Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I"ve been having really vivid dreams since I arrived here. Vivid and realistic. In a few dreams, I have been going back to Toronto to check up on things back home... Last night I dreamed I was buying bulk candy and chocolate. On a totally separate note, can someone settle an argument between Ro and I? Is it more correct to say dreamed or dreamt? Can't figure that one out...
Anyway. I'm sick right now. Suddenly, unexpectedly, sick. Everything was going fine this morning when BAM sore throat punches me right in the kidneys. Or, the throat, to be more accurate. It f'ing hurts and I hate having a sore throat!!!!! Especially in the heat. And it's f'ing HOT AS HELL here. My loving husband just went down to get me some ginger tea, which will be a bitch to drink in this heat but I can't afford to eat anymore ice cream (I mean, my stomach can't afford it, not if Im going to wear all those string bikinis! which Im actually not so I should just go eat a tub of ice cream right now.) Longest parenthesis ever.
I have been really bad about updating lately - not sure why. Partly because I've been having some sad days recently and the drive isn't there. Partly because my nails have grown really long and it's a pain in the ass to type on my keyboard. I am trying to make it a goal to update my blog twice a week so you can hold me to that. I am also trying to make it a goal to get a weekly manicure, just because it costs 16 Reais for a mani and a pedi!! That is about 9 or 10 bucks. Hells yes.
Sad - they dont really sell teas here... Only mint tea was the closest we could find. I have come to appreciate in 2 short weeks things that are familiar to me, especially during particularly emotional times in my life. Like my birthday and Christmas and having a sore throat. All of these things had really wonderful moments (I mean minus the sore throat ha) and I really enjoyed learning about the different ways they do things here but at the end of the day, you feel like something is missing a little. You just want that thing that is familiar. Ro and his family planned this really thoughtful surprise party for me. It was beautiful and so well planned and I was really surprised. So surprised and overwhelmed that I cried a lot... They only cut the birthday cake and sing Parabens at the end of the party and it's the responsibility of the birthday person to cut their cake from the bottom up. Ro was coaching me the whole way through and at the end of the cutting whispered "now you have to give the piece to someone." Everyone eagerly watched as I, stupidly, with no idea what was happening, said "uhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmm here!" and thrust the enormous piece towards his aunt. I could see everyones faces change into surprise and a sort of embarrassment... I was laughing and saying "I'm sorry!! I know, the piece is so ridiculously big! I'm sorry!" It was only later that Ro pulled me aside and asked why I gave the piece to his aunt. "Because she was right in front of me!" "Oh, the first piece is supposed to go to the most special person there... you probably should have given it to my mom." I'm so embarrassed. Of course his mom says she doesn't care about these things... she doesn't get offended. Maybe so but I'm sure she was embarrassed herself because I saw the way everyones face changed. I saw them looking confused "why didnt she give the first piece to his mom?" Hell, I was going to give it to the lady next to me who was the employee serving the cake! I didn't know!! Oh it was a terrible end to the night for me. I felt so bad... bah.... I still feel terrible.
Anyway, the only redemption to the night was the next day. We had SO much leftover food - so so much - that we packed it all up into little individual bags and took it to the street to give away to people needing food. It felt AWESOME AWESOME that people really seemed to appreciate the gesture and took the food with a big Thanks and a God Bless You. Felt pretty spectacular actually. We might start doing it weekly....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

a guide to the 'optionals' of Rio...

As the name implies, I will share with you some of the things I have observed so far as 'optional', or, the rule is only a suggestion, do whatever you want.

1. Seatbelts. The law in Brazil is that the passengers in the front seat have to wear their seatbelts and are excellent (as far as I know) with following this rule. However, seatbelts in the back are NOT mandatory and often are not even available. In the several cabs we have taken so far, fastening my seatbelt isn't even my own decision to make. Let me also clarify that driving here isn't organized and orderly either. No, no, we are driving like f'ing maniacs at the speed of light until AAAAAHHHHHHH VIOLENT SWERVE WTF WAS THAT?? oh it was just an ENORMOUS pothole in the ground! We couldn't hit it! Of course, what was I thinking? PS. the prior conversation is taken from actual events.

2. One way streets. Drive the way they say or don't! It's totally up to you.

3. Stopping at red lights. This one is tricky... where the PROPER thing to do is slow down come to a complete stop for 3 seconds the BRAZILIAN thing to do is slow down look a little and keep on going! Or slow down and honk is acceptable, flash your lights is also acceptable and pretty much it becomes treated as a stop sign.
I do realize that this is because of safety here. Stopping at red lights at night presents the risk of being robbed or carjacked (all things that COULD happen) but this fascinating event happens at all hours of the day. I don't know if I buy the safety thing... ;) I kid I kid...

