So lately I have been feeling like I might be getting spoiled. May have lost touch with reality. It happens when you don't clean a toilet in over 2 years I guess. Frequently when I hear myself or others around me complain about mundane yet annoying things, it occurs to me that perhaps we should "find ourselves a REAL problem..."
As I mentioned yesterday, some friends are moving home. Repatriation isn't always as easy as we think, from what I hear. I hear it's particularly difficult on the nails... so my friend who moved home a few weeks ago and has since had to start washing dishes again tells me.
The way I see it, there are always challenges no matter where we live. We can't ever have it all. If there were such a magical place, it wouldn't remain that way for long, as everyone would quickly move there...
Though there are many "glamorous" aspects of living abroad, I can think of as many aspects that just aren't. But I still wonder how spoiled I really am getting... only way to tell is to yank me back into normal existence again back home.
Nah, maybe next year.
Does it still count as being spoiled if you at least appreciate what you have? Like for example how my maid cleans up and cutely arranges Canadoca's toys? Recently in a hotel room this is what we came back to after housekeeping was in:
I also appreciate having washed fruit and vegetables cut up and ready to go in my fridge at all times, not having to do much of my own laundry and the like... So what do you think? Are there some universal symptoms or indicators of extreme expat spoiled-ness that I can watch for? I want to rope it in before it's too late for me!
So, it's the nature of the game they tell me. Which game? Life Abroad. We're all transient, replaceable. Except here's the thing - we're not.
Three of my closest girlfriends in Brazil are ABANDONING me. One left a few weeks ago, two others are leaving on jet planes at the end of April.
It's hard. Getting to know people is fun but exhausting. We bond fast in an environment so far from home and everything we're used to (especially without the time-sucks of regular life, you know, working, driving, cleaning our own houses, family events, etc.). And then people LEAVE. I'm not happy about it. But I know it could just as easily be me who leaves, so I can't give them too hard of a time about it.
Having moved around a bit, I say all the time that if a friend's a true friend, they will always be part of your life, distance makes no difference. I believe this to be true based on people I've managed to stay close to despite not living anywhere near them in years and years. Like any relationship worth having, it takes effort.
Regardless of how close of touch we end up, these girls have been here for me through some of the most difficult and rewarding days of my life. I will miss them terribly and hope to stay close. It's been a very interesting couple of years here between births, deaths, scary situations and a lot of fun and laughs in between. After living here in similar circumstances we share an understanding that is difficult to convey to others who have not experienced it for themselves.
Having friends around the world is one of the best benefits of expat living. I keep telling them I'm coming to visit, and that I've gotten used to having ironed sheets ;) Which reminds me of what I need to post about tomorrow... getting spoiled on the expat lifestyle.
I booked plane tickets last night for us to go home for a visit in the next few weeks. Yayyy!
Whenever we go home we bring a few Brazilian staple gifts for host gifts, etc. Gilson Martins makes very "RIO" bags and accessories (aprons, pencil cases, jewellery, art) and it's all very reasonable. Even more reasonable this week when I stopped in and they were having a giant sale. Check it out...
I cannot BELIEVE that the Canadoca will be one in May. It feels like we just brought her home from the hospital...
Here are some things I'll be getting her to commemorate this special occasion:
A doll. Which will be purchased in Canada, since most of the dolls I've seen in Brazil are frightening looking. Not that it seems to bother her. She loves them all. She shows this love by licking their faces.
This CD - from Name Your Tune which features kids songs personalized with the child's name. (Her real name, was available, her pseudoname, "the Canadoca" was not). It inserts the kid's names into the song for example Old MacDonald becomes "Little Tyler" (had a farm..) I bought one for my nephew a few years back so now I want her to have one too!
Though I just bought her $200 worth of books to be brought down by our friends who are coming for Easter (hope they saved some room in their suitcases... seriously this is for my sanity mostly. She only has about 25 books and we read a lot of them every day... I know every word to every book at this point.) I still think she needs to also have this books since she is such a little world traveler already, the Look Out World Here I Come travel book and DVD.
