Thursday, September 30, 2010

Say What?!

Wow, so the list of what I have not gotten used to in Portuguese just increased. 

I had to call to make an appointment for an ultrasound. Apparently I may be more hormonal than most women. Isn´t my husband lucky.  

Knowing how forgetful I am, I called the special woman ultrasound place right after my appointment.  I´ve only ever gotten ultrasounds while pregnant in Rio so I didn´t know women have to go to special lady places to get their lady parts ultrasounds. It does kind of make sense. I wonder if everything is going to be pink and be covered in lilies...

Anyway, I felt like I was signing up to have Lula do my freakin´ultrasound. I got the 3rd degree. It´s very rare that I feel overwhelmed and, you guessed it, I did.  

It doesn´t help that I understood about 50%. Nothing like an anxious operator to make me feel retarded speaking Portuguese.  I totally lost her after the 'You have to arrive here 15 minutes early and we will run 15 minutes late'.  I think that´s what caused my confusion. I got stuck on their plan to be late. I mean, what is that? 

In the end she asked me if I understood and if I could please repeat back to her the date and time of my appointment.  Yes teacher, I know the answer. Please give me a gold star. 

I guess you could say I´m scared. If the operator is this blunt what in the hell are the techs going to be like!

On a side note, after this day, as it´s the perfect excuse, the 'detox' died.  I mean, the hormone suspicion alone is enough to push a girl over. I just turned 30 and OPA my hormones are dying out on me.  And as a bonus, blood tests, ultrasounds, and a pap. 

Is it just me or is it Christmas?  Well, just in case it is, I made me a big old sandwich to celebrate. Lifes too short and I`m too thin as it is. Yeah food!

Portuguese - check

I have a trip to my girly parts doctor today. Just a little check up.  When I stop to think about it, it always amazes me that I do these things in Portuguese.  I mean, it´s just crazy to think that I arrived here speaking nothing and then ended up delivering both my boys using a language other than my native to communicate.

So I thought I´d do a list of the things I am proud that I can now manage in Portuguese:

1. Doctors:  We´re talking pediatricians, gyno, ER doctors. I´m at ease with my Portuguese medical vocab. Ok, not so much but I´m damn good at charades now.

2. Dentist:  This was surprisingly hard. Just as dentists all over the world, my dentist asked me questions while my mouth was full of stuff. I had a hard time slurring in Portuguese but she seemed to understand. That or she´s a good faker, maybe I should ask her husband...

3. The Butcher:  I used to be afraid of the butcher. I don´t know the different cuts very well and the butchers I´ve met are always in a rush.  I manage now.  If they get impatient, I just take a little longer.

4. Gas station: Have no idea why this made me nervous. It´s full service for goodness sake.  Needless to say, one time and I mastered this challenge.

5. The Gym:  Half the time I don´t know what the hell the trainer person is saying.  First off, I´m in the middle of a workout.  Second, they just start spouting out random words.  Not a big deal though, they are usually there to tell you your position is wrong. If you don´t understand they´ll just fix it.  Basically, I´ve always had pretty touchy feely relationships with gym trainers.  Poor Rachel.

6. School Admins:  At first I got so overwhelmed by the info that I didn´t understand anything. Now I manage with the Sass God gave me and even ask for discounts.  What can I say, the discount is the Brazilian way.

How about you ex-Pats out there?  What have you mastered in a foreign language that´s made you proud?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A little Bump in the Road

The problem with brown rice and steamed veggies is that it runs through my system like tequila.  Quick and ugly. 

I ate a big meal of this stuff before I headed out to drop the kiddies off at school and go downtown to teach my classes for the day.  I swear, the moment my foot hit the pavement I was hungry.  No, this was not temptation as there are no restaurants particularly close to my home. I was just hungry, such is the story of my life for the past 3 days. 

So I´m screwed. I didn´t bring a tupperware because I felt like a dork.  Like I was going to bust out a Dora lunchbox on the metro. My best option was to stop for a juice at the juice stand near Largo do Machado and get a natural juice, no sugar. 

I was waiting patiently for my juice when I smelled it.  It was heaven on a plate of grease. Before I turned to look, I knew what it is.  The greasy looking teenager who was sitting next to me received his even greasier looking order. It was a HUGE cheese burger, 2 patties and no salad, as they say here in Rio. 

I bet you are thinking I´m going to say I was disgusted.  Oh no, quite the contrary. I was turned on. That hamburger had me at hello. 

No, I did not cheat.  Cheaters never win and winners never cheat. Didn´t you see that Back to School special? 

Anyway, I just sighed and drank my freakin´ O.J.  I think I overestimated myself and underestimated this diet.  It´s going to take a lot more to make this girl granola! 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Granola here I come

Ok, I´ve been converted. Loved loved loved Pilates!

It´s slow but requires focus and strength. I feel stretched out and yet I know my thighs and abs will be killing me tomorrow! Yeah! Seriously, I´m one of those sick people who like the burn.  Not that burn! 

Plus, it has the whole breathing thing that totally reminds me of the good part of a cigarette.  I don´t think my brain has ever had that much oxygen before. Well, at least not, on and off, for the past 10 years. 

And you know what, I´m starting to get scared. I´m enjoying the taste of, get this, vegetables.  Plain veggies!  I used to make fun of people like this.  But in all honestly, I forgot the real taste of veggies. We put so much stuff on them, especially in Brazil, that you can´t even taste it. Hell, when my maid makes veggies, she boils them and then sautes them in oil with garlic, salt, and onion.  There´s nothing left to it by the time she´s done but it sure as hell tastes good.

It´s sad but true, I´ve been reformed. I really don´t know how long it´ll last. I´m sometimes quite rash and random with my decisions if you haven´t noticed.  But I feel great! I was feeling like crap before pilates but now, wow, now I´m on fire. I know I´ll crash soon but I wonder how I´ll feel when the whole detox part is done.

So maybe there´s something to this "clean" living thing. I mean, it´s not like it´s too hard to do in Brazil. Fruits and Veggies are a dime a dozen.  Fish and lean proteins are also easy to find and not too bad on the pocketbook, depending on the kind. 

I guess it´s like the kind of gas you put in the car. Mr Rant always wants to buy premium.  I say buy regular and cheap. He says the car runs better and longer with premium. I say that´s the man trying to get you to give him your money.  Maybe we´re both right. 

So in the end, I may turn into a granola, at least I come with Açai.

Pilates: Healthy or Hot?

So I have my first ever pilates class this afternoon. It´s one of those try it out and see if you like it classes the specialty gyms let you do in Rio de Janeiro. I´m excited and I have no idea why. I´ve never done pilates before. I know it is "core" training but that´s about it.

I really just hope that I don´t pass gas during class. It would be possible with all the leafy greens I´m eating. And why on Earth did I decide to eat cabbage for lunch when I knew I´d be strapped to machines later in the day. I swear, I´m a glutton for punishment.  

And you know, with this cleanse, and pilates, I´m turning into one of two things. Either a total and complete body obsessed Patricinha* (minus being rich) or an Alternative health person.

Let´s see how these 10 days roll.  If I start getting my nails done and going shopping for new closes to fit my healthier body, Patricinha it is.  If I make appointments for myself, my children, and my husband to all see an acupuncturist, then Health person wins out.

By the way, my Mother in Law would be so stoked if I turned to Chinese Medicine.  It would just make her tea boil. 

Funny thing is, both types of people happily co-inhabit Rio de Janeiro. We are a hub for the body conscious, both the superficially and the health obsessed. 

