Monday, October 31, 2011

Avoiding Identity Theft in Brazil

I found a very interesting post of 12 tips on how to Avoid Identity Theft. I decided to see if I could translate this to life in Brazil!

1. Order your credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies: I'm not sure if this is possible down here although I assume it is. Mr. Rant is constantly checking our credit card statements. That may be because of the risk of cloned credit cards. Maybe I should inform him of my R$2000 bill at the gas station...

2. Avoid carrying your checkbook with you unless it's absolutely necessary: I never carry checks here. Mr. Rant only has one or two checks on him at a time. I just assumed (making an ass our of U and ME) that it is common to not take the whole checkbook. So now I get anxious when I only have one, not that there is any more risk than there is at home.  I'm more of a check tease anyway. I fill it out and give it to someone only for them to realize that I misspelled Cinquenta or put the date where Rio de Janeiro goes or something like that. Damn foreigners.

3. Guard your social security number, birth date, and your mother's maiden name with extra care: Um, I think by law every piece of paper in Brazil, down to a personal note, is required to have your CPF (Brazilian SS#), birth date, and both parent's full names.

4. Avoid putting paid bills and anything that contains personal information and your signature in your home mailbox. Instead, take them to the Post Office or hand them to your mail carrier: Brazil has got this one covered via online payments, paying at the bank, or paying at the creepy lottery counters. And if you ask me why I find the lottery counters creepy I wouldn't be able to tell you. They are just weird little places.

5. Purchase a good paper shredder: Being a cost efficient person I went ahead and gave birth to two paper shredders. Seriously though, Mr. Rant has never been super anal about shredding. He also hardly throws any papers away. We have tax forms from 1991 for a company that doesn't even exist anymore. Apparently you never know when the Brazilian government is going to want to see some sort of official document from your past. At least it's hard for identity thieves to get into your home and find something useful in piles of crap. Btw, I'm calling the show "Hoarders" and reporting Brazil!

6. Never trust an email that asks you to click on a link from a company that may have any information about you: Duh

7. Forget taking surveys via telephone: I once answered the phone here in Rio de Janeiro and there was someone wanting me to do a survey. I went with it and they proceeded to ask me all about what electronics I had in my home. *Warning* Of course I lied and down played but then they asked for my address, for the survey of course. I told them I wasn't comfortable giving my address. They then asked for just my zip code. I said no as well since I know that my zip code in Brazil will tell them which street I live on and more or less what part of it. Note to self: be careful of anything on the phone in Brazil, especially if you are a foreigner. But don't be scared and have fun with it. If someone calls saying your husband has been in a car accident asks you what kind of car you have be creative. "He crashed our Hot Pink Mini-Cooper!" When they say yes you can then laugh in their face and hang up.

Read the entire article on protecting yourself from Identity Theft in the States here. 

All and all I think Brazil has a pretty safe system when it comes to protecting your identity. While I hate all the hoops, it is a good system. There is a reason why you have a chip in your bank card, are required to swipe it 300 times to take out R$5, and have to type in your password 3 or 4 times. Heaven forbid you try to take out a R$20, but it works. Official signatures, thousands of stamps on hundreds of official documents, and flimsy IDs all make the Brazilian world go around. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Left Out

I got in a text message argument with a friend today. She hurt my feelings. It started out as all stupid girl arguments do, Facebook. She mass tagged a bunch of girls (half of whom I know and one who is a very good friend of both of us) and did not tag me. She was inviting them all to her place for drinks and then suggested they go out to a concert.

Here comes the messages. I thanked her for the invite. She replied that it was Brazilian music so she didn't think I'd like it. Then added that she called me and I didn't answer (once at like 2 in the afternoon). Finally after I replied with the ever mature "whatever" she stated that she knew I was sick anyway.

I am continuing the maturity by venting about it on my blog. Seriously though, it did hurt my feelings. For starters, if it were only about me being sick that would have been her first answer AND I would have been tagged in the post. I was purely not invited.

The other thing is that she is supposed to be one of my best friends in Rio de Janeiro. I answer her calls when she needs someone to lament to. I reassure her when she feels like we aren't as close as we were. I tell her that "No, my Mommy friends are not replacing her."

You know what, maybe they will because obviously I am not Brazilian nor free enough to go get wasted at your place and stay out until dawn. Yes, I have kids. Yes I am an exhausted Mother. Lastly I was too sick to go out. But we all know an invitation or calling back just for once is really nice. That goes double when I make so much effort to make sure she feels included or loved because she, in particular, needs shit like that. Hey, that's what friends are for, right?

Anyway, she was the last person I thought would make me feel like a rejected 15 yr old. I know I should be above it but I'm only human. I'm a tired and beat down Mother. We have a tendency to get sensitive sometimes. That's why it was doubly nice of her to call me an ass.

I suppose we all know where we stand now.

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

How To Handle Diarrhea in Brazil

Diarrhea isn't fun anywhere but definitely makes you feel helpless when you are in a country where you don't know what to take.

The first reaction Mr. Rant has when I'm urinating out of the wrong side is for me to drink a Yakult. Since it has all the healthy bacteria my body would be obviously lacking in that situation it seems like good advice. I'm sorry but I always go no on that one. Yakult gives my healthy intestine the poops, goodness knows what ass fire I'd be dealing with when under the weather.

The next is Floratil. It's a pill version of the healthy bacteria. I totally take these but keep in mind that it usually takes a couple of days to work, aka when you diarrhea would have stopped anyway.

For those in a state of immediate need of corkage, the medicine you are looking for is called Imosec. This will cork you right up (especially if you take two). While I am a firm believer of letting the watery times roll, when you have to have all calls forwarded to the bathroom it may be time to step in and bitch slap Mother Nature. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hot Brazilians for your Friday!

