Friday, May 30, 2014

That time I almost got hit by a motorcycle

In random news, I was almost hit by a motorcycle yesterday.  Peter and I were walking on the sidewalk when we heard a "beep beep" behind us.  We are used to hearing honks all the time - honks have a variety of meanings here - and we were walking next to a main road with cars backed up at a red light.  So we didn't pay any attention to it.  Next thing I knew there was a motorcycle on the sidewalk trying to swerve around me, going super fast.  I jumped to the side and my heart about lept out of my mouth.  Peter yelled at the guy and started running after him, when next thing I knew, there was another motorcycle on the sidewalk that, again, swerved precariously close to me.

I had to restrain Peter from confronting the guys (who, ironically enough, were then stuck at a red light)... you don't know what kind of heat they might be packing.  He yelled at them, "Drive on the street, dude!"

Almost getting killed?  Not a great start to our date night...  :(

Gotta say, I'm surprised more things like this haven't happened in the 11 months we've lived here.  Though, I must admit, we've been pretty spoiled with our neighborhood... Zona Sul is definitely the most famous and touristy area (Copacabana, Ipanema, etc), but Barra da Tijuca is the cleanest and safest.

So that was just a random story to tide you over until I can write another post with a life update and some news about where we're moving next! 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Candy Necklace

When we were in Paraty last time, we were browsing some artsy vendor-carts, and I was drawn to this necklace.  Peter immediately said, "Oooh I love it, you HAVE to buy it."  I was super surprised because he's never acted like that when shopping.  I was a little unsure about the price, if I really liked it, over thinking everything, blah blah blah.  But he made the executive decision, it was bought, and I love it.

From my Instagram account

I think it looks a little bit like a candy necklace from childhood days.  But that's ok - it makes me sweeter?  <----- haha="" i="">lame

What "impulse-buys" have you made lately?



P.S. We have exactly 3 weeks - 21 days - left in Brazil.  I'm having mixed emotions.  I have been so anxious to leave, but now I'm feeling sad because we don't know if/when we can ever come back.  My music students are having a goodbye lunch with me on Sunday, which is so sweet, but I know it will make me really sad to leave them.  I had some adorable students this year.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I judge books by their covers

Not gonna lie - I have nothing to blog about today.  I was busy most of the day and now I'm too bored and lazy to write an awesome post.  So I'll just fill the space with something random and hope you're bored enough to read it. haha!

Confession: I am a sucker for packaging.  I buy products based on how they look.  I am the reason companies spend millions of dollars on marketing and advertising.  

Today I am totally judging these books by their covers.*

Because they made me chuckle:

Because they look "smart:"

Because they look "artistic:"

Because the title "popped:"

Because they're pretty:

If I had a diary like this, I'd write amazing things every day.  From here
From here
From here

Do you judge books by their covers?

Are you bored today like I am??



*Please note: I have not read all of these books and I am not necessarily promoting them.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  Read my disclaimer here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Grammar tips for bloggers

For Travel Tuesday this week, the prompt is "Languages."  I could write about how Duolingo and Dora the Explorer (in Brazilian Portuguese) have helped me learn Portuguese.  I could write about how it's important that when you're learning a new language you talk to everyone you can - even if you're shy or embarrassed.  I could write about the funny or embarrassing things I've said on accident (calling a spoon a bunny, for example).  

However, I've chosen to use this prompt to provide some grammar tips for bloggers.  Many bloggers are American and their English grammar is horrid.  Many bloggers are foreign,  but they write in English so as to have a bigger audience - and their English is usually great!  English is a very complicated language.  It is essentially a combination of many different languages.  We've borrowed words from French, Spanish, Italian, Latin, German, etc, which is why some of the pronunciation rules are crazy ("I before E except after C or when sounding like 'eigh' as in Neighbor or Weigh").


Pretty much anyone can self-publish in this digital age.  And blogging is such a cool form of communication.  I've discovered some really awesome people and places through reading blogs.  While I think it's great that everyone, regardless of education or background, can have their voices heard, it annoys me to no end when I read posts filled with grammatical errors.


