Friday, December 31, 2010


I am seriously in denial that it is January again. How does time pass so quickly and so slowly at the same time?

So last year, I didn't set any goals. This year, I decided that I want to.

1. Come hell or high water, I'm moving into my own place.

2. Improve my Portuguese. I've been here a year and a half. I feel like I should be better. I just started taking classes last semester with one of the teachers at school. I'm going to be better about studying and reading in Portuguese. In other words, I need to stop being so lazy.

3. Healthy. I want to keep exercising. My schedule at work is going to be a lot more full this semester. I want to find time to keep going to my exercise class or get out and exercise on my own. More than that, I want to run a race.

4. Travel- there is so much I want to do and see!

5. Save Money. This of course kind of impedes on number 4 a little. But it is necessary.

6. I want to be crafty. I miss being crafty.

7. Last but certainly not least, my biggest goal of the year is happy. It is continually a work in progress for me, but I've definitely made leaps and bounds lately.

And though this isn't a resolution...
Do something different with my hair. I don't know what it is about January and my hair, but every year around this time I get the itch. After last year's fiasco I have been hesitant. Which means it has been one year since I cut my hair. So hopefully sometime soon I will go cut my hair (but just a teeny bit). And do bangs. Suggestions?

Happy New Year my friends. I hope for 2011 to bring all of us health, happiness, and peace. And if it happens to leave some wealth, that wouldn't be so bad either.

Our Christmas

So despite my scrooge-ness, on Christmas Eve I tried to muster up some holiday cheer. I put on some Christmas music and started making sugar cookies. I couldn’t quite gather up enough cheer to decorate, but that’s alright since my husband’s family prefers them plain.

That took a good portion of the afternoon. Later, I made homemade pizza for my nephew (He loves pizza and when I leave to go to work, I always tell him that I have to work to buy him pizza, if not he cries when I leave. So I figure I need to hold up my end of the deal every once in a while!) And then after that I prepared the breakfast casserole for them morning. Long story short, between cooking and cleaning I was in the kitchen ALL afternoon/night long.

Christmas Eve night was filled with fireworks from neighbors (poor Gracie) and a huge house party across the street. That went on until 5 in the morning. So about 3:30 am, I decided that Santa needed to make an appearance at our house. I got up with some Christmas spirit, got out our little tree, put a couple of doo-dads on it and put it in our room. Got the presents, put them under the tree, and when Sidnei woke up, I said, “Look, Santa came!” I was quite proud of myself.


Sidnei was a lucky one. He got clothes (that he needed badly), a fishing pole and all the gear he needs to go fishing, and a stereo for his car! (I didn’t get to spoil him for his birthday, so I wanted to do more than usual for Christmas.) My favorite part is Sidnei is just like a little kid on Christmas, He loves to get out all his toys and play with them. He has already put his fishing stuff together. Of course it’s now sitting in the corner of our room which I’m not so thrilled about. But I’m happy he likes it.


I got spoiled too! I got a beautiful ring to match the necklace I received on Valentine’s Day.

Sidnei is good, he knows what I really love. He has always picked out beautiful jewelry for me, from the moment we started dating. I have a feeling come my birthday, I’ll be getting the earrings to complete the set!

While opening presents I cooked my Mom’s breakfast casserole (which turned out great, everyone loved it!). At 6:30 am I had gotten up and put in a Christmas Lunch Turkey. I spent the rest of the morning making a simple lunch. Turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, and of course, rice and beans. It was really good, the turkey turned out perfect (I was so nervous I wouldn’t cook it right!) and everyone gave their compliments to the chef!

Needless to say, I was pretty sick of the oven when I finished. And I didn’t even do half the cooking my Mom does at the holidays.

I spent the rest of the day talking with family back home and hanging out with my husband.

Despite the homesickness, despite all my complaining, I want to end the holiday season and this year, saying how thankful I am for everything. I have a good life, I have more blessings than I deserve, and I am so grateful to be by my husband’s side. Life in Brazil is not perfect, but it is good, and I am happy.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas In Ipatinga

I was totally Scrooge this year.