It's Friday once again, thank goodness! Without further ado, here are your hotties:

We all know Adriana Lima. She is one of the hottest exported Brazilian models out there. And no Jim, she does not need a sandwich.  

Malvino Salvador is from Manaus. Seriously, what kind of corn are they feeding their boys up there?! Holy crap! And yes Malvino, I'm coming. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Should Brazilians have Vergonha?

My Father-in-law came over this morning for a over breakfast visit with the boys and I. While he skimmed his paper he produced his unique ashamed and disgusted expression. (I really have to get a picture of it one day. It's adorable) He then stated:

"It is shameful how many ministers have been outed for corruption in this country!"

I understand his point.  Orlando Silva is the 4th minister to resign right? 5th? Oh wait nope, he's the lucky 6th to resign after scandalous allegations. Hell, who wouldn't be ashamed of their country after that?

Not me! I'm kind of stoked for Brazil. As opposed to the corruption just continuing, people are pointing fingers! Sure this guy has collected a pretty penny and probably owns more than 1 Toyota Corolla and all the Fisher Price toys available in Lojas Americanas. Who cares though because the game is over now... or in 30 days. Who's counting anyway?

The absolutely amazing thing is that they are all innocent, or so they say.  Obviously they are only resigning in order to protect their families and friends. President Dilma Rousseff even backed Brazilian Agriculture Minister Wagner Rossi when he was up against allegations.

“I regret the minister couldn’t count on the principle of presumed innocence,” Rousseff said in a statement distributed to reporters in Brasilia."

Presumed innocence? Come on. One example of what Brazilians are dealing with is when President Rousseff had to force the resignation of 20 officials at the transport ministry after an article in Veja claimed there had been kickbacks and overcharging. And you are asking the Brazilian public to presume innocence of anyone working for the government?

I hate to break it to you President Rousseff but I think anyone working in your government should be grateful that the public isn't demanding that cavity searches are performed at the end of each day.

None-the-less, Brazilians shouldn't be ashamed of this. This is Brazil moving forward and shaking the shit out of the trees. When I moved here it felt like corruption was expected and that there wasn't much you could do about it other then vote for a different party during the next election. Now it seems that the public is expecting answers and when there aren't any they expect the government to react.

Personally, I think that is a good thing. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ipads in Public... in Rio de Janeiro?!

Ipads on the Subway in Rio de Janeiro? Times are changing...

Would you use your ipad on mass transit in Rio?

Wordless Wednesday: Only in Rio de Janeiro

A Random old guy that loves penises approached the crowd at a bar in Copacabana. My friend pictured above is never rude, not even to a stranger.  

 And what a nice stranger to lend her his glasses!

Looking Good!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Surviving the Heat

The season of swamp ass and swenis has returned to Rio de Janeiro. I always joke about how people run around half naked and I know all you non-Rio de Janeiro residents fantasize about it. Sadly the day has come where I have to break down the ugly truth of it all.

It is necessary for survival. It gets really freaking hot and humid down here. I'm already hearing some of you who live in the Southern States of the US claiming that you know how it is. Yeah, I have to disagree with you. Just like charm, Brazil has one upped you in heat.

Seriously, my least favorite part is the sweat that drips down the back of your legs. It's a dampness like you are wetting yourself and it just doesn't stop. There really isn't much you can do about it either. While you can spend a fair amount of time in the ocean, under a shower, or in a pool drinking beer, you eventually have to go somewhere to eat or urinate.

Then there's the smell. I am especially thankful for Brazilian's extensive culinary use of garlic and onion during the summer. It just smells so yummy coming out of the pores of all the sweaty people smashed up against you on the subway. Yum, just makes me want to find the nearest Churrascaria.

Though I do have a secret for a successfully survived summer in Rio de Janeiro. Want to know?

1. Get to the beach early! That means parking at 8am, no later. Better yet if you can get there at 730am. First off it's already hot and sunny at that time but at a level that is still enjoyable. Secondly you still have options as to where you can sit on the beach. Come 10am it's slim pickings. After 1230pm it's like a freaking Carnaval Bloco (street party).

2. Ideally either go out to eat or have something prepared from earlier for lunch. It's a bitch to cook after being sapped of all your energy at the beach. Plus a hot stove top at noon sucks.

3. Siesta until 4am. In air conditioning if possible, at the very least good ceiling fans.

4. Beer. It just quenches that thirst you get while sitting in the shade on a hot day surrounded by sweaty bodies. It fits like glaze on a doughnut.

5. Showers and a change of clothes. We do it often down here. Trust me, it's the way to go at least 3 times a day my friend.

Now I'm going to go and hose myself off, turn on the fan and take a 30 minute cat nap. You?

The Crowd Pleasing Recipe

I'm not claiming ownership of this recipe nor am I stating that there is any sort of nutritional value to it. I will tell you this though, you children will eat it! Hell, the large child we women call our husbands may eat it as well. Hell, it's fun.

And seeing that most things I make here in Brazil are from scratch (there are many pros and cons to that one), I am very excited when I find something easy to make on a Friday night as a treat. Ok, I'm totally lying there. I made it just last night for dinner at the request of my two little monkeys. What can I say? Mondays are a bitch, they ate AMAZINGLY well at lunch, and screw it.

So here is how you do it:

1. Chop up some raw defrosted hot dogs.
2. Get out some raw spaghetti pasta .
3. Feed the spaghetti through the raw pieces of hot dog. Think of it as making fake meat/unhealthy Shish kabobs. Of course if you were me you'd use either vitamin infused pasta or whole wheat. Just don't tell the kids you are ruining their crap by adding something good for them.
4. If you are particularly patient and have a lot of hot dogs to spare, have the kids help. My boys loved making these! FYI, you will lose 1/3 of the hot dogs in the "helping" process.
5. Put them in the pan and boil. It takes like 10 minutes.
6. Enjoy this quick, fun and cheap meal!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hand Picking Coconuts?!

