Tag Archives: só jesus na causa

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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You know you’re assimilating when…

  • You have made a long list of things that you want your mother to bring in her suitcase when she visits in May.
  • You are no longer shocked or scandalized when your friends start requesting that your mom bring things for them when she visits in May.
  • You send beijos to and receive beijos from people you haven’t even met yet.
  • You congratulate people on everything.
  • Dinner is at 10 pm at the bar next to your apartment.
  • You don’t worry about large things, like obtaining a work visa, because (1) you’ve put out the word to your Network and (2) anyway, it’s out of your hands, you’ll stay here se Deus quiser, and there’s always a jeitinho for these things.
  • Speaking of the Network: Your friend talks about needing to go to Porto Alegre for business but having no place to stay, and you realize that you have 3 or 4 people down there that you could put him in touch with.  You have never been to Porto Alegre.
  • It’s 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and you’re in your apartment wearing a sweater and clutching a mug of tea because you have the chills.
  • Portuguese is the language you speak in your free time and with your friends, and you consider English to be a job.
However, in a bid to introduce one of the more delightful American customs to Brazil, I made brunch on Sunday.  It’s funny how some things that I never really even like in the US are the things I crave here.  French toast, for example–which is what I made for brunch.  It’s simple to make and somehow much more delicious than I remember it being.  The only tricky thing is that cream as we know it apparently doesn’t exist here in Brazil.  Instead, there is nata, which is like a solidified SuperCream, somewhere in between butter and milk, and then there is creme de leite (cream of milk?), which is a liquid.  I had no idea which to get, so I threw caution to the wind and used both.*  At any rate, Rino and Gera liked it.  I am secretly harboring the ambition to make Sunday Brunch a standing-appointment-type, come-as-you-are event.  Anyway, here are some pictures of the brunch.
 
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*But wait, this gets even better: I just checked the label of the nata in the fridge, and it says that’s it’s pasteurized creme de leite.  I give up trying to understand.  (Another  sign of assimilation, I think….)

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.

Some more impressions

More bullet points!