That completes my list of optionals for now. Stay tuned for more.

PS I'm currently watching Family Guy in Portuguese. I don't get it. :|

Thursday, December 17, 2009

we made it!

Finally, the much awaited (by everyone and probably more by myself) I HAVE ARRIVED blog. This evening marks the end of one entire day spent in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil my new city :) So many things have happened in the past 48 hours and we are really proving ourselves to be chameleons - totally capable of changing and adapting. My overall impression of Brazil so far has been good. There are, however, certain differences that I am acutely aware of.
First, I am completely under-dressed. I already knew how Latin Americans dressed based on past traveling but apparently I forgot. Rules to remember before you leave the house:
1. Always be wearing a pair of earrings. It really doens't matter if you're boarding a 10 hour plane ride, walking in the Centro, or working out. Earrings are a must.
2 Often you should be wearing high heeled shoes. All points mentioned above remain the same.
3. Lululemon pants are not acceptable. You should consider wearing a dress or skirt at all times.
4. Said dress (or shirt paired with skirt) will have spaghetti straps and show a lot of tit.

Other differences - when you order bottled water, it's (so far) always offered com gas o sem gas (carbonated or non carbonated). Also, in a lot of places, we make our order, they write up a 'tab' of sorts and then you bring the piece of paper to the cashier to check out instead of bringing your food or wrapping paper right to the cashier to pay.

Already my Portuguese is improving, just like everyone said it would! At least talking is coming A LITTLE easier today than yesterday - but i'm having this problem where I freeze and draw a complete blank when Im meeting a new person or when I'm surrounded by a lot of people.
Last night for example. We arrived after traveling for almost 24 hours straights (10 hours on the plane and then after getting through customs with ALL our stuff, 6 hour drive to Rio). It was a hard day and I was stressed out to meet his mom and sister and after the initial awkward hellos we went into the apartment where all of his friends and family in Rio were there to surprise us! It was of course great for him to be greeted with such an awesome welcome but i was really thrown into things a little too fast for my comfort. There were so many people to meet and I was feeling so uncomfortable saying anything to anyone... but also maybe it was a good time to meet people and get the awkwardness out of the way.

I swear to all of you right now I WILL speak Portuguese! Maybe I will eventually write a post in Portuguese! The language exposure is so strange - i have already started thinking automatic things in Portuguese like thank you (which I say A LOT)...

Anyway, for now I"m off to bed and will update more soon!!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dear Brazil: Please go easy on me

Dear Brazil:

I am on my way to live with you for a while and I was hoping I could request a few items before I come. The truth is, I'm completely caught between feeling amazingly excited to see you, experience all that you have to offer (I'm really talking about all of the fresh everything I'll be able to eat) and being horribly sad and resentful towards you as the world which does not contain any of my friends or family or any of the things I am familiar with and love! Please be gentle with your approach. Please don't rob me, accost me in any way, talk to me like a piece of meat, did I say rob me?, make me feel like I don't belong, affect my self esteem, change me for the worse or create obstacles that I can't overcome...

The latter three points are actually in my control.

However, maybe I am actually afraid of myself on those three points. I do know myself, I think, but I'm pretty sure I'm about to get the biggest 'knowing myself' mind fuck of my life! I'm going to be tested in ways that fall well outside my comfort zone. I've created a few personal goals in my head (which come just before my mental list of things I still need to buy from Mary Kay before I go - 3 bottles of After Sun the best product EVER!) One of my goals for this adventure is to become more accepting and less judgemental- especially if I don't agree on a certain point. Husband has made me very aware of this flaw - in a caring way of course - but I do realize that when I disagree I get pretty strongly opinionated about it. I also realize that this makes the person I'm talking to feel like THEY are stupid, not the idea... I may be aware of that... so I'mma try to work on it.

Goal #2 - Hey let's just go ahead and turn this into a list -
Learn how to speak Portuguese fluently enough that I can have easy conversations, I can understand what is being said in a group of people, and I am not constantly translating in my head.

Goal #3 - Learn how to live in another country (why not try... ohhh... Brazil!) Learn how to be more wary and cautious, open minded, careful, learn the city, learn who to avoid, etc. In Toronto I feel pretty comfortable to walk home by myself at 1 in the morning and not even be talked to or even to drop a 50 on the ground and have someone pick it up and give it back to me :D

Goal #4 - My favourite goal - give to directions to a tourist who needs to know how to get somewhere in the city! Achieving this goal will make my whole experience SOOOO awesome and will prove to me that I am a LOCAL! If nothing else happens, I hope I achieve this goal. Well, I suppose all goals will have to precede this one so... let's just go for 'em all!