So I was at my slacklining class when some dude starting climbing his ass up a tree and hand picking some coconuts. He was totally casual about it as if he were plucking an orange off a tree.

Anyway, I took the opportunity to make a little video when he went up his second tree.


Mr. Rant Thinks I'm Insane

So Mr. Rant and I were discussing possible vacation options for next year. We're thinking something that is fun for the whole family. Here is what each one of us came up with.

Mr Rant: Disney World
Me: Italy

He thinks I'm insane. I think he lacks imagination.

He thinks hanging out in Italy with a 5 yr old and a 3 yr old is asking for trouble. I think that we can go to Disney World anytime... Italy too for that matter but I'm dying to go see something new.

Mr. Rant then dared me to ask you guys what you think.  Like he had to dare me. I'm not even going to use my super duper skills of persuasion to get you on my side.  Am I crazy or is Italy a good idea?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Our Tiny New Apartment!

Here is a video of our new place. Be kind :)

Yakult is Coming to You

I had to come to Brazil to meet this Japanese "treat." I had no idea what the hell was in that little cup and was skeptical from the first moment Mr. Rant insisted I try it.

He went off about the digestive benefits and how he drank one a day, "ever day", while growing up. Obviously I was late to the boat and thus needed to start immediately if not sooner.

So I tried it. Did it give me healthy digestive benefits? If peeing out the wrong end is healthy then it sure did.

Of course not even my kids have had that problem with the interestingly fermented little drink. I'm thinking I must be full of the healthy bacterium Lactobacillus casei Shirota or am getting plenty of probiotics via osmosis from everyone else.

Anyway, Yakult was created in Japan and only showed it's face in Brazil in 1966 due to the large number of Japanese immigrants. Now it is available around the world and they are even going to open up a factory in the Probiotic heaven of the US: California.

And while you may be excited to have yet another way to replace those pesky little bacteria after antibiotic use, I mean aren't we all (please note dripping sarcasm), do remember that Yakult has more sugar per 100g than coca cola.

Hey people, you can't have it all!

Do you drink Yakult daily?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Childless Friend Questions SAHM (stay at home Mom)

This is an advice column Q & A that a friend of mine posted on my Facebook page. It is an old one, circa 2007, but the brilliant question answer Carolyn Hax wrote something that should keep circulating! Go check her out and at the Washington Post

By Carolyn Hax
Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Best friend has child. Her: exhausted, busy, no time for self, no time for me, etc. Me (no kids): Wow. Sorry. What'd you do today? Her: Park, play group . . .

Okay. I've done Internet searches, I've talked to parents. I don't get it. What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners . . . I do all those things, too, and I don't do them EVERY DAY. I guess what I'm asking is: What is a typical day and why don't moms have time for a call or e-mail? I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events) and I manage to get it all done. I'm feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy -- not a bad thing at all -- but if so, why won't my friend tell me the truth? Is this a peeing contest ("My life is so much harder than yours")? What's the deal? I've got friends with and without kids and all us child-free folks get the same story and have the same questions.

Carolyn's Brilliant Answer:

Relax and enjoy. You're funny.

Or you're lying about having friends with kids.

Or you're taking them at their word that they actually have kids, because you haven't personally been in the same room with them.

Internet searches?

I keep wavering between giving you a straight answer and giving my forehead some keyboard. To claim you want to understand, while in the same breath implying that the only logical conclusions are that your mom-friends are either lying or competing with you, is disingenuous indeed.

Finish reading Carolyn's answer at: THIS LINK Trust me, it's worth your time.

As for my childless readers, is this what you guys actually think?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: The Butt Hose

If you lack the space for a bidet, put in a hose. Obvious. 

I Did it!

People, I did it. I went into that classroom and read a book in Portuguese to a group of 4 and 5 yr olds. And you know what, I did pretty damn good!

Of course Chatterbox started trying to correct my correct pronunciation. I almost pushed him out of the reading circle by his forehead but I felt that may be frowned upon. Seriously though, I did have to give him the Mommy look and whisper a "That's enough now." Smart boy though. No better time to totally mock Mom's language skills than in front of a group of people who are all watching her.

All and all it went well. The kids had moments of massive laughter and also a page or two of not too impressed. Overall the kids seemed to enjoy the book. I mean, how could this age group not like a story about Martians' love of underwear.

After reading I also managed to get them all riled up with an impromptu game of "Let's copy every movement Rachel makes." I noticed a girl copying me while her friends watched so I obviously started doing ridiculous things. Before I knew it I had the entire class jumping up and down like frogs and trying to pat their heads while rubbing their stomach. I freaking love this age!

Let's hope tomorrow's reading in The Menace's class goes just as well. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Moments: Raising Bilingual Kids

Raising bilingual kids in another country has some interesting moments. This week at my sons' school is literature week.

They read a ton of different books and encourage parents to come in to tell a story or read a favorite from their library.

The thing is, though, I am not fluent in Portuguese. Having children who are fluent in a different language will quickly point out how unfluent you are. Case in point would be a friend of my son's reaction to me saying "It is fun" in Portuguese. He frowned and declared that I speak funny therefore he does not understand me.

Considering all this I am pretty stoked to be scheduled to read a children's book in Portuguese tomorrow for my son's class. It is a book that we have been reading every other day for about 2 weeks so I feel I have it down. Of course my audience speaks Rachel...

So in a way my sons have brought me back to adolescence but not in the way I thought. I thought that I would be reliving mine via their uncomfortable moments. I never expected to be reliving mine through more of my own uncomfortable moments. Not fair. I really must have karmically crapped on someone important in a past life.