Personally, I hope to find myself somewhere in between.  I hope to live a healthier life and not depend on coffee as a jump start each morning.  I also hope to get my flat stomach back. Yes, I want a miracle that removes the extra fluidity of my stomach muscles after carrying two children.   

Can´t we have it all? I´m sure a salon providing mani pedis and colonics would do splendidly in Zona Sul. 
I can see it now. Get the shit cleaned out of your nails and yourself, all at the same time.

* Patricinha is slang for a conceited, rich, and usually very attractive woman. They normally have super tight bodies, dress nicely, and have very little to say.  The male version is a Play Boy. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 1 of Dietary Detox

Wow.  This is harder than I thought. It´s only 230pm on my first day and I already am feeling it. 

It started with my stomach feeling weird. Not bad but weird.  It´s the only way I can explain it. I told myself it was a placebo effect or the fact that I haven´t gone yet. You know, GONE yet. Apparently my 2 morning cups of coffee aid the passage of certain things. 

Then headache started. Oh the headache.  Could be the lack of coffee.  But that doesn´t explain the cravings. People, I´m craving cake like an obese pregnant woman. It´s out of control. And the kicker is, I don´t even really like cake! I´m much more of a cookie person. Mmmmm cookies. 

Seriously though, I´m craving sugar.  I´d almost make out with a horse just to get a stab at a sugar cube.  And it´s only the first day!

But it´ll get easier with time, as I adapt and my withdrawals lessen.  Or that´s what I`m telling myself. 

So I´ve found the granola foodie people a bit nutty. Pun intended.  You know, you are what you eat and your energy is being blocked by your consumption of dairy, caffeine, or crap in general. 

I mean, I never ate that bad.  Or so I thought. But should I really be noticing anything so early in the game.  If all the foodies are right and my body is a temple, my worshipers should be weary of my wrath! Something is telling me that this temple is full of crap, literally and figuratively. 

Anyway, so far so good. I´m looking forward to seeing or not seeing changes in how my body feels. Let´s see if there really is something to this whole cleansing thing.  And during low moments, like when I served my boys their oh so tasty looking meatballs, I just remind myself that when this is done, I get a pizza! 4 cheeses baby!

And now I know why I´ve been thinking about pizza, craving sugar, and have a headache.  I stumbled upon this article looking for something Real life Spirituality: Detox body and mind. She talks about the mental eating habits we have and such. I hear that. That´s why I`m in the little pickle I´m in.  I do see myself going back to normal food though, but my hopes are that it´s with a bit more adult-like responsibility.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Breakdown of the Brazilian Family

All families are different, and yet, all families are crazy. 

So I´ve decided to break down the dynamic of the Brazilian family as viewed from a wife. 

The Mother is in charge. Yes, your husband´s Mother.  There´s really nothing you can do about it.  You went to put his balls in your purse and realized they were already in someone else´s.  It happens.

Keep in mind that it will never be said out loud but it is true. They are die-hard Momma´s boys and that´s really not a bad thing. One of these days, when their Mother croaks, you will be the proud owner of a shiny new pair of... you get the picture. Of course, that will never happen. The Brazilian Mother-in-Law never dies. She outlives us all. 

Worst case scenario, you could always go and talk to her boss. Who you ask.  Her Mother. Her Mother is the boss of her... and her husband. While we´re at it, you and your husband as well.  Don´t worry, the Grandmother is the high up boss. You rarely have contact with her. Your Mother-in-law has to bear that burden. 

Do keep in mind though that the Grandmother will not help you. Your troubles are petty to her. If she was born and bred in Brazil, she has lived through things you can´t even imagine. I´m talking popping out a baby on the floor of her kitchen into the arms of a screaming maid because the maternity hospital in the tiny town was taken over by soldiers during the war and the midwife didn´t make it in time. In case you are curious, she cut her own umbilical cord and heated up a bottle for the older child who was crying because the maid couldn´t pull herself together. Yes, that is my Grandmother-in-law. My leg could get cut off and she´d just tell me to get over it. 

Now the second in command to the Grandmother is the Aunt.  Come on, you know that aunt. Every family in Brazil has one. She has never married and is still living with the Grandparents.  She is the go to guy when you want to request a certain meal at family lunches.  Of course she is, she´s the one who goes to the feira and cooks almost everything. 

So what does that make you? Depends on how many women in the family. I figure, if the Brazilian family were a pirate ship, I´d be swabbing the deck.  While that annoyed me at the beginning, I´ve found the beauty in it. There are so many characters that I´m almost living the Pirates of the Caribbean, only it´s more entertaining. 

The Sass is palpable and I have to say, I like it. I love these ladies.  For that matter, I adore the men too.  I find the laughing, bickering, uninvited advice, and gossip all quite endearing.  Strange how that happens. I guess you could call me adapted.

Above all, you must remember that these woman, although fabulously crazy in their own respect, will bend over backward for you and your family.  They would sell the family apartment if need be.  That´s the thing about the Brazilian family, they are in it for the long haul.  You are family, whether you like it or not, and that comes with certain responsibilities and definite privileges.  You can and should go to them.  Just keep in mind that everyone else in the family will know your business. What am I saying?  They already do.  It´s just the Brazilian way. They are a talkative bunch. 

Let the Cleanse Begin

So I finally decided on a cleanse. And you all thought I was going to flake out on the idea. 

I´m going to do an intestinal cleanse a friend of mine recommended.  That means I will be consuming Cateto rice and steamed veggies for 10 days.  Oh yes, we´re talking breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 10 to 21 whole days. I´m putting 10 in my head because that seems far more feasible.  If all goes well, maybe I´ll stretch it out...but I doubt it. 

Why put myself through this, you ask.  Actually, I´m not quite sure. If I really think about it, I don´t want to go through the coffee and sugar withdrawals.  It´s scary to think about it. I´m cranky in the morning with my coffee and sugar.  Just imagine how I will be, the first couple of days, without. I am not envious of my family. 

And don´t even mention wine.  My dear friend wine.  

The real reason I want to do this is because it´s time to be healthier. It´s time to really see what my body can do. I used to live off of microwavable crap and feel great. Seriously, all through college, and a couple years afterward, my diet consisted of microwavable pizzas and instant pastas.  I rarely ate fruit or veggies.  Let´s not even get into the regular drinking. 

But I was in my late teens and early 20s. You can pull off that kind of madness.  I can´t anymore. I´m exhausted, I´m bloated, and I`m gassy. I know what you are thinking, sexy. Dead sexy. Shockingly, not so much. Flatulence is not foreplay people.

Anyway, my body is a smidgen older and needs a little more care.  I figure, it´s like changing the oil in your car, only I`m doing it to my intestines. 

Now the real issue with be not falling back into old habits.  I´m a bit of a glutton.  I love me some overindulgence. 

Well, we´ll see what happens.  Wish me luck!

Friday, September 24, 2010

1950s fit me just fine

I believe in Mothers and wives.  Not just the normal oh you gave birth to a tiny person or you married someone. No, I believe in THE mother and wife that takes care of the family.

I know, I´m so 1950s poodle skirt.  I can´t help it.  I want to be the martyr self scarifying mother! I´m just crazy like that. 

Maybe it´s because I will never forget my mother taking me to the bus stop and being there when I got off.  And that, in and of itself, is what I feel a mother should be.  There, always, whether you want her or not.

Of course I´m talking small children. I will not be spooning my 17 year old while he sleeps, that´d just be creepy.

But I ask you this, why is it not ok to be a stay at home Mom?  Why do we get the questions "what about yourself?" "When are you going back to work?"  "What about your career?"