I did the Jung-Myers Briggs personality test today (for all those psychologists out there you are familiar with the well-known research of Carl Jung). It's pretty interesting in it's approach as well as results. There are sixteen different personality types/combinations, according to their research. Basically what Jung believes is that there are two basic human functions: How we take in information (perceive) and how we make decisions. Within these two categories there are two opposite ways of functioning. We perceive information via 1)our senses or 2)our intuition We make decisions either by 1)logic or 2)feelings. The function one uses most often is the Dominant function and is supported by the Secondary, Tertiary and Inferior Functions. People will assert their Dominant function either "extroverted" or "introverted". He also believed that the Dominant Function was so powerful that it overshadows all other functions as being a persons "personality".

It's been expanded on however by the Myers-Briggs movement and included two more basics of human functions:
1. our flow of energy
2. how we take in information
3. how we prefer to make decisions
4. the basic day-to-day lifestyle that we prefer

Within each of these categories, we "prefer" to be either:
Extraverted or Introverted
Sensing or Intuitive
Thinking or Feeling
Judging or Perceiving

SO - confused yet??

My result was this:
Your Type is
Extraverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving
Strength of the preferences %
56 38 62 11

You are:
-moderately expressed extravert

-moderately expressed intuitive personality

-distinctively expressed feeling personality

-slightly expressed perceiving personality

Maybe I'm not as judgemental as I thought!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I heart Portuguese and Whining

I absolutely can not seem to get into writing any updates... frankly because there's nothing really to update. I've started at least 3 and then...

I am really liking learning Portuguese - not because I've had any real breakthroughs... but... well maybe I have. I'm getting a much better understanding of it.
Yay for moving to Brazil. Can someone sign up to be my complaint-listener while I'm gone? Upon my Port. teacher's advice, I would like to employ someone to strictly be available for my complaining. It's no secret that I can't help/love to whine... I'd rather not burden my husband and therefore my relationship with my endless whines and complaints. Better to do that to my friends, who love me unconditionally. :) Acerto???

Yay I found the other posts I was working on so I'll just put em up and you can see what I thought about but didn't finish... Tchau!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Spending time in the Brazlian Consulate of Toronto

Ok, the Brazilian Consulate is... well... it's kind of a mess. Everytime I've gone has been rather stressful - for one thing the square footage is TINY and many Brazilian families show up and squeeeeeze their families of 5 complete with strollers and young children into the already undersized space.

Today was no different.

Folks were almost unable to open the door today because I was rammed up against it. It was especially annoying because I was returning the consulate AGAIN because they made a mistake on my permanent visa. (they forgot to put my married name on it...)

This time, however, it was nice to see a lot of Canadians in line to pick up visas. At least I know I'm not the first person to ever relocate to Brazil :) duh...
So now we're back in the same position without my permanent Visa... Im steps away from being an (almost) Brasileira.

And now to end my post in the traditional Brazilian way. BEIJOS BEIJOCAS BEIJINHOS! Of course with a little added ridiculousness ;)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

hott in herrrrre (so take off all your clothes)

It's freakin' hot in here. There is an oscilating fan in my office, an enormous industrial fan outside my office, the air conditioning is on and my legs are STILL sticking to my chair.

If I was in Brazil I might be ok with this but, clearly I am not, and so what the hell???

Something is definitely wrong with the cooling system in this building but they won't do anything about it - and if it's hot for me sitting in the office, I can't imagine what the members who are working out are going through. Sorry members!

So this weekend was a very Brazilian weekend for us! I'm so so glad I stopped being a baby and went to the party at Ro's bosses house. a) I had a great time and b) it got me so excited about Brazil again
The last 3 weeks have been slightly rough for me - I was having serious anxiety about leaving and all of the challenges and mishaps that are sure to happen were becoming daunting and overwhelming. Language, family living, relationship building, location, the list goes on... BUT after this weekend I was relieved (surprised?) to know that I understood a good 60% of what people were saying in Portuguese and ALSO that the drunker I get, the more comfortable I am with trying to speak!
Solution = always be a little bit drunk, all the time.
The party was nice - everyone was really friendly and good dancing and caipirinhas were enjoyed. My husband makes the best caipirinhas, p.s.
And I'm sure you all know what a caipirinha is, but for the future readers who don't, it is a traditional Brazlian drink made with Cachaça . The actual word "caipirinha" is the diminutive version of the word "caipira", which refers to someone from the countryside, being an almost exact equivalent of the American English hillbilly. HMM! I don't think Brazilians think of hillbillys when they drink this drink but it may be due to the fact that a SIP of one gets you retardedly drunk, in pure hillbilly fashion.

