segunda-feira, 17 de agosto de 2009

Stateside once more

Hello all,
So my daddy dear has been bugging me since I got home to write a wrap-up post, and I've obviously been putting it off, but now here I am doing so.

I got back the to US on August 3rd, and back to my house in South Dakota after a full 27 hours of traveling. The journey included 4 different airports and lots of boring layover time. The first airport we got to was Miami, where we went through customs etc, which was an interesting transition because I think every single airport worker there when we arrived at 4:30am was speaking Spanish. I made the comment to Olimpia how the plane transferred us from my language to hers, haha.
I didn't want to leave, which is always the case, because it's always hard, not knowing when or how I will be able to return. There is always the certainty that I will, but not knowing the next time I will see the lights of Rio far below me as my plane circles down towards it is a difficult reality. I always want to soak in as much of Brasil as I can before I leave. Take in every sight and every smell, every sound and feeling. The first thing the little girls said to me as they hugged me after I hopped out of the car was: "Lala you smell like Brasil!!" Makes me smile, knowing they still remember, and knowing I carried a part of the country with me.
My last two weeks in Brasil were wonderful--it was school holidays and so at my grandparents house there was a constant presence of cousins for the first week. It was a nice little reunion of the older cousins, and I got to see my cousin Julia who I was great friends with as a child, but who I hadn't seen since we were 13. Being able to catch up and to just enjoy time with my cousins whom I love so much and see so rarely was incomparably wonderful. My last week there was a bit more quiet, and I had a lot of time to lay by the pool and get a bit of a tan for the first time this summer, and to just relax, which was nice after such a busy and marginally stressful past 2 months.
So thank you to all my blog readers, hope you enjoyed the posts, and até mais. =]

sábado, 25 de julho de 2009


So I'm in Rio right now, at Tio Dudu's house, but it's raining and so kinda blah here.
I was going to post a few pics but I have very limited options because I only have whats already on the web since I don't have my camera cord with me. Oops. So here's just one, a picture from Guareí when we visited my cousin Pati. It was a fun time. =]

So Gabriel and Elisa et all are coming to Quinta today so in a while here we're going to make our way back up toPetrópolis. We came down to hang out with Julia, Inês and Marina, cuz it was fun with them visiting Quinta the other day, but then they all decided to get sick last night so we just went toa barzinho in the rain. Haha. oh and by we I mean me and Olimpia plus my cousin Zé, who is Pati's little brother and who lives at Quinta, his best friend Junior who is visiting from São Paulo for a week, and Amanda, Zé's girlfriend who is just absolutely wonderful. Junior I met 2.5 years ago when he, Zé, Pati and I coincidentally took a trip to visit Tia Margo in Guareí. Haha funny how things just go in circles.

Um yea I can't really think of a whole lot more to write. Bjs pra todos.