  • Buildings here all have names, which I think is really strange.  Even though nobody refers to buildings by their names and only uses street addresses for taxis and directions, as there are way too many buildings in the continent’s biggest city, each one has some ridiculous name.  My favorite so far is Edificio John Lennon (the John Lennon Building), which is a residence I pass by on the bus on the way home from school.
  • About the bus.  I am almost a pro at riding these things by this point, since where I live isn’t really close to the Metro.  You get to see a lot of interesting things if you go by bus, and sometimes there are interesting conversations on which to eavesdrop.  The frustrating thing, however, is that there is no real bus schedule, so the bus comes whenever it comes.  I stood outside in misty rain the other day fo 50 minutes waiting for the bus to take me to my friend’s house in Jabaquara, when I could have taken another bus to a Metro station and taken the subway from there.  It’s always a gamble.
  • Every afternoon it rains, and I never have an umbrella.  This is most unfortunate, since the only time I ever think about buying an umbrella is when it starts raining and the umbrella hawkers appear out of nowhere to price-gauge the people who don’t like getting wet.  Well, I don’t like getting wet, but I have also become sort of thrifty, so I prefer to either get wet or wait out the rain.
  • It’s impossible to go anywhere in a hurry.  Sampa is known for being the city where everyone is always too rushed to sit back and enjoy life.  I want to know where all these fast people are, man.  Everywhere I go, people are cutting me off just to walk slow and stop in front of me.  After a while, there’s no point in trying to go anywhere quickly.  Whereas in New York, people rush down the stairs in the subway when they hear a train coming, Paulistanos sort of just maintain their glacial pace and are content to wait for the next train.  ALSO, people will wait in absurdly long lines to use the escalator instead of the stairs, and to go through the turnstile closest to the staircase when exiting the subway instead of walking the extra 5 feet to go through an empty one.
  • I have made a rule for myself that I won’t listen to my iPod unless it is Brasilian music, since I need to keep improving my language skills.  This means either (a) I hear a lot more conversations going on around me or (b) I really just space out on a whole new level and think about nothing.  Either way, it works.
  • I might be moving out of Ma’s mom’s apartment.  Which is exciting.  While they have been nothing but hospitable, I feel like a guest who is overstaying her welcome, and I would like to be able to cook again and just sort of hang out and not have to be on my best behavior.  This possible place would also be 10 minutes away from 2 Metro stops, which is also thrilling, since (a) that would force me to be both active AND proactive about being on time and (b) I do not like letting the bus rule my life.
  • In the midst of all this lightness, some serious things have been happening here in the city and state of Sao Paulo.  Sampa itself has a relatively new problem with the emergence of a booming crack market, centered in the old center of the city, informally dubbed Cracolandia, and instead of treating the problem, certain Powers That Be have been treating the symptoms instead, resulting in several arrests, destruction of people’s homes, and a general lack of understanding of addiction as a whole.  Also recently, the favela of Pinheirinhos has been occupied and burned, again resulting in the destruction of homes, lives, and dignity.  There are multiple pictures floating around of the inhabitants preparing themselves basically for war against the police coming to take their homes away.  The sad thing is that the majority of the people who live in favelas are not, as the stereotype goes, drug traffickers and dangerous criminals.  I will refrain from adding my political opinion–it’s not my place, since I am lucky enough to be here at all and am more or less an outside observer–but it is disappointing to see how the vast wealth divide leads to such awful situations, when the Brasilians that I have met, of all classes, are some of the most warm, welcoming, come-as-you-are people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  To this end, I went to a protest yesterday, which started near Teatro Municipal and ended up in Cracolandia.  Was it a smart idea for a foreigner to go to a political protest(question mark)  I’m not sure, but it was a very peaceful protest, the police weren’t involved, and I was interested to see how these things work here.  If you want to know my general impressions, ask me via email or something.  I have a few thoughts.
  • Phones.  I have a prepaid SIM card here, and sometimes I run out of money obsecenly quickly, while other times 10 reais stretches for 2 weeks.  I do not understand the phone plans here, but on the bright side, it seems that nobody does.  If you add certain magic numbers to the front of people’s numbers with certain plans, you are able to reduce the charges or get free texts, but alas, I am not proficient in this sort of special cryptography.  Like I said, nobody understand cell phone billing here, which is why it is common to have phones that accept 2 or 3 SIM cards at one time, so that people can have multiple pay-as-you-go plans and call their friends with different plans from their different numbers–from the same phone.  Whew.
  • Banks.  To get into some banks, you have to press a button.  Does this button connect to a security person, who then lets you in(question mark)  No.  You press the button, and the door unlocks, and you enter.  I’m not sure if this is a safety measure proven to be particularly effective against–I dunno, people who just sail into banks without a point for being there–but if seems like if one is hell-bent on robbing a bank, one little button will not be much of a hindrance.
  • Although I have been speaking a lot of English because of my course, I am also getting used to speaking in Portuguese without thinking about it too much.  The other day I was Skyping with my parents and started explaining something in Portuguese to them without realising that I was using the wrong language.  I also had a conversation with Ma’s neighbor in which I was chatting away (to be fair it’s very easy to chat with Valkyrie, since she loves talking) about bad traffic and the virtues of bus versus Metro (this was right before the 50-minute wait for the bus, actually), and it was only afterwards that I stepped back and realied that I had done that without really thinking.
  • On a related note, different people I’ve polled have all given me different reasons why I don’t seem Brasilian to them.  I am too pale (this is changng), I walk differently, I do not have enough of a butt (yep, someone said that)…  But somehow this seems to be diminishing, since people more and more will ask me for knowledge on the bus.  Yeah, that’s right.  I am the master of getting from Ana Rosa to Avenida Berrini, and I share my knowledge if asked nicely.  It used to freak me out but now I’m like, “Yep, it passes by Berrini, mmm hmm.”
  • I was on Brasilian news the other day!  Ma met some people who work at Rede Globo at some Christmas party, and they remembered that she was going to be hosting an Estrangeira in the new year.  I guess they were doing some piece on foreigners coming to live in Brasil, and anyway, they ended up interviewing me at school and filming me in class and stuff.  The interview mostly went well until we got to one question, very oddly-phrased, about how much money I was earning, and I had to ask the nice lady to repeat it around 3 times until I finally got it.  Apparently the piece aired Tuesday night, but I didn’t see it because I was waiting for that damn bus.  But my face has become capable of turning whole new shades of red in record time here in Brasil, I might have you know.  Which is weird because I never used to blush before.  The other day I went to Padaria Leirense with Ma, and the guy behind the counter was like, “Hey I know you.  You always come in here with her.”  Blush blush, yep, it’s the gringa again.  Actually, yesterday in Cracolandia I saw a little lanchonete (snackish sort of casual restaurant) that was called Lanchonete dos Gringos, which made me smile.  But I did not eat there.  We ended up eating at a place that had gross sandy coxinhas.  Ah well, you live and you learn.

Oh, Brasil.  Oh, this keyboard.  I am getting sick of not having a question mark or the last letter of the alphabet.  I am getting scarily good at planning lessons in minimal time.  I am getting used to people talking about me and thinking I can’t understand, and people talking quickly at me and thinking I can understand.  And now, here are some pictures.
eu

vista do vão do masp

IMG_0007

churrasqueiro

These phone booths are all over, and I love them because they are cute and bright and weird-looking–and also very good if you get caught in a sudden downpour.

telefonica

masp

ma  masp

vão do masp

window

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.

Até…

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.

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.