So where was I? Oh yeah, I was really drunk. And so, the result of said drunkness was of course a nice li'l hangover Sunday morning. I feel so lucky on Sunday. I get to spend the entire day with Ro, waking up late, making eggs and toast, getting showered and dressed and go for long walks anywhere. This Sunday we walked to the closest Wendy's (it's all I can handle post alcohol for some reason), ate, walked up to Praça Dundas, looked in Future Shop (where I witnessed the most amazingly bad attempt at shoplifting - soooooooo obviously stealing stuff guy!!), then streetcarred it over to Little Italy where we had tix to watch O Mistério do Samba at the Brazil Film Fest! Watched an awesome Samba school play on the sidewalk - beautiful sunny day, live samba school and my husband?? GREAT day!

The movie was sooo nice - it explained the story of the velha guarda do Portela and had some fantastic shots and of course, beautiful sambas. We both really enjoyed watching it in the old Royal theatre - it's amazing how you can take a holiday in your own city sometimes.
Then we walked home and passed through Kensington Market, which Ro hadn't been to before and I hadn't been to in a long time... Sundays are Pedestrian Sundays which means only foot traffic and lots of cool entertainment.

Phew! We did a lot on Sunday and afterwards felt so excited to be in Brazil. Do you know it's only 6 weeks left until we leave?? Is that even possible??? Gah!! I can't believe it. Uma cosa à tempo. First, move to Brampton. Then, move to Rio.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


OK Officially we are leaving DECEMBER 14! what what!! We bought our tickets today after discussing the fact that a little more time here would give us a bit more money and would also give us a bit more option for seat selection. Ro doesn't like flying... AT ALL. Actually, I've never experience fear and anxiety of flying the way he has it. It kind of stresses me out because he just can't relax, can't sleep, everytime the seatbelt sign dings he is ALERT, his hands are sweaty, talking nervously about nothing. It's so strange!! He is like a different person. Possibly this is the only thing that interrupts his usual calm, rational, demeanor.
Soooo looking foward to a stressful 11 hour flight :S

Last night we put up post-it notes around the condo to help with my vocabulary. This morning, while getting ready in the bathroom, I've become very familiar with the vaso, the espelho, and the pia. :D Tonight, while we're on the sofá watching televisao, I'll work on the sala de estar. :)

Whoever guesses what all those words mean correctly gets a special prize from me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's Official...

I got the visa... December 2 is the launch date!!! Fastest visa ever!

I can't believe a year from now I will be living in Brazil. I can't believe 2 months from now I will be living in Brazil.


Monday, September 28, 2009

I heart things that make me feel good

I came into work on Saturday feeling like I was preeeettttty much ready to die. I was working for the 6th day in a row and it was my 60th hour of work that week. I felt like I needed a real rest.
I phoned this place asking desperately if I could be seen that day and they amazingly fit me in for BOTH a massage and a facial. As if I even had the money available for that but I might have been a little bit delirious at that point. Either way.
Maybe it was the fact that I was beyond stressed. Maybe it was the instant zen-like space they provided. Maybe the staff have magic hands. I don't know. Whatever the reason - it was the best massage and facial I have EVER had x 100. It wasn't just the quality of the services either - it was the details too. Relaxing in the jacuzzi tub beforehand. The massage room lighting and sensory explosion of smell and sound. They put a towel over my eyes just to make things extra comfortable. The fact that after my massage was done, the masseuse let me know that I could just relax there until the lady came to provide me with the facial which meant uninterrupted bliss for 2 entire hours.
Anyway, I am obviously still feeling pretty excellent and this all happened 2 days ago. How can such a simple thing make me feel so good? There are several random things I just want to declare as being important to me (and good for my overall well-being).
1. Taking time for mental relaxation (ie. yoga, massage, bike ride on nice day, walking by water, etc.)
2. Health and fitness
3. Constant learning (in a classroom setting and of a specific topic)

Possibly the most random post ever...?? On the note of constant learning - I am continuing my Portuguese classes this week and I am pumped about it. So happy that I am preparing myself and trying to take on my biggest worry with moving. I have this dream in my head of the relationships I'm going to develop with Ro's family... I don't know if they might be a little bit wishful but whenever I fantasize (yes, I often make up fantasy situations in my head that can get pretty specific and lengthy) I come up with some pretty clear images of how I hope things are.

