Since moving to Brazil, finding ways to regulate my temperature/the temperature in my apartment has been a bit tricky. Being from Canada we're used to setting the thermostat at a reasonable temperature for the 8 or so months of winter, cracking a window after losing a layer if it gets too warm, turning on the gas fireplace after adding a layer if it is too cold. Easy peasy.
Here there are no thermostats for our AC units which are dispersed throughout the apartment, which we manually turn on and off, we deal with humidity, it's pretty much a crapshoot as to how long to run each one to get that perfect temperature. Not that I know what exactly that temperature is, and it would be different based on who you asked, at out place, being that I am pregnant, which has completely changed my sense of temperature (Mr. DRL froze last night under layers of covers while I was comfy under just a sheet, directly in front of the AC. His exact comment this morning was that clearly I am ready to "return to Canada and sleep outside with the bears any time now"... very funny).
One more quick point to make before I move onto the actual point of this temperature related post - something that really surprised me: cooling an apartment in Brazil = much more expensive than heating a house in Canada. Just sayin' - we have had some UGLY electrical bills. Yes, I realize having air conditioning is a privilege. But believe me this blog might have a very different "slant" if I hadn't had AC over the past few months...
Okay so here is my point - this baby I keep talking about (who will make an appearance in a couple more weeks according to the radiologist this morning, and already weighs over 7 lbs!) will also need a regular temperature. Not overheating or over ACing my baby is a major concern. We do have a portable dehumidifier that we plan to run in the baby's room from time to time (this has been recommended to prevent mold), and there is an AC unit in the room as well. But how will we know if it is too warm or too cool for what the baby would prefer? I was starting to really wonder... do we put a thermometer in the baby's room? How will we check it if it's dark in there? Then I find out room temperature is connected to SIDS! Yikes!
Enter this great invention - the Growbag egg and sleep system. The egg is a digital thermometer nightlight that turns different colors in different temperatures. If it's yellow, you are in the safe zone. It turns more blue or red if it is too cool or warm. Click here for more info.
There are also a wide variety of clothing options that keep babies cool in heat, etc. Thank goodness!
The Gringo Times is one way to read news about Rio in English. They even have an RSS feed you can set up (also available for this site, folks!)...
I also read online news in Portuguese but then usually take advantage of Google Translate on my toolbar to make sense of it all. Helps a lot!
Last week was a sad one for me. I was glad to have had a few posts pre-written for the blog.
One of our favorite couples moved away (back to the US), and we learned of the sudden, tragic death of one of our friends, a very active woman in the expat community here in Rio, of an aneurysm.
It is said that people come into our lives for a reason, or a season. As expat wives, we tend to bond quickly, and why not? We are far away from friends and family, in many cases not working, in many cases our husbands work extraordinarily long hours. We understand one another's concerns and frustrations, and are often able to help one another out. That said, being that it is a small community, we also often end up hanging out with people with whom we don't necessarily share morals, values, or much of anything in common. So when you find someone with whom you really jive, you hang on tightly.
Like many of the women I have met here, I connected with this particular friend immediately, in fact I had featured an article about her on the blog in the past without knowing her. It truly is a small world.
Age has never been something to affect who my friends are, and why should it? Despite the age difference (she was older than my mother by a few years), we had much in common. I will forever treasure my memories with her of sharing cooking tips and recipes, taking her to the Asian market here in Rio, her reaction to finding out I was expecting, her introduction to "Gunther" (I get an email: "Is this guy for real?") and of course the beach days. Talking to my friends here in Rio, what I am realizing is that we all felt this way about her and our relationships and connections with her, which goes to show how talented she was at making everyone feel special and important to her. What a gift.
Goodbye, my friend. I will never forget you.
Today, a group of us took the opportunity to honor our friend at the Lagoa.
Today while at the gym, my husband made a comment to me that I was "turning Brazilian" as I'd failed to catch the sarcasm in the comment he'd made a minute earlier. As much as I think I'm far from "turning Brazilian" I do think that my sense of humour is changing.
For example, the film "Pineapple Express" was a box office hit last summer and still continues to be one of the top rentals on iTunes every time I'm on there. I don't get it. I couldn't sit through it, in fact. Am I getting old? Am I missing something? Am I so disconnected from North American culture? Does anyone really think that it is funny?