This toy by HABA, a German company that specializes in non-toxic toys. Because it just looks like fun. Click here if you want one too:
The other day my mother told me that she thinks she's gullible. She said that after living in small towns most of her life she is super trusting even when she shouldn't be, and believes people. I thought to myself, well, it's a good thing I'm in the big city, you know, I'm tough, I'm not gullible... I see through BS.
Fast forward a few days, and the babysitter comes over. She's super cute. She loves the Canadoca. The Canadoca loves her. I like this. I want things to be good with her.
She asks me if we can talk for a few minutes, very formally, then proceeds to tell me that her mother has moved away and she is now stuck paying for their living expenses. She gets teary eyed. She doesn't ask me for more money, but rather if I could ask around to get her a few more hours babysitting for friends of mine. Absolutely!
I immediately send out an email and within a few hours she has two new clients. I'm elated that such a small action on my part could result in so much improvement in someone's life and have renewed faith in mankind and the power to make a difference...
The next day, I find out from one of her new clients (in other words, someone I recommended her services to) that the babysitter is in fact planning to go away for one year, traveling. Leaving rather soon.
I don't know that the situation she described with her mother/living expenses is a lie per se, but given the ENTIRE story, I definitely felt misled. Not to mention a bit embarrassed to have recommended such temporary services to people when they may have been looking for something more long term. Of course there is never any guarantee of anything, but I like full disclosure, if you know what I mean!
So I thought about what to do - and struggled with it a bit. Do I still leave the Canadoca with her even though she wasn't totally honest with me? Do I trust her? In the end, I decided that one doesn't have much to do with the other - she has shown herself to be honest with me about her care of the Canadoca (in little situations where she's fallen, etc.) and I think she's doing a great job. I think this is a cultural thing. I hate to make grand sweeping generalizations but the Brazilians I've encountered are not eager to share news that they think someone won't like.
In the end, I'm happy for her, what an opportunity. I just wish she'd told me the full story in the first place ;)
So I guess my mom's not the only gullible one...
Stuff I found interesting...
1) Gisele and her baby either are or were in Brazil for her sister's wedding. Last time I posted about Gisele it garnered a lot of attention...
3) On doing without some of the conveniences of back home - I think it's great that we eat so few processed or packaged food items here. One of the only processed items that have passed the Canadoca's lips so far are these organic teething biscuits I bought while home at Christmas time (and even then, it's only when she is having a teething meltdown in a big way that she is handed one of those). However, I just found some recipes on the internet for homemade teething biscuits, the one I'm going to try making her tomorrow doesn't even have flour or sugar in it. Perfect! Click here for the recipes.
4) Looking to watch Brazilian films? Click here for a fantastic list of recommendations.
5) Back in Canada I drove under these wildlife overpasses in Banff National Park about a million times, as I lived in Calgary for 7 years and my parents live in the interior of British Columbia. Pretty much every single time I drove under the darn things I wondered to myself if they actually worked - was the wildlife actually smart enough to use the overpasses? Were studies done? Was anyone monitoring the animal activity? I mean, the things had to have cost a fortune, but if they worked, it was worth it, right? Well don't you just love it when a question that has been burning in your mind for years is finally answered? Click here for a quick and interesting video or here to read info on this topic. Here are some photos so you know what the heck I am referring to:
I receive emails daily from readers of this blog. I really appreciate it all! Yes, even the ones that criticize the blog. For they too have their purpose...
This email in particular I wished to share with my readers, (its author OK'd it).
Trying to better understand Brazil, its culture and its citizens is a huge part of my journey. Emails like this help. So without further adieu...
"As I said in my commentary I found your blog on the site expat-blog. I was searching information about Canada (what a coincidence!), I study architecture at university and I’ve read somewhere that in Canada, as in Brazil, there is a huge market of work for people in my area (architecture/engineering). So that’s why I have interest in move for Canada. I was thinking if I should or not send this e-mail to you, but I decided it isn’t a big deal, if I had a blog I’d love to receive some of my readers.
