Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Things I've Started to Appreciate

I've had an epiphany of sorts and it's helped me turn my frame of mind.

When I first got to Brazil, I was pretty consumed with everything I missed about home and every aspect of Brazil that didn't live up to my desires.  But I've met a friend.  And I've moved into my own apartment.  For anyone who underestimates the importance, value and raw necessity of friends and personal space - I am your living proof that these two elements alone will improve your quality of life x 1,000,000.  I exaggerate you not.  Especially if you are living in a foreign country. 

If you want to be really really happy, you should also get a cat or two and some plants.

I'm currently mothering two little cats (we got a second one in the last 2 weeks! Little José... ) and I'm growing basil, lemon balm, corriander, green onion and cat grass.

I also read the bible to orphans on weekends.  haha.  No, no I don't do that. 

Things I currently like about Brazil:

- Eating fresh mamão (papaya) in the morning with honey from my BeeHive Keeper.  Ok, yeah right, I wish I had a BeeHive Keeper but I coincidentally met this guy at the market on Sunday who keeps hives so he's my unofficial honey provider. 

- Salgados all varieties, but most preferably joelho's - tasty little bread shaped knees filled with delicious ham and cheese or other wonderful flavours.

- Fresh herbs sooooo cheap and SOOOO BEAUTIFUL.  The most beautiful basil I've ever seen.  I swear I would divorce my husband just to marry a bunch of basil.

- Cats!  I love 'em, I pet 'em, I kiss 'em, I talk baby talk to 'em, I have two of 'em... cats cats cats!

- My apartment!!!!!!!!  It's so comfortable and AWESOME to walk around your own house in your undies or less.  Or more!!! Hey!  It's my house and I wear what I want!

- Cooking so much food.  Extra spicy and extra onions (my MIL would absolutely curl up her face in disgust at both of those options).

Ahhhhh.... life is GOOD!  We live in an apartment surrounded by favelas (Cidade de Deus is literally right down the street), and it's fantastic.  It's real.  It's hard.  It's simple.  It's Brazil!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Taxi Cab Confessions

 Lovely rainy, cool day today.  It's really awesome, I love it.  It also gives me a good excuse not to take the bus (which I hate) and take a taxi (which I hate less).  Actually, I love taxis - I just don't like to spend money on them.

Inside my comfortable, plush, spacious and cool taxi cab today, I find myself in conversation with the driver.  He's making the usual taxi cab small talk.  "Are you excited for Carnaval?"  "Do you live in Jacarepagua"  (and now that enough evidence of my accent has been exposed) "You're not Brazilian, are you?"

Taxi Cab Driver and I start discussing how it's nice to have an international relationship to learn about different countries and cultures.  He tells me "ah yeah, eu namorei com um francesa.  Ela ja voltou para Franca e queria para mim mudar la com ela, mas 'tava complicado... porque eu sou casado... tenho filhos... entendeu?"

Um. Yes. I entendi. 

So, let me get this straight (and now reveal for the non-Portuguese speakers)... you are openly admitting to me that you used to have a French girlfriend while you were married who wanted you to move to France but you couldn't because it was complicated??

When did this turn into an episode of Taxi Cab Confessions?

The honesty isn't even what is shocking.  It's more about the fact that it seems like too many people are advocates for cheating here!  Remember Rachel's post on cheating?  70% of Brazilian men are cheating or have cheated?  I have a good friend here who rooms with some older Brazilian ladies who have lived here their whole lives.  In these ladies' opinions, cheating is a part of life.  You can't, and shouldn't, expect your partner to be faithful.

Pair with it a general culture of overt sexuality; private motels for hookers couples - No wait, I change it back; women who identify themselves as 'feminine' and think they have power by exploiting their sexuality; men who think they run the place and treat others like meat... and the cycle continues.  Clearly I'm generalizing but I'm also not.

My whole point is that this culture of accepting cheating is done by both parties.  Men cheat and women accept.  The only reason I'm not giving the statistic the other way around is that my guess is in a masochistic society, the woman is around to serve and stay faithful.  I guess if they're ok with it in their own love triangles, ok for them.

But that is not for me.  In fact, I strongly believe that once you've committed yourself to another person (and if you both have made an agreement that you will be faithful to each other) cheating is 100% unacceptable.  That includes suggestive texting, suggestive messages on FB or anything that involves hiding something from your partner out of fear of them finding out.

That Taxi Cab Driver did not get a tip.
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