Tag Archives: christ on a cracker

Where have you been, MC Casual BlogStyles?

There are not enough words in the English language to answer that question, so I won’t even try.  Instead, here are some snippets from the past 6ish weeks.  Obvious gchat editing done by yours truly.

 

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There and back again

So it’s been almost two months since I’ve written a blog post.  Why?  I’ve been drained.  I honestly haven’t had the will or energy to write one, and no matter what I write right now, I know it won’t be a sufficient description of what I’ve been and am still going through.

I’ve had a lot of highs and lows recently, and generally a lot more stress than I like.  My mom came to visit, and we had a wonderful two weeks exploring southeastern Brazil–mostly by bus.  My mom and I get along famously, and it’s always a treat to spend a lot of time with her.  She also happens to be one of the few travel companions I don’t ever get the urge to stab somewhere along the way.  It was especially rewarding to be able to show her the country I’ve decided to call home and introduce her to the people I love.

We returned to São Paulo on a bus from Ouro Preto, which took about twelve hours in total.  I got to my apartment, showered, and was preparing to make dinner when I got two terrible phone calls: someone very important to Rino had just died in a car crash.  Rino was also in the crash (thankfully uninjured).

I don’t know if you’ve ever dealt with sudden, violent death like this, but for my part, I went into autopilot for the next week or so.  Death is hard enough in your native language, but all the more surreal in a language you’re still learning (and in a country with such notorious bureaucracy).  I went to north for the funeral, which in itself was just a microcosm of the high-low duality of my life here.  I met a family full of warm, funny, loving people, but the context of the visit was never far from anyone’s minds.  I got to know Rino’s hometown, but it wasn’t how I was supposed to get to know it.

We came back and I am still sort of trying to pick up the pieces.  It helps to know that I have a group of friends and adoptive family here in Brazil who love me, as well as those of you abroad.  The emails and moments on Skype are more treasured than ever, trust me.  In the midst of all this, there is still room for joy: I laugh with my students every day, I have a renewed desire to explore Sampa, and Rino and I are relearning to enjoy the small moments together.

I may or may not be going back to Paraíba next week–depends on some changes at work–and I am super excited about it, since it is June and therefore Festa Junina.  Anyway, that’s about it.  Was this a super cheesy post?  I have no idea.  But there we go.  Oh, and the picture above was taken at the easternmost point of the Americas, also in João Pessoa.  You look out, and there’s nothing but wind and water, and then Africa.

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.

Greetings from technology

I am writing this on my phone. What a novelty. On the plus side, i can punctuate! On the minus side, i hate touch screens.

In other news, I am going to Rio for Carnaval, somewhat of a last minute decision. I am also theoretically moving into a new place today, but in typical Paulistano arts scene/other people who don’t work until evening fashion, I woke up at a friend’s house in Lapa at noon and have only just started packing. Also, have yet to coordinate with my new roomie. Ah, well, when in Rome…

I have also started haunting Liberdade, which is the Japanese section of town and very close to my job. Food there is super cheap and good, and yesterday I went into this little arcade mall and bought an adorable backpack that was clearly meant for some less than half my age.  Super cool story, I know.  One of my students is taking Japanese in addition to English, and his sensei works in the same building as I, and I am starting to think of picking up another language. We shall see.

Lastly, today in ridiculous building names: Edificio Prince of Edinburgh.

ANOTHER BLACK EYE

My new laptop died.

It’s a weird, weird time in your life when Method Man’s Tical actually calms you down.