terça-feira, 21 de julho de 2009

In Petrópolis at last

So although my mom had said there was good internet here at Quinta da Paz, she was mistaken, because I’m writing this on word and sometime after dinner and after our movie I’ll use the dial-up to connect and post this.
This morning we woke up at 8:30 and got a 9:30 bus from São José dos Campos to Rio de Janerio, and then from there to Petrópolis. It was funny seeing the contrast between Rio and São Paulo—the rodoviária we went to was (I think) the main one of Rio, and is huge, with more than 70 “gates” if you will. But the entire thing is falling apart—there is construction all over the place, the escalators were nearly all broken, the paint was chipping off the walls so badly that at times you couldn’t tell if the real color was the paint or the wall underneath. Also it’s a lot hotter there and so people walk around quite often with very few clothes on, something ppl in São Paulo are a bit too uptight for. HOWEVER, while the building itself makes no aspirations to beauty, it was much cleaner than places in São Paulo. São Paulo has nice architecture and its buildings, in this case the rodoviária that I was comparing, are bright and new and well layed out (word is telling me that it should be “laid” but that doesn’t look right…). But they’re dirty. We all know I’m short and my pants are always too long for me, and walking around in São Paulo on any given day would get the bottoms of my pants up to my shins just disgustingly gross. So yea. Rio has its natural beauty so it doesn’t need these gorgeous buildings I guess, not that the buildings in São Paulo really help its inherent ugliness very much, but you get the idea. Even the outsides of buildings in Rio are shabby, and graffiti covers most of some of them and big parts of the rest. But driving through the city, my heart was happy. This is the Brazil I love. São Paulo really got me down a lot, I hate that city, but after being there I see Rio through new eyes—I see its failings and its beauty better now—being able to compare the two really was useful.
So like I said, we’re at Quinta now, which is the sort of “main house” of my mom’s side of the family, and is in Petrópolis. Petrópolis is an hour outside of Rio, high up in the mountains, making it lots colder and wetter. It’s called the Imperial City and there is a palace here, because Brazil had two emperors back a long time ago (Don Pedro I and Don Pedro II) and this was their vacation home to get away from Rio’s incessant heat. It’s in the mountains so it’s spread out and a bit hard to get from one part to the other, but I really really like it here. Our house isn’t in Petrópolis proper, but in Corréas, a bairro outside of the city but still within the municipality. As you drive you don’t ever feel a break from the city, so it’s all the same as far as I’m concerned.
My grandfather, Volamino, as my family calls him (the nickname stems from my older brother not being able to say Vô Padrinho when he was little, meaning grandfather/godfather), picked us up from the rodoviária here and we arrived a couple of hours ago to greet my Tia Nená and Titia, who both live here, along with Célia, the maid who we all love. Blungo, the golden retriever of gargantuan proportions that they have didn’t even get up to greet us until we called him over, and later on I was throwing his little toy thing for him to fetch and after 5 times he looked at me and plopped down, hahaha. Stupid dog, I really don’t like him that much.
It’s really nice to be back here though. When I lived here in Brazil for four months 2.5 years ago, this is where I was most of the time, and again a year ago when I brought my friend Ceci for my grandmother’s 80th birthday. So I know this place and the surrounding area pretty well, and it’s always wonderful to return somewhere where you’ve been absent for a long time. =]
Soooo yep. Tomorrow some cousins—Inês, Marina and Júlia—are coming up from Rio for a visit (they’re there for a while but they live in Belo Horizonte) and so we’ll conbinar with them about when, where and how we’ll go to Rio within these next few days. We’ll probably go down Thursday and spend most of the weekend there, but the São José clan is getting here on Saturday and we want to spend time with them of course so maybe we’ll come back Saturday, I’m not sure.
This is probably huge, typing it on word doesn’t help my sense of when to stop, but I just hit the second page and it’s single spaced, so maybe I’ll shut up now. I think I’ll go sort out my clothes, because I have almost no more because we haven’t done laundry in a looooong time. It sucks here in Brazil because things have to air dry and that takes a few days, so you have to be staying somewhere for a while, and knowing that at the beginning, in order to wash any clothes. Our recent hopping around, therefore, has made it so that I’m not wearing the cleanest jeans right now. Hehee.
Love to all.

segunda-feira, 20 de julho de 2009


Ooops so it has taken a while for me to blog again. We've been travelling almost constantly though, so gimme a break.
Well we're done now with the ISSLP, and aare currently in São José again and will be travelling to Petrópolis tonight I think.
I'm glad to be done with the ISSLP. It was a great experience but now I'm happy to be relaxing and to be with family and to be out of São Paulo.
During our last few weeks we did various things, including spending a full 6 days in a tiny town called Guareí with my Tia Margo and cousin Pati, who is one of my favorite people in the world. We got there on the 9th, and it was a constant churrasco (barbeque, literally, but that doesnt really do justice to the whole-day event of eating and drinking and laughing and talking) that whole long weekend, and we all enjoyed ourselves lotsss. So that was fabulous, and from there we went and spent more time in Ibiúna wth Chad et all. Had some adventures including working at a soup kitchen and hiking through the temperate rainforest, and it was all very cool. Returned to São Paulo for half a day to pick up bags and say Bye, and then my aunt and uncle came and got us and we came here to São José. My cousin Inês had her birthday that night, so I got to experience Brazilian kareoke, which has lots of American music mixed in, to be sure.
I'm not in the mood to write very much, for some reason I'm having lots of allergies here (which is weird cu I come to this house relatively often and have never had problems before) and my face is like a faucet, which makes typing a bit difficult. Hehee. Love to all and I'll try to upload some pics in Petrópolis.