On a side note, reading out loud makes me nervous. Got to love how children make you push your own limits. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Top 10 Things Husbands and Wives Want has a list of the Top 10 things Men want from their wives and vice versa. I thought that it would be fun to compare this list.

1. Believe in his capabilities
2. Understanding
3. Affirmation of his Accomplishments
4. Acceptance
5. Less Chatter
6. Affection
7. Respect
8. Free Time
9. Trust
10. To be a Companion

I'm sorry but I looked at this list and wavered between preschooler and dog. If I had to convert all 10 items into two sentences and one word it would be: "Yes, it was a very good presentation but the game just started. Can I have a kiss and we will talk about this later? Thanks."

Of course the women's list isn't much better:

1. Telling her daily that she is Loved
2. Understanding and Forgiveness
3. Conversation
4. Willingness to make time for her and your children
5. Saying 'yes' more than saying 'no'
6. Listening well
7. Affection and Kindness
8. Sharing Household and Child Rearing Responsibilites
9. A Day Off Now and Then
10. Commitement to Take Care of Yourself Both Physically and Emotionally

First of all, reading this kind of makes me feel like my husband's bitch. Say yes more than no? Why does he get the deciding word? And forgiveness for what? explained #2 like this:

There will be days when your wife will make mistakes or when she will be difficult to be around. No one is perfect. She both wants and deserves your willingness to understand and forgive her. Remember that no relationship can be sustained without forgiveness.

What? I'm sorry but we're counting mistakes now? Oh shoot, the dishes have spots. Mommy has to go sit in time out. Daddy won't you please forgive her. Yeah, I don't think so. I'll take the understanding part but not forgiveness because if I am being difficult to be around something tells me that you may have a part in that (minus give or take 6 days out of the month or when I'm on the pill.)

Here is my list for Mr. Rant:

1. For you to go back in time and remember your "moves" and use them on me again. I obviously thought they were hot. Of course you still are hot but didn't you do things that made me turn on in a second or was I just easy? On second thought don't answer that.
2. To come home early and declare that you are making us dinner. FYI, it needs to be something both the kids and I will eat and that does not require a trip to the store.
3. For him to chat with me in bed before we go to sleep. I heart pillow talk. It is a Mr. Rant pet peeve as it is time to sleep and if we were going to talk it should have been before we went to bed. Things pop into my head when I lay down and I like to chat about them. See the issue.
4. To be told I'm gorgeous, sexy, and awesome. Ok, he told me I was gorgeous the other day, kind of as a joke, but it totally still counted.  Hey Mr. Rant, would love it if you did it again!
5. For him to bring up a cute, funny, or random memory from our past. It's cool to hear our history from your point of view.

Ok, I can only come up with 5. I have it pretty damn good. But if I had to make up 5 for Mr. Rant they would be:

1. To Insist on Sex Constantly. For some reason after a long stretch of marriage men get a bit lazy to put on the real moves. I'm sure that he would be stoked if I just stripped down and asked "would you please take me?"
2. Took Up Cooking as a Hobby: Mr. Rant likes to eat and although I am doing pretty damn well in the cooking department I still can't even hold up a burnt piece of newspaper up to his mother, much less a candle.
3. Anal-retentive Cleanliness: Mr. Rant is so very Carioca in that nothing from outside should ever enter inside. In his ideal world we would change out of "street clothes" before even sitting on the couch. I like to run around Rio de Janeiro in flip flops and thus am constantly filing my feet to get the soot off. I drive him insane this way.
4. Be into Botafogo: Mr. Rant is mellow in that he wouldn't demand that I watch all soccer games with him but I know that he would love me to sit and watch Botafogo games. I used to watch in that early part of our relationship. Of course I used to just nap on his chest...
5. Take on more of the Bureaucratic responsibilitiess of the household. I like to blame being a foreigner and not speaking perfect Portuguese but we both know it's pure laziness. Dude, it's just a bitch to fumble your way through that muck of government. He knows his way through. It's so much easier for him. Of course that whole having a full-time job thing sometimes makes it difficult to wait an hour for a piece of paperwork. We all have our crosses to bear.

What do you want from your partner? Do you agree with the lists?

Do I Feel Safe in Rio de Janeiro?

"Why can't I carry the ipad to the car?"

"Because we live in Rio de Janeiro and it could get stolen. Sorry sweety, just a fact of life."

That was a little conversation I had with my 5 yr old this weekend. He really wanted to leave the restaurant carrying the ipad. I'm sure it would have been fine but I just don't like to even hint at attracting attention or unwanted action.

It got me thinking. Am I afraid? Wow, talk about a loaded question.

I never ever admit it outright but yes I am sometimes afraid. I have actually stopped reading or watching the news here because of it.

There really are a lot of horrible things happening here! There are also a lot of people who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. That scares the shit out of me. I'm constantly cruising around with my boys and what if we were passing by when there was a random shooting with the police at one of their little kiosky points? What if I was driving with the kids and got carjacked. Would the guy give me enough time to get either or both of my kids out of their seats? (fyi, I have taught my 5 yr old how to get out just in case.) And if I am on my own and stealing just isn't enough, what then?

Honestly, I could go on but I won't. These thoughts sit there in a dark back corner of my mind. I make them stay there. I refuse to live daily playing the 'what if' game. It's just way too real down here to manage that without losing your sanity.

So I decide to not be afraid because, let's be honest, there isn't that good of a chance that it'll happen in my area. *knock on wood*

Generally I don't even think about that dark corner of my brain. I cruise around everywhere, take mass-transit, and *gasp* use my cellphone in public. I live here. I decided a long time ago that if I was going to live here that I would really do it.

That means that I take my obviously American gangly white ass out wherever it needs to go. I take the kids, I listen to my mp3 player, ipod, or whatever and I live my life while sticking to well populated areas *wink wink*.

How about you? Any city ever make you nervous? 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: FOOOOOOD!