Foremost I’d like to introduce myself, my name is X (18) and I study English for few years (about 3), so be tolerant with my English. I’ve read all your blog since the first post, and some comments of the visitors in the most “polemic” ones, I’m happy because I understood around 70% of everything you wrote. Of course I didn’t agree with every single opinion of yours, but I think you were very fair and exact in the most of the things you said, and that’s something very rare for a foreign – I say this by self experience. I “worked” as a volunteer in an Interchange company called AFS. For me it would be a good way to improve my English skills and make a kind of cultural share, I also hosted a boy from Germany for one year (the worst experience in my whole life). I can say I talked with many kind of people from many countries: Sweden, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, France, Indonesia, Iceland etc. Talk with them about Brazil was a frustrating experience, it was the same stereotyped vision (I’m truly tired of this), I think they weren’t mature enough for an experience like that.
In one of your posts you said something about Brazilians be very negative with their own country, I think it is absolutely true (with some exceptions), I usually say the patriotism of Brazilians is limited to football, for sure it is the only thing Brazil is 100% good in the world. It is very easy understand why Brazilians are very negative with Brazil. We see the problems of Brazil every day on TV: corruption, urban violence, drugs, pollution etc, add to this the fact of really few people say good things about Brazil, so it created a culture of “complaint”, people sit on their chairs in front of the TV, or in bar, hear the problematic news and just shake their heads (the most of times rolling their eyes) and say: “Oh, it just happens in Brazil, in a developed country it would never happens” or worst “This country isn’t a serious country… tsc tsc”, well, in my opinion it is the most typical Brazilian, and it is the type of Brazilians that Brazil doesn’t need. The most of people here ignores the situation of our “neighbors” in South America, mostly of them with a worst situation than Brazil. My uncle works in a oil company, he lived in Angola (also speaks Portuguese) for two months, and he said he looks different for the Brazilian poverty after know the real poverty there, the favelas in Brazil are bad, but I dare to say it is a better situation than the mostly slums in Africa and India, for exemple, here the favelas has a small (but present) structure, with sidewalks, small hospitals, schools, a modest trade, lan houses and also banks (the example in the bank Bradesco in the Heliópolis favela, São Paulo)! While in the other countries they literally lives over their garbage. I can be wrong, but it is how I think.
It’s difficult be proud of Brazil (and it is not my case, I love my country and I know the exact position of Brazil in the world) when the people has the addiction of say bad things about the country, minimizing the good things and maximizing the problems. Many Brazilians has the puerile fantasy that the other countries in the world, specially Europe and North America are just perfect, and the wrong/bad things just happens in Brazil. We know that’s not true, I visited Portugal and I were really impressed with the newspapers, it could be perfectly a Brazilian newspaper, the same things: corruption, violence, poverty etc (in Portugal 18% – data of 2009 – of the population lives in misery, something difficult to understand, Portugal is member of EU). The corruption in Italy is the same or bigger than in Brazil, but nobody knows about it, right? We think Brazil is a very corrupted country (I’m not saying it isn’t true) because the people know it, the newspapers say the “secret” cases all the time, and in my opinion this freedom of expression is one of the positive things in Brazil. Some people say: “Oh, in the government of Lula there was much corruption”, I simply don’t agree, the difference of the Lula’s government and the government of the previous president (Fernando Henrique Cardoso) was because in Lula’s time we knew all the cases, while in the other government many of the news were censured or hidden. Your father said the drivers here are mad, well in Italy is twice worst, and Italy is a developed country.
In beginning I didn’t agree of Rio hosts the Olympic Games in 2016, for the same reasons of all people that were against: favela. Slums are the most shaming thing for me about Brazil, but now I’m 100% into the idea of those games here, and I totally agree with Lula when he said those games could make better the low self-confidence of the Brazilian people and their relationship with the nation. I am very impressed with all the projects for Rio, that goes beyond the stadiums and arenas. The security project let me with my mouth wide open, they will contract a company of NY to project the security system of Rio, this company is the same that made the project of the New Yorker security system in the government of Rudolph Giuliani. I know the current security in NYC isn’t the same of the Canadians cities, but ask any New Yorker and you will know the big difference of this before and after his government. Rio is planning with the help of the federal government the most modern department of public safety that already existed in Brazil. For you have an idea, they will install pickups sound of shots throughout the city. Just a shot sound be captured, the center will be immediately activated and the next cameras will monitor the location of the shot and within minutes a car will come to the site. This system exists only in Israel and in U.S. (If I’m not wrong). It is just about the security, the public transport (don’t forget the high speed train) and many other things will be improved.
