Monday, August 30, 2010

Project Me

I'm working on me. It's quite a work in progress, but we'll get there one day.

Today I went back to my aerobics class! I kept laying in bed trying to talk myself out of it, making me about 10 minutes late. However now my sore muscles are thanking me for a job well done. I feel good and productive. And you know the best part? I weighed less than I thought! The scale and I are friends.

Anyway it was a good weekend. Lazy Friday move night, good food with Amelia and the husbands, the circus...we packed it full!

Today I am gearing up for school and prepping all my lessons....

And I also saw someone post something about Pretzel M&M's. So if you would like to contribute to my overall happiness and delight in life, feel free to send a bag...or ten. I would love you for the rest of the eternities.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ipatinga Country

About a month ago we decided to head out with some friends and go to Ipatinga Country! We had a good time! We thought we were just there to see a concert, however, before it started there was a rodeo!

After they had a pretty impressive fireworks show! It had been a while since I had seen fireworks (the big kind) and surprising they made my really homesick! (But I only got a picture of the very beginning!)

After all that then it was time for the concert! The concert did not end up starting until almost 12!

Eduardo Costa was playing. I am not very familiar with his music, but he is a good performer. The ladies love Eduardo Costa, they were going crazy!! We got lucky because our tickets were basically VIP, so we were really close to the stage and we were sectioned off from the other concert attendees! It was a small group, so it was really nice!

All in all, it was a good night...albeit a LONG one! I think we got home a little before 3! We haven't stayed out that late since we were dating I think! It was fun and something different! Next time I'll have to get my cowboy hat and boots out :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We dream, we hope, we wait...

Today I read a post by Rage Against the Minivan who I happen to really like. I love her writing, most of her opinions, and started reading through a blog of a blog, when she was in Haiti adopting her son at the time of the earthquake. Anyway today she posted some links that I found really interesting.

One happened to be on God and Immigration Reform an article in USAToday . I happen to like this opinion and agree with it. For obvious reasons, but mainly because I think there is a right and a wrong way to do things.

Just on another note, I believe everyone is entitled to their opinions. And you are welcome to share them here, under the condition that they are respectful.

Just remember, immigration has faces and families behind them.

Rachel from Adventures of a Gringa recently blogged about Immigration Horror Stories and listed ours on there. What really got me, however were the comments. Particularly when Mallory Elise commented. Not only because it was in my defense (though let's be honest, that's always nice) but because she gets it. When I read it, I cried and cried. Until you have put in this situation you don't get it. It is lonely, more so than you can ever imagine. For this reason, I am so grateful for all those I have met through this blog. For those that understand, for those that are going through the same things I am, and for those who aren't, but support me anyway. It makes the loneliness subside, my hopes higher, and my voice stronger.

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Encounter

I know this is pretty hard to believe, but in the US, I led a pretty sheltered life. I didn't worry about people robbing me. I didn't worry about violence. I felt pretty safe pretty much all the way around. Well, except for when I started watching all day marathons of law and order...and then I let my imagination get the better of me. But that's a completely different story.

What I'm saying is, for the most part I have felt a certain level of safety that I took for granted.

That is not to say here, I feel unsafe. In fact, quite the opposite. I feel safe. I do worry about people taking my things, but it is just something I am more cautious about. I am aware of people around me, I am aware of what jewelry I wear when going to certain places, I don't generally carry much cash, and only necessary documents. I make sure everything is secured, for instance the bike lock is really locked and in a visible area where people would be less likely to take it, I make sure things can't come out of my pocket easily, and if they can be buttoned or zippered, they are. Anyway to make a long story short, they are just preventions that I don't even really think about anymore...I just do them. I have never been robbed, no one has ever attempted, and most people I know haven't been either, but have heard stories about the friend of a friend type of thing.

I have never seen any type of violence here in Ipatinga. I hear about it in Sao Paulo, in Rio de Janiero on the news, but never encountered it here. Not to say that it hasn't happened in Ipatinga, we have violence and all that here, but nothing that has directly affected me or anyone that I know.

All that changed last Saturday night.

We left to go out to grab a quick bite to eat since we were starving. And actually, as a side note, we got these calzones that were GREAT! And I got mine with pepperoni which was like heaven for me (first time I found pepperoni in Ipatinga). It was a little expensive, but well worth it for me, in my opinion.

But back to the story. So we are coming home, we turn the corner to go into our neighborhood and there are all these flashing red lights, police cars, and massive amounts of people gathered around what I assumed to be an accident. Traffic accidents are VERY frequent here and I see them just about every day. Anyway so I thought it was strange for a traffic accident to occur because our neighborhood doesnt have that much traffic. But I told Sidnei to pull over because the first thing I thought about was his Dad. He had gone to work all day, didn't come home for lunch, and hadn't taken his phone with him and when we left at 8 pm he still wasn't home. So I was worried. So we jumped out of the car and went over. We saw Sidnei's Tia first and I asked her what happened. She speaks very fast so I didn't catch everything. I asked if it was a accident and she said no. He was killed. Then I spotted Sidnei's Dad who was just coming home from work. So I walked over to him and that's when I saw him.

