Friday, December 30, 2011

Hot Brazilians for your Friday! The last of 2011!

This is your last Hot Brazilians for your Friday for 2011! I am considering dropping this post, please let me know if that is a bad idea

 Meet Carlos Freire. Hello and Happy New Years to You!

This is Brenda Costa helping you say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sponges and Soap?

So one little comment on my Bilingual kids post awesomely diverted all the attention away from the actual post. I was going to join in with the comments but instead decided to give this question my utmost attention:

"Totally off topic (sorry) but do Brazilian people use loofah sponges (those round fluffy things) when they shower or just their hands? I always hear that brazilians smell good so I want to know what to ide :D?"

In my days in Rio de Janeiro, I have seen very few loofah sponges in peoples' homes. Then again, I'm married so I have been in very few "foreign" showers if you know what I mean. 

They do have these sponges here. They give them away for free with liquid soap sometimes. The thing about them though is that they mold due to the humidity in our bathrooms. Hell, it's almost humid in our fridges, you can only imagine how warm, moldy, and nasty the bathrooms can get if you don't stay on top of them. 

Anyway, from what I have seen, via the one Brazilian I am showering with, they use their hands to wash. The good smell comes from their constant showers. At least in the big cities it seems that Brazilians always shower daily. You may say, who doesn't, but I can name plenty of Americans who openly don't. I suppose it's a chilly/dry skin factor.

When it comes to summer, and even in the "winter", Brazilians shower more than once a day. Hell, if my husband takes a bus, he showers when home. It is one of his Neurosis. Even I have adopted the twice a day shower, although I use one as a rinse off and one staring soap. My mental count has Brazilians taking an average of 3 showers on a hot day. 

Seriously, Brazilians are shower freaks. It's so bad that pediatricians are making a effort to "educate" parents about how it's bad for the skin to wash with soap more than once a day. Duh. 

My question is, why no washcloths. You'd think that shower obsessed people would fall in love with the mini-towels of my country. Is it another mold issue or do washcloths actually suck?

Monday, December 26, 2011

What to Remember When Raising Bilingual Children

So The Menace started out well with speaking English to my parents. The first day they got here, my almost 3 year old used all of his weak English vocabulary mixed in with Portuguese when needed. Come the second day he was over it.

I tried.  I told him "Menace, we have to speak in English to Grandma and Grandpa because they don't speak Portuguese."

All I got in reply: "NO, Portuguese."

Well, it seems that my little "bilingual" man is stating his preference for the time being. It doesn't bother me as 1. I know he'll end up speaking both and 2. I know that this kind of thing is normal. It may just be karma for Chatterbox's language choices. At 3 yrs old, when he finally picked up English fluently during a visit to the US, The Chatterbox declared his love for all things English. While Portuguese was his first spoken language, he refused to speak it to anyone in Brazil who he realized spoke a spattering of English.

It's just a fact of life that you have to accept a few things when raising bilingual children:

1. They will have a language preference. It will change many times but at any given point they will feel more comfortable talking in one or the other. Sometimes it comes down to feeling more comfortable talking about a certain subject in a certain language. For example, Chatterbox prefers talking about soccer in Portuguese

2. Sometimes bilingual children will have language delays. Sometimes they won't. Chatterbox was a bit of a late talker and the Menace was a very late talker. Both never stop now that they have started. On the other hand, I have friends whose kids spoke both languages at the same time as the "unilingual" kids. Be patient. Each child is different.

3. There will be language mixing. Do you really expect your child to be able to separate the two at a young age? Their little brains are alike a bowl of 2 servings alphabet soup. You try to sort that out without mixing a bit.

4. Ignore the "warnings" that two languages are too much for a little guy to learn. That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard and I heard it every single freaking day after the Chatterbox was born and I insisted on only speaking with him in English. They do not get confused, it does not harm them, and it is actually very good for them. Only when Chatterbox, at 3 years old, started speaking both languages fluently did the family admit that it was ok to do. Now they brag about how Mr. Rant and I were so smart in raising their grandchild bilingual.

5. Even if they do not reply to you in the language you are speaking, keep speaking to them in it. Both my boys completely understood English before actually speaking it. One day it literally clicked and they started busting out phrases in English, both after being stimulated by immersion in new English speaking situations (ie. visiting my parents or my parents visiting us).

What tips or questions do you have?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Paddle Surfing Santa: Brazilian Christmas

Baking in the southern hemisphere makes Christmas a slightly different story. None the less, it has the same basic feel of warm and fuzzy with a side of a bit sweaty.

I just want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah... basically a joyful time celebrating whatever it is you celebrate with whomever you wish to celebrate it with. I wish you all a lot of joy, love and laughter!

Let's end this year with a smile, shall we.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hot Brazilians for your Friday: BBB 11 edition

This Hot Brazilians for your Friday is the Big Brother Brasil edition. While I never got into the show, it is HUGE down here. People love this stuff. And for this pre-Christmas Friday, we will be joined by two members of the BBB 11 season. 