I’m never Scrooge. In fact, I’m the polar opposite. Generally I’m the happy elf. Of course this is a mixture of circumstances. Ones that you are already familiar with so I won’t go there. But, I just in general missed the holiday season back home altogether. I’m homesick, I miss my family and friends, I miss familiarity.

So there was no decorating, no movies. Which was probably fine for my husband’s family, whom do not celebrate Christmas (religious reasons). It’s just hard to celebrate alone. Not that I don’t have Sidnei, I do. But he’s not exactly thrilled over decorating sugar cookies or watching Elf for the millionth time. I need my sister or mom for that.

Anyway getting on with it, I did go see some of the decorations they put up in Iptainga. I really loved the nativity and christmas scenes that were made by Usiminas (the steel company here). They made everything out of steel and iron, which I think is appropriate since we are Vale do Aco (or steel valley).

Take a look for yourself: (and sorry the pictures are terrible, I cant figure out how to take good night pictures)

So at the top of the hill they had a little house with a live Santa giving out candy to kids…it was cute!


004If you can’t tell, this is santa’s factory…


The nativity below…I think the baby Jesus could use a little improvement…


The sheep was my absolute favorite! Look how cute!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I really love being right.

So Sidnei hurt his back..again. Poor thing. I always feel so bad for him. This time he hurt it good and I'm worried it might be a while before he's feeling back to normal. For the past two days he's been completely leaning to the left...and really stubborn. Saturaday he wouldn't stop working. He wouldn't take the right medicine. Today his mom called the pharmacy and had them bring a shot (of who knows what..i haven't been able to get my hand on the paper and google) and administered it to him. I have a machine that sends electric waves into your muscles (works wonders for me) and I did finally convince him to use that.

All day I have been trying to convince him to take a muscle relaxant. He's resisted. FINALLY at 10 pm, he conceded and took the pill. At 10:30 he looks at me and says, "this isn't strong, it isn't working at all." And I said, "Really because your eyes look a little funny and you look tired." Literally two minutes later, he was sitting with the computer, and snoring away. I woke him up to get him ready for bed, we both laughed and he admitted the pain wasn't as bad. Before his head hit the pillow, he was snoring again.

Ahhh, the sweet, blissful loud noise of being right. I truly love being right.

Let's hope he feels better tomorrow! Send good, non hurting, walking straight thoughts our way!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pico da Ibituruna

A couple of weeks ago, Sidnei and I got invited to go with Amelia’s family to see Pico da Ibituruna. It is in Governador Valadares and it is known as being the home of “vôo livre”or free flight. In other words, lots of people hang glide and paraglide! It is absolutely gorgeous!

Here is our day in pictures!


We stopped about halfway up the mountain to give our poor van a break! It was hot and thirsty. Our trusty mechanics here, making sure everything is okay. (it was)


We stopped a little park halfway up the mountain for lunch and some fun! Here are the guys hanging out in the shade after lunch! This is Amelia’s husband Wallace, Sidnei, and Wallace’s Dad.


Beautiful family! Brian (stepdad), Sally(sister), Amelia, and Leanna(mom)!


We decided to be adventurous and get suited up for the zip line!


This is Brian doing down first!


This is Amelia! (try clicking to make the images bigger!)


This is me, arriving, after I was saying, I don’t think Im going to stop!! (in my defense I came in really fast!)


And this is Sally with her cute pointed feet!


You know I can never resist these pictures. We’re just too good looking together.


Driving…making our way back up, the scenery is breath taking!


We made it to the top!!

Wallace and Sidnei taking in the view


Isn’t the view incredible??


It never fails, no matter who I’m with, I’m always the whitest one in the crowd.




Wallace and Amelia


Amelia and I on the platform. You take your glider and run right off the edge of this! I didn’t see anyone do it that day, but I want to go back so I can!



Amelia’s cute mom, Leanna!!


Everyone hanging out before going home!


We got to see two paraglider’s jump (they don’t use the platform though, just the hang gliders) before we went home! If all goes well, I may be doing this for my birthday! I can not wait!

