Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Random Post

Lately there have been a lot of little observances I've made that I want to blog about, but that don't really merit an ENTIRE blog ... well, frankly there just isn't enough to talk about to fill a whole page.  So this will be my random post, about several things that I really love about Brazil.

1.  CAFEZINHO!!!!  Wow, what is this?  The cutest, smallest, tastiest, little coffee ever!  I usually drink one of these little gems when we're out and I can find a coffee shop to hit up (Vienna is one that we visit every time we are out at the Shopping (the mall).  Ohhhh i could actually write a whole blog about cafezinho.  Y'see, in North America (I'm definitely going to assume this is a North American thing because it's led by S-bucks) coffees are ENORMOUS.  I realize smaller coffee shops like Tim Hortons or your more local coffee shops offer smaller sizes, but I'm sure most people opt for at least the medium which is definitely 2-3x the size of a cafezinho.  Now, I always have opted for the small size because I can't get through an entire medium of the watered-down coffee and this is why the cafezinho (or cutey little coffee in my own translation) appeals so much to me.
The cafezinho is also an espresso made from fresh Brazilian coffee beans, so it retains it's natural sweetness while being roasted and having that full earthy espresso flavour....it tastes so natural and delicious!!  When they make the espresso, the coffee comes almost whipped, with a little froth on top, and is then served in a teeny little cup with a teeny little spoon and a teeny little biscuit or chocolate mint (if I'm lucky)... OH MY GOD IT'S SO GOOD... Every time I drink it, I say this and then follow it up with I HAVE TO WRITE A BLOG ABOUT THIS COFFEE. 

2. Kite Flying.  Here in Rio, kite flying is a phenomenon... I'm sure it has to do with the favelas because it is a cheap, easy toy that kids can make and because here the game of kite fighting is pretty big (I think...).  For those who were unaware that kite flying is a game, think Kite Runner.  One kite tries to cut the other down with sharp string and when they succeed the kids run to try to get the lost kite.
Anyway, I see kites flying in the sky at all hours of the day.  The most we counted at one time in one area was I think 15.  I don't know why I like to watch them so much but at home I never experienced kite flying - I don't think I've ever flown a kite.  They're so peaceful to watch when there is a slight breeze and the kites dance around each other.  You can never see the owners, only the kites, so they appear to be controlling their own pace and direction... it's very relaxing.

3.  The things people do for money.  I'm talking, people who are poor providing quick bursts of entertainment for those waiting in their cars at red lights (when they actually do wait haha).  The other day, a young boy stepped in front of the car in front of us and began to juggle 3 little balls.  He was really talented, making eye contact with the driver, giving the thumbs up sign to verify enjoyment level, enjoyment level was present and so it continued.  It lasts about 30 seconds and then he walks from car to car to collect change from those viewers who liked the show.  It gets even more advanced from there.  Last night we saw a guy juggling fire batons in the street the same way.  When he was finished his show I actually applauded in the car.  I love these little bursts of entertainment!

4.  An extension of things people do for money.  Selling crap on the highway.  And when you're dying of heat in your pre-air conditioned car, that guy you thought was crazy selling COCA!, AGUA! in the middle of the highway suuuddenly becomes your best friend... You can also get hammocks, jewelery, or for the alcoholic driver, good old cerveja!

This concludes my random post for now... Next time I am going to show off our new carro!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

disclaimer: this is not about brazil

I wonder if I'll ever be able to recover from my past relationship.  I feel like I was never this insecure before... and before I even get into this, I'm aware that because my blog is public that Im sharing this information with a lot of people.  It doesnt require anyone to comment - I just need to get some feelings off my chest.

There are times when I really really doubt myself, my relationship, and my future.  I know I had some issues when i was younger with depression but after I entered university, lost weight, gained a lot of independence, a real sense of who I was growing into, those feelings really passed and I became really confident with myself.  For god's sake, I could go to a nightclub by myself and have a great time!  I was also in a LDR with someone who I knew very well and who I trusted and who trusted me.  Not that I was worthy of being trusted - in fact I probably shouldn't have been in a relationship at all at the time.  I was free and I was feeling attractive for the first time.

