Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Emotional eating and the crock pot

It felt like forever in Brazilian time but I went to the US for what felt like a very short 2 weeks. I landed and played a part in my mom's successful surprise 60th birthday party, played golf with dad for fathers day, met up with all my high school buddies for a weekend of debauchery thanks to a good friends wedding, shopped a bunch at target, drove around the state a bit to see some friends... and it was over. Not before coming down with an infection on my finger that made it swell up so bad I had to go to the firestation the day before I left so they could split open my engagement ring since I always leave it in the US. That was a tad emotional since the swelling had gotten so bad they couldn't just snap it, they had to rip it apart. I thought after that experience I was a due a smooth flight back to life down south.

I was so excited to get home and see my husband and get back to my routine that I paid so little attention at the airport when they decided that the box of wine glasses I was carrying on "HAD" to be my large bag and not my personal item (grrrrr) that I had to last minute check my carryon. Well of course it never showed up in Sao Paulo. Inside were lots of new clothes my mom had purchased for me (tear, as that is a very rare event), new shoes, all my jewelry including a necklace my parents gave me for graduation that has a LOT of meaning, my wedding earrings, pieces for my large camera, my point and shoot camera, all my purses I had finally decided to bring to Brazil, all my tax information and basically everything that meant anything to me that I stupidly traveled with. I ALWAYS pack that stuff in my carryon, not leaving it out of my sight but for some reason I had a brain lapse and forgot all that was in there when I checked it without locks.....IDIOT. The worst part is the american airlines employees at the baggage claim in Sao Paulo are amazing and are doing everything they can to help (they know me by name after my sliiiight meltdown) which to me tells me its really missing since they are probably sick of me calling them 35 times a day. Yes, I've cried myself to sleep wishing I wasn't so attached to things, wishing I just hadn't packed that stuff and wishing I could just go back in time for a re-do.  So I decided to use my new crock pot that made it back in perfect shape at the bottom of my duffle bag to drown out my tears.

While home I mentioned to several people I came across a blog, "A Year of Slow Cooking," to aid in my new adventure along with a few of my friends recipes from her cooking blog. If I can manage to put the same amount of energy into using my crock pot that I have with Roberto and Luciana at American Airlines baggage claim, Alex is in for a treat!

So to the crock pot and its mental health assistance... may the baggage god please forgive my prior sins and come through for me this one time!

not mine... but will be soon! 

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

A Year in Provence, a great book for the expat or the vicarious one

Reading this book at the gym has become quite a scene since I seem to burst out laughing every other paragraph, miss my pedal on the bike and nearly fall off. Before I moved to Brazil I had this dream of writing some short story collection about all the crazy adventures we might cross until I started reading Peter Mayle's account of his own expatriate tales from France. First off, I am not even a writer and second of all not nearly as funny as I wish and not even close to Mayle's lyrical prose. His words are like a pencil drawing a character, incredibly visual and almost cartoon like. So while that idea takes a timeout break, I continue to enjoy reading about other people's fortuities.

I am not even finished with this book yet, but I thought I would spread the word in case you hadn't come across it and you were looking for a back pocket friend to help justify the glory and the pain of living in another country. Its also fun to discover the common threads of lazy workers, unbelievable little restaurants that change your life and the "jeitinho's"that make it all work out someway or another. "Jeitinho's" being those people errr.. little angles that make it happen regardless of the law. Miss Sarah in her cozy Le Petit Village writes very similar and reminds me of a modern day Mayle and I think if he were writing his story today blogstyle, he would have just as popular of a following as she does. Mayle and his wife may have moved to Provence in 1987, but his monthly chapters are timeless accounts that really marked the beginning of humorous travel writing as a genre (according to "The Guardian").

So I encourage you to check it out and partake in the fun, even if you still live in your home country. It might even inspire you either begin chronicling your own circumstance or better yet map out a new one!

Peter Mayle

Thursday, June 02, 2011

moqueca tears

For lunch I usually try and eat inexpensively to save for the other expensivities (is that word? well it is today) of this city. Most days I pack my lunch to work, however every once in a while I treat myself to ´subway´ or the grocery store deli. So today, I went to the deli for a little gnochi and carne. They were out of their usual tasty meat selections so I went with a teeny tiny container of moqueca (like teeny the size of a cocktail napkin). I never read the price because this little meal never costs more than 7 or 8R (5$). I quickly read the tag as shrimp moqueca, which is typical here and headed to the cash register. She rang me up at 34R and so still in my basic portuguese I asked what in the world cost 25.91R on the screen and she pointed to my very obvious priced LOBSTER moqueca. So I tried to politely ask to put it back and she sternly said no. So I politely asked again, and she even more sternly said no!!! And the line was growing as was my red face so I gave up and accepted defeat.  I know I need to take this as a little lesson in knowing what you are buying because yeah, it was my fault, there is no one else to blame it on but come on, she could easily take the plastic off and dump that 25R back into the other 1000R sitting at the deli right?! Right!

Either way the worst part? It wasn´t that good. I am sure most brazilians would tell you never to get moqueca at the grocery store... duh! And lagosta = shrimp? I know! But I am still upset.