 Per Big Brother Brasil style, I will be introducing our guest by first name. Meet Jaqueline. 

And this is Rodrigão

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Business Women of Brazil

Photo by: GNT

I read this fluff piece on Business women in Brazil. It basically credits Dilma's example and the economy for the go getting ladies down here. Fair enough as it does help. Of course I see it from a different angle.

Brazilian business women have been kicking ass long before the coming of Dilma or the world's acknowledgement of Brazil's economy. When Chatterbox was born 5 yrs ago, EVERY Brazilian woman I knew asked when I was going to get back into the workplace. When I explained my stay at home plans I received less than stellar reviews. Stay at home? What? What about your career?

Let me break down business women in Brazil, they kick ass! I have never seen a more motivated group of women in my life. They are the ones who make shit happen in this "machismo" country. The old saying that behind every good man is a woman translates in Brazil to: Behind every good man is a woman telling him what he should really be doing. The ladies here may be referred to as their husband's woman, but seriously, it doesn't take anything away from them.

I think a big part of that is because the business women of Brazil are not afraid to be just that, women. There is even this AWESOME article about it. Thank goodness the former fluff piece motivated a little internet research...

While I don't agree with everything but these points are golden:

  • Appearance counts. Your clothing will reflect upon you and your company.
  • Brazilian women dress "sexy" in all situations, whether business, formal or casual. Foreign women who want to blend in should avoid wearing overly formal, conservative attire.
  • Shoes should be stylish, polished and well-kept. Nails should be manicured.
  • In business situations, men should wear conservative dark suits, shirts and ties. Three piece suits indicate executives; two piece suits indicate office workers. Women should wear feminine dresses, suits and pantsuits and avoid "dressing like a man."

The business women here get a mani pedis at least every 2 weeks, steal that promotion you were going for, and all while scheduling their bikini wax for lunch time the next day.

I have said this before and I will say it again, Brazilians understand the power behind being a woman. The Brazilian business woman doesn't just go with that. No, it's much bigger. She owns it. She doesn't have to "accept" who she is, she is who she is. The Brazilian business woman has gone after her education, work experience, and career. In fact, all of that has only made her feel more womanly.

As a Stay at Home Mom, I see a very equal responsibility over the children when it comes to two working parents. Quite honestly, there are many breadwinning Mothers of children in my boys' schools. The Fathers come to pick the kids up at 530pm while the Mothers work late.

The thing that most amazes me is that the Brazilian business woman is not trying to fit into the world of men. They don't need to. The business world of Brazil is open to both sexes equally. While they may not have pee wee soccer for girls, they still expect them to ace their math classes.

My favorite part about the working women of this country is their pride. They do not come in wearing horrible orthopedic shoes and a dark masculine suit. These women come in and show the true intelligence behind feminine sex, and all while looking like one.

What has been your impression? 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Once Upon a Couch... (with pictures)

Keep in mind that I'm around 5'10"

I have been ranting about my sofa drama now for ages, or so it seems. Yesterday the drama peaked and ended, finally!

It all started with my "priority" delivery only arriving at 8pm.  I hate to imagine when they would have arrive if I wasn't supposedly priority!  Anyway, this was a problem since the building does not allow deliveries after 5pm. Of course we live in Brazil and there is always a jeitinho or two lying around, or so I hoped.

When the doorman phoned saying that a maintenance man was going escort one of the delivery men up, I knew I was in a bit of trouble. I would need to be pathetic and persuasive all at the same time. I decided to go with my true ally in situations like this, my Gringa status.

For some reason it is very easy to convince Brazilians that you are totally confused as to how things work. I don't know if I should be offended by this fact, but it does come in handy sometimes. I busted out such a show that I should be nominated for an Emmy, or at least an MTV spaceman.

When the annoyed Maintenance guy got there, I was first "surprised" that there was a time limit when it comes to deliveries. Since I'm a foreigner, I had no idea these kinds of rules even existed! That and I had spoken with the delivery people throughout the day (so I said) and the poor guys had been stuck in traffic. Damn holidays and everyone on vacation. It is madness out there (an always acceptable excuse in a big city).

I then went for the pity. I told him that I understand that rules are rules but if the couch was not delivered at that moment there was no way I'd get it this year. I told him that I have guest arriving and I plan to sleep on the couch during their visit. I claimed desperation, which was true, and asked if he could ask the building manager if I could pay some sort of fine or something. I begged for him to see if there was something, ANYTHING, we could do to make this happen.

After they went back downstairs, and the judges met for a final evaluation of the situation, jeitinho won. The building manager was so stressed about the no water situation, the building didn't have any yesterday, that the doormen/maintenance men decided that my couch could slip by unnoticed.

I'm sure when they made that decision they never imagined my sofa would get caught in the stairwell. Hell, the delivery men even took the stairwell doors off, another situation I doubt they imagined happening at that time of night.