Pardon my language but Fuck, yes with a capital F, my career.  Is working really for me? Am I getting some deep spiritual gratification writing up proposals or sitting in meetings?  Really people. No.

Then again, my work is not who I am. I´m not being defensive or poking at anything here.  But seriously, I´ve never taken work that serious. I did my best, 110%, gold star, employee of the month work but it wasn´t who I was.  I just never felt that kind of connection to a line of work. Then again, I wasn´t saving the world, in any sense.

So I don´t get why letting your husband earn the living is an issue.  Because, let´s be honest, it´s an issue out there.  I mean, my husband isn´t going to work worrying about what I´m teaching his kids.  I could be telling them his Mother is Satin for all he knows.

I´m not by the way, I swear.

That´s the thing. I have two little future in my hands.  I´m the man behind the curtain in the lives of these two little guys.  So I ask you, who´s job is more important. Mr. Rant will be the first to say mine.  My kids are happy, well adjusted (if you consider calling everything poop well adjusted as I do) young boys.  And I take full credit.  Ok, not really, I have that all star husband who comes home and helps with the kids. Only the kids. Just saying.

Anyway, I want to pick them up from school. I want to bake cookies with them afterward. I want to call and bitch to my childless friends about how nice it´d be to have just one free 24 hour period, although secretly I´d be thinking about them the entire time.

I am used and abused and am on call more than any ER doctor.  24/7 baby.  And I love it.  It is about the quality of life just as Jim says. 

All that being said, I know a number of Moms who need to work, and they Rock! You can do it all, seriously. You may be more beaten down than JLo´s panties but it can be done. And I love them for it! 

Thankfully, I don´t have to choose between life and home just yet. We can live a little leaner and stay a little Mommy happier.  I think that fits just fine right about now.

A Note on Body odor

Rio de Janeiro makes me stink. There, I said it. I can´t help but sweat like a 400 lb hairy man with glandular problems. 

And it´s embarrassing!  My husband doesn´t even sweat as much as I do!  I spend the entire Rio de Janeiro Spring, Summer, and Fall with the sweat mustache, not to mention many other unpleasant sweat side effects. 

And the sweating stinks.  I´ve never, ever, EVER had a BO issue. Never. I was that girl who could forget her deodorant, go to the gym, and head straight out afterward without anyone noticing. I just don´t smell... well didn´t before I came here.  I call it the princess gene where everything normally nasty comes out smelling like roses.  Of course, I still claim to have said gene and you could beat me to death before I admit otherwise.

Except for in the first paragraph of this post.

Anyway, someone once told me it´s because I`m too white. 

Say what?!

But they were serious. My genes, body, and more specifically my sweat glands are not made for this kind of heat. I´m a white, should be up in Alaska girl.  The theory goes that since I was not made for the southern hemisphere, my body has to work overtime.  Thus the sweat and the sometimes offensive smell that I do not admit to having.

You know, that sounds pretty damn logical.  Pretty damn logical indeed.  Of course that doesn´t help me in any way, shape, or form.  I guess I have to resign myself to clothing changes and the yellowing of certain spots on all my white tank tops.  Could be worse.  I could also be gassy.

Do I stay or Do I go now?

The strangest thing happened to me today, my English student proposed that I work for him.

Apparently, he´s looking for an executive secretary and asked me to name my price. Really? Name my price? $1 million dollars! 

Ok, I didn´t go that far.  I asked him what the hours were and he said that I didn´t answer the question. Well how am I going to answer the question if I don´t know anything about the job!

So I said R$5,000 a month.  Just fell out of my big old mouth.  He said could be.  Could be?  Is that before or after taxes? Can I ask for more?

But that is, seriously, a difficult question to answer. In my mind, he´s asking me how much life as I know it is worth? 

It´s priceless!  Of course I´d like to play with the idea and R$5,000 a month is nothing to scoff at.  But how could I part with my boys?  I can´t help but feel that the increased financial ease would calm a section of my and my husband´s brains but not benefit our kids.  It breaks my heart to think of them in school full time. 

Get a Nanny!  Oh I see how it is. Of course it would be cheaper than paying for full time school and they could, more or less, continue with life as normal.  But it wouldn´t be Mom. Call me an egomaniac but it would kill me to have someone else taking my kids to the park or helping them get dressed. 

I want to be here when they are sick. I want to be able to keep them home if they really don´t feel like going and I don´t have class. And I just really want to be around.

Of course I´m being all dramatic before I even have a job offer. It was just something put out there for consideration.  I mean, I don´t write well in Portuguese (which I mentioned) and I have no experience as an executive secretary.  Of course, that has never stopped me before.

And yes, my kids would be fine. Kids all over the world are at school/daycare while their parents work and they don´t have any more complexes than anyone else.  

The funniest part of all, I didn´t think he enjoyed our classes or liked me that much at all. Don´t get me wrong, we get along great but he always has something to say something.  You know what I mean?

Well, go figure.  Just when you think you might be slipping, you get a good review. 


Thursday, September 23, 2010

First day of spring and my big boy is 4!

Four years ago today I waddled into the public hospital and had my oldest! 

He was 42 weeks late. Thank goodness the hospital got a great shot of the penis during the ultrasound because all Brazilian women over the age of 50 were insisting he was girl. Only girls are late. 

Come to think of it, happened with my youngest too. He had his legs crossed for the first 6 months.  This time almost all Brazilian women insisted that Rafa was a girl because girls are modest, not boys. 

Apparently I have effeminate boys.  Maybe that´s why my oldest learned how to put the toilet seat down after use so easily...

Anyway, Happy birthday to my boy! (even if you can´t read this). 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oh The Crank

I called the hubby at work this evening and was in full optimistic Mom mode, totally annoying to almost anyone and especially to a cranky husband. 

I didn´t know he was cranky.  It took about 2 words to figure it out.  Personally, I can understand a good crank when it hits but I do not appreciate it directed at me.  To explain, I feel that there is a difference between being super cranky and short with the one you love. It happens. But that person should never think they are the one that caused said crank.

That is where my husband and I differ. For him, crank, cranky, cranktastic is all the same thing.  And you react the same way. 

Let´s all keep in mind that I`m at that special point in my cycle that makes me extra sensitive and somewhat bitchy at the same time. Isn´t menstruation a beautiful thing. OMG, I just said menstruation on my blog!

And now that I´m thinking about it, I totally pulled a LAME hormonal Mom move tonight. I called him at work. He was late and I really wanted to share some kid news before I forgot.  Plus, I wanted him to swing by and pick me up some wine. Hey, if he´s going to be late it´s the least he can do, right?

Well, the super cranky overworked Mr. Rant did not appreciate the call and my immediately reciprocated crankiness. In his defense, he asked me why I didn´t respond on msn and I informed him he wasn´t online. That´s when he realized his computer crashed... again.

So my "well you are just being a poop and I´m going to hang up now"  was not helping.  I just wanted to share that our oldest subtracted for the first time, on his own!  And the little one now says Macaco (monkey). So cute, comes out Caco.

We did talk shortly there after and he was as equally amazed with the random mathematical breakthrough and increased vocabulary as I was. 

All I´m saying is where is my fairy Godmother? Shouldn´t she have been here taking the phone from the pms-ing Momma, making a note of the mini milestones, wrapping my oldest´s bday presents for tomorrow, and running out to get me a glass of wine?

Pinch me but I´m starting to think I´m not a Princess.

Say what?! That´s crazy

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Great 4 hrs off

So I generally get 4 hrs off a day when both boys are at school. Keep in mind that I teach 2 of those afternoons and have to make lesson plans sometime before those two days.

