Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Time in Canada

Oh goodness guys... it's so good.

So, I'm finally catching up on blogging after literally being offline since I left Brazil on December 20.  A lot of the blogs have really been capturing my feelings of Christmas in Brazil last year (my first one, popping the cherry)... the strange/guilty feeling of annoyance and anger and the heat and 'un-Christmassyness' of it all.  Those feelings were creeping up again this year.  My parents knew it.  My friends knew it.  My dear loving and patient husband knew it.  So my parents did the most awesome thing and offered me a ticket home for the holidays.

How could I say no?

I was going crazy to know how it would feel to be back in Canada and to experience the notorious 'reverse-culture shock' for myself.  But, to be honest, it hasn't been difficult at all for me to reassimilate.  Everything is pretty much how I imagined it....

Sure, I've noticed some things that I'm missing from Brazil (ie. Bakeries, good manicures, an abundance of fresh fruit and veg, my HUSBAND) but I have confirmed that certain differences WEREN'T inflated in my head due to extreme saudades.  Things like amazing customer service, friendly strangers saying hi, excuse me, thank you, letting each other cross the street or change lanes, orderly driving, big giant hugs hello, lots of ACTUAL multiculturalism/language EVERYWHERE...

But although I was going crazy missing these things and also going a little crazy being the 'different' one, I'm kinda missing that part now!  I miss speaking Portuguese and I miss the feeling of achieving a comfortable quality of life.  In Canada, it just exists.  You don't really have to work for it.  In Brazil, it's something to be proud of.  Something you can measure in huge strides and see how far you've come.  I miss eating healthier in Brazil.  I actually miss the routine of "home".

I miss Ro.  A lot.

God, will I ever feel satisfied in one place again???  Have we all now shot ourselves in the foot by living in two places at once - Home and Second Home?  One place will always be missing something and offering something else.

As for now, I have one more week to enjoy Canada.  That means a real snowy New Years in a hot tub with lots of flowing red wine, friends and more family time.....oh yeah baby.

P.S. In case you wondered if it feels somehow colder to me now after a year in Brazil, I can only say it feels amazing and I love winter.  White snow, brown snow, yellow snow, bring it all on.  But on second thought, a nice day at the beach with a cold beer and my husband wouldn't be so bad right about now.....

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Braziliversary to me!

 Today marks one whole year in Brazil! 

You heard it here first, folks.  I survived one year in Brazil.  Let's celebrate by reflecting on my 'Brazil' goals from last year, before leaving the homeland.
"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 'n 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!"

Friday, December 10, 2010

New Addition to our house

And no, it's not a baby.  It's another dog.

Yes, you heard right.

In our already too-small 3 bedroom apartment where we already have 5 adults, 1 cat (still kitten) and 1 dog, someone thought it would be a good idea to get another puppy.

Things are feeling a little full.

I am trying to hold on as best as I can.  Why would they get a new dog, you may ask?  The same way one might get a new shirt?  Because you were in the mood to buy it?  Or because we had a little space over in that corner?  I'm still trying to figure this one out myself. 

I have never owned dogs.  I have never really even liked dogs.  Then I met my husband (a giant dog-lover) and moved to Brazil (the biggest dog-loving country I have ever seen.  Seriously biased towards dogs - everyone 'hates' cats, meanwhile I'm sure they've never owned or probably even seen a house-cat).
I've been a little forced into dogs here seeing as they already had a dog (who is sweet, but so old it's like she's not even here) and seeing as though everywhere you go people are walking dogs, fawning over dogs, or getting dog tattoos.

Now we have this new damn puppy who, I swear to god, is cute but holy idiot.  The dog is terrorizing my cat and in turn it's stressing ME out because I can see that Nina is not happy.  He finds ways into my room and eats Nina's food, and now barks at Nina and runs at her while Nina fearfully hisses and runs away.  Haha, she thinks she's so tough.  Ahhh so much work are puppies.  And this one's not even mine!  And he just doesn't take NO for an answer.  NO stop eating Nina's food, NO stop peeing on the carpet and NO stop biting me everywhere!!!