Anyway, my last relationship really fucked with my head.  I mean really.  So so so many lies, so many lies that went so far down.  So many things happening behind my back while looking into my eyes INSISTING that they weren't happening, that I was the crazy one for thinking that.  That relationship really ruined every last ounce of trust I had...  so much so that I still think about it a year later.  I still get angry about it.  It's not about dwelling on the relationship - I almost hate that it ever happened.  That could be the anger talking right now.   I don't have regrets about anything in life - except for the fact that I was tricked.  I should have listened to my instincts.  (I should have read Blink sooner). 

Now, I'm the first one to say that I am the one in control of my reactions - I don't have to let this crazy period in my life affect me so negatively.  But where do you draw the line?  When are you allowed to give in and say that shit really screwed with my head and now I am forever changed because of it.  And at this point in time, it's not in a positive 'I learned from this' way.  It's in a really negative, really insecure, really 'the kind of girl I hate and never want to be' way.  

Now in my current relationship, MARRIAGE no less - somewhere I should feel 100% secure and safe - I still find my past haunting me, making me suspicious, making me question words, question myself... i was never insecure before.  I'm afraid that all men are the same.  It makes you feel like it's your fault.  If I had been better at this, if I had done more of this, you wouldn't have felt like you wanted attention from someone else.  It's so clich´e.   (Sorry mac's do accents in a weird way).   Obviously everyone (including myself) would say "it's okay, honey, it's not you, he was a pig, he didn't deserve you."  yeah yeah.  So does that mean that a lot of men are just pigs?  No other explanation?  No rational?  It's a bit discouraging and all-out depressing to accept that.   **Side Note** This is not targeted at my husband, I strongly need to point this out.  It is just the point to where my stupid distrust has taken me. 

I think about all of the factors that could have changed this security in myself.... also it could be the fact that I worked at the gym for so long and was surrounded by women who I felt were mostly thinner and fitter than me.  They had more self control over food, more self control over exercise... I felt inferior a lot... bah what a crazy person I have become!  Does anyone else have issues with self image the way I do???  God!  It's a real problem!!!  I need to take part in some positive thinking courses I think.... I'm serious.  I really think the problem here is me.  I need to learn how to think positively because all my negative thought is really bad for myself and for my family.

Have I always thought this way? I think so... I think I have the tools to think positively, I just don't have the will.  I always use the example of a woman who wants to lose 50 lbs but doesn't want to do the work to get there.  There is a disconnect.  At least I can usually talk myself out of this negativity by the end of my rants.  I would really like to look into positive thinking.

Monday, January 11, 2010

hurricane's a comin'

Sitting outside to write this blog, just for another point of view. I'm not doing too well with the regular twice-weekly updates. For now, if I can make it to one-a-week I'll be satisfied.
I can feel the rain is starting here right now which is a very good thing because today it was 41 degrees on the thermometer and the humidex was 50. For anyone who thinks they've experienced hot weather before - I challenge you to live a month here. And for all of you who are most definitely thinking "would you rather come back home to the cold?" my definitive answer is NO. I will take this godforsaken, hotter than hell, oven over that freezing cold, nasty, dirty oily slush, icy chinook-like wind, horrible winter ANY DAY. But it is still HOT here and I will still complain! It's just that you do have these moments of joy when the rain is about to come and the weather drops to a cool 25 degrees at 10:30 pm. Oh wait. That is still hot as freaking HELL. I was remembering one summer in Peterborough when the weather people were calculating how many days we'd had over 30 degree weather. Every day over 30 was an extreme heat alert. That summer there were FIVE WHOLE DAYS. I said to Ro it's funny thinking back on that because they do the same thing here, only they are calculating how many days are over 40. So far, on the thermometer, there have been 2 days over 40 and summer has only been going for about 3 weeks and ONE of those days was BEFORE summer started.
Alright, there is my rant about the heat.
I just wanted to talk about favelas for a minute. If anyone out there isn't familiar with a favela, I will explain, as I am looking at one right now. A favela is like a shantytown (think City of God - which is an actual favela in Rio, which I SAW). So actually a favela IS a shantytown, only you can't really picture what a shantytown is because they don't really have any in Canada. So anyway, Im looking at this favela and Im trying to figure out why there are so many lights that seem to be flickering on and off. First of all, try to picture a huge mountain with small random houses built all over it with no particular order to it (and by houses I mean square boxes that look like single rooms). Now picture that on each box there are several more boxes built on top of each other, maybe directly, maybe a little off to the side. Now picture that these houses look really really really poor. And all of these lights that I'm seeing are just open light bulbs without shades, and there are barely any streetlamps so the light bulbs stay on at everyones house so the view I'm seeing is a mountain with several hundred scattered single light bulbs and I think the flickering is caused simply by the wind blowing the bulb back and forth.  Are you seeing what I'm seeing?   As soon as I can figure out how to post photos onto this blog I will show you what I'm talking about.
Everyone here is also scared of the favelas.  I'm really really curious to go in one but I'm not really allowed by my family.  Even today, Ro and I were lost driving and our GPS kept telling us to turn right but alllll along our right was a huge favela.  He turned at one point not realizing we were still in Favela Land and stopped quickly saying "nnnnooope I don't wanna go in the favela, la la la".  I asked "what's going to happen if we go in?"  He said "I don't know but I don't want to find out!"  Well that makes no sense.  I think the fear is that if there is a random shooting we might be caught in a cross fire.  Seriously.
Found out how to post pictures so I shall leave you with a picture of A favela - not THE favela I'm looking at.  