So there we were, all looking at the stuck couch, when my Brilliant friend came to the rescue. She convinced them to take it all apart. I don't know if she gave some sort of pep talk or what, but they did just that. Fabric was removed from the bottom, staples taken out, and a HUGE mess made at the end of the hall.
Taking it apart in the stairwell

Come 930pm, I was starting to get worried. The delivery men were seemingly enjoying the quasi-demolition aspect of the job but would they remember where everything went? Would it even go back together seeing that this specific couch apparently doesn't come apart in the first place?

Bye bye fabric

Then around 10pm my front door opened. Did you know that my couch is made of plywood? Well, I do now as that was what they started bringing in. Pieces of wood, some fabric, and a big ass wood staple gun.

I will say, these men were damn impressive! They came into my living room and took all the random pieces I couldn't even imagine would make a couch and made it happen. I watched as they took over my living room, flipping pieces over and drilling/stapling the crap out of them.

Somewhere around 1130pm, it was looking like a couch. And right before midnight I signed the delivery papers and they were on their way.

It was a marathon but in the end it worked. Thank goodness for jeitinho!! 

Wordless Wednesday: THE COUCH

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Couch Waiting Madness Vlog

No, I have not been able to post today as I have been keeping my house alive. Trust me, the boys would survive, the neighbors and apartment may not!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm Not Middle Class

After reflecting on comments from my last post, I have to say that I was wrong. I am not middle class in Brazil.

It's a strange phenomenon being an American in Brazil. While I do not have near the money of those I consider truly upper class, I have far more than the majority.

It's hard to imagine that there is still this much struggling to make ends meet in upper class.

That last statement was bait. I have honestly thought it but reason is a bitch. Struggling is relative and the fact is I am not really struggling. I suppose that this is a highly common and negative aspect to the American line of thinking. I feel entitled to certain comforts in life that are not at all essential. I am accustomed to a certain level of things and ease in buying them.

Brazil is different. Items that Americans would consider a household staple are usually expensive. The truth in that is that they are not actually staples but luxuries.  While I spent years wishing I had a dryer, I actually survived just fine without one. Hell, my clothes are far better off!

Of course things are changing down here and it is much easier to purchase big ticket items. I just got my first washer/dryer combo, as you all know. Of course I will be paying for it over a period of months. Think of it as layaway but you get immediate custody.

And that is where I feel less than upper class.  I don't have the cash flow to pay for things a vista (all at once). All our big ticket items are paid over 6 to 10 months, including our trip to the US every two years.

Again though, I get to fly home every two years. I consider a trip for a family of 4 a big ticket item. That is a bit of a understatement as it is ridiculously expensive but you get my point. I'm not separating the cost of a toaster over 2 or 3 times, I'm breaking up something quite expensive.

So I was wrong. I am not the 99% in this country nor am I the 1%. It really doesn't matter the percentage I am in or if I am upper or middle class. The truth of the matter is that living in Brazil has taught me to appreciate things more.  It is as Jim says, Qualidade da Vida

I get that the amount of labor put into supporting my family and the quality of life I have is something I  should be thankful for. If I have ever implied otherwise I am sorry. But I have to say that this is something I may not have learned if I had stayed in my country. While I would have always been "thankful," it would have been expected. Mr. Rant and I are college graduates with work experience, why wouldn't we have a decent life. Brazil taught me that things are not so black and white. Even if they are, thank whomever you give credit to for life that yours is one where have time to sit and surf the web instead of otherwise.

On a side note, I still think the "expanding" middle class thing down here is bullshit. Just because some people are actually afford to buy things doesn't mean the work here is done. There needs to be better public education, smaller classroom sizes, and easier access to it.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

10 Ways Rio de Janeiro is Spoiling Me

There are certain aspects to middle class life in Rio de Janeiro that are definitely spoiling me.

1. I leave the dishes for the maid when she is coming the next day. Sure, it's her day to work but do I really need to stop cleaning up after myself at 2pm the day prior?

2. Complaining about services. I'm too lazy to take the car and drive to the grocery store, so I go and have the store deliver the groceries to me. The obvious trade for that convenience is the fact that I have to be home to collect them. I always get annoyed after around 30 minutes of waiting. I can't be bothered to carry my own stuff out nor can be bothered to wait. For me that translates into lazy  spoiled.

3. I resist leaving my general neighborhood. I basically have everything I need here and will attempt to stay in the area even though I have a metro and plenty of buses or cabs close by.

4. I love to order for delivery. You think not wanting to leave you neighborhood is bad, try not wanting to leave your house. I love to call and order food for delivery. I doubly love to get stuff from the pharmacy that way. That last one is partly because I am a horrible impulsive shopper at pharmacies. New toothbrushes for everyone!

5. I expect doorman help if I need it. I know it's part of their job but I find it odd that I now consider it a given. Of course I can over-shop and not have hands to open the door, Antonio will get it for me.