Needless to say, I rarely feel pumped after my 4 hrs off. I never seem to get anything quite done. 

Well, today is different. I decided I was going to spend the time going around and pre-ordering the food for my oldest´s birthday party on Thursday.  Imagine my surprise when it only took 40 minutes!  No errand has ever taken me that little time in Rio! And I even had to go to 3 different places. 

Well, that meant I had to work.  Well, my mind, fingers, and keyboard took the busting out seriously because it only took me around an hour! And I was having an email convo with a very entertaining friend and periodically checking Facebook at the same time. Go figure. 

So I called a Mommy friend of mine and we´re going to go enjoy some nachos at the little Mexican place down the street from my place before we have to pick the small ones up from school.  Sweetness!  Stop if you are thinking I´m so lucky to have a Mexican restaurant near my apt because it´s more like Tex Mex.  Oh who am I kidding, I´d take a Mexican selling Brazilian hot dogs at this point!

And to top it all off, I already have dinner planned.

Guys, I´m on fire today!  If I get laid I just may blow up.

Oh you Americans

I remember when my oldest turned 1 year old. We went in for his 1 year check up and my pediatrician laid down the law.

Translated "Stay away from peanuts until Luka is 3!"

I was like, say what?  I´ve read the books. I know the rules.  But why is my super mellow pediatrician actually breaking them down for me when he never has before.

"Americans love peanuts and love to give them to their kids. No peanut butter!"

I didn´t realize he was a mind reader.  Honestly, I was planning on waiting until he was 2.  Three seemed a bit much.  So I ignored his request and gave him peanut butter anyway... at 2.  And you know what, it was fine!  Actually, my youngest sneaked a taste of his brother´s peanut butter sandwich at 9 months.  I was shocked, a little panicked, and sat and watched. If his throat didn´t close we´d be good.

5 minutes passed. Nothing. Sweetness, no peanut allergies in this house.

So when my going to be 4 years old this week broke out into hives a month ago,  I thought it was the cough medicine.  The Pediatrician suggested the peanut butter sandwich he ate for lunch. Impossible.  Plus, we all know he´s a peanut butter hater anyway. HATER.

When he started to break out into hives this evening, I started thinking.  The only thing he ate both times was a peanut butter sandwich. 

Damn it.  Maybe the pediatrician was right. Maybe the pediatrician was lucky.  Maybe peanut butter is evil.  I don´t know. All I know is that until an allergist proves otherwise, I´m mourning the quick lunch/snack that is the peanut butter sandwich.  One time screwed, shame on the sandwich. Second time screwed, shame on Mommy.  Until proven differently, I will give him rice and beans instead.

Monday, September 20, 2010

If you were only allowed to give your children one piece of advice, what would that be?

I´ve stumbled upon a thing called an Idea Bank.  It´s post ideas for bloggers.

For those of you out there that read but don´t blog, it´s sometimes hard to find posts. Well, not hard to find posts but hard to find ones that people actually want to read.  So I found this and have decided that I´m going to do one, right now!

This one struck a core:

If you were only allowed to give your children one piece of advice, what would that be?

I would tell him to be himself even if it hurt. That himself will change over time but said change is one of the few consistent things we have in our lives.  If he should change himself to fit in with those he considers worthy, he will only hurt more in the long run. It´s amazing how quickly you can die on the inside while thriving on the outside.  And that when the end comes, the real end, it is he, and only he, that will have to face the life that he lead. He will have to live with the guilt, hurt, or indifference he has caused.  He will have to face the things he did not want to face beforehand.  It is best to keep your head up from the beginning because it´s much harder to lift that chin after it´s already been pulled down.

I could continue but I feel I´ve already branched out when the questions says one piece of advice.

What would you tell your child/children?

Rio de Janeiro Motel: Nasty or Nastastic?

Sure, you hear sex motel and you think ladies for purchase and nasty little business men. 

Now let´s think of it a different way. Let´s take me for example.  I´ve been married 7 years and have 2 children.  And, as amazing as it is (I´m a lucky girl), it´s kind of hard to make something new out of something you have been doing regularly for nearly a decade.

So I´m recommending motels for the married.  Ladies and gentlemen, brush off the dust and go look at yourself in about 1,000 mirrors.  It´s fun! It´s almost like being a teenager again. You walk in and you feel like you are doing something naughty.  The oh so good "but we shouldn´t be here" feeling. 

It´s even better if you drive because you get to pull into the underground garages built to protect hidden lovers.  Just imagine the role playing opportunities there.

Be prepared though, because we are talking about some pretty kinky stuff here. Even the classiest of motels usually have a special (if you know what I mean) chair, if not more.  You can even get rooms with a jacuzzi and/or sauna.  Don´t worry about the price, you pay by the hour. 

And the more you pay, the more you get. There is a notorious motel out on Niemeyer called VIPs.  It´s supposed to be the best Motel Rio de Janeiro has to offer. They serve top quality cuisine, have all the fun extras, and a view to die for.

Note on cleanliness.  These places are clean.  Supposedly, there are strict regulations in the Rio de Janeiro Motel industry.  We´re talking black light approved. If only they had the same regulations at restaurants and supermarkets. Then again, we may get confused and try to have sex in the frozen foods section. You never know, people are crazy. 

Now that you have the information, do a little search for your neighborhood motel.  Schedule a lunch with your significant other and turn it into a nooner. I tell you, everyone is a little happier after one.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Linha Vermelha: Blocking out reality?

Anyone who has driven to the Rio de Janeiro International airport somewhat recently will have noticed the walls erected on the sides of Linha Vermelha. 

It´s an interesting idea.  The first reason for them, that comes to mind, is to "beautify" the area for all the visitors to the city.

Now, I see that as ridiculous. Let´s hide the poor.  What a very 1st world concept.  I know, that is very negative of me to say but take a minute and see where I am coming from. 

Imagine you are a child who lives there.  Mommy, why are they putting up walls?  It is practical as it lessens the chance of anyone running across the busy street. Sadly, many people get hurt that way down here. 

But let´s be honest, I doubt the government is spending money on keeping people from j walking, regardless of it being a good idea.

Sadly, I believe it´s to hide the "unattractive" aspect of Rio de Janeiro. We wouldn´t want to scare our tourists would we?  Especially since the World Cup and Olympics are coming. We must, at all costs, change the image of Rio.

So great, paint over rotting walls with new paint. That´ll fix the problem.  And what are you telling the people behind the wall?  The people who already feel all but forgotten by the people in charge down here.

I feel that it´s smoke and mirrors and I am unreasonably upset by this.  Unreasonably because I do not live in the community and am not directly affected by the walls.  Plus, I´m not even from here.  I always feel a bit out of place complaining about things here that have been going on for longer than I´ve been born and then some.
It´s just, I feel the money could be used differently. Put it into public education. Build more public school and fund them well so the child of these communities will have more options in the future. Hell, make the public Universities bigger and put in affirmative action programs to make sure the poor get the slots they deserve to get, that being over the rich students who have the money to hire private tutors/courses to get the precious free spots in the good pubic universities. 

Will this solution help for the games? Not really. It´s one of those long going ones that take time.  In the mean time, give offer free English courses and tourism classes so that people have the opportunity to work with the organizations that put on both games.  Give all organizations a break for hiring locals.

Basically, there are things to do other than just throwing up a wall. Will they take more time, money, and effort? Sure.  But they´ll be better in the long run. 

That is a problem I see down here, the lack of vision in the long run...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Call out to Residents of Rio de Janeiro!