segunda-feira, 6 de julho de 2009

music and books

Quick update:
Saturday we went to a Roda de Samba with Raquel, who is one of Heidi's friends and works with juvenile delinquents (or jovens presas in Portuguese, which is so much nicer sounding). I loved it, the barzinho was in a sort of higher-class area full of rich brasilian hipsters, hehe, but it itself was really simple and super tiny, with a wide variety of people there, old and young. The band that played goes every saturday from 4 to 8pm, and it's the music that draws people, because whie the band is relatively young their style of samba is classic and beautiful. They play mostly songs of their own composition but they also play classics from famous Sambistas who are these old cute men who go there a lot (there were 3 while we were there) and are very respected and often jump in fo a few of their old songs. Somewhat needless to say, the music was fabulous.
A "roda" means that the group, which in this case had 6 people, sits in a circle while the audience is just sort of around them. Hardly anyone was sitting down, and there was a fair amount of dancing going on. Samba-ing is incredibly hard and only some people can do it, but when they can my god it's gorgeous to see.
We went afterwards and visited and old used bookstore of a friend of Raquel's on Avenida Paulista, which is the nicest most famous avenue in the city. It was in an apartment and wasn't at all advertised, you just had to know it was there. There were all sorts of things, books in tons of languages (I bought one in English), music books, travel books, textbooks, there were records and to encyclopeadias, hehe. We spent a long time there, just absorbing the old book smell and enjoying it. =] It was really cute and nice.Speaking of books I'm reading right now a book by Margaret Atwood abon the subject of writing. It's really great, I'm loving it. Found it at Heidi's and hasn't proved to be what I thought it'd be at all, but in fact much much better. Of course I forget the name of it, but hey I remembered the author of ththe other book-- Woman on the Edge of Time is by Marge Pierce. Or Piercy. Lord. When I get old I'll either never notice a difference or be wholly senile and won't remember a thing.
Oh also I'm reading a bit of Flannery O'Conner here and there but am having a hard time getting through most of it and so mainly I quit and turn back to one of the 8 other books by my bed. Hehee.
So yep. There's always more to say but that's what you'll get for now. (Pap hope that was enough paragraph breaks. I tried by my mind doesn't think in paragraphs. hehee.)

quarta-feira, 1 de julho de 2009

happiest moment of my summer

ND gave us money to give to the Casa for letting us stay there.
We gave the first half of the money the first week.
Last night we were handing in the second half.
Heidi had told us Vitória was thinking of getting a washing machine.
So Olimpia was like "here's the money, now you can buy a washer!"

And Vitória said...
"We already did! It arrived today!!!!!"

Throwing our clothes in that washing machine was the most satisfying feeling ever. One hour of us eating dinner and we went downstairs and hung the clothes on the line. One load fit all of our clothes which combined would have taken close to three hours to wash by hand.

=D I'm content.

terça-feira, 30 de junho de 2009

books, parks, shrines and parties

Hello darlings.

I am alive, just have been busy and without computer access, which brings out the voracious reader in me that I forget about during the school year. haha. Right now reading "Woman on the Edge of Time" by Margy something. I didn't bring it with me cuz I didn't wanna finsh it on the bus cuz that's so anticlimactic, haha, so I dont remember her last name. It's a crazy weird book but it's really interesting. Her writing reminds me a lot of Margaret Atwood, not so much in style as in topics, and I love Margaret Atwood so yay.