6. My kids know how to hail a taxi without having been explicitly told. I have those city gets who take taxis... in my defense, they also take the metro

7. I no longer clean toilets unless I really have to... or my two year old explodes all over the place (I'm not that mean).

8. If I wanted I could actually hire a cook to come into my home and make a weeks worth of meals for my family.

9. I can also easily hire someone to come in just to spend the day ironing all the clothes I own (this is very common).

10. Finally, I live in your vacation destination. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rio de Janeiro in the 1950s

Super cool video of Rio in the 50s!

Hot Brazilians for your Friday!

Maybe it's the rain, the humidity, or being trapped in the house waiting for deliveries. Goodness knows, but I have some seriously HOT Brazilians for you this Friday!

Meet Gracyanne Barbosa. She is a Samba diva! Google image search her if you want to see a serious butt.

This is Renato Ferreira and his cute toosh. Happy Friday  :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What License Plate?!

Anyone who follows my blog on Facebook knows that I bought a dryer. I am over the moon. It is like losing my virginity with an orgasm, that is how long I have been waiting for this moment.

Of course, with that moment came the task of getting rid of my still good washing machine. It's 6 years old and washes, coincidentally, 6 kilos at a time. The first person I thought of giving it to is my twice a week maid. After years of conflict with her asshole (my word for him) father of her children, she is without a washing machine. He took it out of their place after she left him, like a fine young gentleman.

So I called Socorro (Portuguese for help but that is her name: Maria de Soccorro) after I purchased the new one. I told her that my washer is hers and, if possible, I would love it if she could bring my old one home the next day. She had it all arranged when she arrived this morning at my home.

Come 3pm, the pick up guy arrived with his truck. I had instructed the administration of my building that he would be coming and gave permission for his truck to enter the building to carry out our washing machine. The catch, he refused to identify himself to the doorman.

What?! Refuse to identify yourself and your car? Yes, we all know that many "movers" are not necessarily registered with the city. Socorro tried to explain this to him, that the building only required him to check in for the security of the people who live there. Regardless, he refused. I told her that I would personally go down and drive in with him. He drove away before I could get there.

That makes me think, what is this man avoiding? Socorro laughed. She said he was old, confused, and a little too cautious. I personally wonder why this man is avoiding identification.

To clear things up, I'm not really "worried." I don't think he's going to show up at my place with a gun and take my tv and fridge. He's like 65 yrs old and a friend of my maid. But the fact that he refuses to let my building write down his license plate number is something to make an American girl laugh.

The thing is that Brazil is changing because of the games coming here. Those who work with jeitinho, ie. not registered moving companies, may be concerned that they will be punished. Of course it's not like he's delivering to the US Consulate. Even then, I doubt they would say anything. Every country has their own way of running, and under the table help is nothing new to Brazil.

But I wonder if me being American and living in a heightened security building was enough to make this man not want the extra cash. Either way, Socorro and I had a laugh at the confusion .

Note to self, if I should ever have CIA access to foreign info, I would love to look up some of these peeps... just to see why the license plate info is so damn important.

Has this ever happened to you? 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Drama for Christmas: Thank You Santa

It wouldn't be Christmas in Brazil without a little bit of family drama now would it?

Mr. Rant and I started asking around about Christmas plans early because my parents are coming this year. The norm from years past meant that we would spend Christmas Eve night (the big night of celebration here) at Mr. Rant's Maternal Grandmother's place. We would then have Christmas day lunch at Mr. Rant's Paternal Grandmother's place.

This year we can not have Christmas eve because the Grandmother died last year a week or so before Christmas. I'm horrible in that I think that it is a crap excuse. The Grandma would want us to have the same party. She lived for that! This woman was hardcore and she wouldn't be phased by death. Hell, she outlived most of her relatives. But this is coming from someone who lost all but one Grandmother early in life. It's sad but normal for me. They got to have her for so long. I figure that is even more reason to celebrate and continue the traditions she started. To each their own I suppose.

Anyway, my in-laws stated early on that they were going to stay in the country. Without other conflicts, the rest of the family was going to celebrate with each of their other side.

So the Christmas day lunch didn't seem to be happening either. The Grandparents are getting up there in age and it's a lot of work to have all 1 billion of their offspring and their offspring's offsprings and spouses over. They were leaning towards keeping it mellow.

Since I suffer from American planning ADD, I resolved to keep the Christmas spirit going and host a lunch for my parents and a friend and her parents who are visiting from Finland. Well, once a lunch was announced my in-laws decided they could come in, if I made it a reasonably early lunch. Alright, I decided I can make a lighter big Christmas breakfast and we will have lunch around 1230 (thank goodness for air-conditioning).

Now it seems that I am making a new Brazilian tradition. The Aunts from the Christmas eve group will also be joining us. Each one has told me they will be bringing something. Something, like a cod fish dish or ham or something. Something. I personally love this because it makes me feel like a real daughter. The women have a claim over my home, my lunch, and whatever it is I serve. Damn right, I am a part of this family!

