Monday, November 23, 2009

Good Ol' Pro/Con List

I am having an internal struggle with myself. It is NOT FUN. It is keeping me awake at night. It is making me grumpy. Remember when I talked about not wanting to live with the in laws? Ever since then, I have been thinking, re-thinking, of that topic. Am I being selfish? Am I being too stubborn to see the bigger picture? Or in other words, should I suck it up, make some rules, and build my own apartment upstairs? I know, I know. Like me, there are those of you screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO on the inside.

But let's just do it. For old times sake. Let's make the good old pros/cons list. Let's start with cons.


  • I will live next to my SIL. Who is now pregnant.
  • I will live with my in-laws every single day. 24 hours a day.
  • There will be no real privacy. I hate when every one knows that we are fighting. (And when the siblings fight with their respective spouses, they all run to momma's house. Not kidding. Sidnei is the same.) And it is just hard for anything to be private when everything is so open everywhere. And yes, this includes sex.
  • I have to share my husband and deal with the BS that comes from having momma's boy be so "close" to home. And my husband's "guilt" over everything.
  • I am worried that I will be expected to continue cleaning/cooking downstairs (in the MIL's house) and I don't want to do that (My saintly (I use that term loosely) SIL does..every Saturday..all Saturday). I want to clean and cook in my own house and not in their house.
  • I hate the "yard" here. We have these lean-to looking things filled with crap. Old crap. Old pots, pans, an old type writer and lots more. Oh and not to mention the huge pile of gravel (seriously?) with old plastic bottles thrown in it. It is one big eye sore. And I HATE IT. It makes me ornery.
  • There's that whole sharing thing...hey it's a work in progress okay?
  • And to be very real and very honest. I am terrified that I won't be going back to the other words that Sidnei will be denied papers. (A very real possibility. I hate to even say the words out loud. I feel like I'm jinxing myself. In fact it kind of makes me feel like I'm going to have a panic attack, but we'll save that for another day.) And I am going to have to live above in the in laws for a very long time.


  • We will be saving money in the long run because we will not have to pay rent. Which means that we will have more disposable income, which means traveling more (a priority for me), and being able to go home more often. And have more of the things we want.
  • I will have a security net of family around me always. I feel completely safe in this neighborhood and in the house.
  • I will have my own space!
  • We will be saving to buy our own place.
  • Ok seriously, right now, this is all I can think of. I KNOW there are more pros. But truly the biggest thing is having more money every month. Money is not easy to come by here (and I realize that people back home are thinking "It's not easy to come by here either!" And so I used to say things like this. Until I moved here, and realized, we truly come from the land of milk and honey) and I worry about money ALL THE TIME. (I know, join the club)

Okay, I will add more pros and cons as I think of them. And you can add some too in the comments if you want! Help me. Do these lists ever really work or just make us more confused? I don't know. But let me say this: Please don't be all snarky in the comments. I am being honest here and I realize my honesty may not have the diplomacy that you all seem to crave, so if you can't be constructive, just wave and keep going! Because I really am struggling. I want to get over myself and just build an apartment and live rent free! But I am worried about my sanity and my ability to cope with not having the privacy that I am used to. And no, I haven't talked to Sidnei yet. That's the goal for tonight. I think.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

They Love Me..Part II

The Mosquitoes. The mosquitoes here range from very tiny to very HUGE. And they all love me. I know I have complained about the mosquitos before.. But seriously people. They love me. No matter where I am they find me. No matter how much repellent, no matter what brand, no matter...they love me. Constantly ALL THE TIME people chuckle at the sight of my white legs with bright pink circles all over them and say 'sangue novo'....Ha Ha. Yeah, that doesn't get old EVER.

But can you blame them?

The last count was 64. 64. That is ridiculous. The pictures just don't do my legs justice.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Brasileira in the making

There have been lots of different discoveries I have had since coming to Ipatinga. One of them is my new found love for soccer. Actually, I think it is going to the soccer games. Because I still can't stand watching any sport on television.

Anyway we have been going to Estadio Ipatinga on the weekends to watch our local team play (in white, on the right). I love being surrounded by all the people, I love the feeling of camaraderie that comes with supporting a team together! They have people who play drums in the stands...and they never seem to stop. They have a whole gang of people playing drums, others dancing to the drums, and others setting off fireworks. They put on quite a show. In fact, this past weekend, they started a fire in the stands with what looked like the toilet paper they had been waving around. It was quite interesting. And dangerous looking. When you enter the stadium, they do have security checking bags, but I suppose the only thing they are looking for is guns, everything else pretty much seems to be allowed.

Besides watching the game, I love to people watch. And Estadio Ipatinga provides plenty of interesting spectators to gawk at. My absolute favorite is "the rant-er." He is my all time favorite. He is at every single game. And he yells pretty much the entire game. He waves his hands around, yells at the team, yells at the refrees, and when all else fails turns to someone if they are willing to listen to his rants. He paces the stadium back and forth all game long, but I usually see him around half time. (Is it called half time in soccer?) We sit in the middle of the field, close to where the players leave to go to the locker room. So out of the woodworks he comes to give them a piece of his mind. Next time I'll get a picture of him in action. Seriously, my favorite. I'm always excited to see him.

