Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bom Carnaval!

It's all fun and games until someone gets confetti in the eye.

Brazilian cell phone holder

Red dye #5

Parque Nacional

Which one will go best with that hair?

Dear Brazil,

Thanks for giving my kids ANOTHER week off from school.  Consider yourself dumped.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Brazil, will you go with me?

Circle your answer:
  • Yes
  • No
  • Maybe
In honor of Valentine's Day, I've decided to make a little Junior High-style Valentine for Brazil. Not sure if Brazil will be my boyfriend or not, but we have been flirting A LOT lately, and Brazil did put his hand in the back pocket of my jeans when we were walking together last week. Also, I may or may not have let Brazil see my bare arms out in public, so you be the judge. It hasn't always been puppies and rainbows with me and Brazil. We've had a pretty rocky time of it, in fact. For example, Brazil has some frat buddies I can't stand being around. They're constantly buzzing in my ears and getting drunk on my blood.  Also, Brazil has been keeping me from being with many of my loved ones, and I can't help but feel resentful about that.  However, Brazil has been slowly trying to win his way in to my heart, and I confess that I've found myself sucked in by his charms.  I've even made Brazil a little list of things I love about him.  Let me count the ways...

Your weather.  Oh, how I love your warm, warm days and nights and beautiful sunshine and gorgeous thunderstorms and torrential downpours.  Rarely too hot, rarely too cold. Although I confess to wearing my Corn Palace sweatshirt when it dips below 72 degrees.

Your beautiful birds. Toucans, owls, and parrots in the backyard? Yes, please.

Your parking thugs.  I laugh every time I go into a parking lot and a guy will give me the thumbs up, signaling that he will 'keep my car from harm' for the low, low price of a few reais. 

Monkeys. What can I say?  They're adorable and they melt my cold, black heart whenever they wander into the yard.

Your pace.  Brazilians now how to r-e-l-a-x.  And that is something I'm good at as well, so I think we are a compatible couple that way.

Your love of children.  Children are welcome everywhere, any time of day or night. Most restaurants have playgrounds, and if they don't, no one seems to mind a few kids running around while they're eating.

Mango trees wherever you look. And lime, banana, avocado, and more mango.

Your friendly peeps. Aside from the aforementioned frat buddies, that is.

The crazy things you can buy on the side of the road.  Towels, food, drinks, brooms, garbage bags, flags, hammocks, scary clown dolls, electrified tennis rackets for killing frat buddies, you name it. Well, except stuff you can't get here, which brings me to my next point.

You are making me very resourceful, Brazil.  I can now make my own sourdough bread, english muffins, bagels, and pita bread. I never throw anything out, because I might need it and probably won't be able to get it when that time comes. You're good for me that way.

Your creatures. They're amazing, and at times, terrifying. I've learned to never pour flour or rice blindly into a recipe bowl, and I've gotten practically blasé about finding a bag full of crawlies. I watched a colony of leaf-cutter ants take down my new jasmine plant within hours of putting it in the ground. I've also seen spiders so big that my dog barks at them. Would I say your creatures are a plus or a minus on this love note?  Mais ou menos. We hate getting bit, but we are seeing some pretty amazing wildlife that we would never see back home.

And the last thing I love about you, but certainly not the least, Brazil, is that I get to buy lots of cute sandals to make up for not getting to wear my boots anymore. 

Now, I'm not saying I won't dump you when a shiny new country comes along, especially if he has sharp cheddar. I'm just being honest, here. So, what do you say, handsome?  Will you be my Valentine? I know my husband won't mind if I two-time him with you, because he's wanted to bring you into our relationship for months now. He's kinky that way.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Yays and Boos

Yay!  My mate is finally coming home tonight after many, many days on TDY in Rio, Sao Paulo, and Recife.

Boo.  No more easy cereal/scrambled egg dinners and I'm back to only getting half the bed.

Yay!  The maid came today and cleaned my house from top to bottom.