We now also have a lanche (snack) date with my Father-in-law's side. At 4pm on Christmas day, we are to go over to celebrate and have a snack. I love this because I will get to see everyone, and on the day that I consider important!

Let's also not forget the newly announced possible Christmas Eve dinner held by Mr. Rant's Maternal Aunt. So while it will not be the same as before, there is so no way that we will eat before 10pm nor get out of there before midnight. Brazilian custom.

That, of course, means that I will be baking for 2 days, receiving my parents on the 24th, playing Santa late on Christmas eve, eating a big Christmas Eve dinner, big Christmas breakfast, big Christmas lunch, and a big Christmas snack.

I'm thinking about asking for endorsements from companies. They could match the amount of food I eat in that 48 hrs and then donate it to the homeless. Imagine the amount of mouths we could feed!

Wordless Wednesday: Living Room Coming Together

Getting all set up 

 The couch should be here... sigh

Still figuring out spots for the lose ends but we're getting there

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I am so pissed, so annoyed. We bought a beautiful couch for our new place and guess what, they can't get it up to our apartment. The monster of a bastard couch doesn't fit in an elevator nor up the stairs. Apparently the model we bought does not come apart, a key piece of information the salesperson should have mentioned when we told her about where we live. All she asked was, are there stairs? When we said 'of course' she said it would be no problem. 

But it isn't her fault really. It's just bad luck, poor planning, and stupid construction of our building. Who makes stairways with a narrow section or a weird door. Come on people! 

As in true fail form, we neglected to realize that the couch is about 3 meters long. I take no responsibility with that because, as an American, I still only have a vague concept of the metric system. That and I am playing the girl card. 

To make matters worse, there isn't even a way to pull it up to our place via the balcony. Ugggggg

There's also the fact that it's the 13th of December and we are quite possibly totally screwed. We bought the couch 3 weeks ago, planned out so that it would be here well before my parents arrived. Now we'll be lucky if we can get any couch delivered before Christmas. If it doesn't come before Christmas there is no chance in hell it'll be here before New Years. 

And I know we could go find something, but I don't want some crap couch that I'm going to look at for the next 5 years and think "I fucking hell I hate that couch." I want my perfect purple couch. Royal purple for this royal pain in the ass. Ah well, I suppose it was not meant to be. 

Honestly though, I really wish I could do one damn thing here easily. I wish I could just go into a store, order something, have it arrive on the scheduled day, and have it delivered into my apartment without drama. FYI, for those who are afraid Brazil is going to get as consumer minded as the US, I doubt it. It takes far too much effort down here. 

Of course, in comparison to the shelving unit drama, at least this one did technically arrive at the building on the scheduled date. I suppose I should be giving out a gold star for that. 

Now if you could all please form a prayer circle, write Santa, and/or start chanting for a quick solution to our new adventure in the hell of purchasing furniture in Brazil. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Em Vez de Crap

My blog isn't always particularly helpful for other expats or future Brazil expats. I'm not always full of information, more antidotes and rantings. But that is going to change right now!

While sifting through the last of our boxes, the most obnoxious ones that we saved for last, I found some notes from my first private Portuguese teacher. When I was fresh of the boat and speaking nothing, my Mother-in-Law recommended that Mr. Rant hire one of her friends. We had about 3 classes until I fired her. Way to start off on the good side of the Mother-in-Law, huh? In my defense, she didn't show up to one of our 8am classes. When I cancelled last minute I had to pay but she could not show up and I didn't get my money back. I called bullshit on that one quickly, especially because that was during my child-free days where waking up at 8am was a big freaking deal!

Anyway, I found one of her lists that was actually quite helpful. Words to know in Portuguese when you know none. Here they are in no particular order:

Valeu a pena: Worth it

Já: already: (ie. You: Let's go! Me: Já?)

Ainda: Still (ie. I still have this paper. Ainda tenho...)

Rapaz: Young man

Ontem: Yesterday

Ante de ontem: The day before yesterday

Em vez de: Instead of

Talvez: Perhaps

Com Licença: excuse me (interrupt)

Desculpa: Sorry (ie. you did something wrong)

Um momentinho: Just a minute/ a moment

Pois Não: It's ok or Can I help you

Não Posso: I can't

Não foi nada: It was nothing

Venha comigo (pronounced ven comigo): Come with Me

Valeu: Thanks (Carioca slang)

I know some of you have more to add. This is a beginner's list but go ahead and get crazy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Goodbye

There is a sickly ironic part to suicide where the person who committed it felt alone while the people who lose them feel a drastic loss of company. It is like a fatal miscommunication caused by humans' naturally faulty wiring. We neglect to vulnerably show how important people are to us and sometimes people refuse to hear it even when we do.