Now although he is most definitely got a couple of screws loose, he does have something to yell about. Ipatinga is absolutely terrible. Meaning, even I, who knows close to nothing about soccer, knows that they are terrible. They are terrible about passing successfully, the fans are constantly yelling to 'play to the front' since they like to kick the ball around down's amazing they ever get the goal to be honest. Thankfully the won this time around (1-0) since Sidnei vowed to never come to another game if they kept losing! Though I think he was bluffing. Even though they are terrible, it's still fun!

Sidnei's Dad complimented me by saying that I was definitely a 'Brasileira in the making' except he said it in Portuguese. And he told me that I would also need to come to the popular side of the family and be a fan of Cruziero. My husband is all about Sao Paulo. I have been forbidden to join the ranks of Cruzeiro.

I haven't made up my mind yet.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pretentious Pizza

Seriously love when the weekends rolls around!

Though I don't know why. My weekends aren't very different from my week days. Sadly. Anyway, but the thing that is different is Sidnei usually takes pity on me and we go out!

Tonight we decided to live a little and go to a "real" restaurant. You know the kind where they have real waiters?

Here in Brazil there are a couple of types of places to eat...
  • Lanchonetes- these places are found ALL over every corner of Ipatinga. You can find them from small to big, having things varying from pastel and coxinha, to hamburgers, pizza, soups, and ice cream. 
  • Boteco- I actually like the boteco that we have down the road from us. These are also all over every corner of Ipatinga. These places are sort of a mix between a bar and restarant. Some people come to drink. Some people come to eat. Most do both. The boteco sets out plastic tables and chairs, often has live music (here anyway) and my favorite place does churrasco every night that is fantastic! Though they aren't all nice..some are pretty dumpy looking.
  • Restaurante por kilo- Buffet style restaurante by weight. Serves all kinds of meats, veggies, sometimes salad, rice, beans, farofa, potatoes..etc. I like to go to places like this for lunch. But really, not great for me since my eyes are always bigger than my stomach...and I really hate wasting.
  • Restaurante- A place in rare form in Ipatinga. I think we seriously have like 5 "real" restaurants here. Where you go, sit down, given a menu, order with a waiter,  and have more choices than hamburgers and pizza.
So anyway, Sidnei picked a restaurant that we have been admiring from afar to go to tonight. The outside is beautiful (I wish I had gotten a picture), with big glass walls to see inside, pretty decorating, and it just looks NICE. Like a real establishment. Anyway so I'm all excited. We walk in, we are greeted by a hostess (!) and taken to our seats. Everything smells SO good. The waiters look all nice and crisp in their uniforms. The table cloths (!) are pressed. Everyone around us is dressed nicely and having a nice time. Not to mention they had a big bottle of olive oil in the middle of the table, making me think I might get bread (you know, like at an italian restaurant). Did I mention this is the first time we've been to a real restaurant in the five months I've been here??

The waiter hands us our menu and asks what we would like to drink. He gives us the house special for the day. I think it was some kind of fish. We open the menu...and to our surprise...the place we are at is a PIZZERIA. I almost died laughing. Sidnei was pissed. Seriously the restaurant looks so pretty. The waiters are SO formal. I would have never guessed. And just so you know, they don't have any signs outside except for one that says Bohemia which is an alcoholic drink they serve there. Ahhh well. What's a girl to do? So we order a style. Quatro Quiejos (four cheeeses) because I like to keep it simple. And thankfully our overpriced, pretentious pizza, was the best I've had since I've been here. Though, I don't think Sidnei will be back.

*Just as a side note, in different cities, the eating scenario varies in different places and in bigger cities(so I have heard)  it is much different. We just don't have many options in this small town.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Living with the In Laws

I LOVE my in laws. No, truly, I do! The great thing is we get along really well. They took me in like another daughter, did everything they could to make me feel completely comfortable with them, they try their best to communicate as best as possible and make me feel involved. For the wonderful people they are, for the beautiful son they raised, I love them.

That being said, I don't want to stay in their house forever. Just as a background, from what I have experienced and noticed, children stay in their parents homes until they get married, normally. And a lot of times, houses are built one on top of the other- apartment style. Case in point, my sister in law built an apartment with her husband on top of my in laws house. They live upstairs. And honestly, it is an incredibly smart move. She doesn't have to pay rent. She just pays her part of the light and water bill (many people seperate their utilities, but they chose not to). This frees up quite a bit of money. Who wouldn't want to live rent free??

Well for me this question is conditional. There is space still to build another apartment next to his sister. Apparently, Sidnei's older brother wanted to build one, but his wife did not. My mother in law proceeded to tell me this story today...With her obvious contempt for her other daughter in law's decision. So of course, my own planning to get out of dodge as soon as we can, I opened my mouth. And I told her that I understood my sister in law's decision. That this space would always be hers and her daughters. And that all women want a space of their own.

