Sunday, 19 August 2012


My weekend: A night of curry and scottish celidh dancing sandwiched by 2 long lazy Brazilian lunches.

Yes, this is a picture of Brazilians playing bagpipes and showing off their Scottish dancing skills!  Hearing bagpipes always makes me a little emotional - they remind me of special events, weddings, etc   - I want to say I felt homesick but I've only been to Scotland 3 times in my life... The night was hosted at the Brazilian British Center in Pinheiros and it was all about the dancing. I eventually got the hang of it- holding hands running around in circles, clapping and feet stomping though I think I was much too sober for my liking. The Scottish Society also host a Burns Night and the Caledonian Ball during the calendar year which is more about the whisky drinking than the cross legged dancing.

And then the long lazy Brazilian lunches... today's lunch came about as follows. Received a phone call at noon inviting us to lunch at 1pm, made a real effort not to turn up on time so managed 10 minutes late, kissed everyone hello including children and dogs, drank out of a communal glass*, sprinkled some farofa (it's growing on me) on my delicious moqueca and then tried to add something intelligent to the conversation in Portuguese. One of the guests was a stand-up comedian and I think this is the true test of learning a new language. When I can go to a stand-up comedy night in Portuguese and actually understand it AND think it's funny, I will be justified in saying that I can speak Portuguese. Just might be a few more decades before I actually get there..

*I like this style, even if it is with people I've never met before. It means you get to taste all the different caipirinhas / sakerinhas!!  Today there was grape+pear, fresh coconut + passionfruit and lime+orange.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

In the news

I try to read the news in portuguese religiously - good for my portuguese and also good for dinner conversation with my Brazilian friends. These 2 links were posted on the INC Facebook page:

A woman yesterday was kidnapped, had a bomb strapped to her and then sent in to rob a jewellery store on Oscar Freire. Sounds like something out of a movie, nao e?

This student was stopped by police for drink driving, tried to light a 50 real note as a cigarette and start her car with a straw. "Canoodle" is one of my funny words here - always makes me think of teenagers "canoodling" in the back of the car when I have to ask for a straw for Sophie's juice. Bad word association.

Friday, 17 August 2012

In my head

Some stuff I've been thinking about this week:

I was talking to my taxi driver who is from my local "ponto" and he lives all the way over in Sao Bernando do Campo. I guess as the crow flies, it's not really that far but the traffic! I asked him why he would choose to work so far away but he told me it's the Prefeitura (of the city) that allocates pontos to drivers so no one gets a choice. I guess the pro of this is that it is all fair and equal,  irregardless of where you live. But on the other hand, would the traffic-monitor-people not take into consideration 45,000 taxis driving back and forth to their pontos as unnecessary for an already very busy city? On second thought, maybe these traffic-monitor-people don't actually exist...

Empregada + Feiras
I took my empregada to the local feira for some fruit and vegetables. She was horrified by the prices compared to her local feira. We don't even live in a "bairro nobre" so god forbid if I take her to one in Jardins or Moema...  but I like to buy and eat good quality fruit and vegetables. If I want to pay R10 for a punnet of imported japanese strawberries, I don't want to feel guilty about it. Advice to self: don't take her shopping.

Garotas da Programa
Don't people here care that there are "girls" working right outside the school that their kids go to? I'm trying to imagine that outside my old primary school in Wellington.

Plastic Bags
Some of you may have noticed after all the hoopla of banning plastic bags from supermarkets earlier this year, they have quietly changed their minds and the plastic bags are back in. This wasn't because of some en-masse complaint from the public. I'm being sceptical here... but someone has made a LOT of money selling re-usable bags!

Number 9
As per the plastic bags... someone is making lots of money from apps that insert a "9" infront of all your 011 phone numbers. There is an uneasy history of easy money making -  I say uneasy because it's so obvious but easy because no one seems to care. I've heard of new (now old) laws where every car had to have a first aid kit and luckily there were a few companies that had already prepared the millions of first aid boxes needed, or how about the law that that require employees to sign in and out each day of the office? Again luckily, there were companies already producing fancy new fingerprint machines for people to clock in and out of. I need to figure out a way to pass a law that makes it illegal not to eat 1 cupcake a day.

My new salted caramel cupcake
I've had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner..

Thursday, 16 August 2012


Olympic Torch coming through Sloane Square
Sunny London and Happy Londoners!

We have just got back from a month in the UK - enjoying the Olympics, and enjoying an unusually quiet London as everyone was told to stay away. Luckily we also had some sunshine! The Olympics were incredible and I am really excited for Rio 2016 irregardless of how messy and disorganised it might be in comparison.

While I was away in the UK this time I had this constant conversation going on with myself all day long:

Pushing buggy on nice evenly paved pavements...
"Oooh, could I live here again?"
Miserable Londoner snarls at Olivia for just being a baby...
"Sod all of you!" (in my head of course)
Walk past Waitrose....
"Ohhh I really miss Waitrose and all its lovely packaging...I could live here again!"
Pay for food...
"Shit, did I just pay £30 for 4 sirloin steaks!"

But as we landed back in Sao Paulo this weekend just gone the arguments left my head and I thought to myself, it's lovely to be home. And home it is for the while - our permanent visas have just been approved! So the next step is now to book an appointment with the Policia Federal which our agent Renata is organising for us.