Come to think of it, it's been a while since I watched anything I found hilariously funny. Which saddens me - I love to laugh. Anyone have a good recommendation?
Has your sense of humour changed since becoming an expat?
Rio's new mayor is making a serious effort to demonstrate his intent to crack down on crime. Even though it seems small, recent examples I've witnessed. Note - this is having not EVER seen anything like this before - when my dad was here, he commented that he hadn't noticed a single police officer doing anything - my response was that neither had I, and I'd lived here for months. Anyway, I've noticed:
Other items I didn't personally witness:
Rio residents don't seem to be loving the new system. I've seen people yelling at the tow truck drivers (no, it didn't appear as though it was because it was their car), and according to this report, police officers at the checkstops have been receiving verbal abuse as well. Many Carioca's feel like this is a post-election tactic that will disappear in time, but I hope not, because the city could use a bit more order and less crime.
I always think to myself that expat kids and teens are very lucky to be exposed to another culture so early in life - and that their experiences will make for great discussions in college and university entrance essays!
Here is an opportunity for them to brush up on writing about these experiences, and maybe even make a little cash for school - I received notification of this opportunity through a newsletter and thought there might be some readers interested.
If you are a student between 12 and 18; get a chance to win a
Scholarship by participating to an essay and creative media contest: http://www.expatyouthschol
The “Life in a Flying House” essay and creative media contest organized by Clements International (an insurance company), offers participants a chance to share their experience living in a foreign country through a combination of words and images. The theme “Life in a Flying House” is inspired by the idea that students, whose childhood is spent moving between different countries and cultures, develop a rich life experience.
500 words or more (in English) describing how their life has been affected by living as an expatriate.
Photographs, illustrations, paintings, or video illustrating the topic of the essay.
Students (ages 12 - 18) of any nationality who have spent at least two years living outside of their home country.
Full-time students of any nationality who have spent at least two years living outside of their home country are eligible to apply.
Categories & S cholarship Awards
Category One (Ages 12 -15)
1st Place $3,000
2nd Place $1,500
3rd Place $ 500
Category Two (Ages 16 – 18)
1st Place $3,000
2nd Place $1,500
3rd Place $ 500
Contest Entry Deadline
Friday, May 15, 2009
Scholarship Recipients Announced
We received a very happy email last night from Eric of Eric & Emily's Adventures - sharing the wonderful news of the birth of Eric & Emily's daughter. I know we have some readership overlap so if you haven't been on their blog in the past day or so, get over there to check out photos of their beautiful new daughter Gabriela Marina. All three are looking fantastic and by all reports doing very well.
We spent some time with Eric & Emily during our pregnancies - they came to Rio twice and stayed with us. It has been great having another international couple in Brazil to share this exciting time with. We can't wait for the babies to meet - hopefully sometime this fall.
So I was reviewing some local news last night and came across a very tragic story - a couple was driving home from the shopping center after purchasing clothes and things for the bedroom of the baby girl they were expecting in a couple of months. They were in the Zona Norte, and they were hijacked, the wife was shot as she tried to exit the vehicle, and killed. Through some sort of emergency c-section the baby was saved, but at 28 weeks it is touch and go as to the baby's survival. What a horrible story! To read the full (Portuguese) story click here.
As a sidenote, being pregnant I have been slightly less concerned with something happening to me as I figure it's a bit of a security blanket and people will not mess with me, rather would have more compassion. Clearly this was not a fair or good assumption to make. Note that this has not meant I've been taking any extra chances, rather just a matter of feelings. Also good to note - many victims of random violence in Rio are not "targeted" so much as they are bystanders.
My yoga teacher is putting on a yoga retreat here in Rio, the weekend of Friday May 22 - 24th.
Here is the writeup:
Retreat Yourself to the ecological surroundings of Guaratiba to unite your mind, body and spirit through the fluid movements of Ashtanga yoga, harmonizing reflexology, relaxing massage, calming meditations, insightful healing circles and delicious freshly prepared vegetarian food.