Just imagine homeless people, flown in from all over the world, competing in soccer.  Talk about good cheer, life experience, and new viewpoints all in one.    

So here it is, we have a unique opportunity to help at an even more unique event.  The Homeless World Cup in Copacabana is allowing more volunteers! 

For those of you who are interested, please email Catriona ASAP! 

Please no random emails.  Catriona is working hard putting things together.  But for those who are truly interested in a great story making adventure, please contact her.  And let her know Rachel sent you. 

For more information, please check out the original site: The Homeless World Cup

Here´s a sample of their view:

People now just take homelessness for granted. Homeless people simply become part of the landscape and really become invisible. Everyone become blasé; “well, the homeless are the homeless and they are just there”.   Except they are people – they are human beings – they are people who happen to be homeless with different names, different ages, different ages, different clothes, different sex, different personalities and so on...

We simply use football as a way of getting homeless people to come together to begin to take responsibility for the next step in their lives. We have created a global football stage where we have simply changed the landscape around homeless people and then they change as a result. It is simple. It is magic. It is working. Thousands of homeless people have changed their lives forever as a result of being involved...

So, as it appears, they also have a mission. I think this is one to support, if I do say so myself.

Screamingly good time on the Metro

Picture this:

You are sitting in a semi-full metro car minding your own business when you notice that something has pissed off a child.  There´s a very young couple sitting nearby with a very young toddler and he isn´t happy. 

That not happy attitude quickly turns into screaming.  We are talking full on break down mode as only toddlers can do it.  The father is pissed and the mother is frantic. 

That was my metro ride home today.  I was just sitting there, waiting for the complaints to start.  You know the ones. "You need to get your child under control!" or "I can´t believe they allow children on the metro!"or "You really need to be better prepared."

That´s when I remembered that I live in Brazil.

You know how people reacted?  They smiled and not the I-feel-so-sorry-for-you smile or the your-kid-is-a-nightmare-but-I`m-not-saying-it-out-loud smile. No, they smiled the, oh-that´s-what-kids-do smile. 

It´s amazing!  The acceptance of kids down here is like something I´ve never seen before. It has seriously ruined me for living back home until my kids are at least pre-teens. 

I mean, I´ve actually seen petitions for non-children flights in the US! Could you imagine a Brazilian airline company, or the people here, asking for that?  I couldn´t. Hell, you fly with Brazilians and the flight attendants are practically taking your kids up to sit on the pilot´s lap and fly for a little while. 

It´s a tribe mentality that we American´s don´t have.  You look out for one another, at least in the basic sense. I swear, the old ladies wanting to put socks on your kids when it´s 90 + degrees aren´t just doing it to annoy you, they actually think they are helping.  Go figure. 

Anyway, I just love this semi-non-judgmental aspect of Rio de Janeiro.  The it´s normal for your kid to be a bit of a tyrant but heaven forbid they don´t wear socks kind of semi-non-judgmental.  It´s a little off but I wouldn´t expect anything less or want anything more. 

Hello Friday

Hello Friday! Oh how I´ve missed you!  I know Friday comes around every week but I get excited just the same.

It´s just that Fridays bring the options of the weekend. Do we go to the beach? To Aterro?  To the country?  Oh what to do?

I think I`m voting country this weekend. I´m exhausted from everyday stuff and birthday celebrations.  I need to go somewhere quiet, with good company, excellent food (which I don´t have to cook), and the best part, Grandparents to chase after the children. 

Yeah, I´m thinking the country is the win win situation I´ve been looking for.

If only I could convince them to have a BBQ!  I´m craving a Brazilian BBQ in the hard corest of ways.  There´s just something about those rare bite size pieces of meat, cold beer, and potato salad.

Hmmmm, I´m not going to have to problem doing a detox. Nooo, not at all. 

Happy Friday everyone!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

They like me, they really like me

So I was nominated as one of 10 favorite blogs of a fellow blogger.  The nice thing about this one is that you learn a little more about me. Oh, you all know you want to... at least I´d like to think so.  Here´s how the game goes:

1. Acknowledge the person who nominated me: 

The Little Hen House : This is a great Mommy friendly blog with funny thoughts and even funnier follow through. She also has a great Shout out section with recommendations of entertaining blogs to check out.

2. List 10 things I like:

1. Mornings on the beach with the fam and friends.
2. A good book that I can´t put down.
3. Sleeping babies. I swear I also like them awake.
4. My husband´s toes. They look like aliens and I love it!
5. My boys´ laughs. All three of them.
6. Take off, on a plane.  It means you are finally heading to wherever it is you are going.
7. Brunch. Enough said.
8. Red wine on a chilly night. I know, I live in the wrong country. Now I just drink it whenever.
9. People watching. I don´t get to do it much theses days but I´ll get back to that hobby eventually.
10. Good food. I love to eat.

Now I have to nominate 10 other bloggers.  In no particular order:

1. Becoming Brazilian : This blog is quirky and well written. You´ll get a good sense of life in Brazil.
2. Danielle in Brazil Another ex-Pat in Brazil. Yes you are seeing a trend.  My favorites are her spontaneous rants about things that annoy just about all us foreigners.
3. Woolgathering : This is a great finding yourself blog. You will feel her and cheer for her and live vicariously through her. 
4. Qualidade De Vida : You never quite now what you´ll get here. It could be an excellent music suggestion, a sassy story, or a well written observation. I check this blog regularly.
5. The Fire Wire : Gadgets, movies, super nerd stuff galore! 
6. Single Infertile Female: You feel her!  She writes incredibly real posts that make you cry, laugh, and sigh.
7. Lori Dyan : I have to thank Hen House for this one.  FUNNY!
8. Rio de Janeiro Daily Photo : I like pictures. I like Rio. I like pictures of Rio.
9. Dlisted I am a secret celebrity gossip reader. Well, not secret anymore.
10. Eyes on Brazil Good English source of Brazilian news/events

Hard to narrow down to 10. I missed a lot of good ones!  I´ll note you guys next time!

So I guess the 10 blogs I mentioned are supposed to do the same thing. I doubt it will happen but it´s always fun to be nominated. 


30 went and did something to me.  I can only explain it the way my 3 yr old explains anything random, magic.  I´m suddenly very aware of my habits. Many of them don´t even fit me anymore (like the all too occasional cigarette) but I do them anyway. 

Well, 30 is a great age to break habits and become anew. 

It isn´t just being 30.  I´m tired. And yes, I am aware two small children will do that to you, especially when you have to cook most meals from scratch and hang your laundry.  But I think it´s more than that. I used to do some sort of daily physical activity, other than cart 40 kilos to the park. I used to eat roughage on a regular basis.  And I never drank coke.  Brazil undid that last one for me.

So what to do about it? I´ve decided, true to rash Rachel ways, do some sort of cleanse. That´s where you guys come in. I know nothing about this stuff. I´ve heard about the master cleanse but refuse to do that one. Yuck for one reason and because I wouldn´t even know where to get cayenne pepper here.  Oh and we can´t forget that good maple syrup is far too sacred in Brazil to drink in a cup with lemon.  Oh the sacrilege!

Anyway, I would love if anyone could recommend something that won´t just wipe me out completely. I know, eat health, start slow, breath, etc etc. Not my thing people. I need a jump start. Strap me in, I´m ready for a shock! 

In all seriousness, I do want a jump start. I want to start living a cleaner and more energetic life.  I realize that my energy levels, moods, and all around health are not just a given anymore.  It takes me 2 days to recover from staying up late for heaven´s sake.  Don´t even ask me how long it takes to get over a night out drinking! 