When Rio de Janeiro won the games many television reporters of many countries arrived in the city to make a “special” about it, and the biggest example was given by an Australian television, they came here and just showed the worst side of Rio, the most deprived areas. OK, it will help a lot Rio with tourism. When I knew it, I were very sad, because as a writer said “being Brazilian is an ache”, this ache begins without much fanfare, partly in the belly, partly through the stomach. Then it goes and settles in the left breast. So It’s how the pain of being Brazilian looks like. Give up of Brazil is easy, but the pain of being Brazilian that’s more complicated. I just hope this e-mail don’t look very tireful for you, I liked very much your blog and how you write, and it is good to know your baby is partly Brazilian! But I want to say, before you move from Brazil, you need to travel to the historical cities in the state of Minas Gerais, such as Ouro Preto, Tiradentes, São João Del-Rey, Diamantina, etc."
I replied to my reader and asked him what he thought would help his country. Here is what he had to say:
"Well, I don't think there is a thing that can help, Brazil is in the right way to development now, if you read more about PAC you will find out, it is a program to improve many areas: health, education, security etc, it is like a list of goals, and some of those goals are already being made. This year it will be the presidential elections, an important step for the future in this moment we are living."
When I conducted my Rio Expat Survey at the end of last year, one of the questions involved giving advice to those moving here. One of the pieces of advice was "Don't live in Barra." People asked me why? I can only speculate as to why someone made that their recommendation, but here are a few theories:
Now, I am not trying to be negative in the least, just trying to answer the question someone asked as to why not Barra. In fact, despite my preference for the Zona Sul I can think of many valid reasons a person WOULD want to live in Barra, such as:
Last night, Mr. DRL and I went on a "date" to Roberta Sudbrack. It was our first time there and we thoroughly enjoyed it! It is one of Rio's top restaurants and features multiple small courses - a tasting menu that changes daily, depending on what's fresh and in season. I love this concept.
I can't for the life of me remember all that we ate, but after 8 courses I was full but not uncomfortably stuffed, as they do a great job of keeping it fairly light (even with foie gras...)
The service is nice and the atmosphere comfortable and upscale without being pretentious. Senhora Sudbrack herself, who used to cook for the president, comes out and greets her guests. We'll return for sure!
Rua Lineu de Paula Machado 916
There's a new gringo in town - the Gringo Cafe, where you can have an American-style breakfast complete with pancakes. Haven't tried it yet but it's on my list for my next "get-me-outta-here" day. No pressure, right? Though when I am having one of those days, pancakes just don't cut it for me, especially since I make fantastic blueberry pancakes (I buy them in season and freeze them. The blueberries or mirtilos, I mean). But apparently they have salads, which we can definitely use more of on menus around here. Back on topic! According to the Gringo Cafe's facebook page, they feature bottomless coffee, free wifi and a trained staff (they showed photos of the training). Count me in! Will report more when I go... Barao Da Torre 240.
On the corner of Rita Ludolf and San Martin, Gula Gula is opening a new location this weekend from the looks of things. Though this is in my area, I think I would still prefer the outdoor ambiance and charm of the Henrique Dumont location if Gula Gula is what I'm up for.
Down the street in the location where Keb used to be (didn't like that place at all!) there's a new Soba Noodle place being advertised.
It was tempting to name this post "the biggest load of malarkey I have encountered in my two years living in Brazil" but I figured that I should at least try to keep on topic. Besides, I may need the title for something else in the future.
Mostly for tax purposes (to keep ourselves at arm's length a bit from Canada and show our intent to stay in Brazil, as Mr. DRL's license was expiring, and he didn't want to get a new Canadian one), Mr. DRL and I both underwent the process for obtaining Brazilian driver's licenses. As to be expected, there were countless forms to fill out and fingerprints to be stamped, a few visits to DETRAN (the Brazilian version of the DMV or Registry as we'd call it in Canada) but we got through that part a few months ago. Since we had valid Canadian driver's licenses we did not need to do an actual driver's test behind the wheel, but we did complete small physical exams (eyesight, blood pressure, etc.) as a requirement.
