Friday, August 6, 2010

falling apart and carlessness

Hehehe, did that blog title get your attention? We really, REALLY need to take a shopping trip. Sebastian's $5 Ross Dress for Less backpack that we purchased over a year ago has an enormous hole in it. Both Dora and Bea could use some new shoes. And unfortunately the shoes that we bought Sebastian last month are already coming apart. Now, I would expect that a pair of Sketchers would probably last 6 months on a 6 year old boy that loves to play soccer. Um, let me correct that: obsessively loves soccer so much that I question his nationality (see here). In fact, last week we were walking somewhere, and he was wearing his old Sketchers, and suddenly said, "Hey Mom! Look, I can see my sock!" And low and behold, he had a hole in his shoe that his black socks were poking out of (yes, my son only wears black socks). Matt bought Sebastian a moderately priced ($50 R, or about $29) Brazilian brand of shoes that came relatively highly recommended, but within two weeks, they were already cracking and showing serious signs of wear. I took them back, thinking at least I could trade them for something else, but even with 15 minutes of going back and forth and trying to plead with the store owner, and even offering to buy a whole other pair of shoes if he let me trade, he said he was so sorry, it was just the fault of my son. Shucks. But I'm pretty peeved that these shoes are already junk. I wouldn't be so frustrated, except that shoes are so dang expensive, and I'm the super-frugal bargain hunting queen. I love a good deal, I have no bones about shopping second hand for good things, and I was an obsessive coupon clipper back in the states. So the thought of shelling out $100 R for another pair of shoes that may or may not last does not make me happy. Plus backpacks, for some unknown reason are pricey too. I think $5 to $10 US is a smoking good deal, but the best I've been able to see here is $20 R for knock offs of questionable quality.

Thank you for letting me vent.

And regarding living without a car. We decided when we moved here that we were going to try to live without a car. Belo Horizonte is a fairly large city, with a good public transportation system (despite what many people will say). We intentionally looked for a neighborhood in which to live that was central, close to Matt's work, and then found a school that is within walking distance. I'm proud of the decision that we've made. And it is very difficult. I keep telling myself that there are so many benefits. I've lost weight! We have a fairly low carbon footprint. We are getting to know the people in our neighborhood as we walk around (the barber, the lady who sells Havianas, the shoe store lady, and many, many others). It provides me with the opportunity to listen to my Portuguese podcasts. I don't have to stress out about driving with all these crazy Belo Horizonte drivers. I get to rub shoulders with people from all walks of life on the bus. My kids are learning endurance, perseverance, and how not to whine (maybe??!) as we hike to school everyday. But...have you every tried to haul food home from the grocery store for a family of 5? Have you ever played the public transportation gambling game? Will the bus come? Should I wait for the right bus number, not knowing when it will come, or take a risk with this bus and walk the last 20 minutes home? How late do the buses run? An exciting and stressful game it is!! And have you ever contemplated taking 3 children shoe and backpack shopping while using public transportation and walking? If you feel your life is too boring, I highly suggest moving to another country with children, no car, and very minimal language skills. Never a dull moment!!


  1. you know don't you that most supermarkets deliver groceries - in Rio it is 8.00 $R, we don't take advantage because we buy so little and I think the price is the same no matter how much they deliver. you also could buy one of those little pull carts on two wheels, you can get a lot in those things. maybe buy less at once and go several times would help if you had the little cart. Here they sell them in the stores for 'plasticos' they aren't plastic but who is to question Brasilian terminalogy or logic.
    Did you email the reader at / with her 3 boys she may have a brand of shoes that would hold up. the little ones here play soccer in flip/flops - ouch. I have also bought workout shoes and I am not hard on them and the tread last at the most 3 months - their rubber soles are bad and the stitching horrible. today at lunch Camillo looked down at my shoes and said I need new ones.... I go to the USA in November I will wait and wear these with holes in the....
    you did great with the thoughfulness in finding your home / school / work within walking distance. In Rio we walk or take taxi/bus/subway - in Friburgo we live 10km out so I have a car.

  2. Thanks for the info Ginger! I have asked about delivery, but the closest and cheapest store doesn't deliver. And I do have a "plastico"--it helps immensely!