Monday, 29 July 2013

Meet the new Canadian Consul General, Mr Stéphane Larue

This event was postponed and will now be on Wednesday 31st July at O GastroArte, Itaim. 

I've blogged about the Canadian International Society before. I volunteered on the Board when I first arrived (commonwealth link, and they just accept everyone!). They support one of my favourite charities here, Casa dos Idosos, managed by Irma Natalina. They take the elderly off the street, or people that can't look after themselves anymore and don't have family,  and into the home and look after them. I have a real soft spot for old people. We're all going to be old one day! They have bed space for about 70 elderly (idosos), men and women. The CIS hosts events to raise money for various basic needs from bedsheets, to health care to the simple things in life, like soap.

SP Night Connect is organising an event with CIS next Wednesday 19th June, a chance to meet the new Consul General of Canada, Mr Stéphane Larue. All proceeds go to CIS charities including Casa dos Idosos. Find out more information and purchase here. Canadians and Canadian-lovers are all welcome!!

Finally - our RNE cards!!

It was a good day today. The sun is back this week, the girls started school and I picked up our RNE cards 20 months after Olivia was born, 17.5 months after our first application submission...

They expire in September 2021!! The fact that I do not have to process paperwork to live here in Brazil for another 8 years is an amazing feeling!! A friend was just telling me about a fire in their rom while they were on holiday and they didn't care for their ipads, phones or clothes - their passport with a Brazilian visa that took months, if not a year, was what overtook their panic. They willingly risked their lives for!! I think I would run into a burning building for this RNE Permanent ID card...

Thank you Renata!!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013 has got it wrong! Definitely not 91 F today..

Children Activity in São Paulo: Maratona Infantil

We were one of 3 expat families playing in Vila Nova praçinha this morning, being tut-tutted by all the dog walkers, and grannies walking around. I know it's cold but we all come from countries with very cold months and it's not in our mindset to stay locked up inside when the temperature drops. The kids were bundled up and ran around in circles, drank hot chocolate and ate pao de queijos!

When you first arrive you think there is nothing for your children to do here in São Paulo apart from Parque Ibirapuera and hang out in shopping malls. We discovered Maratona Infantil, a free children's programme run by Museu da Imagem e do Som in Jardin Europa. We were lunching (though according to our Brazilian friends, we were "brunching" even though it was 3pm in the afternoon) at Chez Mis one of my favourite restaurants in town and there was a circus performance, popcorn lady, clowns and just lots of open space for kids

Apparently it's once a month and they have a whole day programmed for children and it's FREE! So we sat and drank our jugs of sangria, while one of us swapped in and out with the kids outside.

The next ones are on 25 August and 22 September (anniversary edition).

Museu da Imagem e do Som
Av Europa, 158, JD Europa
T 11-2117 4777 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Preparing yourself for expat life

So you're giving up your life and moving to some far flung, exotic city/town/country that you've only ever been to on a site visit with your partners company? You are the more important person of the couple / family that the company is going to be transferring. They know who they have hired / transferred IS  but what they don't have is control over you and how you feel.

In all my moves as an expat I've met some great people moving around. Moving around all the time you will soon learn that the most important person in your life is your partner / family. I have seen great couples go through some of their most testing times as expats. Some of them were even on their 3rd or 4th move but the happiness of both persons is important to how much everyone enjoys their time as an expat.

I think one of the hardest things (well for me) was giving up my career. When I was younger I had my life all planned out, I knew what career and industry I wanted to be in, I loved working in my first company and thought I would be there forever. The ideal move is that if both of you can move to new jobs! The hardest thing is when one of you is asked to move it leaves the partner  having to either quit a great job, careers, potential promotions. If you've just had a baby, then you're leaving your close network of friends and family.

Here are some tips on coping, and I would even suggest this for companies or people moving anywhere solo.