So let´s Detox. Anyone with me?  What steps do I take?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


So a couple of friends decided to take me to lunch for my birthday yesterday. I got all dolled up and headed over to Ipanema to be a lady that lunches for a day.

Of course, since it´s my birthday, my friend opened some champagne to toast me before lunch.  Then once we arrive at lunch, the white wine flowed like water. A good time was had by all. 

Then 5pm rolled around and I had to remember I am a Mommy. I hopped into a cab to rush over to the school. Amazing how a couple of glasses of wine will make you forget the time.  But I was fine, I kept telling myself. 

And I was.  I had a light buzz going on but nothing irresponsible. 

I don´t know what happened the moment I entered the school but that light felt much heavier. I felt like a 16 year old that had just snuck off campus to smoke a cigarette during break. Omg, I couldn´t be buzzed at my kids´school! That´s just wrong! 

That´s when I remembered I live in Brazil. If it were the US, Child services would have been called and I would have to explain the whole, I just turned 30 and I swear I only had 2, maybe 3 glasses!  Then again, the school has wild monkeys running around. They show the kids and think it´s cute. In my country, Animal services would be called and those cute little things would be tasered and dragged away. 

So what have I learned? I´ve learned that Brazil is a much safer place for a celebrating Mom and cute wild animals.  Thank goodness for that!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy Birthday to me!

I started this morning with a fresh pair of underwear. I feel the first day of 30ies is like the first day of school, needs the freshest undies you´ve got.  Not that I`m implying that I don´t change them regularly in the first place.

So another year old and, from what I can tell, a bit wiser. At least if you are comparing the 19 to 20 yr old Rachel to the 29 to 30 year old Rachel.  Amazing how much we change in what is, in the vast scheme of things, a very small amount of time.

One of these days, I´ll be in my 70s and my 30s will be a distant memory.  Well, unless I have dementia and I think I`m 30 again. Now that wouldn´t be too bad, would it?

Anyway, Happy Birthday to me!  May this next year be full of interesting experiences that fill this blog with funny enough posts.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Travel Love

Many people fall in love while traveling.  It´s a phenomena. I blame a run off virus related to the travel bug. It has something to do with all the endorphins of being naughty and the adrenaline from the fear of being mugged.  Somewhere within those two things, love is born. 

What to do with this love?  Well, you have to be wise.  1 in 5 will fall in love in a foreign country.  Most likely it´s with a fellow traveler (never from your country because that´d be too convenient) or a local from the country you are visiting. 

So what now?  Well, the key to travelers´ love is to go with the flow.  Fellow travelers, or locals who hook up with travelers, are the non-committal type.  They key to taming them, with the risk of sounding super lame, is to be yourself. Yes, just like your Momma told you. 

You must, at all costs (unless openly asked by them not to or visa versa), continue with your plans.  You may be open with them about how much you´ll miss them, etc, but you can not latch on like a barnacle on a dead mafia man´s butt. 

The key to travelers´ love is that it has an expiration date.  You both will eventually carry on with your life.  You must make peace with that.  Once you do, and you let the relationship take it´s place, it will go where it needs to go.

The beautiful thing that I´ve found about travelers´ love is that it has no masks. You are out and about in the world.  You aren´t trapped in what you are "supposed" to be.  Add in that time is short so who has the energy to put on a show.  Plus the vast majority of you are drunk so there are no secrets there.  

But what do I know?  I only turned a 2 week encounter in Spain into a 7 year marriage plus 2 kids.  But who´s counting.

A little off the Top please

I confronted one of my only remaining fear in Rio de Janeiro today, the hairdresser. 

I haven´t had a lot of luck in that area since I came years ago.  I´ve been to all kinds of stylists: the cheap, the expensive, the trendy, the gay, the trendy and gay, the gay and expensive, the gay and cheap, and finally the old.

Overall, my experiences have been inconsistent.  I´ve had 2 cuts that I´ve been relatively happy with. The majority were nothing special.

And last but not least, one horrible cut followed by the fix of said haircut that could only be described as less horrible. My longer than shoulder length hair ended up a boycut after my lady in San Diego fixed all the wrong doings.

So after all the ups and downs, I decided to wait until I visited home to get a cut from now on.  I´m lucky enough to have hair that usually grows out nicely.  Waiting a year isn´t too bad.  But a year in a half is pushing it. 

A lovely friend of mine, who is an ex-hairdresser, came to visit Rio and offered to give me a trim so that my locks wouldn´t have to suffer the long wait. Note to self, do not let your well meaning friend cut your hair when you are opening your second bottle of wine.

It wasn´t that bad.  Not at all.  But it was a little... boxie.  Basically, I´ve been pulling off the ponytail for almost 2 months. 

I may not be high maintenance, but that´s bad, even for me. 

So I decided to take care of it. It´s my 30th birthday tomorrow and I do not want to spend it in a ponytail. 

The hardest part of the experience was explaining what I wanted.  I can´t do in English, imagine in Portuguese.  The woman might as well had spoken French as I do not understand one bit of hair vocabulary.  Untapped market here people! Write a book!

Anyway, it worked out well. I do have the same haircut I had when I was 17 but that´s not too bad. 17 going on 30.  At least no one went at my locks with a razor this time around. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

No you can´t see me naked

There are certain people in my Brazilian life that I do not need to remember are women and men. They are people, of course, but are non-sexual beings in my mind. Call me crazy but it works. 

Now Brazilian swimwear makes this quite difficult. There´s no hiding behind the 3 inches of fabric they give you.  I´m comfortable with that. I bust out the Brazilian bikini at the beach and pool without a problem, normally. 

The thing is, when you are sun bathing like a Carioca, everyone knows what God gave you.  It´s almost like being a tease with just the bits and pieces covered.  Of course, we can all tell what´s under there. 

So you can imagine how I felt when I saw that I was about to run into our pediatrician at the pool. Yes, I´m about to be 30 and am a mother of 2.  I should be somewhat mature. We´d all like to think that, wouldn´t we.  Well, I´m not. I took evasive action. 

Call it what you will but I´m not ready to have an idea of the fruits God gave the man that checks my kids´ ears. I have to be able to go to a doctors appointment without thinking about what lies beneath! 

I could not look.  Sure you would say that.  Of course I would look! Are you kidding me?! I´m that girl that if you say, oh don´t look Rachel, I`m a lookin´.  I´m also that person that slows down her car to stare at accidents, laughs at inappropriate times, and spills wine on children (long story). 

Think of me what you will.  But you know, deep down, you only love me a little bit more. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Feira Friday

I´m a big fan of the Feira (farmer´s marker).  I have been since I moved to Rio. I feel healthier just walking among the fruits and veggies. 

I´ve gotten so used to it at this point that I don´t even get intimidated by some of the people who sell their. My past intimidaters were the maracuja guys and the garlic/lemon guys.

I would be calmly picking out papayas when the little bastards would sneak up and scare the crap out of me. Seriously, they walk right up to you and yell "MARACUJA! Miss, maracuja?"

Of course I didn´t see them coming.  At that point, I had yet to acquire my Carioca vision.

Carioca vision you ask.  Well, Cariocas need to see 3,000 things all at the same time.  At first it´s quite overwhelming but, rather quickly, you get accustomed to seeing everything coming your way (from both directions), everything that has already gone by, and what is right in front of you.  It´s an acquired skill that takes practice. 

The feira is a perfect example of a place where you need this. No, not for safety issues. Not at all. But for sanity issues. The feira is madness personified, depending on time and day. They are quite calm in the early morning and during the weekend. Of course I used to end up they at 10am on a Wednesday so it was me, a couple of other Moms, and about 200 maids shopping for that week´s produce. 

