Posted by: Tereza | September 20, 2013

Life is an ever-changing dream.

First, I have to say I hate moving. I have moved 6 times since March 2010. That’s just insane. Now, having just returned from two weeks in Ipatinga, I am planning for the 7th. I am moving back to the U.S.

I am glad that I lived here. I learned so much about myself, my culture, my strengths, my weaknesses, etc. I learned about my husband and his culture. I spent almost every day with my son, watching him grow and change dramatically. And I saw many beautiful places, met some amazing people, and  ate a lot of delicious food!

So what’s next for this blog? I’m thinking food and cooking. I have so many recipes that need to be refined. I some ideas for new Brazilian-American Recipes too. And of course, every recipe has a history that needs telling. With this new focus in mind, I plan to redesign my blog a bit, but that has to wait until I have a little more time.

Who knows what else I will discover with this move so until then, wish me luck and I’ll be in touch!

Posted by: Tereza | August 17, 2013

Good Morning UFC style

This morning, about 2 hours before I normally get up, a fight broke out on our street. This is not the first nor will it be last time someone decides they have a grievance to air in font of the entire neighborhood. I awoke to several women yelling at these two men who were having a scuffle. The women were trying to break up the fight over who knows what. They were long past the talking stage.

In the USA, I’ve seen this type of fight but only a handful of times and usually it is at night and alcohol is involved. In Rio, I’ve seen them break out anytime, sometimes with multiple generations and numerous people taking sides. My husband has even left the house with the specific intention of watching the fight and gossiping with the neighbors. It is the last place I want to be. What if someone has a gun? Do I want Akylis to witness sober adults “solving their problems” with violence? No thank you!

It explains why UFC is the second most popular sport in Rio with soccer (futbal) being the first.

Posted by: Tereza | July 30, 2013

The Pope came to Rio!

Of course, on Sunday, we were going to try to see him in Copacobana.

However, this is what Copacobana looked like on Sunday. It is hard to justify taking my son into areas when you know he’s too young to be around huge crowds.

But there was a ton of coverage online and in the news. We didn’t miss out on much.

The nuns were awesome. I admire their dedication and sacrifice to the lifestyle of their choice. They get my respect! I’m glad they got to see the beaches too!

Posted by: Tereza | July 13, 2013

Recipes? What Recipes?

During my recent travels in the Lake region of Rio state, I picked up some new recipes. I also collected some from the neighbors here in Rio. I have others that are my own American-Brazilian fusion. So where are they? I have been writing a cookbook!

I would love to share it with you, but my pictures suck. My son broke the digital screen on our camera so it takes pictures, but you never know what you are going to have until they are downloaded. Not to mention, none of my photos have “it” meaning that tasty look professional cookbook food photos have. It is so frustrating!

Needless to say, my cookbook will probably have to be tabled for now, until I get the photos figured out. Therefore, I will be posting my recipes again, starting with Homemade Pork Rinds! I know you are probably wondering how I lost 50 lbs eating pork rinds, but I think you’ll see from the recipe how it played out. I’m off to try to make pictures of pig skin look appealing! Yeah, it is a challenge…

Posted by: Tereza | July 6, 2013

Temporary or Permanent or Both?

Let’s talk about the insanity that is immigration!

I have a temporary visa waiting for Brazilian Immigration to process my permanent visa. It all began way back in 2011, and I received a piece of white paper with my picture and some information that I was to slip into my passport and carry at all times. This was my temporary visa that worked after my tourist visa expired.

After 90 days, I took my little piece of paper back and they stamped it, wrote a new date and sent me away. This has happened many times.  So when we went back to the office recently, I expected another 90 days. My poor piece of paper is covered front and back almost completely, therefore the officer did something different. He gave me a different stamp and I now have a temporary permanent visa.

WHAT?? That’s right, my little piece of ink covered paper no longer expires, except after I get my permanent visa approved. I no longer have to trek to their office. I no longer have to do anything except check a website for updates. Once I’m approved, I have 30 days to change in my temporary permanent visa for my permanent one.

