvious reasons and some not so obvious.  Rule #3 of survival living abroad, I don't allow myself to focus on the things I miss. That goes out the window when a trip home approaches. 

Here is my mental list so far:

1. Drink milk!  Milk does a body good and it is one of the #1 things I miss about home. I don't know if our milk farmers spoon their cows at night, but they do something that works.

2. Curl up in a blanket on the couch.  I plan to abuse my Mother like the stepchild I never had, or at least don't know of yet.  For 1 hr out of the trip, if not more, I plan to curl up on her wonderfully soft couch in one of her amazingly soft blankets and let her run after my boys. Oh my, it'll actually be cool enough to curl up in a blanket without my husband calling me crazy! 

3. Good bad TV.  I've had so much good conversation, culture, good movies, and books while here in Brazil, it's time to drain the brain. You know, Celebrity Fit club and How'd you get so rich.  Good stuff that will just suck the brains right out of me, what's left after children anyway. 

4. Eat. My goal is to not put on the normal 10lbs (5 kilos) this time around. The more realistic goal is to only gain 10lbs (5 kilos). Let's think Christmas. Restaurants. Candy that I can't get here therefore eat by the truckload.  Salty snacks I also eat by the truckload. My theory is that if I eat as much as I want, I will eventually get sick of it and not miss the food/snacks when I come back to Brazil. It does work. I leave thinking if I see another Poptart I'll barf... not that Poptarts really count as food but I eat them anyway. 

5. Not be aware of my surroundings. I know I'm aware here but I never really get how much so until I get home. That's what happens when you live in Rio de Janeiro. You are blissfully unaware of how aware you are. It's very Born Identity how you can walk along with your kids, chatting and scolding, yet still know there are 3 people behind you (2 are men) and 4 in front.  And it's not stressful, it's just how it is. The moment I land stateside, I get my symbolic cup of Starbucks coffee, which I don't even like anymore after living in Brazil for 5 years, and I let it go. Let the totally unaware American way flow with my laptop falling out of my backpack and my kids playing with my itouch while I barely pay attention. 

Of course there will also be many trips to Target, certain stores to buy items I only buy stateside, grocery stores to stock up on bring to Brazil items, and many other things. 

I'm the most excited about seeing my family. Being involved in the family gossip and trash talk. Seeing my nieces, annoying my brothers, and hugging my parents.  I'm even excited for the criticism and the inevitable 'If I were you..."  There's a beauty in living abroad.  Even the annoying things are charming. 

What do you look forward to when you go home for a visit? What are your favorite things about home?


  1. ok... so I need to get milk, poptarts, chips, wash the blankets and expand the cable, get track shoes and Motrin for me... got it

  2. Since we're in Brazil visiting my husband's family, I'll speak on his behalf. He loves coming back to the food, the heat that drives everyone to the beach, the coconut water and caldo de cana. Seeing his family and getting to help his dad out at his business. When we return home we load up on farofa, cachaca and white chocolate bolachas. Even for this short time, I miss my dishwasher and dryer!

  3. My list is nearly identical to yours, Rachel, although the poptarts are only on my boys' list, not mine. Triscuits, though. Oh my.

    We leave soon, too, and I can't wait. And yes to the "being able to be unaware" thing.

    One thing I hate in the US though - the waiter hovering from the moment I'm 10 bites away from finishing my meal, hoping I'll hurry and be done so he can get someone else in my spot.

    Oh - and let's not forget Eggnog. Only good reason to go to the US in the winter. y-u-m.

  4. I'm sorry to confess that my family in the US are a bunch of slackers. (None of them attempted to call me this Thanksgiving, for example - although I tried them all.) Going to the States is more about a trip to Target than an evening with my sister, or my brother and his wife. Sad but true.

    Good for you all who are going to wrap yourselves in the warmth of mom, or family tradition, or siblings and their kids.

    Have fun. Travel safe. Report back.

  5. I hope you and your family have a wonderful trip! Ditto on the eggnog, and REAL Christmas trees that smell so good, hanging out in front of the fireplace, seeing your breath on chilly days, great shopping and great sales, great's wonderful to find that nearly every restaurant has great salads, good mexican, indian and chinese food, Round Table Pizza, backyards and the great holiday kids programs on t.v. and the weirdness that hits you when everyone is speaking English, it's strangely calming. Being back in California...there's no place like it. Happy Holidays!