For full details on the retreat, visit www.retreatyourself.net
Every year the Association of Rio Restaurants puts on an event where patrons can dine at select restaurants, eating a featured dish, and receive a commemorative plate. I wish I'd known about this last year - maybe I would have just eaten at these places for a week or so and avoided buying plates ;) Click here for more details.
I think I might just have to check out the featured meals and plates at Giusseppe since I have yet to go... doubt I will have time for many more!
- And the proceeds even go to charity!
I've frequently referred to the "Rio Gringa" blog since my blog's inception. Rio Gringa is planning to leave Rio, and is auctioning off a number of books and DVDs to lighten her load on her way home and to support a Rio charity. Click here to check it out, there are some great deals to be had!
Sometimes it is the little things that mean a lot. Although there are times when cultures clash a bit and I notice the lack of little niceties, many of the ways Brazilians show manners blow our North American PC-ness out of the water and show real, authentic concern for others rather than just "manners". Here is an example.
This weekend, I went to get my nails done at a hair and asthetics place near my apartment. I had to wait between 5 and 10 minutes to do so. I stood by the door and waited, as the only two seats were occupied by a couple in their teens. I thought NOTHING of this. When they got up to go to their appointments, I then sat down in one of the chairs. A few seconds later, the male half of the couple, who could not possibly have been older than 17, came over to me and started apologizing profusely, saying he did not previously notice me there and felt terrible for not having offered me his chair to sit in before. Call me crazy, but I can't think of many 17-ish year old boys back home who would make such a fuss about this. It was very sweet.
I am constantly amazed by the treatment I have been getting here while pregnant - in fact Mr. DRL has joked that we need to get ahold of a prosthetic bump for me to wear after I've given birth, as the pregnancy gives us preferred service almost everywhere. Front of the line for cabs at the airport, seating on planes, special lines at the bank, grocery store and post office. The real clincher was last weekend when we got into Sushi Leblon within 10 minutes of arriving without a reservation (others were being quoted an hour). Apparently there is some sort of law about giving the pregnant preferential treatment. I don't really need it but I'll take it! Especially at Sushi Leblon...
I hate to make this such a regular thing, but such is life, of course...
Friends of friends were carjacked in Barra yesterday at 2:30 in the afternoon after leaving a bank. 2 guys pulled up on motorcycles (one on each side) and both people in the car were shot, both are alive, but wounded. Not cool.
I also received a news bulletin detailing some stolen uniforms in the Rio area. Apparently this had happened in the past with the postal service, now it has happened with the "Dengue Patrol" from the Minister of Health. Meaning that if you are living here and someone just randomly shows up from the ministry of health for a dengue inspection, or a utility company for example, do NOT allow them access to your apartment. If you did order it, ask for company ID. This may seem obvious but still.
If the representative of a Public Agency with whom you have not scheduled to visit to your residence (i.e., CEDAE, LIGHT, SECRETARIA DE SAÚDE - DENGUE, PREFEITURA, etc.) ask to see their identity as well as the identification of the Agency they work for.
I try really hard not to make this into a baby blog... being an expat in Brazil, it is necessary to buy a lot of baby stuff from back home. So I have been doing a lot of online shopping and shipping stuff to my house.
Here are some things I've found...
A friend gave me her Boppi (breast feeding pillow) and I wanted to get a washable cover for it, if such a thing existed. It sure does - I bought one in the pattern below - figured it was pretty gender neutral- along with some receiving blankets, and items for my diaper bag. The site features a wide variety of funky, fun fabrics, and a whole bunch of different products, like diaper bags, change pads, car seat covers, aprons for breastfeeding, and much more. Great gifts!
Maternity clothes from TARGET
I purchased a gorgeous dress for US $14.99. Enough said.
Freshpair.com for maternity/nursing bras (they carry the Elle McPherson line, which is really nice).
Restoration Hardware for Baby's Room
I've registered for both a girl's and boy's bedroom on Restoration Hardware. I purchased many linens for our place in Rio from RH last year and am very happy with everything. I also purchased my bassinet there already as I have not seen any bassinets or cradles in Brazil.
Another great site for baby bedding: Layla Grace.
We also registered at Babies R Us where you can get everything from Sophie the Giraffe to carseats, playpens, strollers, etc.