All I’m waiting for: for an officer to verify that my son, my Brazilian Sponsor, is indeed my son, which includes a site visit and a quick trip to office to check that he’s a citizen. That’s it. And I’m still waiting for someone to do that. No Work Visa either until all this is done. Sigh…

Posted by: Tereza | June 30, 2013

Protests in Brazil

As I mentioned in my last post, daily life has been interrupted by thousands protesting everything from poor education and medical care, to rising taxes, government corruption and the renovations of cities in preparation for the World Cup and the Olympics.

While many protests were peaceful, just as many were not. Violence abounded. The one that struck me the most was a death in San Paulo, where a motorist driving home from work became enraged at protestors blocking the road. He drove his car into the crowd killing a protestor. Just as we were almost drawn into the protests twice (they’ve been a daily event since my last post), there have been many Brazilians who were caught up against their will.

While the president has made promises, and new laws, tax cuts, and proposed reforms have begun by a reeling government, many protests continue. The protesters say that until things are finalized and changed, they won’t stop. Today, the people are excited about the Confederation Cup. Tomorrow, the protestors have planned another demonstration. The leaders have declared July 1st Brazilian Day, and want it to be a new national holiday. This time, they want even more people to come out. They have made serious threats to businesses and companies, claiming that if they open thus preventing employees from attending, they will vandalize the business for their lack of support. How do I know? Our local shops and businesses have all posted handwritten signs, they are closed tomorrow. The local supermarket manager commented that he didn’t want to risk it.

No one knows if this is going to turn into another violent protest or not, but many people in my area bought up their groceries today and plan to avoid the road tomorrow. With the images of downtown Rio on fire, stories of violence, and heavy usage of tear gas in the streets, I don’t blame them. I bought what I needed and I plan to stay home tomorrow too. We are planning to play it safe rather than be accidentally caught up in a situation that could turn deadly.

Posted by: Tereza | June 24, 2013

Prainha Trail-Take 2

We went back to Prainha Parque for another hike, and this time we made it to the top!

view family photoHere we are at the top of a long, long, long uneven stair way/hiking trail. I would never recommend doing this trail in the rain as one area was only slightly repaired from a previous wash out, as in a temp fix until they get around to a permanent repair.

view from the topIsn’t that view lovely? The rock island is in front of Recreio Beach where we live. I totally recommend this park for hiking as well as the beach (when its warm)!

Posted by: Tereza | June 16, 2013

Is that a duck or a goose?

The sign says it all: “Vende-se Pato” or “Sell You Duck.”market dck better

This bird is destined for someone’s pot. On Sunday in downtown Bacaxa, they close down a street and have a large market. It has the usual assortment of products, but I came across something new. Buying live birds for dinner.

market duk weigh inIn preparation for sale, he was weighed on this old fashion scale.

market chickensThen he went into the cage next to his new neighbors, the chickens.

market akylis with chickensAkylis thought the chickens were cool, but we kept him from putting his hand in the cage. I am just glad they don’t sell the  pork this way.

market cutting greensI also had an “ah ha” moment. They sell these greens that look like large elephant ears, and my mother-in-law serves them thinly sliced. I have never been able to replicate her neat slicing and now I know why. She gets them sliced by this hand cranked slicer! They sell them pre-sliced at this market! In Rio, the corner veggie guy doesn’t do this. I really wish he did because they cook more evenly when neatly sliced. Oh well.

Posted by: Tereza | June 14, 2013

The Lake House in Saquarema

Lake houseThis is the first view I had of the lake house in Saquarema, RJ. It is perched on top of a huge hill that has been terraced. Vacation homes or weekend homes are quite popular in Brazil. In Rio, weekend houses outside of the city are preferred, and this community grows dramatically in size on the weekend with a smaller group of locals during the week. There are a lot of retired people too. Saquarema is perched between a large lake and the ocean in the Lake District or Lakes Region of Rio de Janeiro state, about 3 hours from Rio. It is also a great surfing area, and calls itself a surf capital. Seems true enough since Quicksilver was having a surfing tournament while we were there.

lake house driveway betterCan you imagine driving up this driveway everyday when you came home from work? Or imagine walking it every day, up and down, to go visit the neighbors or the lake? I walked it almost every day. What a workout!