1. Forget the site visit. Instead book a visit 4-6 months after you move away. The excitement of being in a new location is dying off and some things might still be a complete struggle (i.e. you're still stuck in your hotel room and your things haven't arrived).
2. Make local friends. This is part and parcel of your experience living abroad - learning a new culture. Make friends with your colleagues, language teacher, neighbours!
3. Make expat friends. These are people that are likely to be some of your closest friends for life. You make strong connections very fast; share your deepest, darkest secrets (after a few caipirinhas!)  Your friends you make in your new home are so important to your experience. Put yourself on the line. I was the shyest person until I became an expat... Check out
3. (Try to) Learn the language. A great way to meet local friends and it can keep small problems relatively small and not so stressful. 
4. Pay for extra luggage if you need when you first move down. Bring any food, essential beauty products, medication that you can't really live without. Though in time you'll soon learn that you actually can live without...
5. Skype is the best invention for everyone living far away from family and friends.
6. Your holiday time ends up being spent on visiting friends and family but make sure to travel your new country too! Get to know and fall in love with it (I hope!). 
7. Know that it's not forever. If you really hate it you can always go home-home. 

It's like giving birth, nothing can prepare you for it!! But aside from the short list I have given above, I think the most important thing was being prepared for hard times. Even though I had moved around, the hardest move was moving after my partner and giving up my independency - particularly my financial independence, which was pretty small in the first place. I had a (an expat friend) before this BIG move tell me about what she felt, her down days, her feeling lonely even though she was talking about her 3rd move. She was also one of the most gregarious, outgoing Aussies I know! It's not easy for anyone. So arrive in your new home knowing that it's not going to be easy, but it will be worth it when you feel like you are at home (away from home). For some people it takes 6 months, other it takes 2 years and others the realisation is only when you return to your original home. Good luck! 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Insider Guide to São Paulo

CNN has just published their Insider Guide to São Paulo which includes one of our start-ups, SP Night Market. We're very proud to be included alongside some top names like Daslu and Hotel Unique!

CNN Insider Guide to Sao Paulo

Just to add to some of our newly found favourite "secret" spots in town:

Picnic Gastronomia - an oasis in a sea of well, São Paulo. We hosted our last SP Night Connect event here and the food is based around Brazilian country home cooking. Everyone misses a little of mama's cooking. What blew me away was Chef Julia's tapioca starter. I would never choose to eat tapioca, it reminds me of (what I imagine to be) snot BUT she has created a amazing little square of tapioca, covered in sesame seeds and served with a sweet chilli sauce. They also have WIFI.

São Roque - Valley of Wines. I had no idea that there were wineries in São Paulo! About an hour drive into the countryside (just past Embu) is a Roteiro de Vinhos which houses a dozen or so local wineries and restaurants. A great day trip (though don't expect too much of the wine...) for the family but go out of season. June and July are peak season for travelling into the interior.

I love to online shop. I like being efficient. Sonoma - Vinho e Gastronomia have an ever changing selection of delicious, heavily discounted wines. You order online and the wine is delivered in 2 days, if not in 1!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Girls on IT : Women + Entrepreneurship

The next in the series of Girls on IT* evenings bring us here in Sao Paulo,  "Jogo de Damas" founder Deb Xavier. She's going to be talking about her life, and in that process, how Jogo de Damas came about. There will also be a chance for everyone to debate + discuss current examples + issues within the realm of women + entrepreneurs. This is open to women and men!

Deb Xavier is an entrepreneur and Chief Inspiration Officer at Jogo de Damas - a project for female empowerment, professional development and promotion of women entrepreneurship. Deb has lived in Dublin and New York and is passionate about gender, economy, business, communication, technology and cats. She is also the proud mother of Tathiana, a entrepreneur wanna-be."

Chef Julia Pimenta de Carvalho from Picnic Gastronomia  will delight us with a culinary journey of Traditional Brazilian "Country" style cooking during the evening.
You can purchase your tickets online here.

*Girls On It is a global media platform focused on Promoting, Inspiring and Educating aspiring female executives and entrepreneurs in all industries. Our goal is to bring the global community of women and girls together, by highlighting and acknowledging the individuals, organizations, and companies that support them.

I had to go to Tim today to sort out my phone for various reasons and I can only show you via this youtube clip exactly how I felt (without using lots of offensive words and gestures). It makes me happy that Brazilians who speak Portuguese (the same language as the Central Atendimento of Tim) have exactly the same problems!!