Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Just sharing the cuteness...

This is one of my students. She loves to shower me with compliments and bring me things. The flower in my hair was the latest present :) 

My niece is getting SO BIG! Next week she will be 2 years old! I'm sure I will have pictures to show from her "Sleeping Beauty" themed party. I got all the things to make cupcakes yesterday. All 200 of them. (cupcakes are the latest rage here) 

In other news, where the heck is winter??? I've been waiting and waiting, but she is being very elusive. Thankfully she sneaks in at night, but during the day summer is still rearing its really, really ugly head. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

3 Years

Today marks 3 years that I have been in Brazil. I didn't realize it was my day until about an hour ago. The past two years, Sidnei and I went out and celebrated my Braziliversary (as coined by Danielle). So I feel a little deflated that I just let this day "passa branco"* but also proud, because I can use expressions like that now. (meaning, in case it's not obvious, I didn't do anything special) I can only assume that this means I am not constantly counting the number of days I have been in Brazil (though I am pretty much asked all the time, so it's not that hard to forgot) and life here is "normal". (although, I say that, and laugh. I need bigger quotation marks for that word.)

It's interesting how time changes things. (Or how things change over time?) In any case, life truly is feeling more like life. I work too much, I have a set of friends I really adore. I don't think there's anything that I can't/won't do. I can say pretty much anything I want to say. That does NOT mean I am fluent. Far, far from it. But I communicate well. Things would vastly improve if I took a Portuguese class. (Speaking of, can anyone recommend a good book for Portuguese classes...anyone use one they liked?)

To make a long post long, I am proud of myself. I have accomplished a lot. I have learned a lot. About this country, about the culture, and of course, most importantly, about me. I feel like I have discovered more about me in the past 3 years than I knew my whole life. And all at the same time, some days I feel like I have changed so much, I barely recognize myself. I'm good with that, I'm good with me. I like where I am. That is to say, personally. I could use a little work in the geographical department. (I kid, I kid...sort of)

As far as "home" is concerned...when I say home, it means two things and changes only in context. Home is here, in Brazil. And it will be for the next few years. I can't say for sure how long. In all honesty, I still hope for sooner rather than later. I have grown to love Brazil, but "home" always beckons to me. For now, we are here. And we are living life as if we will always be here. But we both hope to come "home" one day.

3 years. (That should have an echo) It feels so LONG and so short all in one space. After all I've said, I have to say this: It has been hard. It has been wonderful. I am grateful for every adventure, even the wrong turns. Our journey is still in the beginning. There are some good things in work for the future. I hope I can share it with you soon (one of the reasons I have been crazy busy and absent). For now, thanks for the 3 years of sharing with me. Thanks for all the guidance, advice, and love shown. Seriously, I would have never made it the first couple of years without you. (I really tell people that all the time. Expats get it, Brazilians kind of don't. You know, since you all are imaginary people in my computer)

(Thanks for putting up with all my parenthesis...I was feeling the love today)
* I say passa branco...but maybe it's passa branca? I said I could use the expression, I didn't say I used it right. Masculine and feminine stuff is hard, okay?

Also: A picture for  you. Sidnei and I took pictures for our anniversary. I feel I should include it, since I would not be here were it not for us.
I am totally having this made into a "banner" (as they say here) for our house. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kick in the pants

I have lived in Brazil for almost 3 years at the end of May. I thought I was doing good. I thought I learned most of what I needed to, I thought I had been through all the hazing of Brazil that needed to be done. However, Brazil was not done with me.

I have been lovingly bestowed, body aches, head ache, fever, nausea, since Friday night. Better known to many of you as Dengue. Dengue is a big ol kick in the pants. It throws you down on the ground and you better not even think about getting up. Mostly because you can't. I'm down and out for the count. Or at least until tomorrow when my atestado (medical leave from work) is up.