The worst part for me is imagining someone dying sad, alone and feeling helpless. It breaks my heart that they felt that it was impossible for things to get fixed. Certainly we can feel that in life, but when you lose someone over it... well then nothing is impossible to fix. I guess that is why there is all that talk about retrospect and it being 20/20.

And I stop myself when I feel that urge to exclaim things like: Why didn't they reach out for help? Why didn't they tell us that they felt like that? Why didn't someone do something?

The thing is, we are in charge of where we are and where we are going. That is a scary reality if you really think about it. There is a safety in following some sort of path, even if you are following someone else. When you reach the point of sadness where you feel the full depths of it, there is no path to follow. It is you and you feel the weight of knowing that in the end it is you and you alone who has to live your life. No matter who is holding your hand when you go, they are not going with you.

Regardless, it seems unnatural for someone to not be comforted into passing. Having them ripped out of our lives leaves a gaping hole.

Hearing about a friend's death today did just that. I can only imagine how his family and close friends feel. I only wish I had the relationship with him where he felt he could have called me. I wish someone had been close enough for him to say 'I think I may do something permanent.' I can say, without a doubt, that any of our mutual friends would come over immediately, held his hand, and sat with him until that horrible night passed. Suicides bring a lot of 'if only' s that way.

No event is ever going to be the same without his bright smile. I know that sounds like a cliche thing to say but you didn't know this man's smile.

Rest in Peace our friend. You will be missed.


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.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Brazil: Sir Mix A Lot's Lost Home: Rio de Janeiro

Today's Brazilian Hotties for your Friday got me thinking about Brazil and asses. In this country there is a true appreciation for those rear cushions, and is a source of pride among the owners of them.

It isn't just genes people, although the full ass really is. Seriously, big asses are as common in Brazil as silicone in LA only they aren't always purchased. Hell, even the mannequin at a lot of stores have an ass that would rival Coco's!

The thing is, Brazilians like a little meat. Sure they'll take a skinny girl in during a storm, but they search out a birthing woman to run the home. I'm not really sure if that is because of the beef or because of the sass that seemingly comes with these Brazilian women. Don't get me wrong, Brazilian men need a certain amount of Sass to keep them in their place, or at least remind them where it is when they get lost.

All and all it comes down to the concept of beauty. From my first day here I respected the fact that Brazilian men would hump the leg of all kinds. In all blunt honesty though, I got hit on a lot in the states and not very much in Brazil. Too skinny, too tall, and too lean. Hey, thank goodness I wasn't living here during that awkward age of 13. I looked like a personified Daddy Long Leg. I soooo wouldn't have ever been asked out. Oh wait I wasn't at home either...

Anyway, before you go and talk shit about the muscular asses here and say that they are all surgery, I am here to tell you they aren't. Well, at least not all of them. If you have ever frequented a gym in Rio de Janeiro, you'll have seen that the woman here work out more than the Navy Seals.

Honestly, I see women busting out ridiculously hardcore aerobics with 20 kilo (40lb) weights strapped on to each one of their ankles. There I am crying next to them with nothing on mine and they basically have the equivalent of a preschooler holding on to dear life on each one of there's. These hard asses are not something that happens naturally. The women here work for them.

Of course this may just be in Rio de Janeiro. Regardless, I used to consider myself a woman who knew her way around a weight room. In comparison to most American women, I still do. Next to one of these Assazonian ladies, I am nothing! They work out muscles in the ass and legs that I didn't even know exist! Hell, I doubt I've ever even felt them working.

So when you see a picture of an asstastic Brazilian woman, don't get all full of hate. They work hard for that ass. They spend more time in the gym than we do doing anything else. Respect it as one of the wonders of the world. Brazil has won the ass, as if it was ever a competition. 

Hot Brazilians for your Friday!

I just finished my Christmas decoration shopping and am all in the Christmas spirit. Yes, I'm a tad late to just be starting but I blame the whole apartment debacle. Anyway, I will now pass that spirit on to you in the form of Hot Brazilians for your Friday, the Christmas edition.

This is Marcio Garcia. Trust me, a man on the beach in a red speedo is just about as Christmas as you get down here.  

Of course leave it to the Brazilian ladies to throw on a g-string and some wings and call it Christmas. Check at those legs and ass! That's what many Brazilian men like. I swear Nicole Bahls must do squats with a large truck on her shoulders! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Serious Growth and I'm NOT Talking Mold

Living in Brazil has taught me so much about myself. We are talking serious growth here people.

Take my space issues for example. That has basically been beaten out of me, or at least it felt like that at the time. In Zona Sul, there is no space. And when it seems like you just may have founds some, you realize that there was a person on deck waiting to invade it. If you don't believe me, just try being pregnant down here. I had total random strangers rub my baby and lower down to talk to him. It was quite interesting and a bit of a boundary pusher for me at the time. I mean hell, go down a few more inches and you'd be talking to my vag. Yes, that is a little too close for comfort.