Then, we had to take a 2 hour long psychological test. Which is where the malarkey comes in.For the record, I passed (surprised, are you? Maybe a little?).
I arrive, fill in some paperwork, do some fingerprints, have my physical exam, meet some nice people (mostly young Brazilians, one other gringa), then am brought into a room with about 8 others to complete the exam. The instructor speaks a tiny bit of English, which is helpful. But before the exam begins she goes on a tirade in Portuguese about foreigners coming in and taking Brazil's oil resources, THEIR resources, and how if you were to go for a driver's test in another country there would be no help with translations. The part about the translations probably true, but not super for making us feel all that welcome/comfortable in this tiny room for two hours with all that hostility. But anyway!
The test is the biggest joke I have ever encountered. I was warned by Mr. DRL and a friend that it was bizarre but no amount of warning prepared me for it. Every opportunity I had I stealthily took photos to share with you. Because that is the only way you can ever understand begin to understand... what is involved to get a Brazilian driver's license. OH.MY.GOD.
Pin the horseshoe on the??? No, I am not kidding, this was an actual multiple choice question on the test.
This part was interesting too - you had to put a tiny dot in each of the triangles on the line (far left box), then in the middle you had to complete a maze with a steady hand, finally on the right, put two small check marks in each box. I feel so much safer on Rio's roads knowing that the driver's have completed these crucial tasks.
This page took the cake for me. Really, swastikas? Finger + Ring = Finger with ring on?
There was also a section of the test which required us to memorize items in a picture and write them down, and a bizarre exercise where we had to write matching straight small lines on a paper for a predetermined amount of time, then count them up. It's a mystery as to what they are looking for in that exercise? Is it better to have more lines or for them to be uniform? I went for more uniform and was glad after as I didn't have to count as many tiny little lines in the end but who knows?
After having a bit of a scary experience once when we first moved here, I have been scared to death of a little timid about any encounters with the police. I smile at the ones patrolling our area (which up until recently mostly consisted of sleeping in police cars, to be honest, but now they are on foot, the new mayor is really shaking things up), but am still pretty much paralyzed with fear anytime I see the black vehicles of the special forces units. I also refuse to watch Trope de Elite until we've left Brazil.
I'm coming around, which is a good thing since we've had some practice lately. As in three encounters in about as many weeks.
First, unexpectedly my doorman called up to tell me that a fellow from the Policia Federal was here to see me. I agreed for him to come up and then panicked a little and called Mr. DRL at work - Do I let him in? Mr. DRL told me to do what I was comfortable with and that he was coming home immediately to deal with the situation. We knew we'd have a home visit at some point, but didn't realize it was unscheduled.
The guy was really nice, and it was a great opportunity for me to practice my Portuguese. He asked me about my educational background in addition to Mr. DRL's, but seemed mostly concerned with whether or not we had additional family members living here and most importantly, health insurance. I felt a little like one of those movies like "Green Card" though when he asked questions about when Mr. DRL and I met, when did we start dating, etc. He also wanted to see photos of us together. But that was about it, and he was soon satisfied and went on his way.
On our way to Picinguaba, we were randomly stopped by the Military Police, who approached the car with machine guns in hand. Which I didn't like with my little Canadoca there! Mr. DRL was driving and was asked to step out of the vehicle, to open up the back, at which point I made eye contact with one of the officers and he smiled, and I knew everything would be a-ok (but I didn't make the a-ok symbol, b/c that doesn't mean a-ok in this country, remember?). Again, the experience was positive, they probably just saw all of our crazy baby gear in the back and figured we were up to no good.
Mr. DRL was detained at a Lei Seca checkstop on Friday night as well. So if these things come in 3's, I think we're good for awhile! All positive encounters, of which I'm happy to report.
No names, but all true stories. Certainly not all inclusive, (I can't be everywhere and know everyone, people...) feel free to add more in the comments section! Also known as "You might be an expat wife in Rio if you spend your days..."