Now I love it even more.  I love walking along looking at all the colors. Everything feels so alive and fresh.  I even enjoy those guys.  They come sauntering up, ready for a startle and I now see them every time. 

In the oh so Brazilian way, I´m already no no no-ing with my pointer finger before they even manage to say MA. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Muffin Tops are taking over!

I´ll be the first to admit that I´m really not one who can talk a lot of shit about fashion faux pas.  My attempt at fashion is buying the newest color of Havaianas available. 

That being said, even I´ve noticed what´s going down on the streets in Rio.  There are so many fashion nightmares that you can´t walk one city block without getting an eyefull of something wrong. 

But fair enough, right? While usually quite stylish, some Cariocas just dress to the beat of their own drummer. 

Well, I just can´t let one thing go. I just can´t.  It drives me insane.  You know which one it is?


I hate it!  I want to liberate those poor suffering waistbands and let the extra skin fly!  Don´t get me wrong now, this has nothing to do with the size of the person.  The mindblowing thing about the Carioca muffin top is that it comes all sizes, from XXS to XXL.  The clothes are just too freaking small!

Seriously, if you are a Carioca and you are reading this post, look down at your waist. Is your ass trying to escape via the back of your pants? Your abdomen reaching down and zipping up your jeans for you?  If so, it´s a muffin top situation.  

And it´s gotten serious.  I worry for my kids safety. If they should get too close to some of the muffin tops roaming they city, they could drown. All they´d have to do is look up. 

It´s almost an epidemic. 

Destiny or Illuminati?

I swear I should start Rio de Janeiro taxi cab confessions, only from the other way around. I just keep running into interesting or creepy cab drivers.  

Lucky for me, my taxi man yesterday was interesting instead of creepy.  I was running late, a very unusual thing in my life, and it was raining.  Not to mention that I still had to drop off my oldest at his uncle´s place before I could head to my destination.  I jumped into a cab to solve the rain/time/effort issue.

The conversation started out normal enough. Where are you from?  Then it took a little turn.  Should I be surprised.

Have you heard of the Illuminati?  Of course I have! I´ve read that Dan Brown book.

No no, more than a book. I was schooled by my Evangelical conspiracy theory believing driver. Apparently the world is controlled by 33 families. They control all the governments.  That´s why that nice man Obama can´t seem to produce the change he promised.

Interesting theory.

He also informed me that he and his family are church going people but that´s with the understanding that the Illuminati do control it.  The importance is that he believes in God and you have to play the game. riiigghht

As he continued, I realized that this guy was incredibly up to date with international and local news and has an amazing understanding of history... well, expect for the whole Illuminati thing.

Then again, who am I judge. He could very well be right.  If my blog should disappear and you are randomly directed to a page full of symbols, we will all know who to blame!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

May the Force Be With me

I´m one lucky lady today.  Not only do I have to work but it´s raining and I get to go to downtown (centro) Rio de Janeiro. I know you all want to be me right now.

The funnest part about Centro and rain is that the drainage is horrible.  There are large and deep puddles everywhere. Add to it the fact that it´s not the cleanest neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro and you have in your hands my Wednesday joy.

It´s like bobbing for apples only with your shoes and pant legs. Goodness knows what´s going to stick to the back of your jeans today Rachel!  You think you picked the shallowest part of the lake in the middle of the street only to find you hit puddle lottery and are shin deep. Score! 

The bestest part of the whole thing is that I´m meeting a new student.  I just hope that his first impression of me isn´t that I`m a drowned kitten, my whiskers usually throw people off.  Better yet, I may buy and show up in a poncho. It will only confirm my native speaker status. 

I used to mock Cariocas and their fear of the rain but now I see where they are coming from.  This beautiful tropical city is, ironically, not made for it.  The streets flood, the traffic is hell, and the people are cranky.  I think the city planner started his job during the dry season, at a Brazilian bbq, and after quite a few stupidly cold (brazilian phrase) chopps (drafts). 

Ah well, what can you do?  A girls got to eat, a girls got to work, and people need to learn their English. Thankfully I´m only only partially made of sugar and won´t totally melt.  Ohhhh, maybe that part is my saddle bags and it´ll just melt right off!  A girl can dream, can´t she.  I like to think of it as finding a silver lining. 

The Cardinal Sin of Brazil is not what you think it is

I have just committed the cardinal sin in Brazil. No, not murder.  So not stealing.  Think simple.

I reheated my coffee! 

Maybe it´s just my husband´s family but I think my MIL would have a grande mal seizure and end up in the hospital if she saw me do it.  They won´t drink coffee that´s been sitting for an hour. It´s old. Best to make a new batch... that is, if any of the coffee actually manages to survive after being made. 

Ah Poo Poo, I made too much yesterday and I can´t bear to throw it away!  That and I´m lazy. Who wants to take the extra 3 steps in the morning to make a fresh pot when you´ve got some good enough already sitting on the counter.  Shocked? Why? I just said I`m lazy.

In my defense, I only do this kind of thing during the week.  Weekends deserve fresh coffee.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Confederate Taxi Driver?!

My most disturbing taxi experience in Rio de Janeiro had nothing to do with speed or reckless driving. 

One day my sons and I hailed and hopped into a random cab. Of course he noticed I am a foreigner and started up the normal where are you from conversation. 

Then it took a different turn.  He declared himself a confederate. 

I wondered, did I hear him correctly. The man is obviously of mixed background. Confederate?

Oh I had heard him correctly and to cement his comment, he showed me his confederate flag key chain. The man had taken a trip to the US to tour the confederate south quite a few years before! 

At this point, I´m just thinking "CRAZY!" First off, he´s not American.  Who the hell from another country wants to be a confederate American, especially when there´s no longer a confederacy?  The next part is even worse.

He started raving about the KKK.  He actually turned and looked at my three year old and asked if he could say KKK.  Never been prouder of my son for saying a strong NO.  It´s like he knew the guy was asking him to say something naughty.  Then he proceeded to say that he can´t believe that the United States of America voted in some black guy. 

That pissed me off. The KKK and referring to our president as some black guy.  Not cool.  I had a seriously stupid bigot as my driver!  This dude´s Grandma was probably black. I mean, this guy was not white in the slightest.  And he also wasn´t just "Brazilian."  And that would be the reason I didn´t fully tell him off.  Crazy doesn´t respond well to reason.

I also have a rule not to piss of cab drivers, they have control over the car that my children and I are in for heaven´s sake, but I couldn´t let it slide.  You can´t not say something again racism.

But I couldn´t just it go.  I told him that I highly support Obama and that it was the white guy before him who fucked everything up. 

Then I started in on his beloved KKK and told him that they don´t even exist anymore. He was shocked and said he thought they were still going strong.  I told him no, that maybe there were small branches of guys who sat around together wearing the white dresses.  Then again, I don´t know if you could call that KKK or something else.  I also informed him that the people of the US are getting smarter (mmmm, I fibbed a bit there) and don´t support that kind of attitude anymore. (fingers crossed!)

I mean, seriously people, the KKK would sooner burn a cross in the dude´s front yard then bake the man welcome to the club cookies.  What in the hell is he thinking?

I continued by telling him the good Obama is doing with public health care and making it easier for people to get a college education.   I told him how the south is poor now and not thriving what-so-ever. I even told him that the women have gotten fatter.