I have also started to become organized. This is directly related to the above space issue. While Mr. Rant and my Mother may call bullshit on this one, I do believe they have blocked the memories of my past ways out of their minds. Yes, it was that bad.

And not to be forgotten, I am damn good at pinning clothes. I like to consider myself a 1950s inner city wife. I do it well but keep it classy people, no clothes hanging out my window. Of course they are on my balcony but that's just between you and me.

Then there is food. My major source of nutrition in the states, if you could call it that, came in the form of a box and was heated in the microwave. I only have good genes to thank for not falling victim of the American Obesity trend. In my defense, I didn't really know how to cook and I drank a lot so crap food just tasted better. Of course I'm in Brazil now where, when I got here anyway, the only frozen ready-made food was basically Pão de Queijo or some stuff that I didn't even recognize. Not to mention the fact that there are so many fresh fruits and veggies that they basically fall out of the sky and right into your mouth. FYI, so odd to be saying this, don't swallow. Wash them first or they'll be going out even faster than they went in.

There's also the whole cooking from scratch thing. While I had seen my Mother do it, I just thought she was old school. Apparently it has quite a little following. My biggest shock was when I realized that I, Rachel's Rantings, is capable of making something from scratch that tastes a hell of a lot better than the stuff in a box (and keeps you much more regular thank you very much.)

All this stuff has me thinking that I was really immature when I came to Brazil for the first time at 23 years old. Oh wait, isn't the definition of 23 immature anyway? Sweet, there's my excuse!

Seriously though, how has where you are, physically or otherwise, changed who you are for the better? 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Hot Swim Teacher

Since I missed Hot Brazilians for your Friday, I thought I'd throw you a bone on Wordless Wednesday. Here are some super spy on the DL pictures I managed to take of my kids' swim teacher. Yes, it is going to fun watching swim class for a multitude of reasons.

Check Me Out

I posted over at Expat Focus today. Go read all my opinions and thoughts on Christmas in Brazil. No, it's not going to be sappy. Don't you know me at all!

A Brazilian Christmas...Without The Trimmings!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Anti-Vaccine? Not in the 3rd World

There are many things you never expect to hear, even living abroad. I remember when my pediatrician mentioned in conversation how it was meningitis season. Say what?! Don't you mean cold season??

That too.

Seriously, being raised in the states you take certain things for granted, like the lack of gnarly diseases. Our most reason run in was with Scarlet Fever. I thought everyone was joking but no, 2 kids at my sons' school were diagnosed with it. Our pediatrician actually diagnosed one of them. What's next, Cholera?

But it is a fact of life in a third world country. While people in the bigger cities pretty much have little risk of being exposed to anything like this, things happened. A close friend of mine's son came down with not one but two types of meningitis at the same time.

That is where the public system comes in. They do massive free vaccination campaigns down here. Any given month it is any given thing, and people push you left and right to go in and take it. I can't even tell you how many arguments I've gotten in with peoples' nannies when I said my kids didn't need them! My kids are up to date on vaccinations. They have it all, Brazilian public and private.

Sorry anti-vaccine, it is a fact of life where I live. I do, however, draw the line at double vaccinating. They truly push everyone to go back in as mass vaccinations are the easiest way to eliminate a disease in a population.

Of course I went to my pediatrician and asked him directly. Does Chatterbox (as The Menace wasn't born yet) really need to get this again? He said no but to not talk it about (oops). He said that the sad thing is that the public medical community is so overloaded that it can not manage to educate the general public as it should. If they should give an out then people who should get vaccinated may not, nulling the process as a whole.

While the process of being harassed into getting repeats of yet another vaccine annoys the crap out of me, I understand where it comes from. Part of me wonders if Americans have forgotten why vaccines were made in the first place and how powerful these diseases can be. Obviously it is a personal decision but it does effect the public as a whole.

My bottom line, if you are going to live in the 3rd world, please vaccinate. S

Shame on You Rio de Janeiro!

I saw a horrific sight the yesterday. It was supposed to be my Sunday Steam of Consciousness post but with the continued lack of internet it has been moved to Monday.


Today I am horrified. I saw something that shook me to the core. Walking innocently home, I saw a pharmacy delivery man beating a homeless man. It wasn't in a dark alley or at night. It was the middle of the day on a very busy street, next to a busy plaza. The most disturbing part was that no one did anything. 

I wanted to be able to just walk away and ignore it, tell myself the homeless guy must have had something coming to him. But I know that homeless guy and I saw him sleeping right there just 20 minutes earlier. 

I was the first one to yell leave him alone. By then his mouth was already bleeding and the man was dragging him down the street by his dreads. An old lady joined me in yelling. All the men, the multitude of men standing there, didn't get involved. Just a Mother with a small child (who would rather he not see something like this) and an old lady. Everyone else just watched. 

A different older woman passed by and said to me that he must be a theif. I looked at her and said that I have spoken with him before and he had never tried anything. I also said that even he is does that mean that you get to just beat this skinny starving homeless man? Is it ok? 