  6. An endless list, really, but to start...TARGET and WHOLE FOODS and all of their contents within! But that's just the shallow stuff.

    First and foremost my family and friends. Watching my daughter play with her grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins and all her little friends from Houston.

    The awesome parks and playgrounds for my daughter.

    The kick ass public libraries, Barnes and Noble, Half-Price Books, and Borders for my little one.

    In Houston I can't wait to sink my teeth into the nut burger at Ruggle's Green, the sinful cupcakes at Crave Cupcakes, and the seafood burrito at Berryhill.

    Oh and Chipotle! Their nuclear sized burritos!

    The list goes on and on and on and on...

  7. Macy's, Trader Joes's, Mexican, thai, and Indian food!!!!!!!!! Roller Derby matches, dive bars, ice coffee, TJ MAX, CHICAGO, MILWAUKEE, 80's night!! American camping, casinos, roller skating, trash t.v., libaries, coffee shops, and themed parties--- halloween!!! But mostly my friends and family.

  8. I have to say, after 6 weeks, I'm ready to come back to Rio! lol. Reader, the restaurant thing bugs the crap out of me. That and I constantly go to call the waiter and then remember where I'm at. It's so much more practical to just call them when you need them!

    Nina, Where are you at again? In Rio there are a TON of places that have 80s night. One that is 70s, 80s, 90s.

  9. TRADER JOES!!!! OMG!!!! Two buck chuck that actually tasts good!


    Ok Jim... calm down...

  10. Rachel,

    I enjoy seeing my family, visit my 87 year old grandma who is the love of my life, I miss her so much it hurts.
    I like to go to the country, friend's farms and eat "Mexirica" Pokan (Tangerine)fresh from the orchard.
    I also like to eat fresh Escarole at the farm with Garlic and Olive Oil.
    Home made French Fries and Stroganoff at my mother's.
    When I visit Sao Paulo, the very first thing is to have an authentic AWESOME PIZZA, Sao Paulo's pizzas beat New York's hands down, no question about it...
    I stock up on good quality natural glycerin hand soap by "Granado" and or "Phebo", I buy several "Nature" products and even a few "Urticaria".
    I also buy MADE IN BRAZIL belts and Colehan shoes at an outlet store in Sao Paulo that have great prices.
    I buy my favorite Hershey Ovomaltine Bars when I can find them, they are always sold out on that one...
    Gil always wants Brazilian havaianas, so I have to get him a couple pairs.
    We can find most Brazilian grocery items in Boston, so we don't waste valuable luggage real state for most foods, with the exception of Ovolmatine Hershey bars which you can't find it around here...


  11. My roommate and I kept at least 3 two buck chucks at the apartment at all times. If you drank one, you replaced it. If the two of us drank all three, we replaced them the next day. Never knew when guests would come by.


    All Trader Joes and hole in the wall mexican food

  12. I'm sure you know but Zona Sul (Sendas too) has a great feta cheese, in the salty, crumbly greek style. It's REALLY expensive, about R$35 for a block, but it's really good, and I do pop for it at least once a month as everyone in this house loves it and it never goes to waste. I remember living in L.A. and paying less than US$2.00 for a block of "domestic feta" at TJ's...but better to have and pay thru the nose for it, then not to have at all I suppose... Viva 2 buck Charles Shaw, and also the dozens of less than $10 great California reds you can buy. Have some bottles for me, PLEASE! Cheers.

  13. Rachel--my city is half caipira and half pinganhada. So yeah they don't know what the f**K 80's night is, let alone have one.

  14. Are you coming to Coronado? Let's have a play date! We can drink Starbucks, gossip, and swap blog stories.

  15. We aren't coming to Coronado anymore :(. My parents moved to Maryland so we're having our family Christmas there. I'd love to meet up! By any chance, coming to the other side this holiday season?

  16. Say - anybody know where I can buy goat's milk and rennet? I might try my hand at making some feta cheese.

  17. You can buy goat's milk at Zona Sul or Horti Fruti. It's usually with the other milks and has a goat on the front of the box. I don't even know what rennet is...

  18. Rennet is the living enzyme culture that makes cheese happen. Thanks for the tip on the gm.

  19. Have a great time! When I go back to the states it's nothing but Starbucks, shopping, eating, and trash TV! Love it!

  20. Jim,

    You might be able to find Rennet at a farmers market either in Niteroi or Rio.