Tag Archives: a mulherada

So you want to go to Rio for Carnaval and you come down with sinusitis

~*smiling on the outside, dying on the inside*~

Edited one year later to add: if you are looking for good travel advice on Rio during Carnaval, look somewhere else.  I actually had mostly an awful time; if you’d like to read about that, then by all means continue.  If you want to see the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro, and dislike crowds, I’d recommend going during the off-season, when it’s still warm and a hell of a lot easier to get around.  My experience on the beach of Ipanema, for example, was that I had no view of the ocean and no breathing room both days I went during Carnaval.  And my other advice would be to go to a smaller city or town for Carnaval: you’ll still get the parties, the music, and the beaches, and things will be a bit cheaper and more relaxed.  I now live in Florianópolis, for example, and Carnaval here has been delightful this year.  The Northeast is also a great option: Olinda, João Pessoa, Fortaleza…!  Also, don’t just assume it’s okay to grope people because *it’s Brazil* and *everyone does it.*  Nobody does it, and you’ll get slapped at the very least.

So Carnaval in Rio wasn’t quite what I expected, if we’re being honest.  The first night I was there, I went out with Ma and the other girls I was staying with to a street party in Lapa.  This is relatively normal, sure, for Carnaval.  What is not normal is that I went home and woke up in the middle of the night with my nose running as if it were being chased by a madman with a chainsaw.  Ew.  Commence crazy sinusitis and migraine!  I am especially confused as to how and why this happened, especially since I’ve never had sinus problems in my life.  At any rate, this misery lasted through medication, “self-medication,” and a few nights of horrendous sleep–right up until the morning I left Rio, when it disappeared.  The Fates didn’t want me to revel, I guess.  But revel I did, somewhat.  Here are some tips, should you find yourself in this situation:

  • Sleep at night, go out during the day.  It’s harder to sleep during the day anyway–not to mention impractical to go to the beach at night–so you might as well get up [slowly] and get out.  I ended up passing out as early as possible at night, which sometimes wasn’t very early because I was sharing a studio apartment with 4 girls who were in the habit of inviting gentleman callers with flutes and tambourines over to pre-game before going out (I shit you not).  But sleep when you can.
  • Forget trying to be “fun.”  I’m pretty sure I got called a mala a lot behind my back (mala meaning suitcase, or colloquially, social baggage or a person who is a draaaag).  I was past the point of even trying to pretend I felt good sometimes, though, so whatever.
  • The beach is your best friend.  Stay there for a few hours, preferably under an umbrella.
  • DO NOT go around the city with a group that can’t decide–for two hours–on where to stop for lunch.  The building rage and low blood sugar will only intensify the migraine.
  • Medicine will not help.
  • Contrary to popular logic, beer will.
  • But then you will feel like absolute death afterwards when the beer wears off.  You will know pain you’ve never known before.
  • Avoid going to the Beatles-samba bloco, since the music sucks and is hard to hear, and it is über-crowded and you will end up just going to Ipanema and having a better time anyway.
  • Rio is beautiful, and even if you don’t get up to Christ the Redeemer or to any other super touristy attractions, and even if the hordes of people there for the festivities sort of dampen the effect, you will like it and want to go back.
A special This Week In Funny Building Names: Rio Edition: Edifício Kosmos.  And I also saw a few Jorge Ben Jors partaking in the merriment.

I’m alive, I promise!

Hey there, I’m still alive–alive and well, acually, in Brooklin here in Sampa. I’ve only been here less than a week but it feels like so much longer already.  Since I’ve been here, I’ve (insert a colon here, since the keyboard is using has various inconveniently-broken keys)

  • learned to navigate the bus system successfully
  • scared a small child on the bus just by being a gringa who speaks Portuguese
  • likewise, learned to navigate various accents, like those from Porto Alegre (friends), Minas (the maid Francisca), and Ceara (Ma’s relatives).
  • taught myself the word for ‘bicycle lane,’ among others.  Ciclofaixa.
  • stayed out until 5 a.m. in Vila Madalena
  • been talked to at length by my neighbor, a woman named Valkyrie.  Apparently I remind her of her mother, who was Russian, because I am so pale.  I have also overheard multiple times that I am soooo branquinha e loira (pale and blonde).
  • been to not one, not two, butfour shoppings for various reasons.  Funnily enough (to me, anyway), shopping is the word for ‘mall’ in Portuguese.Shoppings seem a lot more serious here, somehow, maybe because everyone is really well-behaved and generally quieter.  Although I don’t really know why I get that feeling.
  • answered the question did I have a Brasilian boyfriend about a billion times.  Yes, I’ve had two, and no, not at the moment.  Yes, that’s how my Portuguese is so good.  Ha.
  • gone to the countryside for an all-day churrasco (barbecue).  This is the best way to spend a weekend day, if you were wondering.  I lierally did nothing all day except eat delicious meat, chat with people, and sit by the pool and read.  Also, the farofa was delicious.
  • sang Janis Joplin with some random Argentinians.
  • watched my novela, A Vida da Gente.

In the meantime, I haven’t had too much time to do touristy things, but I’ll get around to that when things calm down. I’m still working on finding an apartment and a steady job, as well as taking a course here, so that’s keeping me pretty busy.  Also, my laptop is somehow incompatible with the internet here in the apartment, so my time for internet use is limited–which is for the best, anyway.  So anyway, it’s off to the padaria, then meeting a friend for coffee and to do homework on Paulista.  Whee.

alguma coisa acontece no meu coração…

A new year is upon us all, and while I would love to lounge around in bed and watch Hellsing while recovering from my New Year’s Eve at Halo, I can’t; in four hours I am getting on a plane and moving to Brazil.