I actually get excited to eat here in Rio de Janeiro. I'm not talking about fancy or exotic food. I like the regular old Brazilian meal.

Today we went out for lunch with some friends. We got a mix platter so that we would have to decide between yummy meat, delicious chicken, chicken hearts, or anything else for that matter.

Here comes the food: rice, farofa, the salsa mixture that I ADORE but can never remember what it is called, chicken hearts, squares of fried cheese, chicken, and meat. My bloated belly is brewing gas as we speak.

But if you think about it, minus the lack of vegetables, it's a damn good meal. It's real food! This was a meal my Grandmother would call a meal, if you know what I mean.

And that is what I love about eating here. You go to someone's house or out for lunch you aren't going to get some fru fru crap. Oh no, Brazilians eat real hearty food! There are flavors, a hell of a lot more garlic than we are used to, and plenty of salt.

I for one am a happy camper. That reminds me, I need to go buy some garlic...


This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post on Fadra's page (click on the badge below).
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bad Menu Translations

Rio de Janeiro is getting more and more foreigner friendly these days. When a good friend and I stopped for a quick bite to eat in Copacabana we saw that the menu came in both Portuguese and English. Apparently they didn't pay too much for the translation. Here are some of the errors I found:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hot Brazilians for your Friday!

Good Morning Andre Bankoff. I am in need of a cowboy because.... well, what girl doesn't need a cowboy?

Carol Castro is a Brazilian actress who is trying to make the reverse tramp stamp sexy. Well if anyone is hot enough to do that it just may be her. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Pressure to Be Girly

" but I feel the pressure to be girly more here than in the US and I feel that the pressure starts early. "

This is the quote from a reader on my post Women, Media, and Power... or lack there of and I agree with it completely.

I had never considered myself unkempt before living in Rio de Janeiro. I arrived in Rio de Janeiro to women with perfectly manicured toes and nails as far as the eye could see. It was also about 3000 degrees out (which is what summer feels like to a newly arrived foreigner) and while I was considering shaving my head none of the Brazilian women were even sporting a ponytail!

I found myself in uncharted territories of girlization. There I was in plane black flip flops, jeans, a basic top, ponytail, no jewelry, and chipped nail polish. I'm surprised they even let me past customs.

People, I'm not even exaggerating this time around. The women of Rio de Janeiro take an extreme pride in their appearance. We are talking about at least bi-weekly manicures and pedicures, along with hair straightening procedures (and it is a procedure down here), waxing, gym, and styling. I'm guessing there are more steps that I haven't even heard of.

Hell, these ladies go to the gym looking good! I complained to Mr. Rant immediately when he suggested I purchases some Brazilian workout clothes. I mean seriously, I even have to look cute or hot at the gym?! Of course he was looking out for me and trying to help me blend in. Being the stubborn ass I am I refused the shopping trip and went to the gym in my raggedy old shorts and an oversized t-shirt. I couldn't have stuck out more if I was wearing pasties and body glitter.

To make matters worse, I have heard, more than a few times, men making comments about their spouse or girlfriend's body. Two occasions shocked me to the core. The first one was when a boyfriend mentioned and pointed out the additional cellulite on his girlfriend's butt and the second when a husband told the wife, at a full table, that he was watching what she was eating. As he explained to everyone who was listening, she was putting on too much weight during her pregnancy. Being pregnant myself, I mentioned that I had put on a ton. I do believe he was truly disgusted.

Of course those examples are to the extreme but sadly are quite common none-the-less. There is a special population here that has no problem judging others on something so little as chipped nail polish or not polishing your nails at all.

In the end, I did adapt to a mellower version of the Carioca woman. It does feel nice to be a bit more feminine. I love wearing the big dangly earrings and have a new sense of pride over clean and polished toenails (even though I am fairly bad at keeping them up in comparison). That being said, it isn't an image that defines me.

I refuse to believe that my most important goal is to always be "presentable." I actually find myself more comfortable in an old pair of flip flops, a ponytail, and comfy jeans... of which I have been teased about because they have holes in them.

And while I can appreciate discovering a sense of femininity in traditional terms, I am very glad that I didn't grow up with it being expected at such a young age. While all women everywhere have faced a certain amount of pressure, my youth in the US was fairly mellow in comparison to Brazil. Thank goodness I have little boys because I don't know if this former Tomboy would be able to handle the expectations of female beauty that they have here at such a young age.

What were your experiences with this? Do the girls in your country feel pressure to be beautiful or feminine? 

Women, Media, and Power... or lack there of

A friend of mine posted this video on her Facebook and I immediately felt the need to share it with you. What do you think about media and the social perceptions of women? Did you feel pressure growing up and do you think that girls these days feel it even more?

Personally I think that Brazil has the same issue and then some. Hell, 4 yr old girls at my sons' school bring in make up to play with. 4 yr olds with make up at school?!

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Maybe I'm a Douche but I'm also a Slackliner

Some may call me a douche-bag. Some may call me a poser. I personally just call myself uncoordinated. Regardless, I tried slacklining today and signed up to do it again!

It does seem super lame from the outside. I will admit that I was one of the first people to mock those doing glorified tightrope walking in the middle of a park. Super lame! I was so above it.

When my friends started doing it I became a bit more curious. Maybe it was the exposure from hanging out around it or just wanting to see if I could actually stay on. Who knows? But when the teacher told me to come try after my friend's class I thought what the hell.

Three walks down the rope was all I needed to give it a real try. I felt tension in my arms, legs, and abs. Given it wasn't like busting out a spinning class or anything but it did show me it's workout potential.

Hell, it's like a mellow full body workout all while being outside. Not to mention the increased bodily awareness.