CLOTHES from Crazy8.com - what a great site. Really cheap, lots of sales, good quality, so many cute things, and even many unisex items! You may remember this onesie, which I loved and had to have. I also purchased a "cheeky monkey" one along with several others... that may or may not be gender neutral. The items for the "wrong gender" will just be gifts I figure! PS EVERYONE thinks it's a boy.
Toiletries for Baby
Arbonne can be ordered online and they have a nice line of baby items.
Farm Baby by SweetGrass is another all-natural line that I just ordered a bunch of items from. Like Baby Powder :)
California Baby makes sunscreens that even my most A-type mom friends approve of :) I'm happy to say one of them has already even secured me a bottle of the stuff...
One Brazilian thing I did buy: my diaper bag - from Uncle K.
I have been meaning to do a post for some time now on what the costs of certain treatments for different ailments have been in our experience here in Rio. I find it to be unpredictable and often shocking. It's a good idea to keep cash in the country in case you need, well, as you'll see below - some bloodwork done! (A "good to know" - most places do NOT take Visa. Sao Vicente Hospital in Gavea does however and they have a lab there as well.)
I would like to note that our medical insurance does cover these costs but in a lot of cases we have had to pay up front and be reimbursed later. We started off down here insured with an international healthcare plan for expats but found the paperwork quite overwhelming - ALSO there was some fine print in our policy, specifically we were not covered for a pregnancy unless the baby was conceived at least one year after the insurance policy had been in place. Oops.
Now we are insured with Bradesco here in Brazil, and so in many cases we do not have to pay up front if the place handles it directly, however others do not and in these cases we have to pay up front and submit later. For example the lab takes our insurance but my doctor, ultrasound technician, hospital, massage/physio, etc. do not.
Another note: there may be more cost-effective healthcare available, admittedly we tend to go to places that are highly rated - in search of "pristine" healthcare as one of my commenters put it.
Just something for expats to think about...
Last night Mr. DRL was watching an interesting show on the National Geographic Channel about expats in Dubai. Being that I am currently the most restless person on the planet I watched for about 10 minutes with him, decided it was interesting, and wandered over to the computer to see if it was part of a bigger series on expats around the world. Couldn't really find anything on the website (again, restless...) but I DID find something else that looks interesting, Locked Up Abroad, a show about people from different countries in jail abroad. There's an episode about a group of men who were locked up in Brazil - airs May 6th on the National Geographic Channel. Check it out.
One of our favorite spots is suddenly gone. We had a lot of good times at Salitre, which WAS located on General San Martin in Leblon. I loved going there for an afternoon drink, or dinner above the street on the veranda by candlelight, or breakfast on the weekends. They had a great wine list and even a wine store on the main level. We took many of our guests there. And now it's gone, leveled to the ground! We'll miss it.
I'd written about Salitre several times, including here, and here, in my top Rio Restaurants section. I guess I will finally have to get on updating that...
Today Mr. DRL and I went to Barra to shop for some things for the old apartamento.
Many people have told me that if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all.
It's probably a good rule.
So I am not going to say not-nice things about some people's driving skills, or about the lady who decided to butt into line in front of me while I stood there - 9 months pregnant, the lack of order or apparently air conditioning in one store, disgruntled parking people, the guy who left his car blocking an intersection while he went on foot over to pay said disgruntled parking people, the fact that we could not get our car washed at one place because we were told it takes 2 hours to wash three cars, or the fact that we were told at the end of the day that it was "impossible" to ring in a basket that we'd found at one store (which was the only perfect sized and colored basket for this particular spot we need a basket for that we found after searching three stores) despite it having two tags including bar codes AND a price label clearly stuck to it. Nope. Not saying not-nice things. Just saying the facts. It allllll happened, and I am sure there was more but I am too tired to think.
Instead of saying not-nice things about these incidents, or going into any more detail about our totally exhausting day, I will just wish you a Happy Easter. So Happy Easter!
Many friends and family back home have expressed concern about us having a baby "so far from home" - who will help us? Won't it be lonely? You won't have anyone checking in on you!
Here is the reality of the situation.
