Monday, 28 February 2011

Cyclists mowed down in Porto Alegre

How is this guy still free?!!!

Chinky-chonk eyes

You know that children's song, "Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes"? Where, each time you sing the song, you remove one extra word and just point to your heads, or shoulders, or knees and toes... 

In my portuguese lesson the other day, we were talking about Liberdade and my teacher said to me, "You don't look ". Now I know with her gesture she meant 'asian / chinese / whatever from the Far East' because she did that thing when you replace a word with a gesture / or with pointing....she put her index fingers to the side of her eyes and pulled backwards. Talk about stating the obvious... yes, I am Chinese. It's not news to me! Yes, there is a word for Asian here in Brazil but I have never heard it used - it's like this special game (like the Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes song) that I've finally worked out. 

Now it's not the first time I've been told the same thing, in exactly the same way and it always takes me a split-second to remember that I'm in Brazil and it no one means any offence by it. I certainly don't take offence. I believe when people say things or do things, in general, it's all should be interpreted in the  context it is being said in. 

I did take a moment to explain to my teacher that if you did that in some other countries that it would be considered pretty offensive and is rarely done (maybe by a 7 year old in the school playground...) but she assured me here it was very common here, and not considered rude at all. I think there must be loads of gestures that would be considered rude in one culture but possibly the mean the opposite in another!

"Yes, I'm a !" - no doubt about it, I have the eyes to prove it as everyone here keeps telling me.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Paulistano's don't do havaianas...

I love my havaianas. I wear them to pop down to the supermarket, to go out for lunch or hang out on the beach... and even on the plane (if I'm going to land somewhere warm!). Sophie has 3 pairs of baby havaianas to pick from when we go out, they are the cutest little things ever. And if anyone has a new baby, guess what their baby present is!

But I had a friend tell me the other month that she was told by one of her socialite friends here that any self-respecting Paulistano would not be seen dead in a pair of havaianas in public. I mean, seriously?!?!? Is this true?? I've only heard it from one source so I'm not going to tar all high-society Paulistano's with the same flip-flop...

So I've  taken this mission on ... to wear my havianas everywhere and anywhere we go in the city, even if we are going somewhere considered 'posh'!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Arca de Noe, Vila Prudente

As a part of the board of the Canadian International Women's Society we are looking into other projects that we can contribute to and through a friend of a friend of a friend (as everything here in SP is) we were invited to attend a fundraising meeting a school called Arca de Noe, was holding.

It is a school in one of Sao Paulo's oldest favela's, Vila Prudente which is at the east end of the green line on the metro. My little human alarm clock didn't wake up until 8am and we were supposed to meeting at Terminal Vila Prudente so in very un-Brazilian style I texted everyone to apologise for being 5 minutes late, before I had even left the house and made it on time. Carrie Doyle, a teacher volunteer, lead us on about a 15 minute walk down some pretty unattractive streets until we reached the entrance of the favela. There were a couple of guys hanging out and checking out the girls we were with (some beautiful european students who were volunteering too) but apparently if we were just a bunch of guys it wouldn't be so easy just to stroll in. 

From what I understand Arca de Noe is a school that has been running for about 10 years which has been supported by the French community of Sao Paulo. It has been a haven for children aged 2-6 where parents both had to go to work and have had no direct family support. In the past few months the government has changed the law and they can no longer operate as they have been so are in the process of re-inventing themselves as a youth centre for 6 - 12 year olds, providing after/before school activities and generally just keeping the kids off the streets while they parents are at work.  The school will start up again at the beginning of April. They are currently looking for more volunteers to help out with some of their planned activities as well as funding for a new site that they hope to build on. They currently will be able to take up to 90 students per session (morning and afternoon) but could take up to 120 students per session with more space and teachers!

I'm really excited to see the school once it starts up again and hopefully will be able to volunteer too. Hopefully through the CIWS we will also be able to offer our members volunteer opportunities and collections for their library. A big plus is that it is accessible via the metro and they currently do activity sessions on Wednesday mornings and will also select one afternoon.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Easter in Rio

Does anyone want to rent their apartment out over the Easter holidays in Rio?? Or know of anyone that does have a holiday apartments to rent out? Thanks!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Happy Waitangi Day (for yesterday)

Tom Dwyer, a native kiwi, who has been here for 25 or maybe it was 35 years - basically a long time! - hosted the Waitangi Day drinks at his wife's bar Drosophyla in Consolação. The bar in name started in Belo Horizonte almost 25 years ago and will celebrate 10 years in it's current location this year.

I know it's early days (i've only been there once) but I want to say it's my favourite bar in Sao Paulo! Fabulous hosts, great atmosphere (maybe it was all the kiwis there last night), and the canapes were deeeelicious. 

Tom hosted the Waitangi day drinks last year as well but I don't think I will wait another year before I step into Drosophyla again (most likely next week!).

Friday, 4 February 2011

Sao Paulo Groupies

When we first arrived in Sao Paulo we decided to make a special effort to make Brazilian friends. In all the countries we've lived in, our main group of friends have always been expats! We have made some fabulous Brazilian friends but 6 months down the line I really wanted to find a group where I could meet other mums who had just moved here, and where Sophie could have some playtime with other kids her age. In Sao Paulo it seems that most kids start to go to school 5 days a week from about 18 months.. I don't really want her to start for another year or so.

A friend recommended the International Newcomer's Group and I've been to a few of the playgroups. These are every Thursday morning from 10am-noon and hosted by someone different each time. It's a great way to meet other mummies or daddies, and other children Sophie's age.

Other great groups are the Canadian International Womens' Society (CIWS) which is not just for women! They host lunches, drinks and fundraisers to raise funds for a select number of charities. I helped organise their fundraiser last October and it was a big success, and it was really exciting to see our effort directly impact the lives of others.The Internations group in Sao Paulo is organised by the fabulous Kelly and Mariana. They organise a drinks night once a month at a different venue and the group is a great mix of expats and brazilians - I really like it for this particular reason. They always pick some great bars / venues and everyone is open to meeting new people. The other international group is Gringoes which is mainly a super helpful online forum, and they also organise drinks once or twice a year.

Annette, one of my new fabulous mummy friends, and her gorgeous Cooper, sent us through some advice about where to buy/sell goods and to get some helpful advice on facebook so I thought I would pass these on too.

KidStuff Bazaar
International Newcomer's Club of Sao Paulo
Expats Sao Paulo