Spotted through the throng of people was this young kid, maybe early 20's, maybe younger, laying on the road. Shot in the head. Blood pooled and running down the street. I wish I had never seen it. I will never forget the image. I will never forget the chill that ran through me. I will never forget the instant sadness that I felt for a life haven been taken.

I have seen people that have passed away before. I was at the hospital when my grandfather passed. I have been to many funerals. But this was different. This was murder. A senseless taking of a life. A painful ending for this kid and most certainly for his family.

The violence has shaken me to my core. It has made me nervous and feel a little less safe. We are certain this was over drugs. The kid does not live here in our neighborhood, but was walking through our neighborhood on his way to visit people. We don't live in a community with drugs. We live in a neighborhood of families and friends. People that have lived on the same street for more than 30 years. Sidnei said that nothing like this has ever happened in this area in his entire life. And I don't feel like it is a precursor to what will come, but it has reminded yet again, that you just never know. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you just never know. And I mean that, I don't think this is only Brazil. I remember watching news in the US where neighbors would say, "We never imagined anything like this happening here. It's such a quiet neighborhood." You just never know.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I feel like this is all I really do...update that is. Since I haven't been blogging a lot. But it just feels necessary anyway.

The biggest thing is school. I am really enjoying working where I do. My bosses are fair, give me plenty of space to do my thing, and I like them. I enjoy most of my co-workers and they have warmed up to me as well. We even have tentative plans to spend time outside of work together as well, which I am excited about. This month started a new semester, I have all of the same students from last semester and one new one. I just got word yesterday of another student that was supposed to start with me, but he cancelled due to his heavy work schedule. I was a little sad about was a 3 hour a week class and it definitely makes a difference in my paycheck, but the coordinator is working on getting me some conversation classes, so if that happens it would be great!! Right now I'm working about 14 hours per week and would love to be working a little more.

Sidnei's work is going great. He is in the middle of a big apartment building project which has kept him really busy. He leaves about 6:30 in the morning and I don't see him until about 9 when I finish my classes. We usually eat, put a movie on, and he's generally asleep before it actually starts. I have been missing him, but this past Sunday, we spent a lazy Sunday doing nothing but hanging out together, so that was nice.

I can't talk about our housing situation because then I will say negative things. Let's just say, like I have been (for how many eternities months now?) that it should be any time now. But I'm so frustrated it's better to say nothing at all.

My little niece is doing GREAT! She is so cute!! She is 2 months now and Tia caught her very FIRST smile on camera. That's right folks. She reserved her first smile for me! It was precious and now I spend all my time trying to get her to smile at me. She is becoming more active and more fun every day. I speak to her in only English and she just looks at me with those big brown eyes. I am hoping that if I only speak in English with her, she'll pick it up and learn as she learns Portuguese as well. I love spending time with her and detest having to share. There are lots of other Tios and Tias, but rest assured, Tia Anie (as Israel calls me) is her favorite!

So I leave you with the cutest smile ever (captured in an awkward position because I was holding her):

And since I am displaying my proud Tia-ness, here is Israel and I from the other day:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I really enjoy going to soccer games. I enjoy the people watching, the team enthusiasm, and the coming together of fans to root for and support their team. My husband is an avid Sao Paulo fan. I haven't exactly chosen a team yet...I do lean towards Cruzeiro though. They are a Mineiro team and I like having them come here to Ipatinga. I like the rivarly with Galo (though I'd take a little less of the violence please). And I like their uniforms (which we all know is really important. I'd prefer to sport a jersey with colors I look good in, thanks!), I like their mascot, and they use the symbol of the constellation the southern cross--which my Dad named his boat after, he loves, and therefore holds a soft spot in my heart because it reminds me of my Dad.

So last week we went to a Cruzeiro game! Here is proof:

It says Mafia Azul...I just wasn't fast enough to catch it while they were putting it up!
Minas Veste Azul!!!
Sidnei's cousins Andrew, Junior, and his girlfried Maria Luiza!
And of course, the happy couple!

I must say this, they did not play well. The game was really boring. There were no goals, but several attempts. They looked like they were sleeping on the field. Both teams. I haven't given up yet, but next time I go see a game, they better give me something worth watching or I'm going to team up with the husband and go sport the red, white and black (SP)! (Though actually I'm pretty sure this past Sunday, Cruzeiro beat Sao Paulo, because the husband was unusually quiet..and when his teams wins (especially against his family's team..they are Cruzeiro too...) everyone knows it. My husband is a terrible winner. And an equally terrible loser.) But secretly, I think he's a closet Cruzeiro fan. Though he'd NEVER admit it.