Please prepare yourself for a total stream of consciousness here: I have images of me feeling 100% comfortable in the house, getting ready to go somewhere(??), calling his mom "mae" (literally calling for her through the house), also, calling for his sister through the house (for some reason I feel like this calling for people through the house denotes a level of total comfortability?), working out with his sister, trading music with her, I picture her listening to my ipod and hearing the music I have on there and she likes it. Somehow I have more expectations of connecting with De than his mom. Maybe this is normal but I've never been in a relationship where my partner has a sister (aside from last one but I only met her twice). It's an area that I feel like I need to be strong - to have a sister close to me. I will really really miss my sister when I am away and somehow, really badly, hope that I can have that sisterly relationship with her to ease the pain of missing my own sister.
Now I'm a little teary so I'm going to stop writing...

Monday, September 21, 2009

There needs to be more weekends like these...

Well, Monday... it's you and me again. I can't say I really like you all that much as you take away my two favourite days, Saturday and Sunday. But it is what it is...

I feel like I was able to tap in a little closer to my husband this weekend (not that it's difficult - he's incredibly easy to talk to).

Sometimes alcohol helps you open up and express those nagging feelings... for me especially because I tend to overanalyze things to the most granular detail. Alcohol just helps these thoughts flow a little free-er....

I am learning that marriage brings about this completely different level of communication and understanding and acceptance. I learned this weekend that he has a clear cut impression of what our communication style should be like - totally honest, totally open, and able to talk about everything, even the awkward stuff (or maybe especially the awkward stuff??) ;) Everybody wants that - but can everybody put aside their own self awareness to actually implement this? Especially when it means you need to be able to accept this level of brute honesty, which I know could easily be misinterpreted as criticsm.
I think it's beautiful. What an amazing concept - that you can be your complete true self with your partner and not feel judged. That you have these insecure, seemingly idiotic feelings and tendencies, and it's ok. Your partner tells you you're allowed to have them and even better, tells you they want to hear about them (and actually means that). This is a totally rare form of existence in my experience. It sure does help me get my fears off my chest though... and I truly appreciate and need that in my partner!

On another note, why is the paperwork for Brazilians to become landed immigrants to Canada SO UNBELIEVELY IMPOSSIBLE?? Wow... it's like, another level of impossible. We are expected to provide pretty intimate details of our wedding, who attended, what it was like, where it was... we even need to talk about who proposed, how they did it, where, why, what etc. It's like they want to see pictures of us consumating just to prove that we're legit. Haha, I think we should actually do that - throw in a couple of X-rated photographs JUST IN CASE... just to cover all angles. haha...

Anyway, feeling pretty happy right now! Lots of things to do before we go but we are also pretty booked up for the next couple months which will make the time go by so fast I'm sure... so many mixed emotions! Ahh!!!

One more thing I feel happy about - that amongst all of this madness, in my head and otherwise, I feel completely totally safe, like nothing bad is going to happen. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Optimist Post!

Inspired by her I am writing myself an optimist post. I think I really need it right now considering I am feeling pretty bothered by a particular ex girlfriend who just doesn't seem to ever go away.

SO. Things I am thankful for (in no particular order):

1. The amazing trip I am about to embark on
2. A totally amazing, supportive, NICE man who I can luckily call my husband!
3. Being able to save a lot of money now so we can have a (hopefully) nice life over the next year
4. My health and fitness level
5. I can now wear a bikini and not feel disgusting!
6. My brain
7. Chocolate milk in all its variations
8. My all loving family
9. My grown ability to make decisions
10. The speed at which I spell, haha
11. My beloved bicycle! It gets me around this entire city and does so much good for my body and the environment... I will miss my bicycle A LOT!

Now it's just getting ridiculous... I still can't quite get my mind off this dumbness! Any way... I am going to try to find a way to put a countdown on this page to countdown until I leave... Will report back when said countdown-er is found!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Visa Sent!

Yup... today was the official day... what it actually means is that in no more than 3 months, I will be in Brazil. It's difficult to determine exactly when we can go... at the consolate they explained that if they were to take a guess (yes, please come on and just GUESS) they would say it takes around 2 months for a permanent visa to arrive. The date we're aiming for is December 4 but who knows what will happen.

I wish I could fast forward one year and be looking back on all of this laughing at my unneccessary fears of language barrier, sharing a house, not making friends etc. I should stop worrying about all of these unknowns... it's just difficult to rid myself of expectations.

Up until the go point I suppose there isn't much to report other than my constant fluxuations of anxiety. Today is good day, I'm feeling eager, excited, hopeful.

Other days are stressful.

The fears I have really revolve around what will be my new lack of control over my life. Not to say I will lose control, but it's hard to maintain your power when you can barely communicate.

Anyway, for now I'm to ignore these nagging 'preocupas' and remain happy and excited!!
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