Wednesday, July 31, 2013

First days in Rio

I wanted to wait to post until I had time to upload pics.  But I think everyone just wants to hear details, so I will write for a bit.

We left on Saturday at 5am and had a few hiccups along the way, which, thankfully, didn't cause us to miss our flight.  First, one of our suitcases wouldn't zip.  So we had to stop on the way to LA to buy a new one.  Then, the airline wouldn't let me check in without a return ticket.  Apparently it's Brazilian law that if you're traveling with a visitor's visa you have to show proof of a ticket to exit the country.  We tried to explain to the airline that Peter is a Brazilian citizen and that we're going to deal with permanent residency stuff once we have our marriage certificate.  Plus I knew the Brazilian customs wouldn't even ask to see a return ticket, as I traveled to Brazil last year and they said nothing about it.  But, nevertheless, we had to buy a one-way ticket out of the country.  Thankfully we had enough in our bank account (from wedding gifts) to purchase a fully refundable ticket.  So once I'm officially legal to stay in Brazil long-term, we will return the ticket and receive the full amount back.  (At least that's what the airline assured us.  They're not even a Brazilian airline, so why did they care so much?!)

We traveled all day Sunday and Sunday night and arrived on Monday morning at 6am Rio time (2am California time)...  We got to our apartment around 8am and fell asleep until about 3pm (Rio time).  Sometime in the morning the wife of the school's director brought over some food and cleaning items, just to get us started.  Then in the evening we explored a little bit of the neighborhood (forgetting that it's winter-time and it gets dark early), and then went out to dinner with the school's director and two other new couples.  Yesterday we spent the day cleaning the apartment, visiting the school and meeting new people, eating yummy Brazilian food, and then cleaning some more.  Today we are going to continue cleaning, hopefully enough to unpack, pick up some necessities at the store, and clean some more.  Then we are having dinner with some couples from the school.

Here's a little bit more about the apartment.  More details and pictures to come soon!

- Two bedrooms and two bathrooms
- Kitchen has refrigerator, microwave, toaster, extremely dirty stove and oven, some dishes, some pots and pans that we're going to toss because they're nasty, washing machine, everything is extremely dirty.  I spent most of yesterday taking everything out of the cupboards and cleaning them, then tossing most of what was in the cupboards...
- "Guest" room has bunk beds and two dressers stacked on top of each other
- "Guest" bathroom is in disrepair (very large holes in the ceiling, leaks), and we are waiting for someone to come fix it
- Our bedroom has a bed (they told us it's a queen but I doubt it's even a double), built in closets (with shelves and drawers), and a night stand.  It also had clothes, shoes, makeup, and other random stuff left by the previous inhabiter.  Gross!
- Our bathroom is in working order, though it was also left extremely dirty.  Hair clogging drains, nothing clean, used toothpaste and facewash, etc.
- Living room is spacious, but, again, very dirty.  The couch is disgusting.  We have an end table, a tiny card table with two chairs (I guess they don't want us to have dinner guests...), a tv, a tall skinny bookshelf, and a desk.
- Balcony has an ocean view!  Distant and tiny, but there!
- We wouldn't be so upset about the state of our apartment (dirty, disorganized, sparse furniture) if we hadn't seen what the other new couples get - one apartment has a full matching set of dark wood cabinetry, table and chairs, painted walls, and nice balcony furniture!!!  Why did we get stuck with such junk when others have super nice stuff???  Hopefully once we clean up the place it will start to be more livable and we will start to feel more at home.  Actually we are just heading out to buy more cleaning supplies.  We desperately need a mop!  Oh yeah, our windows don't have screens, so the apartment gets dirty really quickly!
-  Overall, the apartment is bigger than we expected but also way dirtier than we expected.  This isn't just a little bit of dust from being unoccupied for a month.  This is grime that has accumulated for years probably.  I bet none of the previous inhabitants ever cleaned, ever!  We are very happy with the location - paderia, grocery store, shopping mall, all just around the corner!  The neighborhood is clean and nice, the foliage is beautiful, and we have a free balsa (ferry) right outside our comples to take us across the lagoon to the beach!

Who will be the first to visit?!?!?!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Marriage and Rio!

What has happened in the last 9 days???  Well, I got married and moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!  More pics and info to come soon, but I thought I should just let everyone know that we are safe and sound, though very very tired!!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Music I Love - Three Shakespeare Songs, Ralph Vaughan Williams

Three Shakespeare Songs                                     Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

The Three Shakespeare Songs by V. Williams were written in 1951 and are settings of three texts from various Shakespeare plays.  They were composed for the National Competitive Festival held in England, where choirs would demonstrate their technical abilities by reading “test” pieces such as these.  

As a musician, and having sung these in grad school, I can attest that these are not easy to sight read.  Once learnt, however, they are absolutely inspiring and captivating.  My personal favorite is "Full Fathom Five," just because I love the text.  But I also love the gorgeous dissonances in the second movement, almost as if the colors are melting together.  To me, the second movement is like a warm, chocolate-chip cookie.  The playfulness of the third movement contrasts nicely with the serious and somber first two movements.