Boo.  I spilled a can of tomato sauce on the kitchen floor as she was walking out the gate.

Yay!  Henry came through his orthodontic surgery with flying colors.

Boo.  They made me watch every single minute of it, and if I looked away, they called my attention back to his open gums.

Yay!  They only charged me $600R (about $350).

Boo.  He missed swimming lessons, a birthday party, and eating solid foods for three days.

Yay!  Jack got invited to go to Búzios and Rio for Carnival with the Dutch Ambassador's family.

Boo.  He refuses to wear a helmet the whole time he's out of my sight.

Yay!  I made my first Brazilian friend and my children were caught speaking portuguese with her grandchildren while we were at their house.

Boo.  I couldn't understand a word my own kids were saying.

Boo.  My car died while I was at the security checkpoint to get into the embassy. During the morning rush. With about eight cars behind me. While my husband was living it up on Ipanema beach. It turned out to be a loose battery connection (they have to open the engine and trunk, check under the car with mirrors, etc, so there's quite a bit of fussing-I think they knocked the connector loose).

Yay! I fixed it myself.  That's right, I totally fixed a car all by myself with a tool thingie and everything. 

Yay! The gardeners hacked down one of our banana trees in about ten seconds and we got this, which my little Frankenmouth child can even eat:

Boo. They lost the key to the shed and we can't get to the hula hoops. And since it doesn't get any sadder than that, I suppose I should go clean up that tomato sauce, as nobody seems to be coming to my rescue.  Wop Wooop.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Getting back in the swing

Who would have thought I would be too busy to blog once the kids got back in school?  So, remember in my last post how there was a mysterious trench in front of my house? Well, the workers  accidentally cut the powerline to my house, but no worries, they duck-taped it back together.  Thankfully, Mitch called the embassy and they were out here in a flash, directing the crew to replace the power line rather than taping it back together and bringing me a generator the size of my car. It would have been awesome if it had been connected properly, too.  Lightbulbs blew out all over the house, the surge protectors sparked and popped, and the alarm box actually melted down the wall. We eventually got it all sorted out and now we do have power again, just in time for me to get busy with the Project Teach bake sale.  Project Teach is the group that volunteers with the orphanage/school in Aguas Lindas about an hour outside of Brasilia. I finally got a good sourdough starter going, which took months of feeding and babying. I made sourdough english muffins, sourdough baguettes, and bagels for the bake sale, which was at the embassy. 

The baked goods sold immediately, because none of this stuff is available here. The Ambassador even bought three english muffins for $50R.   Of course, it was for a good cause. We didn't put prices on anything, just told the customers it was a donation. Of whatever they thought was fair. For the orphans. So they could have healthy food (we use the money to buy fruits and vegetables every week for the kids at the orphanage school).  As you can imagine, we made a LOT of money with that kind of pressure. Essentially, we force unhealthy foods on the diplomats so we can buy healthy foods for the orphans. Everybody wins.

The kids are very happy to be back in school with all their friends. Henry went to a sleepover on Friday and spent most of Saturday recovering in this manner:

Olivia went to a slumber party on Saturday. The girls are in separate classes, so Grace did not receive an invitation, which was fine with both girls. They've been enjoying playdates with their own friends lately. This was to be the first time the girls have ever slept apart since, well, conception (I'm not counting those dark days when they were one and Olivia was comatose for a week at Children's Hospital).  Henry invited Grace to sleep in his spare bed because she claimed she couldn't sleep without Olivia.  We thought we were home free when midnight rolled around and there was still no call to come pick her up. Alas, at nearly 1:00am, we got a call from the Czech Republic Ambassador to come pick up our daughter. She made her dad haul her sleeping sister back into her rightful bed, too. 

I'm off to watch the latest episode of my new obsession, Downton Abbey. I recommend it muchly. Unless you're my husband, who likes to come sit by me, watch it for about four minutes, grab a sharpened pencil, and stick it directly in his eye.