Julia and Akylis

We visited the lake a lot, but Akylis also made friends with a little girl named Julia who lived at the bottom of the hill. He kept asking to visit “Hu-yah” and he’d start calling her name when he saw her house. Usually we could hear her yell something back and pretty soon her mom would be opening up the door. It was a really cute relationship to watch grow. Too bad she doesn’t live closer to us!

lake house side constructionThis is the side of the house. I had a hard time getting photos while the crew was working. The house has been remodeled from a small cottage to a much larger vacation home with an enormous pool deck added to the front. As I mentioned before, this is M’s boss’s vacation/retirement home. He is drastically changing it. He asked M to come out for a week, but when we got there, M thought it would be more like two. Then his boss stopped in and changed his mind about a few things, which stretched us into the third week. And finally the rains slowed down the workers drastically and we stayed for a total of four weeks and M didn’t finish everything.

lake house pool viewThe views were absolutely fantastic. Akylis preferred the pool. When M was working on the brickwork around the pool, Akylis “helped.” The wood poles became a cable and post railing that mimics ship railing. This is Lake Saquarema, a salt lake that connects directly to the ocean. I’m really happy we had this opportunity to travel to a new area. But with the house under construction, certain things were a little rough.

lake house outdoor kitchenThis was my outdoor kitchen. It was lovely to work in on sunny days, as long as I wore sunscreen. It was horrible at dinnertime, because the mosquitoes swarmed. When the rainy days came, we pushed the stove under the eaves and made do. Remember it is winter here too. The temperature dropped sharply at night, and the rains only made the change more dramatic. Imagine me out there trying to cook food while the icy rain splashes off the roof and the wind blows out the fire. Good times!

lake house black bean sproutBefore we left, I discovered I sprouted a black bean plant. Akylis helped me pick through the beans and tossed them all over the place. I wonder if they are going to be picked fresh beans in a few months.

Lake house chickenThe food scraps that we tossed out also attracted the local wildlife. Akylis loved chasing this fat rooster that came around for the rice and veggie offerings. M wanted to catch him for BBQ. There were several hens in his crew and two neighborhood dogs that stopped in fairly often. The dogs made me slightly nervous because Akylis was determined to catch their tails.

Lake house bath tubAkylis loved the cooler we brought. It became not only his tub, but my laundry machine and dishwasher. That’s right I hand washed our laundry. It didn’t work so well so we made one trip back to Rio for the weekend to run all our clothes through the washing machine and I did a much better job of packing for the return trip. I was only prepared for a week the first time.

Lake house crabAt night, these crabs would come out of their holes near the lake and search for food. This one ended up in a newly tiled front room where the refrigerator was. I am so glad the light was working that night, so he didn’t get my toes. We had to dodge these little guys when driving at night. We weren’t always successful and a few times we hit one and it  sounded like a little explosion or firecracker popping under the car.

I have so much more to share, but it is going to have to wait! I’ll be back soon.

Posted by: Tereza | June 11, 2013

Funny Story, Sort of.

My husband’s cousin came to Rio for the weekend for a Federal exam similar to the SATs. After the test we took her to the big market in Centro. On the way home, we took the bus. I mentioned way back when about the men and women who jump on the bus and sell candy and snacks, remember? Anyway, a guy came onto the bus and started yelling. She got really nervous until she realized he was selling chocolate and strawberry wafers. She thought she was about to experience her first mugging.

It is humorous, but also sad. The news frequently mentions violence in Rio and San Paulo, so many people in other areas of Brazil believe these cities are extremely dangerous. I’ve never felt threatened or endangered here, but I also didn’t start watching the local news until more recently, after  year or so here. There was a riot on the news when we got home. Centro, where we had been shopping, became a hotbed for protestors of the increased bus fare (from R$2.75 to 2.95) that begins at the end of the month. The police were attempting to break things up and they even had coverage of the mounted units in action. I’m just glad our bus made it through so we could sit, safely, at the restaurant, eating pizza and watching the craziness unfold.

So now she can go home and tell all her friends how close she came to this violent protest. And confirm everyone’s belief that Rio is a dangerous place, so my mother-in-law can bring up moving to Ipatinga again.

For more on the story and the news video:

On the positive side, I bought my son a ton of new clothes and cute soccer sneakers so he’s ready for his 2nd birthday in 3 days.

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