I will admit that I felt a bit like an ass at the beginning of my first class this afternoon. There I was trying to balance on one leg, on my tippie toes, on the ground. I wasn't even on the line yet people. Then the teacher told me to close my eyes. The 8th grader that lives deep inside me was insistent that people were pointing and laughing at me and/or that someone was going to push my dumb ass down.

You know what, neither happened. I did, on the other hand, confirm that my sense of balance is totally off. Not only that, attempting slacklining was like doing a pilates class with meditation included. All the concentrating, breathing, and moving of my arms while balancing on a rope cleared my head completely. I am definitely giving this one a shot.

So go ahead and send me rainbow knit hoodies, hacky sacks, and scented candles. Call me what you will. I however challenge you with the fact that this fad was started by rock climbers who would tie their ropes to trees and walk across on days when weather didn't permit climbing. A company noticed and made a thicker and rope/line. There you have it, a fad was born.

And in my opinion, rock climbers deserve a lot of respect!

Now excuse me while I go stretch my worked muscles and focus on my newly acquired balance ;)

How about you? Would you try slacklining in the park or would call me a douche for doing it? Be honest! 

Do the Dishes and Get Laid

A new study shows that women find their husbands more sexually attractive if they help around the house. Dr. John Gottman scored massive points with his wife the day he published that paper of gold!

I for one am instantly more attracted to Mr. Rant when he helps out around the house. (Mr. Rant, are you reading this?)

Honestly, I have moments where if I see one more dirty dish I feel like throwing them all out the window. Don't even get me started on food preparations, laundry, mopping, putting away toys after the kids put away toys, de-urinizing of the bathroom and so on and so forth.

This may even go double for Brazilian men. By cultural nature, the Brazilian man is quite spoiled. They are not used to helping around the house, with meal prep, nor with children. Don't get me wrong, the ones I know aren't getting drunk at the dive bar at 10am or anything like that. No, they are just are a part of a culture where many homes have maids and what the maid doesn't do the woman of the house does. Seeing that there is help, the other stuff isn't that big of a deal.

At the same time, Mr. Rant doing the dishes or hanging the laundry is a total turn on. For starters, he isn't doing it for himself. In his world his boxers fold themselves and walk right into his drawer. When Mr. Rant washes dishes or does anything else in the house he is basically doing it so I won't have to. He is coming in and taking a bit of the load off.

That my friends is freaking hot! There is a lot bigger chance of me being down to get down if I'm not feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or pissed off. Hell, if you do all of the housework I may even throw in a costume.

The thing is that men do not understand that the household work can sometimes sit on us like a constant hangover. The moment you are ready to relax you remember that there is a load of laundry in the washer or that the kids will be hungry soon.  As they have yet to master the culinary arts that too is your problem.

Personally, the day I come home to find the house clean, kids bathed, dishes washed, and dinner done I'm going to throw Mr. Rant onto the dining room table and take him. Of course that will totally traumatize the boys but when I explain it to their future spouses they will completely understand!

Who does the chores in your house? Does your spouse helping out make him/her appear more attractive?

On a side note, here's another interesting article about housework and sex: CNN: Housework and Sex

Monday, October 10, 2011

Questionable Internet Behavior?

Mr. Rant and I had a chat this evening over questionable internet behavior. The thing about internet is that it leaves access to gray areas that could or could not be questionable depending on the relationship of the person.

That then goes directly into the "privacy" aspect of internet and relationship. What can a partner read and question without getting the response of "Did you go into my account?" Is it ok for a spouse to enter your account? Is it ok to do questionable things under the umbrella understanding that one won't use the known password and check on the other?

I have always felt that, seeing Mr. Rant has all my passwords, he will one day check up on things. Personally, I call it healthy curiosity instead of prying. But let's be honest, we all like to pry. We want to know the dirty secrets of the person we are with, even though the person we are with isn't supposed to have any dirty secrets.

At the same time, how boring is it to not! My solution, to have dirty secrets with the one you are with! Oh the ideal world I live in.

In all honesty though, it comes down to perspective. And in the internet society we live in we have to have perspective. I'm sorry but at one point or another your significant other is going to either 1. download more porn than you are comfortable with 2. overly compliment someone else to a point that you are not comfortable with 3. have internet sex or 4. try internet bestiality (sheep are getting crazy smart these days).

So where is the line? Is it password use or activity? Is it communication over lack there of? How much contact are you comfortable with you spouse having? 

Stress and Signatures: Only in Brazil...

I've never thought too much about my signature. Hell, no one in my country even gives it a second glance. Seriously! Over about a year I signed all things with Bob Hope. I never got one call from a bank, credit card, or store.

Imagine how I felt when I got to Brazil and had to register my signature. Not only that, when I signed anything it had to be the same. No, not zen like 'sure it's close enough' same but actually the same.

I discovered that this was doubly true whenever signing anything somewhat official. They have people at the Cartorio (Brazilian registry) who are trained to tell if the signature is right on. Regardless of you being there, they will not accept it if it does not match your registered signature.

And it's not only them! Our bank calls Mr. Rant monthly to ask about the checks I write. Apparently my signature is never close enough to the two they have on file. Never. I blame the children because, let's be honest, it's why I have them.

So it comes as no shocker that signing things in this country stress me the hell out. I always wait just a second or two too long to sign things. People always think that I'm going to change my mind.

Take the signing away of my apartment for instance. I almost had a panic attack! And if I didn't sign it correctly? If the people at the Cartorio rejected my signature? Of course the buyers were smart and had a paid witness from the catorio there so I think I could have pulled off one of my old Bob Hope stunts. Of course, this is Brazil and I would get a call 40 years down the line when the Grandchildren were trying to sell the place saying that their paperwork is bad because I'm an ass.

Yes, paperwork, signatures, and all things "official" here are stressful. The details are so anal you'd think that the government is into S&M. Of course you should look at the other side. I don't have one Brazilian friend annoyed that someone is living as them. I'm sure they have it but I personally know of no personality theft here. Maybe there is some sense to all this madness. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Scottish Dancing in Rio de Janeiro?