I am not going to name names but there are three ladies in particular who I have met down here, all fairly new-Gramma's, who keep me in line. As in, make me go to bed. Don't allow me to lift anything in their presence. Cook a lot of good food... Examples? Sure, I have examples.
Exhibit A) I was in Buzios for the weekend with some friends, and emailing back and forth with one of these friends who was back in the US at the time, about a few (okay a tonne of) items I had shipped to her home which she had so kindly offered to bring down (thanks again!!!). At some point in our texts back and forth she indicated that she had calculated the time difference and it was high time I should be in bed! It was about midnight. (As a sidenote, I must stay up most nights to even see my husband - he gets home at like 10:30 at night! I find it very funny slash depressing to be skyping with friends and family back home and realize that most people there arrive home before Mr. DRL does - and we are 3 or 4 hours ahead of these people, depending on which timezone they are in). The same woman asked me early on in my pregnancy if I was taking enough vitamins when I was tired one day :)
Exhibit B) I returned an email to another friend I'll call "L" at 10:25 pm a couple of weeks ago.
The response came within moments:
On 25-Mar-09, at 10:29 PM, L wrote:
What are you doing up this late? A pregnant woman needs her sleep!
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 10:34 PM
What, now you! (Harassing me about my bedtime!) haha I love it, so funny.
Minutes later, the actual topic of the email was answered, and I was left with this closing:
Go to bed!
Exhibit C) This one is the funniest and most persistent. Last week I hosted the weekly "Canasta" game. I was asked repeatedly if I was up to it in "my condition" and I honestly wonder if people were discouraged from going in fears of putting me out, as we had a small turnout! Anyway I was quite spoiled with help and now some items are at my house which we will need next week and I emailed this woman, the next hostess (K), saying I would bring these items by her place. Here is the response I received today (picture a very strong Southern accent, it makes it better):
Date: April 9, 2009 12:22
I can have my driver pick them up I DO NOT WANT YOU TO CARRY THEM AROUND!!!!! Do you understand that.
I also have received the following emails from "K"
Date: March 10, 2009
You be careful walking around and watch the area you are in. Got it!
Date: Feb 18, 2009
I will not be at the beach on Thursday, but if you go don't get to much sun! And don't get around L, don't want you to get the bug she has had.
I saved these emails in my baby emails folder and they totally crack me up every time.
So anyone who was worried shouldn't be - these ladies have it covered! And the concern is well-appreciated.
...Calgary on SATURDAY and are in the mood for some delectable Easter goodies, swing by Heninger Toyota for some homemade treats being sold by good friends of mine - one of whom is a papered chef. The other two are pampered chefs ;)
Why the Easter Bake Sale? They are participating in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer as Team GeneSkirt, and this is one of their fundraisers. Here is a link to their blog. About the event - it's a two-day, 60 km walk in support of cancer research and treatment.
So indulge guilt-free, as it's for a good cause!
Now, more about the baking. I would have ordered some if I thought it would make it here...
Assorted Spring Cupcakes (Large $2.50 each/ $14 half Dozen/ $25 Dozen)
(Mini $1.50 each/ $8 half Dozen/ $15 Dozen)
Decadent Chocolate Cake with Signature Cream Cheese Icing
Luscious Vanilla Cake with Luscious Pink Butter Cream
Easter Blossom & Bunny Cookies ($10 dozen or $1 each)
Flower-shaped sugar cookies with pastel tinted glaze
Bunny shortbread dipped with Callebaut Chocolate
Homemade Marshmallow Bunnies ($7 dozen)
Hopped full of sweetness and chewy goodness (Pink and Purple)
Dark Chocolate Bark ($10 per package)
Perfectly prepared with the finest white & dark chocolate and topped with plumped dried berries and roasted hazelnuts.
The bake sale will take place at Heninger Toyota on 3640 MacLeod Trail South. It will start at 10am sharp until all the goodies are GONE!!!
So I may or may not have brought back a very large sized bag of Cadbury mini-eggs...
Haven't cracked them open yet, I figure Good Friday tomorrow will be an appropriate time!
Despite Brazil's many many many displays of eggs large and small (mostly large), I have not found mini-eggs here, nor have I found anything I like quite as much. It's weird, I am normally a big fan of dark chocolate and not so much milk chocolate products, but I do love those mini-eggs, there's just something about them. I find most of the chocolate here to be quite waxy, which I assume is to keep it from melting very quickly in this warm climate.