Let's hope they come back to Ipatinga soon with some game!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Good things come to those...

who blog!

But most of you already knew that right?

Oh yeah, and those that facebook too!

So rewinding, a couple of weeks ago, I received a message from a girl on Facebook. Her Mom found my blog (Hi A's Mom!! And thanks by the way!), gave her my info, and she contacted me.

Let's talk about a small world shall we? (And every single time I say that, I think about Zazu in the Lion King when he starts to sing It's a small world after all, and then Scar gets mad, which then makes me start singing, "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts, diddly dee".....ahem...)

My good friend A (since I haven't asked her permission to use her name) was living in the place where I had grown up basically my entire life. She was also living about two minutes away from my Mom (unless you are driving between the hours of 6am-12am..and then you are out of luck). She fell in love with a Brazilian boy, couldn't live without him, and made her way to Ipatinga! So when I say I can not live without Ukrop's cake and that Utz makes the best potato chips... she knows what I'm talking about. We agree that the Short Pump Mall has horrendous traffic, coupled by the fact that the exits and entrances were poorly designed...
So you see my friends, we are kindred spirits. That and she didn't run away when I couldn't seem to STOP TALKING. Seriously people, my brain went on happy "hey, you know where I am from and I like you" overload and short circuited that censor that tells when you are quite possibly scaring the people that you are with.

So anyway, we met on Friday the 13th (which is now officially debunked by the way, since that day was great!) at the mall, ate Spoleto (really yummy fast food Italian), went home where they got to meet the husband, and I packed a box full of books for her to read!

Guess what? She likes to read! Happy Day! She has books for me to read! Talk about happiness. I am reading my very last book...and trying to do so slowly. But that is really hard. Seriously. (Speaking of, I was just looking at the new Kindle's and salivating. Seriously want one.)

So to make a short story long (which I happen to be very talented at) I have planned the rest of our Brazilian lives together.

In all honesty and joking aside, here is why this makes me happy...
We have come here for very similar reasons.
We have very similar backgrounds (as far as growing up).
Here in Ipatinga, we have and will have very similar struggles.
Meaning--language, friends, culture, finding purpose here in Ipatinga
It is nice to have someone to relate too, nice to have someone you can ask questions too, complain too, have someone understand you, and even celebrate with you. Not that I didn't have this before (I love you my internet friends) but it's different when the friend doesn't just live in your computer.

So all in all, A is lovely and so is her husband! I'm excited to have a new friend! And I can't wait to get together again!

Just a funny side note....Sidnei wasn't able to come to lunch with us. We were in the loud food court. He called me 8 times. 8. That's a lot of missed calls for a girl who gets a (meaning one) phone call about once a week. So of course he panicked. He's thinking I have been tricked by the internet crazies and kidnapped. (Seriously the boy is very worried about this...he is always telling me how crazy I am for meeting people off the internet)

So thank you A for not being an internet crazy...and I'm sorry I was. I promise to have my censors back in working order next time we get together! Thanks A's Mom for finding me!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Learning how I do best...

So this is essentially what my MIL's freezer is supposed to look like:

But generally it basically looks like this:

So what's my point?

Saturday we went to the store to stock up on meat since they were a having a sale. Literally the size of the freezer is the picture above....combined with the ice build up of picture #2...there's not much room. So I did what any girl in my position would do! I hit that handy dandy defrost button!

Or at least that is what I wish I had done. Instead I grabbed one of these:

Did you all know there are tubes that are filled with gas inside your fridge and freezer that keeps everything cold?

Do you see where I am going with this?

Here I am happily stabbing away at the ice and the next thing I know, I hear this loud hissing noise, cold air is streaming out at me. Of course the first thing I think is, holy crap! How did all that air get trapped under that ice?! Then the second thing (immeadiately following I swear) was, oh crap, that air has a smell...and that's when I called Sidnei.

He then proceeded to melt into a bubbling puddle of....but WHY?!?!?! would you do that?

So thankfully five bags of ice, an expensive styrofoam cooler, nothing cold to drink, three days later, and 200 reais less in the bank...we have our fridge back.

Expensive lesson learned.

Only me. I swear.

So let's count real quick:

Things Stephanie has broken that belong to her MIL since arriving in Brazil:

1 plaque with a religious saying
1 glass goose, broken in several places...fixed with crazy glue, a sharpie..never to be the same again.
1 blender
1 spatula (blenderized...need I say more?)
1 fridge
3-4 little glass cups (i lost count)

I'm sure something is missing...

I'm also pretty sure my MIL will be as relieved as I am when we finally move out.