Originally, it all started Friday night with a raging fever. I didn't know where it came from...I had mistakenly gotten burned...I thought I was experiencing heat exhaustion. But it continued all day Saturday. So I went to the hospital. The doctor did an x-ray of my chest (I've had a cough for a little while) and told me it was just a virus and I should feel better by the end of the weekend. Except I didn't. And I kept having fevers. And my whole body was hurting. And the headaches. And the nausea. Nausea is awful. But I went to work on Monday anyway. And worked from 8 in the morning to 7 at night. It kicked my trash. I slept from 8 pm that night until 6 the next morning. And then cried when I had to get out of bed. But I still went to work. When I came out of my classroom at 11:30, the secretary looked at me and said, what is all over your neck?? That would be a pretty little rash developing from the dengue. So finally they convinced me to go to the hospital. So I went. And waited for a long, long, long time. To tell me I have dengue. The great thing about dengue is there is not a thing you can do about it. So, take some tylenol, lay down, and rest. Try to keep the fever down.

Thankfully I will only have to work one more day. Then I will have Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday to rest. Thank goodness for Tuesday holidays in Brazil.  (if it falls on a Tuesday, you get Monday off. if it falls on a Thursday you get Friday off. It's great!)

Monday, April 16, 2012


Just thought I'd share what we've been up to the last little while ...

Soccer game with the husband...Ipatinga is not so popular now that they have dropped to Serie C...we still like to go every once in a while!

Rachael, we finally got around to using those Christmas Crackers..Sidnei loved them!!
We went to a birthday party and got to catch up with good friends!
Handsome husband

One of my favorite students at school, sweetest girl!!
My niece, excited to go for a bike ride!
She doesn't look as excited here, but she was happy to be with Tio!

I got to finally see my friend and her new baby! Look how cute!! She is growing all the time!
I love that she is looking at me like,"what are you doing? and who are you? and i think it's time to put me down!" Cecilia, Tia Stephanie loves you and will be back soon for more cuddles!!

It's been fun around these parts. Stay Tuned more coming up!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My new best friend

I brought this baby with me from the US. It's super heavy, super duty, and gets the job done much quicker. And I've only burned myself once! And since laundry day was yesterday, the time has come for him and I to begin our work. Excuse me while I go plug his pretty little self in.

Friday, April 13, 2012

All the beauty nature holds...

When we spent the weekend at Iapu, I spent the weekend looking at all the beautiful birds and flowers around the Club. It was so amazing and they were so beautiful! 

These little canaries are everywhere! Their bright vibrant colors are so beautiful!

I saw a parrot for the first time in the wild!! I was so excited! The funny thing, he was mimicking the canaries song!

This guy stayed by the water ALL DAY hunting for fish. He was pretty successful!

Can you see the humming bird? They are so tiny and quick!

This little bird is called 'bom te ver' I think or 'bem te vi' I dont know something like that. (Danielle, help?) In essence, it means, good to see you. I think he is so handsome with his white mask!
It was a lot of fun taking pictures of everything. There were so many more birds that I just couldn't get good pictures of. It's so amazing to me how many different species there are and how beautiful they can be! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

4th Anniversary weekend in Iapu

Sidnei and I celebrated our 4th anniversary at the beginning of March! I can't believe it's been 4 years already...
Anyway this year we decided to have a little get away trip just the two of us. We went a little ways outside the city to Ipau Country Club. It was really beautiful and relaxing! It was quiet, there weren't a lot of people, and the weather was gorgeous! I got tons of reading in while Sidnei got to fish. I took tons of pictures. Enjoy!
One of the things I really love about Brazil is the blue sky and the puffy white clouds!

This is the chalet we rented to stay in. Very simple and tiny, but perfect for what we were doing!

My fisherman

FINALLY after fishing ALL DAY, he caught a 2.6 kilo fish.

We ate him for lunch the next day...it was way too much fish, but it was really good!