And of course, thanks to Amelia and her great family for letting us tag along! It was amazing to see and such a great day!

Friday, December 10, 2010

A little bit of paz

Last night, after Sidnei picked me up from school, we decided to stop at this little bar that also grills meat. It was deadly hot and we just wanted to sit somewhere with a slight breeze and drink an ice cold coke with our porção mista (a plate with assorted types of grilled meats). It was really great. The breeze started to blow, warning of the rain that was soon to come, and lucky us, a band was setting up to play ao vivo(live). Of course I say band, but really it was two guys with two acoustic guitars, an amp, and a microphone doing covers. And really, they were good. Not great, but good.

However, as I was sitting there, I had this realization that if I left Brazil, this is exactly would I miss. The hot summer days cooled by a summer night breeze (a little anyway), little bars, the good and simple food, a bottle of coke, a little bit of music, my feet up and my man by my side. Completely, 100% relaxed. I wanted to take a picture, so I would always remember that night, the way that I felt right then...but it was just too good to get up. So I stayed, I enjoyed, and after almost 3 hours the skies parted, the rain fell, we ran to our car, and went home.

Things that were once so new are now common. And though, I don't feel this way every day, I am so grateful for moments like last night. To be able to feel at peace with where I'm at. Even so much so, that I even loved the bright yellow plastic tables.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Thanksgiving day has come and gone. We didn’t do anything special. My schedule has been really busy and honestly, I’m just waiting until we have our own place (I have been told January for sure…but I’m not holding my breath..or as they say here, I have my feet on the ground). 

I do have a Thanksgiving story though. It was a rainy day (as they are often here lately) and I was getting ready to leave. When I say it was rainy, I mean like the pouring type. But thankfully by the time I had to leave, it had let up. So I got my trusty little umbrella and off I go.

Sidnei called me and asked if it was raining. I told him it was, but it wasn’t bad. He told me to go home he was going to come get me and take me to work. I assured him it was no problem, to stay there. I was almost there anyway.

Halfway to the bus stop, the heavens opened, and it was pouring so hard, I could barely hold up my umbrella. My jeans were soaked all the way up to my knees and I thought that is really going to suck when I’m in my air conditioned class room. (I teach mainly guys and they are always wanting the air…and I'm usually freezing, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving I'm absolutely thankful for AC. Best thing ever. I’d rather be cold than hot any day. Unless there’s a beach around.) Despite the wetness I continued on.

Almost to the bus stop and just when I thought things couldn’t possibly get anyway worse, it started to rain harder than before…I had no idea that was possible. And to top it off, the wind started blowing non stop. So it was horizontal rain. I kid you not. Meaning the shelter the bus stop offered did nothing. Nor did my poor little umbrella.

I thought maybe it would stop after a few minutes, but this tempest kept right on raging. When I was finally soaked down to every inch, I broke down and called Sidnei. He could barely hear me over the noise of the rain. Once I got off the phone, I looked around me at the driving rain, the flooding streets, at the two guys with me trying to be shielded by my tiny umbrella and I bust out laughing. I’m sure they thought I was insane, but I couldn’t help it.

It took Sidnei longer than expected because all the streets were flooded, but we finally both made it home. I couldn’t resist taking a picture for posterity’s sake.

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Can you even tell I'm soaking wet? I have no idea…but I was. It felt like I had jumped in a pool with all my clothes on. Needless to say, later that night I was giving thanks for my blow dryer since all my books and notebooks for school were soaking wet.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Rain, rain go away and a wedding!

Here lately, there has been so much that I have wanted to tell you about! Unfortunately, my internet is not cooperating…I have taken for granted my great internet connection these last few months. I forgot how AWFUL it is during this time of year. I’m not one hundred percent sure, but I think it has to do with the rain. But today it’s not raining, it’s relatively clear, and I’m still not connected. I’m using Live Writer because when I get one hint of a signal, I will post, to let the world know, I am in fact alive. I hate not having in the internet. I’m going a little crazy.