I do love the chocolates at Garcia & Rodriguez. They are amazing. According to Veja's Comer & Beber edition (restaurant reviews), the best chocolate in the city is to be found at Envidia, which is just a stone's throw away from my place. Which may be why I haven't ventured there yet - it could be dangerous! Maybe Mr. DRL & I will go there for "tea" soon since we can't exactly go for cocktails (though it doesn't often stop him from indulging!)
I swear you could wander Ipanema every day for a year and still find little hidden gems you hadn't noticed before. There are endless Galleria's which are basically malls, and sidestreets of stores.
Last week, after some lunch with friends, we went to Luiz Salvador (R. Redentor & Maria Quitera in Ipanema). I'd heard of the factory near Petropolis, but did not know there was a location in the city.
Being that I did not "send a shipment" down to Brazil like most expats, it honestly made me homesick! I got married just 6 months before moving to Brazil, and didn't even get much of a chance to use all my pretty plates and stuff (I love to cook and entertain so the idea of using it all does make me excited).
I took a ton of photos of the store... and could have taken more. I highly recommend stopping in if you are in RIo!
Above: the garden area out back.
I loved these little crab plate/containers.
They also had beautiful Easter displays.
A week ago Friday, the blog celebrated its first birthday!
In the past I year have published well over 500 items, articles and notes.
I highly doubt I would have kept up the motivation to keep it going every day if it weren't for the feedback, support and even criticism of my readers, so thank you all very much!
For new readers, as I mentioned above, there are a year's worth of entries to check out, so have a look through the archives and categories for things I may have already covered that you'd find interesting.
Happy reading and thanks again! I love hearing from you all.
I make Mr. DRL morning smoothies that probably have enough "good stuff" ie) antioxidants & fiber in them to last him the whole day and make up for god knows what else he ends up eating at the office. I send trail mix to work for him all the time but know that there are a ton of unhealthy quick food options for him near the office and let's face it the guy is busy and works long hours. So I do what I can.
In case you are wondering, the smoothie recipe is below, at the end of the post.
One of the main ingredients of his morning smoothie is ACAI. I like to buy the ICEFRUIT brand, it's just the pulp of the fruit with no sugar or guarana added, and comes in convenient, portioned little plastic bags. Super easy. I also buy lime, passionfruit, peach, strawberry, pineapple, and guava this way and they are great for making drinks or smoothies (having these on hand for caipirhinha's is a good idea!).
However, lately, I can't seem to source the acai very easily. Sometimes there will be one single bag of it at the store, other times none at all. I like to stock up. I've never had a problem with this before...
I can't help but wonder if this is somehow related to the ACAI storm that seems to be sweeping North America. There are advertisements for it everywhere as everything from an energy booster to a weight loss aid. I recently saw an ad in a parenting magazine for fruitcups with acai in them.
It's even turning up in people's facebook statuses:
"x started the new acai juice program today (tasty)...hope to feel a difference in a week or so... I'll keep you posted!"
and I have to admit seeing an ex-boyfriend from highschool's status about his and his wife's acai woes made me laugh:
"y is p*ssed off...try a free trail of acai-aslim and now the are charging sh*t to our credit card!!!!!"
So now I am curious, is there an acai shortage back here in Brazil? It's good to know that it will be readily available to us back in North America now as I'd really miss it but still!
As an aside, I'm not sure how healthy acai juice is for you anyway - my understanding is that it's the seeds and pulp that pack the antioxidant punch, much like with the whole goji berry juice situation... which goes for any fruit, really. You can't expect to get the same nutrients out of a manufactured juice as from the whole fruit itself. Once again, North America takes something that is good for you and turns it into something that isn't... not exactly the first time. As a result, acai is now getting a bit of a bad name in North America but I believe it's because of how it is being processed and delivered to the consumer.
Anyway, enough ranting!
