Tuesday, November 15, 2011

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West

Happy 1 year brazilanniversary to us (thanks Danielle for this very appropriate diction)! It feels like yesterday and then again many years ago. But when our feet hit the ground in this wonderful country 365 days ago we were running sideways, forwards and backwards all at the same time. I took up this blog as a way to remember our journey and share our many experiences with family and friends but it has also been therapy for the sometimes tough but usually beautiful moments we've had trying to get a grip on it all. I thought I grew up a lot after college but I didn't realize that was minuscule in comparison to this past year abroad. A and I are both in a place in our lives where we are trying to figure out our future professionally in the midst of new career paths and zip codes (CEP codes to be exact) and we have been tested, tried and sometimes brought to tears. But there is nothing like a journey with your partner, one year of marriage down and one common adventurous goal checked off the life list for us both.

The good news is the first year of anything is always the hardest and if you go by visual imprint only, I'd say we had it pretty good thus far. We've seen the most incredible waterfalls in Iguazu, beaches in the north, two fabulous carnivals of completely different scale in Tiradentes and Rio respectively, the incredible landscape of the Pantanal, a few trips to Buenos Aires and lots of amazing things in between. We've met wonderful people and made lifelong friends and that is just the beginning.

The bad news is that I miss country music and chocolate chips. But in learning to manage, I've gladly replaced both with bossa nova and every fruit you can imagine and then some you can't. It sounds healthier if you forget that I also pretended like I discovered steak and cheese bread for the first time and together they bought a not-so-luxurious duplex apartment in my stomach and butt; eviction notices ignored.

What a year, so here's a few things we've learned so far...

-the mule travel system is sacred and its important to happily inform any visitor they will probably have to dodge fed ex for a month prior to departure and carry another duffle down just for us. 

-how best to spend an entire afternoon and evening eating. just eating. and enjoying eating. and talking about eating. and thats on sunday. every sunday. 

-that the gym is not just for working out your muscles, but more importantly your vocal chords and your spandex collection. 

-that in every crowd of brazilians there is always a Bruno and a Leticia so if you can't remember anyone's name best try those first. 

-ha, you thought NY was expensive. 

-drop crotch pants are the new skinny jean, for some reason a la crotch extends down to your knees. i dont understand it. men and women both. its terrible. 

-the farmers markets here rule. 90 cents for 20 bananas? ill take it. it makes all the other expensive things feel better. well not really i lied about that last statement but i like farmers markets. 

-novelas are awesome and thats a fact. 

-i get to kiss (on the cheek) a lot of people and i like it.

-nothing like a coffee after breakfast, lunch and dinner. and you get a cookie too. bonus!

-my butt's gotten bigger but my bikini bottom's gotten smaller? fact of life. (As Carmen Miranda said, "Look at me and tell me if I don't have Brazil in every curve of my body")

-get over yourself and show more skin. americans are way to demure.

-louis vuitton is apparently the stamp of approval you've made it. brazilians are obsessed with this brand more than any other. 

-nothing is ever on time. you are never late. there is always traffic to blame and generally people are very forgiving. its both a blessing and a curse.

-cab drivers are your friends. they don't believe in a plexiglass separator it would be insulting. when i use the same one over and over we kiss and hug like long lost pals. 

-Brazil is beautiful and I can´t wait to spend more years here!

Ahh the stage is set and the adventure continues.



Alex said...

Yay! I'm happy for you! Those are some awesome Brazilian life facts.

I appreciate that you decided to write this blog so we can all be there with you as you adapt!

Are your plans for the future to stay in Brazil for an extended period of time or are you there for a specific period?


Suzanna said...

Awesome recap, Jana. It's especially lovely to read as I'm trying to figure out how to embrace Sao Paulo - the positives and the negatives. Beijos!

Ray and Gil said...

Dear Jana,

Congratulations on your first year!
I love your post, love your list, you share some great positive facts of life in Brazil.
I would like to point out that the business world in Sao Paulo is actually rigid when it comes to being on time, but it's indeed just like you said outside of the business world.



Lindsey said...

Hooray you made it! Happy braziliversary :)
Ps. that's a a nice list, made me smile

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