Who knew there was a Scottish Society in Rio de Janeiro?! Well, apparently some people as they came in kilts.

I had a very pleasant surprise last night when I took my family to the Youth Scottish Dance at the British School. It was like I was transported to a different country! Strangely, minus the kilts and funny accents, I felt very much at home!

There we were in the heart of Botafogo and yet surrounded by English, common habits, and Shepard's pie. Parents were mingling, kids running around freely, and there was the occasional dance. I have to say that Chatterbox and I did pretty damn well at the dancing considering the fact that we have absolutely no Scot blood. 

The biggest culture shock at the event was the lack of over-parenting. Kids were running around on their own and were expected to come find Mom or Dad should they need something. There was little hovering, lots of laughing, and no drama. I absolutely loved it! The best and most traumatizing part was when the dance floor cleared of Scots and a Justin Beiber song was put on. It immediately filled up again with children busting a move. As much as Beiber horrifies me, I did enjoy watching my boys and all the other kids twirl around like drunk adults. Cute. 

All and all it was quite refreshing to take a step out of Rio de Janeiro without actually getting on a plane. I must say, last night may have converted me. The only problem? I have to work on my accent! It's just unacceptable!


This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules… 

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only. 
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw. 
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible. Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post. 
  • Link up your post below. 
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hot Brazilians for Your Friday - Real Person Edition!

Today I have a mere mortals as your Hotties!

 I don't know this man's name but he is not air brushed, there is no posing (ok, I would have liked a little pose) and you may have a chance at hooking up with him! Yes, this is the kind of lifeguard that Brazil supplies.

Sticking with the real person theme, here is a normal Brazilian girl at the beach. Yes, you can find them everywhere down here!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Living with Two or More Languages

As an expat in Brazil, I find that the vast majority of my expat friends speak English regardless of where they are from. I have always found their flexibility in switching between English and Portuguese intriguing. Since neither is their first language and they live in Brazil, it is actually quite normal. Though because I speak candidly to them in English, I find it amazing that they can have the same level of conversation in Portuguese. But of course, why wouldn't they be able to?

This begs you to ask: is it your home language, the languages you speak, where you live, or the company you keep that decides which you are most comfortable speaking? When you are a person of less flexible abilities than some of the multilinguals and world travelers out there, that crosses your mind.

What I find among these social nomads is that they have found a bridge. Don't get me wrong, they don't have the secret to the linguistic fountain of youth or anything like that. They do know, however, that the secret is acceptance, immersion, adaptation, and work.

That last one is the thing that surprisingly never comes up in multilingual talk. While some of had the  advantage of being raised with at least 2 languages from birth (not including me sadly), many had to earn their language stripes. That includes suffering through the pains of not understanding anyone where you are at, never being able to adequately share your feelings, and generally feeling lost.

Yet, once you learn a language, you will find yourself torn between the two. I have moments where I can't find an English word for something because it is much better in Portuguese. Honestly, descriptive words in Portuguese rock and I find I have a much easier time discussing the medical issues of my children in my second language. Not a shocker seeing my boys were born and are being raised here. Brazil, and in Portuguese, is where my Mommy vocabulary was born.

On the other hand, I can't express my own feelings worth a damn in Portuguese. It's a block and I can't seem to get past it. I can be quite direct in English, or so I am told, and I know I can come off as a Satanic Bitch in Portuguese. Alright, I can come off as a bitch in English too but I think I've figured that one out at this point in my life.

How about you? Is there one language you prefer in certain circumstances? Do you find yourself mixing more than one language as a means of expressing yourself?

*Motivation for this post came from an article on the Psychology Today site. 

What the Death of Steve Jobs Says About our World

Amazing photo from:

Steve Job's death is tragic in that it happened too early in his life. 56 years old is just too young to go. 

At the same time I resent the making of an idol. Over pillow talk with Mr. Rant he touched on a gut feeling that had starting bothering me the moment Twitter practically shut down and Facebook started posting thousands of statuses in memory of the former Apple CEO. 

Mr. Rant made a very good point, who was this man that stopped the internet tonight? Did he save starving children? Did he aide those at risk of genocide? Did he reach out to the homeless or build homes after Karina? Not so much no.

He built technology that we play with. Actually, he built technology with a team. No people, Steve wasn't in a glass room pulling holy ipads out of his ass. Genius yes, deity no. 

Regardless, I'm getting off my point. He was the face of a company. A face of a company died and people around the world are mourning him. Hell, Google posted a memorial and Obama made a statement. That's pretty big stuff. And why did that happen? Well, he made billions for apple, stock holders around the world have full pockets, and adults and kids alike have angry birds to play with. 

Am I saying he wasn't a good man? Not at all! I'm sure he is the kind of man that is well worth the attention that his death is getting. What I am saying is that what does the attention his death is getting say about our world? Countries around the world are facing serious issues, including the one I live in, and Steve Jobs trends on Twitter 15 seconds after his death. Sally Struthers and her starving children couldn't pay for that kind of thing even if they sent one of their starving children to die at the Apple offices. 

I'm not writing as a means to take away from his death. Obviously the world lost an amazing creative mind and one of the faces of Apple. What I am asking is for you to take a step back. Other than genius, fun and changing world technology as we know it, what did he really do? Seriously. I mean, how important is an ipad in the long run. Can you eat it? Does it end world poverty? Are we really using it to educate the masses or distribute healthcare to those in need? 

I know my questions are boring. They are the things you don't like to think about while you are putting your kids to sleep in their warm beds with their full tummies. You don't want to stop and think that someone somewhere is struggling to work 2 jobs and learn how to read at 14 yrs old. You don't want to think of the judges in third world countries trying to fight corrupt police officers who end up getting shot down in front of their home. You really don't want to think of the people of Haiti and how a pigeon is considered a good meal. 