Mr. DRL's morning smoothie:
1 sleeve frozen acai (see above)
2-3 Tbsp goji berries (these are available at asian stores even here in RIo)
2-3 Tbsp ground flax seed
2 Tbsp Hemp protein powder
1 sleeve frozen fruit pulp (this is where I break up the monotony - you can basically use anything)
1/2 small banana
Top up with fruit juice (again I vary the types so it doesn't get boring. Cranberry, orange, fruit cocktail)...
Thank goodness for the Magic Bullet!
I will restart the vacation coverage soon with some photos and details on our time in Floripa.
Until then, some final thoughts on BA.
Next time, I would stay somewhere different. Which is just sort of what I like to do when I visit destinations over again. While we liked staying in Soho Palermo because of the quiet and proximity to numerous restaurants, etc. I think I would like to stay at the Marriott Plaza near General San Martin Plaza next time. Or rent an apartment in Recoleta if we were going for longer.
I would be more careful with money next time as well - meaning that we were passed some counterfeit change by a cab driver at one point. In this instance, I would try to use as close to exact change if possible. Good thing that the exchange rate is in our favour...
I would probably do ANOTHER tango show. It was so spectacular.
I would go to some museums that we did not have time to hit.
And finally, since I will likely a) not be pregnant and b) know if my babe is a boy or a girl, I will shop my little heart out!
I bet people can't believe the amount of trouble we've had with appliances and electronics here. But yes, there's more. And a go-with-the-flow solution to it, too.
Last week my fridge started freezing everything. Solid. It was turned onto the lowest possible setting. I tried unplugging it and plugging it back in, playing with the settings in the low range a bit, nothing seemed to work.
I decided to put it on "Max Cold" and it now seems to be working like a charm. Go figure.
Lately I've been hearing little stories from friends and family back home of day to day events happening in their lives. Interestingly enough, three of these tales basically ended with "but I guess you don't have to worry about that in Rio..."
Although there are many day to day issues and concerns that one could stress about, living in Rio, these following tales are not among them.
Story 1 -
A friend of ours in Calgary who recently upgraded from a condo to a house. After a long night out, he was woken up very early by his doorbell. Standing at the door was someone wanting to shovel his walk. A nice offer for sure but a bit early for our friend. HIs comment - things you don't have to deal with in a condo (or Brazil... or especially a condo in Brazil).
So true. There sure has been a lot of winter happening this year back home!
Story 2 -
A friend of ours' two little kids got into a wrestling match which ended in a close encounter with a piece of furniture and a two year old with a very banged up face and bleeding nose that they couldn't get under control. They headed to the ER and waited for four hours to be seen by a doctor. Once the four hours had lapsed they decided to give up and go home. This would not happen here... And yes this point was mostly made for my American readers who think Canada has a great example of "Universal Healthcare"...
Story 3 -
My mother is apparently on a mission to become the bionic woman. On Saturday she both cross-country and downhill skiied. On Sunday she opted for just the x-country skiing. She was unusually alone, and while enjoying the peace and tranquility on the trail, encountered a gigantic moose. She tried to scare it away by clanking her poles together, and it turned and kept heading up the trail. A few moments later it realized she was heading in the same direction after it, and reacted by turning around and running towards her. So basically at this point she was being charged by a moose whose legs alone she describes as being 5 to 6 feet tall. As an aside, my mom is probably the least combative person I've ever met and so therefore basically totally useless in this type of situation despite the fact that she is in great shape. She noticed a large stump nearby and tried to manoever herself behind it, falling down in the process. At this point the moose must have deemed her no longer much of a threat and turned and left... thank god! I find this story quite hilarious, though entirely because it has a good ending. You do not want to mess with a moose!
Yet another thing we don't have to worry about in Rio - being charged by a moose!
Story 4 -
Same friend as the bleeding nose and hospital story, + my sister in law. The two are friends (yes, I introduced them, and never hesitate to take credit for it, as it was a successful "set up" - they've become quite close). My friend was over at my SIL's for a playdate with the kids and as she was about to leave and return home, her car became stuck in the snowbank outside the house. They tried to push it out, with no luck, and decided that there was only one way to handle this situation: go inside, set the kids up in front of the Wii, then pour themselves a drink. By all accounts it was a fun afternoon. Love it! Definitely another thing we don't have to worry about in Rio, although this one does not sound so bad...