It would have been considerate for someone to ask us if we would be ok with having another dog in the house.  I mean, other people do live here.

We are going to look at an apartment on Sunday because I just don't see this working :-S ...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Things I would miss about Brazil

Well, I'm coming up on my one year anniversary in less than 2 weeks and, coincidently (or not), I'm also heading home for the holidays for the first time since we arrived.  All of this has got me really thinking about the things I'm now going to miss leaving Brazil in search for the things I was missing about Canada for the first, oh say, 11 months of being in Brazil.  (This last month those feelings have been dying out a little bit but that may have to do with the fact that I will soon be at home, eating me some curry and Thai food.)

So, some of the things I will and would miss about Brazil (it took me a little while to get to this place of appreciating things here enough to miss them):

1. Bakeries and fresh bread every single day.  Well, let's just stick to bakeries, plain and simple.  I love the bakery around the corner.  I can go have a nice little breakfast of suco da laranga and misto quente any time I want.  If I have a craving for a Twix, my little corner bakery has the fix!  (Rhyme not intentional but staying!)  If I want to have a beer, the bakery is near! (Now I'm having fun).  You can even do a little mini shopping at my little mini bakery.  Actually it's a giant bakery.

2. Drinking chopp.  Chopp is draught beer and it isn't draught beer at the same time.  It's its own special Brazilian version of draught beer.  So super cold and small enough that it stays that way until the end.  I don't think I can go back to pints. 

2b. Chopp anywhere, anytime. 
Yep.  No joke.  Favourites would be quiosques (kiosks) by the beach, the little hole-in-the-wall bars in zona sul, or, as mentioned above, the bakery!

3. Body comfortability.  Ok, this one's a bit of a contradiction.  Cariocas (The Brazilians from Rio for anyone who didn't know that yet...) are ridiculous about their bodies.  I'm serious.  These people are working out in the gym for inhuman lengths of time and at least 8 times per week. 

On the flip side, if you go to the beach, you gots your crazies but you ALSO have your OTHER crazies.  The crazies who are totally comfortable with their bodies, albeit some may say they 'shouldn't be wearing something so small'.  Y'know what? It's given me a HEALTHY view of body acceptance and I LOVE Rio for that.  I see that everyone just lets it all hang out (for some that means more than others) and it's so refreshing to see that people are comfortable with themselves, regardless of media-invented images of beauty.

Ladies and Gentlemen, how many of you out there have TRULY accepted your body the way it is?  How many can say they TRULY love themselves and their bodies??  Not even me, but I'm really working on it and Rio is helping.

4. Ice cream!!  Some of the best ice cream is here!  Sooo good on a hot-ass day.  I've actually never eaten so much ice cream in my entire life put together as I have in my first year in Brazil.

5. Speaking Portuguese.  Ironic?  I will really miss speaking Portuguese.  Jesus, I worked so hard to get my Portuguese down, I don't want to lose it!  Learning a language is hard folks!  If you already learned it once, don't screw yourself over by forcing yourself to learn it again.  So grateful for my Brazilian other half!  I's lucky.

6. The Beach.  Did I actually say that?  Ok, so it's no secret that I'm not a giant fan of going to sit in the sand for hours on end, but I do like running and biking by the beach, drinking coconut water at the beach, and sitting in a quiosque on a Saturday afternoon listening to the families come out to drink and shoot the shit.  Also, I love to watch these guys working on their tan.

7. People Selling Shit Everywhere.  Although I don't really buy stuff from the vendors very often, I'm not opposed and it's nice to know that if I needed something, it's right there.  I love the guys who jump on their bus selling "jujubes um real, amendoim um real, chiclete 3 por um real, paçoca um real" and I love how the bus drivers let them on for free until they get to their stop.  Nice camaraderie!  It's nice to see that there are jobs for many people, even if they aren't the most ideal or appealing. 

So, Brazil, at the end of one year, there are things I can truly say I am enjoying about you.  I've met some great people here, I've discovered my career, I've learnt a new language and I've spent a lot of time with myself reflecting (and now I know I need to see a psychologist regularly 'just to talk')... but all good!  Looking forward to the next year!  But first.... home time!!!
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