Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pre Halloween Party

Hi there! I've been very preoccupied with the Halloween Party that I'm hosting today, hence the lack of posts. I'm questioning my sanity at the moment, since I'm making everyone's costume and trying to do everything I can to make it "homemade". Plus to mention I'm planning an event for a holiday that isn't really celebrated here. I'm hoping the weather will cooperate and everything will come together. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Quest for Coffee: Successful!

It's Sunday morning, and the kids slept in! Bea didn't get up until 7:45 am. So I was in a great mood, puttering around the kitchen to make breakfast (yogurt, pão de sal com mantiega e geléia, or yogurt and little loaves of a french bread with butter and jelly). Matt bought coffee yesterday, so he started making the French Press. But! The gas wasn't working--just a little tiny flame. This has happened before, but usually when they are changing the gas on a weekday. So I told him just to wait a few minutes and try again. 5 minutes, and a little improvement, but it became clear that we were not going to get hot water. Then, comes the moment that I love as a foreigner. It's the moment of panic, when I realize that I don't know how to solve this problem. Now thankfully, this is not a problem involving blood, poop, broken glass or massive plumbing problems. It's good to have perspective. But at this juncture, I realize that I don't have the tools to solve it quickly, and it may start to unfold to a larger problem. Like caffeine withdrawal headaches and grumpiness. Or no Moroccan Chicken stew for lunch, that I've been craving quite intensely for 3 days. Or trying to deal with Miguel or the Gas Company. But first things first, the goal is coffee.

I decided to take the full pot of water to our neighbors on the 8th floor that have two small children, but on the way out I heard the neighbors on our floor in their kitchen. Even though I've never really talked to them, I decided to ask I could boil my water in their kitchen. Then I find out that they have no gas either! Thinking that it's just a problem on our floor, I went up to the 8th floor, but no one was there. Then I came back, and Matt and I deliberated for a while. I finally decided to take the French Press with the ground coffee to the Padaria (bread store) up the street to see if we could get hot water. So I walked up the hill a bit, and in my broken Portuguese begged the woman behind the counter for some hot water. She said something, and I gathered that it wasn't quite hot yet. So I wandered around the store, picking out some treats. After about 10 minutes, she finally remembered, and filled up the French Press! I then booked it home, and now I'm enjoying my coffee. That only took 1 1/2 hours. But we have coffee. Now the kids are swimming (it's a little warm) and we still don't know what's going to happen with the gas, but maybe we'll go out to eat, which would be an acceptable trade for not getting to eat my Moroccan Stew. I'm off to swim!

Friday, October 15, 2010

My experience with the Internet: online shopping

I love the internet. I love how I can find answers so quickly, keep in touch with my family and friends, entertain my children, find recipes, and get obsessive about using recycled materials to make light fixtures. We're a little bit addicted. But at least I've moved past the denial stage, right?

One thing (among many!) that has taken some adjusting to, is the lack of online shopping we've found. As far as I can remember, there are really only two places that we've been able to use the internet to save money, time, transportation, and a frustrated Portuguese phone call: ordering our TV/internet/Phone service, and buying a wedding present for Beatrice's teacher. Here's my internet shopping wish list:

grocery delivery (so far it I think it only exists in Rio and São Paulo)
beauty products (like the BodyShop!)
school supplies
affordable clothing (maybe if I could even just find an actual store for this...)

Anyone have any websites they want to share that would meet these needs? Any helpful hints for online shopping in Brazil?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ubá mango

Sebastian and I went to the Sacolão today (which, by the way, he corrected my pronunciation! "It's sac-oh-lão, mommy. Not sack-ah-lão!") and we found a good price on Ubá Mangoes.

Aren't they cute?! They are little baby mangoes...They come from Ubá, a city at the very south of Minas Gerais (thanks Wikipedia).

On another mango note, Matt noticed that the two big trees that we see out our bedroom window are mango trees. HUGE mango trees. I'm hoping that mangoes are like citrus was in Arizona, or apples/pears/my dads tomatoes in Washington state. Or zucchini.

And on yet another mango note, I found this website that has lots of pictures of different kinds of mangoes.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy Dia da Criança

Today is Dia da Criança, or Children's Day here. From what I've gathered, it's essentially just an excuse to buy presents for kids (and I think that the link says something Johnson & Johnson promoting the holiday, so it makes sense). It corresponds with Nossa Senhora Aparecida,
but neither of these holidays seem like a reason to set off fireworks at 7 am. But don't worry, our kids were up by 6:15 am, because after all, it is Dia da Criança. We are going to head out soon to a small party at some friends house, and just spend the day playing and eating and lounging. Sounds marvelous.

I haven't been posting much recently because I've been going through a new stage in expat transition. We've been here seven months now, and we've gotten out of the "crisis" mode and pretty much figured out how to live day to day here. Thank goodness! So now, I have enough space to think about what I want, what would make our home more like a home, and even to think about what we've left behind. I love living here, and I love what I'm learning and what my children are learning. And recently I've been missing "home" a lot. I miss my family. I miss knowing how things work. I miss getting in the car to go to Target to buy sunscreen/tortilla chips/cheap plastic goods. I miss sending the kids out to play. I think these feelings are going to intensify as the holidays approach. I don't want to use the blog as a place to vent (well, not too much), so hence, not many posts.

But now, I have to finish up, because the crianças are getting restless and I have to go eat a whole mango...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Something to think about

I was looking for some material for my students last night, when I came across this article:

I'm still not sure if the author is 100% serious, but I love what he says about putting oneself in a new situation, and I feel like it helps me understand the past 7 months:

"It would be a beginner’s life. But the beginner is confined to the little things, to the meaningless exercises and pointless mechanics. The expert, in contrast, sees the big picture; the world opens up before the sweep of the expert’s skills. To give up one’s habits, to break free of the arcs, is to trade in one’s expertise.

You gain time, but you lose sense."

What do you think?