I'm not typing this in Blogspot so I dont know what the last night I wrote was. So, here are some recent activities:

This morning we finally got my Visa situation for France figured out thank god. Big relief for me so woot for that. Thanks mom and dad, I know taht was a pain.

Yesterday we went to the Parque Iribapuera. i know I'm spelling it worng. Anyway it's a huge GORGEOUS park in the middle of São Paulo. It had been raining for a few days and yesterday the sun came out and it was warm and the sky was blue and everything was just beautiful. Getting there was an adventure because googlemaps is unreliable, haha. Here they have a thing thattells you ow to get from one point to another on public transportation instead of by car--how cool is that:?? So we get off at the metro stop it told us to and get on the bus it told us to, and I ask the guy who take the money to tell us when to get off and he was like "ummm that's definitely not this bus." Google! How could you fail me!!! So we got off and walked back to the mini terminal and asked around, finding the right bus eventually. As we were getting on a saw a tall white guy with a backpack and a book that said Brésil, aka it was in French. He was with a short little dark girl and they were asking the old man that was doing the taking money job (I'm sure they ahve a name but I don't know it) to tell them when to get off at the museum. Well the park we were going to has musuems (Musuem of contemporary art!! we didnt go though =[ =[ ) and he was pointing to a park in the guidebook, so I took over and explained to the senhor what they wanted, and told them it was all fine. After a bit of stumbling around with different languges (the girl spoke spanish too) we realized he spoke Englsih, so we chatted and got off at the stop and found the somewhat ambiguous bridge to get to the park on the other side and then parted ways. They were jsut here vacationing for 10 days and had been to Rio and were going to Florianópolis today. They liked São Paulo more than Rio apparently, but they just got lucky, being here when the weather was nice hahaha. Anyway the point of the story is on out way back we just kinda hopped on a bus that had a metro symbol, and after about 50 minutes of rush hour highway driving I asked the money-taker guy to tell us when to get off, but then he started asking Olimpia who was closer to him if it mattered which metro station it was. I couldn't hear him and she couldn't understand so a sweet little lady standing between us intervened and told us where to geo and got on the metro with us cuz she was going to the stop after ours anyway. It was just so funny--we helped people ont he way there, others helped us on the way back. Talk about full circle.

On Sunday we went to the national shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, the patronness of Brasil. There's a story that goes with it--once upon a long time ago some fishermen found a tiny statue of Our Lady while fishing and it had been turned black by the river, so pretty much Spanish speaking latin american hass the Mestizo Guadelupe, and we have a black Aparecida. But yea, the shrine is ridiculously huge, the church was MASSIVE. Really beautiful though, really nice.
On the way back on the bus we missed the final of the confederations cup, aka Brasil vs the US. We stopped for a bit and it was US 2 and Brasil 1, and everyone watching looked like they were going to cry, as Olimpia observed. But the final score, which I only actually learned today, wwas US 2 - Brasil 3, so woot for that. =D

Ummm, Friday we went to JoAnne's project and I watched the drooling babies of teenagers who were formerly streetkids, but are now mostly in relatively stable situations. That was a bit of an adventure, they were all about 10 to 12 months old and weren't ever used to being away from mom, even for an hour, so even just the three I had were quite a handful. They were cute though. =]

I can't really think of anything else that has been happening. Heidi left for the US. =[ I feel like a kid that was pushed out of the house prematurely by her mom. hahaha. But really, Heidi took good care of us, and now we're on our own but hey we're doing well. =D So maybe it wasn't too prematurely. Haha.

Saturday the Casa had our Festa Junina which got rained on so the turnout wasn't fabulous (which is too bad cuz it doubles as a fundraiser by selling the traditional corn-based foods plus hotdogs hehee) but it was still fun.

Um yep. At some point I'll put up more pics but that won't be too soon. Love to all.