Here's hoping to many, many more years! Life has taken us to some crazy places, but I'm blessed to have Sidnei by my side! Love that man!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Super Professional

It is always nice when you are rewarded for hard work. At the beginning of each semester the school generally has a dinner and recognizes key people from the last semester. It also introduces the newbies, has some kind of inspirational message to pump us up for the next semester, and of course, there is always food. (My personal favorite. Of course.)

I don't know if I have said much about the school I work for. I really love it. I love the people I work with and I love what I do. The past year I have focused on teaching kids, ages 7-9. I really love it. I love working with them, teaching them, answering their thousands of questions. I love how completely, recklessly honest they are. For instance, they often tell me I'm beautiful. And I love that and I believe them. Because if there is a day when I am not beautiful, they do not hesitate to tell me. Or if my hair looks funny. Or if I smell good. (thankfully they've never told me I smell bad) Of course one of their favorite topics of conversation is how white I am. (There are many colors of the rainbow here, many shades of white. However, my particular shade of translucent, is rare. And therefore quite the conversation topic among my students...or strangers...or anyone really). Anyway my job has without a doubt changed my life here in Brazil. I think without it, I wouldn't have survived. It gave me a purpose and it gave me a social life.

I was happy to be recognized for my work done with the kids over the last semester. They gave a little speech and I received a basket from the infamous Cacau Show. Cacau Show is a Brazilian chocolate store with many too many truffles and goodies to try. It is super rich and so I only get it every once in a while. This basket just about did me in. And of course my "Super Profissional" coffee mug :) 

Thursday, February 16, 2012


So apparently, I'm getting old. Okay, so it's not old. But I just am not sure I understand how time seems to be passing by so quickly. People I am approaching 30. It's a little strange to even say that. I feel like I am an kid playing adult.

 Anyway my birthday was pretty low key this year. I had already gotten to celebrate with my family in the states. At my Mom's we had a "family birthday" to celebrate all the birthdays we had missed. This is a Ukrop's cake. My favorite cake in the whole world. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it!

I was also lucky because Miranda took me to PF Changs to celebrate my birthday before I left! We had good food and she even brought me a cupcake!! It was delicious!! (Miranda where are those pictures??)

On my actual birthday here, it started out good. I went and got my nails done in the morning. However, when I got home I wasn't feel very good. In the middle of the day I was running a fever. Luckily I slept it off and felt better in the evening. After my nap (and my fever broke) I decided I would need to have some sort of cake. Lucky for me I had a box of funfetti and frosting on hand, so I got to work! They were delicious and the whole family enjoyed them!

When Sidnei got off work, we got ready and went out to eat at one of our favorite Churrascarias. It was absolutely delicious. One of my favorite things to eat there is grilled Minas cheese. YUM. The good thing about going out on a Monday night is hardly anyone was there. So I basically had the individual attention of all the waiters and got what I wanted when I wanted it. And who doesn't love that?? Of course dinner was topped off with grilled pineapples and bananas. My mouth is watering again. 

Happy Birthday to me! This is going to be a great year!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The drive home

So after flying from Richmond to Charlotte, then Charlotte to Rio (I couldnt sleep the entire flight...I had a kid behind me the entire night kicking the back of my chair...and when I say kid he was like 10. I wanted to kill him). I landed at 10 AM local time and I waited in the Rio airport for 11 hours. I tried to get on standby (Lindsey, I should have just left to go have some fun) but was unsuccessful. I then flew from Rio to Belo Horizonte. I landed in BH after midnight. We didn't get to the hotel until 2:30 AM, went to sleep around 4:30 and we got up at left about 10AM the next day. Here is what I look like after traveling for WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY too many hours and going on very little sleep. (And this picture is for my sister who says I only post the pretty pictures of me)

Anyway, I was happy that I was driving home on such a beautiful day. One of my very favorite things about Brazil is how blue the sky seems and how green the grass and trees are. The summers, while hot, are beautiful. Big, puffy, white cotton clouds, gorgeous blue skies. It made me happy! Don't mind the pictures, they were taken while driving (well Sidnei was driving). This is the Minas Gerais country side. Makes me happy to call it home.