We had a fantastic time in Picinguaba! It's a tiny little fishing village south of Paraty and north of Ubatuba in the Coste Verde, which is simply breathtaking. Waterfalls, jungle, flowering trees, wildlife, deserted beaches, clear rivers... so much to offer.
The staff at the Pousada Picinguaba were very friendly and helpful and we met a ton of interesting people, especially considering there are just 10 rooms at the pousada. The only criticism I have is that the beach is inconvenient to access with a baby (you have to cross a river). Highly recommended for couples who don't mind walking big hills but are looking for someplace to relax. No TV, internet, phones, cell service, air conditioning. We really liked our mosquito netting too ;)
The food was nice and light (besides the pao do queijo and cake for breakfast of course), and the local massage therapist was AWESOME.
On a rainy day, we headed into Ubatuba (holy ice cream shops - there were about a hundred! And most of them self-serve. Which creep me out. And one even claiming to provide health benefits in the ice cream... sorry forgot to take a photo of that one!), and on the way back, drove up and down a few beaches. Mr. DRL liked this part. A lot.
As I posted, we recently went to Buenos Aires for a weekend. One thing I forgot to mention was that we were delayed slightly at the airport as we did not have the Canadoca's birth certificate with us. We had both of her passports, our passports, etc. but none of these documents verify that she is in fact our child. We managed to talk our way through it by demonstrating that we'd traveled together in the past (matching date stamps in various countries in our passports, etc.) and they looked us up in the Federal Police's system. All was well and we made our flight, but despite the enormous size of Canadoca's birth certificate, we won't again leave home without it.
When we arrived in Argentina we were greeted with a new reciprocal tax as well targeting Canadians, Australians and Americans - for us it's now US$70 per entry into Argentina. Americans pay US$168 and Australians US$100, but luckily for them once they've paid they are in the clear for the lifetime of their passport. Currently the fees are only being collected from tourists landing in the international airport in Buenos Aires (EZE). More reason to fly Pluno into the downtown airport, though you might spend that $ on paying for your luggage to get there as it's per-kilo...
Canadoca didn't have to pay as she entered on her Brazilian passport. More shoes for her!
For more info on the reciprocity tax, click here.
I will post about our more recent trip tomorrow :)
This is a new series I've been thinking of starting for awhile. Today seemed the perfect day to do so, because apparently it's snowing in Calgary. Or so facebook tells me. Here are some status updates of friends which all cracked me up (and, for the record, it not only snows in Calgary in March on an annual basis, it has also been known to snow there on occasion in May, June, July and August. Thus why I will have to be dragged back there kicking and screaming if Mr. DRL wants to live there again. My vote is for Vancouver)...
Back on topic, DRL! Here are the funny status updates:
From my friend who is coming to visit me in Rio who just booked her ticket:
From my friend who just moved TO Calgary from Rio:
To most of which I responded:
So for those of you expecting my travel report, it will come later this week. This was too important and timely to wait! Besides, I have to collect my thoughts (and download photos from three different cameras). But the swimming with the butterflies part? Consider it a sneak peek!
When I asked my online community to recommend a vacation spot for us, a young family, in Brazil, Bahia was definitely the favorite among the crowd. We agree, we like it - we've been! Mr. DRL spent a great deal of time there when he first started working in Brazil. We've been to Buzios a few times as well and are starting to think that we need to get outside of our comfort zone and expand our horizons a bit. Mr. DRL used to work with a bunch of Paulistas who always bragged about the beaches of SP state. So we looked into going to Ilhabela or Sao Sebastao. However, we couldn't find quite what we were looking for in terms of accommodation - the places that appealed to us didn't accept children, and we were definitely bringing the Canadoca along.
We found out about the Pousada Picinguaba early on in this little goose chase but weren't sure if we wanted to book right away as we had our hearts set on Ilhabela. But in the end, the Picinguaba is where we went, here are some photos from their site below. What did we think? Well that's a story for tomorrow...