And no one is truly pushing for the people fighting for these people to trend on Twitter. No one is talking about how doctors without borders is busting their ass in Somalia or about the people working with AIDS in Africa on their Facebook Status. 

It makes me think that the key to helping this world is to convince a starving Somalian child to develop a new kind of cell phone. Wow, that kind of publicity focused on where he/she is from... imagine what it could do. 

As another friend pointed out, Steve Jobs is a name and face we know. He is in our homes. That only makes grief and condolences that much easier and more personal. It is a very good point but also one that saddens me. Why is it that we know heads of corporations over humanitarians? Why do we know reality stars over UN workers? 

For some reason we give fame to those who really aren't the heroes in this world or maybe I just have a different kind of hero in mind. Regardless, in my ideal world the death of a brilliant man who made millions would not rise above the deaths of millions that attempted to make other lives even just a little bit more brilliant. 

Regardless of the nature of this post I want it to be understood that I send my condolences to Steve Jobs' family, friends, and co-workers. He was someone's Father, Husband, and friend. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Secret to Marriage: Outsourcing

The New York Times just busted out another classic article. It's all about "equally shared parenting." When you think it's impossible to over-think children and families, someone offers another view.

So the deal there is that each parent is equally involved in everything. They have equal work hours, equal quality time with kids, equal responsibility of the home, and equal 15 minutes bouts of boring sex.

Obviously I read this and felt the need to put a Brazilian spin on it. I'm getting quite predictable on this blog, or as I like to call it "equally shared topic use."

Anyway, Brazilians have an easy answer to the equality at home issue, they outsource. Hell, I think most marriages here come with a full-time maid to clean and cook. Depending on the financial situation of the parents, come little Jr. there could be the addition of a nanny, the expansion of the job description of the maid, or the abuse of extended family members.

Yes, the family helps. You have the Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Siblings, and goodness knows however many cousins the parents feel comfortable having help. The Brazilians have the tribe style of raising kids down.

So in the middle class two working parent situation, Brazilians have that stuff down. Not only do neither of them actually have to do housework, sometimes they hardly need to raise their children unless they really want to. I think that explains why I'm the Mom getting annoyed with my kid's tantrum and the Brazilian parent is calmly lecturing them on how it makes Mommy feel... all while the kid is screaming.

In the past I have always accounted the parents I encounter's patience with just being more patient. I would swear to myself that my pregnant Mother really should have gotten her butt on a plane and birthed me in a more acceptable country. Turns out, upon reflection, that maybe this patience comes from having help. They are not burnt out by their kids or household duties. They do not have to argue with their spouse over who never does the dishes because Valeria or Lillian is coming in to handle them in the morning.

In all seriousness though, they need the help! If you have two working parents with semi-decent careers the hours are a bitch! Mr. Rant can go from getting home at 630pm one week to 830pm the next. It doesn't matter how early he starts his day. It's that damn 6pm meeting that every Brazilian seems to love to schedule that only actually starts at 630 or 7pm. That meeting will bite you in the ass weekly!

So I guess when you are in Brazil you do what the Brazilians do, unless you are me that is. I'm a glutton for punishment and can't manage a maid more than twice a week. Call me crazy but sharing my box of an apartment with another woman, who talks more than me by the way, is enough to send me to the Brazilian crazy house. Trust me, not the crazy house you want to end up in!

How do you or will you handle your household?

Pink Jesus?

Being the statement maker that the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro is, he lit himself up in pink on Tuesday in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

In other news, Caricoas stormed Christ statue looking for what they thought was the coolest funk party location yet. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

DJ school in Rocinha?

It's hip and cool to get involved, especially when you name drop Rio de Janeiro. Making a difference here doesn't get much cooler... until now.

There is a group giving the kids of Rocinha a shot at a dream and it is one hell of a good one: Rocinha Media School! Not all trades need to be boring and this program, spin Rocinha, is the opposite of that. They teach Rocinha lovers of music professional dj skills.

From their mission statement:

Rocinha Media School (RMS) was established as a venue for the pursuit of cultural practices that foster ideas and collaborations in electronic media, with a focus on the intersection between music, performance, technology, and culture. RMS supports the creation and presentation of digital media projects achieved through the use of affordable new, evolving, and industry standard technologies.
RMS’s arts education mission responds to an academic, and economic, shortfall and a community request to:  
• Honor and build on the community’s cultural diversity 
• Teach methods of artistic expression, from established to new technologies
• Create and reinforce opportunities to facilitate arts and media development
• Develop creative skills of emerging and established media artists and their practices
• Provide a forum for discussion of relevant issues among youth and the community
• Integrate media programming with relevant issues that engage youth
• Develop partnerships with other cultural institutions 

I believe that reaching out to at risk youths has to come in numerous forms. For me, this is a new and different kind of program. It has the potential to reach kids who have no interest in the normal outreach programs. In addition, music is naturally therapeutic and Spin Rocinha is giving these kids an opportunity to express themselves. Trust me, not all of them get that normally.

So how to get involved. Well, Jim at Qualidade da Vida is having a fund raiser to help get them an ipad that would greatly help with the technology aspect of the program. Crazy thing is that over half the people I know have one to play with, why can't these guys have it to take things to the next level? Anyway, that is a start.

You can also go visit their site and see how you can personally get involved. And remember:

SPIN ROCINHA is a youth empowerment and music development program, implemented by Rocinha Media School, in which Rocinha’s young people develop industry-standard DJing skills to produce music that is based on their experiences within the community. Using a process that enables youths to explore issues of democratic, community participation through media empowerment, the program advances the distinctive cultural narratives that help shape Rocinha and the region.