She proceeded to give me her opinoin of this in very rapid portuguese. So I didnt understand most of it. But I know she was talking about how it is ridiculous to pay rent and how it makes it impossible to ever buy your own lot. So I am thinking she didn't really appreciate my opinoin much.

And she is probably right, but I NEED, I CRAVE my own space. Here, truly, my sister in law will always be charge. I will never be able to do anything in the yard without her having an opinoin. Not only that, but I crave space from my in laws too. I need a little space. I need a little privacy. And honestly, if we stay here, if we built a house here, it is something we'd never have.

And to be even more completely honest. I think I'd go absolutely INSANE. I love my in laws. They are wonderful. Thankfully my husband does know this. He talked for a while about constructing one apartment. And if we go back to the United States, we will construct one so that when we come to visit we have a place to stay.

However, for now, we will move into an apartment. I don't know when that will be. We are hoping the beginning of next year, we'll be set to go. That is what I am hoping...and praying.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Brasilian Independence Day

Since I am behind, I am catching up. That means Independence Day is coming to you late. While all of you were lounging around, grilling out, pooling it, beaching it, or wherever you were celebrating Labor Day, we were celebrating Brasil's Independence Day (Septemer 7th).

I think in other places they do more. Here the only real celebration was the parade! Which I was excited to go to! I always loved the parades in our little hometown of Crewe, VA. There is nothing in the world like tractors pulling beauty queens, shriners in their tiny cars and 6 year olds from Mrs. Carrington's Dance class tap dancing down the street...I miss my little town!

So backtracking...the parade wasn't really all that different from my little town. It actually made me laugh a little. But in a nice, friendly way, promise.

My saintly husband, got up bright and early, to get on the bus (before car), and take me to the parade!

No Parade complete without the band! The Policia Militar band!

We had I believe the ENTIRE police force go by us. And let me tell you, this city employs LOTS of police. But here they are with their awkward, yet surprisingly cute march.

Here is Sidnei's big brother Ney and the dog he trained Apache. He brought Apache to the house one day. I love that dog. So friendly AND obedient. Gracie could use a few lessons.

My favorite since I was a little girl...always the horses!

But I always felt bad for this guy: The worst job in the up after the horses.

The Bombeiros!!! Or the trusty firemen! I have to say, the ones in full get up, must have been HOT!

And here is where I start the inappropriateness that is me...
Here we are making others aware of epilepsy. Which is not funny. But I swear, here I see more things illustrated than anywhere else. Like someone having an epileptic seizure. The people behind the banner, were also wearing t-shirts of the exact same thing. The t-shirts is what really got me. To be fair, Sidnei did tell me there are many people here who believe that you can physically catch (like a cold) something like epilepsy.

Then there was this guy. He was blind, carrying the Brasilian flag down the road. And his walking cane. Which I just wish someone would have taken from him to help him, because he was having issues with both. However, I think it was being used as a prop to say, "See? He's really blind!" I don't really understand who these guy's were. I need to do some research. Sidnei informed me that they were the sons of Masons. I was part of the Daughters of Job when I was younger, and I don't remember the boy's organization. But Sidnei seems to think they worship the devil. Along with the other people that boo'ed them. What the heck? Does anyone know? I just thought they were doing a cute rendition of Harry Potter.

This guy was my favorite!!!! He was part of the literacy campaign! And even though it was hot and muggy, he was so fun and cute! Look how cute his little buddy is!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Trip to the Fazenda

This past weekend, we had the pleasure to go to a family's fazenda (farm). And it was so great! We really had a nice time! Of course as always, there was the famous churrasco! But for me, the best part, was when I got to go horseback riding! I have loved horses as long as I can remember and we had a really good time together!

Tell you the truth, I was SHOCKED that Sidnei got on to ride the horse! But here he is, my favorite part, is that he and the horse are making the same face!

Here is Sidnei's Dad (Jose), Mom (Marlene), his Uncle (who is also named Sidnei), and Sidnei waiting for the food! They were starving!

Sidnei and I! We even got someone to actually take the picture for us!

Here we are in the backyard, I just thought everything looked so lush, green, and pretty!

This picture here, is to show you that I have really learned my lesson! As you can see, I have very burnt arms...and though you can't tell, I came home with lobster red arms, chest, and face. It's all very cute and painless, even days later. My parents always said I never would learn anything the easy way.

Here are all the goodies we got to bring home! I love going to the country and bringing home all the fresh produce. I promise to write a post on the foods here VERY soon!
This is Gil's Dad, Gil (who is marrying Sidnei's Uncle Sidnei) and Sidnei's Mom Marlene.

At this point we went hiking in the mountains to go to the lagao (the lake) and fish! We were not lucky. This is the way back...and if you can't tell, I'm burnt and so over it all. Ready to head home!

Here is Sidnei throughly enjoying himself and trying to convince me to stay overnight so he can fish at night, when he is SURE the fish will bite. HA HA!

There are no more pictures because we went home!

Seriously good day with friends and family!