What adjectives would you use to describe each movement? 

What do you think of this little music lesson?  Should I post more like this?

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tickets are bought - Rio, here we come!

Peter sold his car and we bought our tickets to Rio!  2 one-way tickets for July 28th (which also happens to be Peter's birthday!)...  I guess we are officially moving to Rio de Janeiro!  :)

In case you missed it, you can read about our jobs here.

Be sure to bookmark my blog, subscribe, or like on Facebook so that you can always stay updated our adventures!

Also, we love visitors, so please come visit.  What better time than next summer, for the World Cup?!?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Another Instagram Video - Letter writing

Another Instagram video, this one not as good...

(Haven't sent the letter yet... oops!  Sorry, Juliana, I'll send it soon!)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Moving to Brazil - Update

(All the details of our jobs and such are here.)


- We haven't purchased tickets yet because we haven't received a contract from the school.  Once we get the contract signed we will buy our plane tickets.  They need to hurry up because Peter is supposed to start August 1st, which is in exactly 21 days!

- Peter is trying to sell his car to finance the flights.  The school will reimburse for one ticket but not both.

- We only have one suitcase!!! So we need to buy at least 3 more (we can both take 2, up to 70lbs each).  Eek!

- All this excitement over Brazil is kind of overshadowing the wedding... Oops...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Moving to Brazil

Here is the story about our upcoming move to Brazil.


March 2013 - Peter applied for a position at Rio International School (RIS).  He had an interview with the director and the high school principle.  They seemed very interested.

April 1 20130 - Peter sent follow-up email to director and principle and heard nothing back.

April - June 2013 - We heard not once single peep from RIS.  So we assumed that they didn't want or need us.

June 29 2013 - We received email from RIS director that he wanted to talk to us about working at RIS.

July 1 2013 - We spoke with the director via skype and he seemed to want to hire both of us.

July 4 2013 - We received an email from the director with job proposals for both Peter and me.

July 4-5 2013 - We sent many emails with questions and need for clarification.

July 6 2013 - We accepted the job.

Looking at Rio from the East, facing West.  We will be in Barra de Tijuca, which is in the south part of Rio


Peter will be teaching yearbook, 7th pre-algebra, 8th algebra, 7th and 8th science.  RIS will not be able to hire me (Julie) until the Spring semester, when the current music teacher will go on maternity leave.  I will then teach full-time music.  We have no idea what the music program currently looks like.  The director is very honest, seems easy to work with, and is open to new ideas.  If Peter and I decide to stay after next year, I have a feeling I will be redoing their entire music program (which would be awesome!).

Peter's job starts August 1st.  Our wedding is in 2 weeks and we need to fly to Rio in 3 weeks.  We are still waiting to hear back confirmation on how to purchase flights (the school is helping pay for one flight only), what the living situation will be (the school has an apartment we could rent but we need to see it first before deciding if it is worth the money), and what items we need to bring with us (kitchen supplies, etc).

These next few weeks are going to be CRAZY, what with dress fittings, finalizing wedding details, organizing our stuff to store and pack, family and friends coming in for the wedding, and figuring out money issues.  But we are super excited!

Make sure you subscribe to my blog to receive updates on what we're up to in Brazil!!! :)

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel

I just finished reading the cutest book.  It has been awhile since I've read a book that I couldn't put down.  Mainly because graduate school doesn't leave much free time for pleasure reading.  I really don't have the time, now, either, but I couldn't resist!  My grandma gave me this book last year and I just now got around to reading it.  I don't know what took me so long!  It is adorable!  

Click "Read More" 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Alone with my tea - a video

How was your 4th of July?  I'll post a few pictures of our celebration later.  Meanwhile, here's just a little experiment with videography (see my first video attempt here).  Ignore the sounds of Siri in the background... I made this video using Instagram and wasn't able to edit the background sounds out.

Should I post more videos?  If so, what should my next video be about?

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Thanks for reading!

If I had more time on my hands, I'd study up about videography:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Day in San Francisco

Last week we spent a day in San Francisco.  We mostly just stuck to the wharf and enjoyed the uniqueness of the market place and the Disney-esque Pier 39.  

I should design postcards ;)
We took pictures of mushrooms, alcatraz, and each other.  ;)  Most photos taken by me, except the three flower (succulent) pics in the middle, which were taken by Peter.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Inspiration: Summertime Fresh

Summer and spring are the most inspiring seasons, in my opinion.  They represent new life, carefree days, vitality, youth, and freshness.  

I have been making these "inspiration boards" as a variation of a mood board.  I don't really have a purpose for creating these, as of yet.  I just like to collect beautiful images of beautiful things.  

Today I'm gleaning inspiration from, of course, tea things, as well as beautiful jewelry and artwork.  I hope you're inspired by what I like to call "Summertime Fresh!"