I'm writing this about a week before you're reading it, and I'm going to take a wild guess at the fun game we like to call "Guess DRL's Mood" - here's my official guess:
Why? Well, the day that this was published, I'll just be finishing up what I assume is a fantastic vacation with Mr. DRL and Canadoca, sem technology! No Blackberries, Internet, TV, Phones.... (of course, after waiting for my new blackberry and being without one for the last 2 months, what do you know? It is ready the night before we left... haha)
Where'd we end up going? I'll tell you tomorrow, when I'm back in Rio!
Sometimes I really don't mind being wrong. Really!
There were a number of citations during Carnivale for public urination. Men, women and even foreigners were arrested (it's mostly fines that were being handed out, but it is punishable by up to 2 years in prison which is obviously crazy, but it's good that there is incentive for people to xixi no banho). This is progress, people!
Here is an article on the subject, from Reuters.
In addition to the various port-o-potties distributed around the city (though it seemed like they were everywhere, the ratio of toilets to people still seemed a bit off. Not that I am saying the public urination is understandable!) they introduced these puppies:
The Canadoca officially has dual citizenship. Her Canadian citizenship card came through last month - just in time for her to cheer on the Canadians in the Olympics, and to watch the Gold Medal Hockey Game, a whole 4 months before we expected it! Not sure how it works for other countries, but we had to apply for Canadian citizenship for her. She was granted a temporary Canadian passport almost immediately, which was particularly important since her Brazilian passport took so long.
She's Canadian just in time to appreciate this moving tribute to Canada in the words of an American - this made me homesick!!!
I have to admit I didn't really get into the Olympic thing too much, but after hearing so many amazing stories from family and friends, I feel like I really missed out on something special. But to be fair, in my EXACTLY two years here in Brazil (today marks 2 years since we moved here!), it's one of the first times I've felt that way.
Yet another fashion statement spotted in Brazil that I don't see taking the world by storm anytime soon (there were soooo many in the airport the other day, but I decided to pick just one):
Nike socks with heels. Nice.
This entry concludes the results of the 2009 Rio Expat Survey that I conducted. I hope it's been helpful for some of you, particularly those considering a move to Rio!
My final question: If you could give a single piece of advice to someone moving to Rio next month, what would it be?
Mr. DRL had some business to attend to in BA last week, so the Canadoca and I thought we would tag along for a little adventure. We had a wonderful time as always (despite a bout of food poisoning or the flu that I was stricken with our first 24 hours there - whichever it was, I called it "Mother Nature's Recipe for Not Gaining 10 LBS in One Weekend in BA..." That's right kids, I didn't eat a single steak or venture to Freddo at all!) and had a completely different experience there than our previous two visits.
After staying in Palermo Soho and Recoleta the first two visits, we decided to stay closer to downtown, just off Florida Street this time as it would be convenient for Mr. DRL's meetings. We stayed at the Claridge just off Florida Street, and although they bill themselves as a 5 star (and the pool area is fantastic), the rooms are more 3 star in my opinion. Great location and service, though.
Though I enjoyed getting to know different areas of BA, I think if I were to return I would stay in Recoleta again. It's quaint, nice, central, the shopping is good, has wonderful restaurants, and is close to Palermo which also has a bunch of fantastic restaurants.
On Sunday we went to the San Telmo Antique Market where we bought a bunch of copper pots and a glass souvenir as well. I thought it was pretty funny that Mr. DRL was so excited to buy these heavy copper pieces to display in the kitchen as when I met him he had no interest in antiques, hated having anything out (cluttery), and his current pet peeve is mine and Canadoca's heavy luggage. So I guess I am converting him... haha.
Here are some shots of the market:
I get a lot of hits from people looking for information on Brazilian shoes. So I thought I should feature some of the newer additions to my closet..
The first pair is from a new spot called Ferni, they have a flagship store in Ipanema (Rua Visconde de Piraja, 493 A). Gorgeous store with an over the top pushy sales staff (even for Brazil). Very reasonable prices, especially for the quality. www.ferni.com.br
Next up we have a neutral colored pair of heels from Andarella. Shoes in this color are very popular here and it's easy to see why - they go with virtually everything (and, apparently make your legs look longer!) www.andarella.com.br
Went back to BA last weekend, and picked these up from Prune.
I'll tell you all about my trip tomorrow.