So the biggest and best thing is that Amelia’s family came down and over to Brazil for Amelia’s wedding!! It is so nice to finally meet people face to face that you have been facebooking with! They are just as wonderful as Amelia is and I am so glad to have met them! They were very gracious guests, learning bits and pieces of the language, and in general loving Brazil!

But of course the highlight of this post has to be the wedding! Despite the rain that decided it was a good day for a visit, it turned out just beautiful!

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Congratulations Amelia and Wallace!! Everything turned out fantastic and you were a beautiful bride! Thanks for being such a great friend and letting me be part of your big day!!


PS- Are there any chocolates left?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Go Karts!

The other day we woke up and headed out to the good ol’ Kartodromo! (Or the go kart race track) After a couple of days of really hot weather, it was nice and cloudy, with a bit of a breeze! I was definitely glad! Anyway we had a good time watching the races and they even had a motorcycle show! We took Gracie with us. She was terrified of the motorcycles038 (she always has been, I have no idea why) but loved the kids that came to play with her! 041

I cant help but think how hot the drivers uniforms are! So glad that is 047 not me! They had a DJ there, I'm pretty sure he is from one of the radio stations around here in Ipatinga. He was a lot of fun. He really interacts with the audience, 042 by making fun of everyone of course, and gives away things (like shirts, hats, etc). It is hilarious to watch people running down the hill to get these freebies! He says the first five mechanics to come down will get a shirt .These grown me go flying down the hill trying to beat each other there. Of course, being one who never passes up anything free, if they had said calling all english teachers, I would have been down there in a heart beat!

Anyway it was just a nice day to do something differet. To hang out, eat a popsicle, and enjoy the weather, the show, and my cute little family!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gracie Update

If you remember back in June, Gracie was given the worst haircut EVER .

That was June.

I have been letting it grow back out. I have REFUSED to let anyone cut her hair. Despite the complaints about her hair, despite the fact that it takes me an hour to wash and dry her two times a week, I did not want to cut. EVER AGAIN. And of course that is a little drastic, but we were both scarred after that last cut. Anyway her hair had gotten really long and we had our first really hot day on Friday. She spent all day long laying in the floor trying to keep cool. And I felt like a bad dog momma. So off to the groomers we go.

Someone at work recommended a new place and I am so glad they did! I think she looks so great and they were so good with her!

Without further ado:

Not too short, not too long. Gracie is cool, Stephanie is happy. Win Win all around.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Last Minute Beach Trip

So of course everything turned out fine. By 2 I was in bed and by three I was awake, getting ready, and we were on our way! (and I of course couldn't keep my eyes open the entire way there)

We arrived on Friday with sunny skies! I wanted to go to the beach, but everyone wanted to rest (I always hate the first day rest, it bores me). So we rested. That night we went to Wal Mart. First Wal Mart I've been in since I've been in the states. Even though they had Brazilian products, it still made me homesick. I'm not one of those people that loathes Wal Mart. I miss it's one stop shopping, cheap prices, and who doesn't love People of Walmart's website with the crazy pictures? (but let's get real, no one likes they lines) Anyway we got SO MUCH FOOD. And that was a good thing since the rest of the weekend rained, rained away. I was sad, I was hoping to get a little sun! But seriously people, we ate ourselves silly.

We decided to stay an extra day (and when I say we, I mean everyone else) since Monday was a holiday and no one had to work on Tuesday (and when I say no one, I mean no one but me). Thankfully the rain let up a little (but not the cold) and so we went shopping and took a little walk on the beach.

Tuesday we left early, got home safe and sound (Despite my concerns about dying in a head on collision..) and I went straight to school to teach. I was a tired girl.

The trip was really nice (despite my complaints) and relaxing. Though next time I think a little planning is in order (like checking the weather..since that was everyone's biggest complaint...although I'd like to point out that I did and I knew, but what are you going to do at midnight and you're leaving at 3 am?) We didn't take too many pictures, but here is one of Sidnei and I!

And here is everyone:
Me, Sidnei, Sidnei's Uncle, aunt, and cousin (there is another cousin, but she's taking the picture) my sister in law, and Sidnei's brother!

Good Times...