Monday, January 4, 2010

Oh my god, I just picked up my shorts and some sort of black insect fell out of them and ran under the tv stand!!! ACCCCKKKKKK!! no idea what that was! I'm actually seeing less insects here than I originally expected... My first encounter was with a dead cockroach on the sidewalk. I screamed when i saw it, but more for effect rather than out of true fear. It was enormous though. The next time I saw a cockroach it was alive and on the sidewalk and this time I screamed with a little more genuity. Damn, those roaches are quick! Today, at the gym, Debora and I saw a big dragon fly fluttering around in the light fixture... that is something you definitely would not see at a GoodLife! haha, you also wouldn't see women wearing one-piece, ass-eating, tit-baring, multi-coloured "workout clothes" but here you see it alllll the time. Especially the style with the low back that points down right to the ass. I have seen more ass here than ever before, that's for sure.

I will also detail a little further what the gyms are like here in Rio.

Gym Staff: There are usually, at one time, at least 50 people working in the gym. Around 3 girls at the front desk (where you scan yourself in using your thumbprint). There are a couple of girls working in the small fenced off area that is the child minding zone, where I've only seen kids playing video game soccer all the time. Then, you'll have your array of fitness instructors (who I have witnessed show up for class 15 minutes late, not apologize, and still end the class on the scheduled time). There is a pool at this gym so there are generally 3 or 4 swimming instructors. Cleaning staff generally totals around 3 or 4 people and then upstairs you have your 'instructors'. These are essentially trainers, and there are usually around 10 of them working at once, whose job it is to walk around the floor helping people with their workouts, spotting, creating exercises etc etc. This is the one aspect of the gym I really didn't like in the beginning. I was already feeling pressured to learn my way around the equipment, deciding what exercises I wanted to do, and on top of it countless instructors were approaching me speaking quickly in Portuguese, and to each of them me replying "Eu nao falo Portugues!!!" Pass it on.

Gym Etiquette: It is the general etiquette of the gym to accept the help of the trainers. But we still don't. Also, kind of boring stuff is when you use the tiny black floor mats you take one from the top and then put your dirty one on the bottom. Also, you don't need to wipe down the equipment. Actually, we later learned, people will laugh at you if you do. So we got laughed at.

Gym Fashion: Saved the best for last! Aha. I want to take a picture so you can really see the gym fashion for yourself. This is not an exaggeration. First, as I mentioned in a previous post, earrings. Always. Big, hoopy, dangly whatever, just wear 'em. Hair - long and down. The longer and more down the better. And if you plan to wear it up, it's going to just be tied in a low, loose ponytail and held back with a big 'ol scrunchie. Remember scrunchies? Clothing - baggy-ish shirt usually low cut. Tight, cycle-short style shorts ALWAYS lighter than the shirt ALWAYS with huge swirly multi coloured patterns ALWAYS going up the bum. ALWAYS ALWAYS paired with wooly socks that make it up to about halfway up the calf. Ahahaha. Oh man it is hilarious. But then again, this crazy style makes me look like a boring man with my mostly black clothes, hair always up in a bun and kinda muscly. I probably look like a weirdo to them too.

The one class I really miss here is.... ACTUALLY it's a test. People, I'm putting it to you! What class do I LOVE more than anything??? (Hint: I did it every Friday...) Well, they don't have that glorious class here! DAMN I will just have to learn how to Samba! ;)

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