I told him he could pull over because we were at our stop.  We weren´t but I was done. He gave me his card and we got out.  I walked with my boys around the corner, threw the card away, and got into another cab.  That was enough crazy for one day.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Blogger Meme

I´m still a blog newbie at this point but have been tagged in a meme game. I had to look up what the hell that was.  Apparently, we bloggers play games with each other.  Online play date! 

So I was tagged by Another Suburban Mom , who I must say is more than that.  I found the blog interesting, with everyday recipes, interesting topics, and some quite sassy posts if I do say so myself.

The game is simple. You go to your follower list, (or blog roll if you are not set up for followers) and pick the 5th person on the list. Link to their blog if they have one and hit up their 5th follower or blog on the blog roll. The game is over when you hit five blogs. If the person does not have a blog roll or followers go with their 5th commenter or the 1st commenter on the 5th post.

So the 5th blog on my blog roll is Qualidade de Vida .  Speaking of Sass.  This is written by a fellow ex-Pat from California.  Funny guy, makes great comments, and has yet to have me over for Mexican food! 

From there I`ve stumbled upon Caipirinha Appreciation Society but didn´t find a 5th blog so I went back to Qaulidade de Vida and went to the comments on his latest post.

That´s where I found the 5th post and it was Musing on the Move . Another ex-Pat in Brazil, the Reader (as she refers to herself) has posts about a variety of subjects. She loves photography, birds, and her boys to name a few things. She is also a great source of information about homeschooling.  I give her props for that! I still look forward to sending my boys to school in the afternoon and getting a little break!

The Reader´s 5th blog on the blog reel was Ginger´s Flowers .  I don´t know why I find that name a smidgen dirty.  It´s not. I think I just may need some alone time with Hubby who just got back from a 9 day trip.  Anywho, great photos!  No, not of hubby but not a bad idea.  Ginger´s Flowers has great pics from in and around Rio.  Pretty good stuff.

From there, I 5 blogged myself over to Give us this Day our Daily mango .  Another Mommy ex-Pat blogger gives her account of life in Brazil. This crew is set up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. I haven´t been there yet but it´s on my list.  I had a hard time finding a 5th blog so I headed back to Ginger´s Flowers and found...

The Butler and Bagman Chronicles Interesting. I will have to go back to that one and spend a little more time looking around. 

So there´s the game.  Bloggers, TAG you´re IT!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

And one more Botafoguense is born

 The dreams of my Carioca husband have come true today. Our quasi 4 year old is sitting on the couch actively watching the Botafogo soccer game with Daddy and Vovo.  The key word is actively. 

My husband has been teaching this boy to love Botafogo since we found out a little egg had moved into the side of my uterus.  He would sing, much to my enjoyment, the Botafogo hymn to my ever growing belly. When Luka wouldn´t settle down to sleep in the belly at night, the song would always calm his kicking.  This has worked throughout his young life. 

But it´s one thing to know the team song and to be able to say that you cheer for Botafogo, and it´s another to sit and talk smack to the tv during the game with Dad. 

I have to say, it´s adorable.  I was 100% against having an obsessed kid when I was pregnant.  You´ve all seen the crying 7 year olds at the stadium when their teams lost. I couldn´t stand the idea of that happening. And to be frank, while I love Botafogo, it seems to happen a fair amount of time with them.  There´s only so much a girl can do and, obviously, my husband won.

Oh well, it is cuter than hell to have him sitting on Daddy´s lab yelling "Falta!" (fault), "Que isso!" (What´s up with that!), "Pega Botafogo, Pega!" (get it Botafogo! Get it!), and let´s not forget "Porra" (literally means cum but is better translated into a strong Damn).  Momma was not happy with that last one and everyone had a little chat with me about language use in front of the tiny ones. 

So it´s official, we now have 2 obsessed Botafoguenses in the house and one supporter. Let´s see if the little one jumps onto the Botafogo wagon as well. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Rio de Janeiro = Random News Friends

One of the things I love the most about living abroad are the friends you make. There´s a different method of friend making when you are outside your own country.  Away from home, I find you are far more open about who to befriend. 

This becomes especially true with fellow foreigners.  We may speak the native language but it´s never quite the same thing as talking to another speaker of your own native language.  To find foreigner friends is one thing.  To find foreigner friends who actually LIVE in Rio de Janeiro is another.

That´s where the openness comes from. The pool is shallow people and we can not be picky. I´m not saying we are friend whores, by any means, but we are far more open to meet up with random other people than we would normally be at home. 

While that may sound desperate for those not in the situation, it´s actually quite the opposite. I currently have a very interesting group of friends. They are starting to inspire me to try new things, heaven forbid.

So I my group consists of a group joiner, fitness fan, yogi, health food expert, dieter, partier, holistic health enthusiast, blogger and many more. 

I also have my English students who fit into the randomness of my social circle. Yes, English teaching is work but once you become a conversation teacher, you start knowing the student.  Think about it. How often do you get to meet up with your bestie and have an hour long conversation without interruption. It´s rare.  I do that with my student weekly, thus, getting to know them very well. 

Basically I´ve found that living in Rio de Janeiro has opened me.  It helps that my husband is Brazilian. That gave me my Brazilian based friends.

Later, I adjusted my man skills to pick up foreigner friends. Oh yes, it takes skills to pick up random foreigners on the street. We are like deers, unless we´ve had contact with others, we scare easily. 

So for those of you who are newbies or are considering a move, don´t worry.  You will find your people.  It may... ok, it will take time and patience.  But it will happen and the journey makes it all the more worthwhile.  Stick to it, create your life here, the friends will come. 

Why Brazilians live so long

I have discovered the Brazilian secret of living forever!  Seriously, the people down here live for a long freaking time. My Grandfather-in-law is 93 years old and was doing all the family shopping at the feira (farmer´s market) until he was 91.  That is insanity even though he is actually quite sane for being ancient. 

The secret is this: their fountain of youth is full of beer. Yes, you heard it right.  A new studies says that moderate drinkers live longer than abstainers and heavy drinkers. Even crazier, heavy drinkers liver longer than abstainers.  That´s right people, if you drink you will live longer than if you don´t. Of course, you might not remember what you lived but that´s why we have cameras. 

Apparently, 1 to 3 drinks per day is fabulous not only for your mood but your health.  Well there you go. The article says especially good if your drink of choice is red wine. That´s a toughie in this hotter than hell country but it´s still my favorite. 

So if you are visiting or living in Rio de Janeiro and want to join the Brazilians in their afternoon beer with lunch, go for it! It´s good for you! Hell, have 3. 

Check out the original article.  Interesting stuff:  Heavy drinkers out live Nondrinkers

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

5x Favela

So I actually want to go see "5x Favela".  I´m loving the fact that these 5 short films don´t only focus on drugs, traffickers, and crimes in Rio de Janeiro.

Recently I´ve become quite frustrated with the world´s obsession with Brazilian favelas.  It´s as if that´s the only thing going on in the country. Yes, we have favelas. Yes, there are problems with the quality of life inside them, crime, and drugs.  Yes, there are bad people who live there.  Oh wait, there are also good people.  Actually, there are more good people than bad.  The vast majority of people living in the favelas are regular folk trying to make it in life. 

That´s not even my problem with this world focus. My problem is that there are so many other things to make a movie about in this country!  This is a country full of culture, interesting people, amazing places, and crazy-ass history.  Rio de Janeiro alone could be the focus of numerous movies. 

I guess I just get defensive about the city/country I love.  I´ve been here for a decent amount of time now and I find it frustrating that the light side of this city isn´t shown more often.  Come on film makers!  Remember "Blame it on Rio"?  Classic and with plenty of artistic license.  Let´s bust out some more sassy funny comedies!