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!!

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