While this has always been the endgame, I decided to actually get up and do something about it about two weeks ago.  I bought a ticket, made some calls, got some of my friends to make some introductions, and long story short, I will be living in São Paulo.  I am initially planning on being there six months, but depending on grad school acceptances and/or how I am feeling, I might stay longer.

In the past two weeks, since I decided to move, I’ve been scrambling to move out in between work, Christmas visits to Palo Alto and San Francisco, and balancing seeing friends from high school and Middlebury who are in town visiting.  Of course, leaving Atlanta is sad, especially since I’ve just settled in to a rhythm here–but that’s usually when I end up leaving places, anyway.  I will not miss certain aspects of my life here, but I am really sad about not having time to say goodbye to some of my good friends here, and I will dearly miss my roommates, who went from two random people I met on Craigslist to two of my best friends in the city.  Driving down Ponce for the last time today was strange and final, even though I know it’ll still be here if I ever come back.  I’ve also said my final farewells to my two main haunts, the Majestic and Hoa Binh, and I’m ready to go.

Those who have known me for a while might remember that I spent some time in the suburbs of Sampa, in the state of São Paulo, in the summer of 2009.  I’m looking forward to being in the city this time, as there is much to be explored.  I’m also looking forward to, jeez, complete immersion.  There’s a huge difference between Americans and teachers speaking Portuguese and the average João speaking the language, so I’m sure I’ll end up in some funny situations.  Which, in turn, you’ll hear about.


You can't really tell, but this is Avenida Paulista at night. It's also the only shot I took in Sampa last time I was there. There's some nice foliage, I guess.

E aí galera?

I’ve been fortunate enough, through a series of awkward introductions and coincidences, to have made some really good friends who all live over in my area of the city.  A lot of these friends, luckily for me, speak Portuguese.  One of my best friends here is from São Paulo, and unfortunately, she’s leaving to go back to Brazil next weekend, but before she went, she wanted to do a feijoada.

A feijoada is technically a multi-day cooking experience, but socially speaking, it means a party where people come over and drink and dance and finally get to eat feijoada somewhere towards the middle/end.  I was super happy to get my farofa fix (even though I had just had some the day before in Marietta), and Marília did a great job with feijoada (says the American), even though it was her first time ever and the Brazilian markets didn’t really have many of the meat components for sale.  Also, I learned to dance forró, which is the jam.  I had a great time and, more generally, feel like I’m actually improving my [colloquial! regional!] Portuguese these days instead of losing it, like I’d feared when I left Middlebury–so that’s good.  Here are some pictures taken of me and dear Marília.  Also, note my amazing pants.

looks so medieval


Now that I’m back and settled back into life in my new house, I feel like I’m living in a different world.  Probably the one a few decades ago, actually.  I live with two roommates and two cats, and we have no internet, TV, microwave, stereo, or dishwasher.  We burn incense, sit around all night reading, and listen to the Talking Heads on the record player.  One of us, predictably, is a vegetarian.  I really like it so far.

Life without internet is refreshing at this point.  I was definitely overly dependent on it for the past few years, which only gets more apparent in the almost complete absence of it.  I’ve been getting a lot of reading done, and I’m catching up on my podcasts.  And if people need me, they can call me or visit me.  I guess the only thing I lament is that I can’t stream WBUR from my computer.  (Old habits die hard, I guess.)

I’m in a particularly good mood because last night I sat around with Nabokov and then went out with some Portuguese-speaking friends for drinks.  Somehow I ended up getting an awesome night of sleep.  I woke up at 8:30 am (yes!  on my day off!) and meditated to Jonathan Richman and Television’s Marquee Moon.  Don’t even ask: I don’t know why.  It just seemed like a good idea.

I came away from that meditation with the knowledge that I have terrible posture and sometimes concentrating is hard when you’re jamming to “Elevation.”  Then I actually bonded with the 5-month-old cat, whom I affectionately and not so affectionately have nicknamed Cathole.  Cathole and I may be coming to an understanding of sorts: if she is a Cathole, I can throw her across the room, and then she’ll leave me alone for a while; if she is not a Cathole, I will scratch the area behind her ears.

Now I am at the coffee shop over here in the Highlands checking my email.  When I walked in, Room on Fire was playing, which made me even happier.  I had a decently long conversation with the [cute] guys who work here about the Strokes, picked up a Creative Loafing, and got called ‘miss,’ which I found super amusing.  I have vague plans to meet up with this guy I’m kind of into, and I have more definite plans to do a Ponce bar crawl with friends on Saturday.  I am making duck breast prosciutto today.  And I’m just in a really good mood in general.  Why not write about it?

ver o sol se pôr vermelho

O fim do nosso mundinho chegou ontem.  Umas lembranças antes da minha volta…

o banquete final
a galeira
a maioria da nossa turma
eee de novo
nate no refeitório!
favelados...e rafa
com favelados
erich: ligação de williams
nossa exposição
mais da aula de arte
toda escola tá dançando
suma, jose, jesus
o homem que inspirou um verbo novo

tudo acaba em festa

E isto é pelo menos algo