Sadly my true sacastic nature doesn't quite translate yet. I was dying to tell her that her line of thinking is a slippery slope into linching people and maybe she has forgotten that the dictatorship is over. I'm also dying to know what the best translation of daft cow is in Portuguese. Would have really fit the moment. Regardless, she looked embarrassed enough with her assumption and walked away with her head down. 

But I was pissed. Pissed at everyone watching. Pissed at no one breaking up the fight and figuring out what the hell was going on. Especially pissed because of the unfair size advantage of the beater and the fact that the homeless man was begging him to stop, not even fighting back! I give props to the little old lady who was shouting with me because she had the young man balls to walk up to the man doing the beating and yell at him. The man just said that the guy had it coming to him. She kept yelling at him but the guy was determined and started dragging the homelessman away. 

I took off towards the plaza to find a police officer. That's when I noticed that the delivery man was dragging the homeless man in the same direction. Hell, if a man is going to publicly beat another man and then drag him to the police, something must have happened. 

Still, the lack of response by the general public was disturbing. Hell, it happened right next to a bar with at least 20 men sitting there watching the fight and the game simotaneously. 

I think the neighborhoods of Laranjeiras, Catete and Flamengo should be ashamed of themselves! I sure am ashamed of my neighbors enough for everyone. Have you seen this? What would you have done?

Friday, December 2, 2011

First Language Limits??

Mr. Rant and I speak to each other in English. I have had just about the entire population of Brazil tell me that we should actually be speaking in Portuguese. They tell me that I would be speaking far better if we did. And every single time I just smile and inform them that we already have a challenging enough time with communication. While perfecting my Portuguese would be awesome, it would be very difficult to do if Mr. Rant and I weren’t on speaking terms.

The truth of the matter is that it is weird to speak to him in Portuguese. We have been speaking in English since the day we met! I know Mr Rant in English and that got me thinking, is there something to this? Take a Brazilian friend of mine. I met her upon her turn to Brazil after years of living abroad. She was excited to speak to me in English as that was what she was used to at the time.

Now, over a year later, we still find it odd when we speak to each other in Portuguese. We always slip back into English.

And it goes both ways. I have always spoken to my Brazilian Sister-in-law in Portuguese though she can understand, more or less, when I speak in English. Even on moments where she says to go ahead with English, I can’t. It’s weird but I feel more comfort, for many reasons, speaking to her in Portuguese.

It seems that languages aren’t merely a form of communication but also have a sort of intimacy level when it comes to who you are talking to.

Has anyone else noticed this or did I just publicly confirm my craziness?

Thursday, December 1, 2011


For starters, I'm still technically without internet. Thankfully my new building has a free lan house for residents. I get to come, get my fix, and also get to watch preteen mating rituals. Fun for the whole family.


I hate Etna, the furniture company. They caused a mini drama at my place on Monday by not showing up. When we called they informed us that the truck was sitting there all day waiting for the last piece of our ordered furniture and it got too late for delivery in Zona Sul. Apparently their phones only work one way. In the end they showed up ridiculously late on Tuesday and only managed to put together the bedroom closets (still thank goodness for small favors!) and left us with even more boxes in the living room. Going with their own flow, they can only come back Saturday to up together the living room shelving. Not a pain in our ass at all...


Not only did Etna screw me that way, they also screwed me in another way. I'm just going to let the dirty jokes leave your mind before I finish... I don't know if I have mentioned on this blog how Mr. Rant and his family consulate the phases of the moon before doing anything big. If the moon is out of phase everything will go to shit. Seriously, I was asked to plan my births around it. You could say that they take it pretty seriously. Of course seeing that I am a stubborn person I made an executive decision that we would buy the furniture even though the moon was out of course. And look what happened! Damn you Etna! The phases of the moon are going to control me for the rest of my life!


So now that we have gotten rid of half of our unneeded belongings, minimalists anyone, we have somewhat of a home. I even threw away the old antibiotics I was saving in case of a zombie apocalypse. How many of you guess that one was about me? As a celebration, I decided to take advantage of building perks. Did you know my place has a sauna with a dive in enterance to the pool? I think I had a mini orgasm the moment I saw it. Best yet, very cute cougar bait as eye candy! Not a bad way to relax at all.


Last but not least, it is finally December! I don't know what is going on in Rio de Janeiro because I can usually tell the month by the amount of sweat vacating my body. These days it's much more of a September/October level. Hell, I just may wear pants out this evening! So if any of you out there do not believe in Global warning pay attention, my sweat glands are telling you otherwise.


So that is all for this ranter today. As I do not have internet, nor a computer set up, I am going to be inconsistant at best. We did talk to our internet company and should have it by now. My favorite part of that experience was that they told us we had to make an online payment before we could get our internet switched over. Of course we were calling because we do not have internet and they neglected to switch it as scheduled. Irony anyone?