Don't get me wrong - I realize that I'm not perfect.  I type as I think, often leading to run-on sentences.  I don't claim to be a grammar expert (though my husband actually is).  But I think there are some basic grammar rules that should be followed so as not to look ... well... dumb.  I'm not going to lie, I've "unfollowed" a few blogs that were riddled with grammar mistakes.


Note: I have found that native English speakers, especially Americans, have the worst grammar.  People who learn English as a second (or third or fourth) language usually remember all the rules and have very few issues.  Just another testament to the poor state of the American public school system...

Before you write me off as a mean ol' snob, please understand that this post is coming from a good place.  I want to be able to help people.  Many bloggers put so much time and energy into each post.  They want a blog they are proud of.  They want to look professional.  My advice: hire a proofreader, especially if you're trying to make your blog a career.  (My husband, for example, has a degree in this.  Email me if you're interested in having him proofread your blog posts - alonewithmytea at gmail dot com)

Travel Tuesday

Monday, May 26, 2014

Peter talks in his sleep, again

Peter hasn't been talking in his sleep very often lately.  He's mostly just been mumbling or making weird sighing noises.  Which makes us both sad, because whenever he does talk in his sleep, we both get a good laugh the next day when I tell him about it.  

The other night, though, he mentioned something about blankets.  He was kind of mumbling, so I asked him, "Do you want the blanket?" (He usually doesn't want the blanket because even Fall in Rio is ridiculously warm).  

He lifted up his arms (which were still under the sheet), like a mummy, lifted up his head, looked back and forth, and said in a very adorable, very confused, little-kid-ish voice, "Isn't this the blanket?"

I replied, "No... do you want the blanket?"

He sighed, then said, "Um, no." And then put his back down and continued to sleep.

Of course, the next morning he had absolutely no recollection of the conversation.

Peter talks about milk cartons

Peter talks about research, my hair, and "lenses"

Friday, May 23, 2014

How to deal with the blues

I started writing this post a few days ago and it turned into an essay about life - not what I originally had planned.  So I'm going to save it for later and publish this shallow more inspiring post instead.

How to deal with the blues

Have you ever been in the situation where you just can't handle life anymore?  You want to quit your job, move out of your house, make new friends,  or maybe just disappear for a little while?  For whatever reason, life can be hard to cope with sometimes.  This has happened to me a couple of times in my adulthood - just about once every year of undergrad, after my first year of grad school, and most recently this past January.

What do you do?  How do you cope?  What gets you through to the light at the end of the tunnel?  I'm pretty sure every adult has their go-to methods for coping.  But sometimes it's nice to remember other ways of releasing stress and calming the anxiety.  So here are some ideas for when you are so far at the end of your rope you can't even think about what to do next!

 Escape your problems

Allow your mind to wander.  I like to find an inspiring photo and just stare at it for awhile.

Look at the some of these photos.  Think about what it would feel like to be sitting there, in that exact moment.  What would you be doing?  Who would you be with?  What would the air feel like?  What sounds would you hear?  It is weirdly soothing to imagine a different life for a few minutes.

Something to try: Write a poem based on these photos.

Actually wander.
Get up early in the morning, as the sun is rising, and wander around your neighborhood.  You might be surprised at how it looks and feels when no one is stirring.  It allows for a little perspective on life, and you may suddenly find your worries feeling less daunting.

Be still.
This is directly in opposition to point #2, but I think it is sometimes needed.  Find a peaceful place and just be still.  Try not to think about anything.

Confront your problems

A cup of tea can cure anything.
I truly believe a hot cup of tea is the most comforting thing in the whole world.

I'm not great at journaling, and it really only helps if I'm in the right mood.  But, sometimes, on those rare occasions when I am in the mood, writing my thoughts, fears, emotions, worries, etc, can be very therapeutic.  Drink your tea while you journal.

Talk it out.
I am an auditory processor.  I need to talk about something before I can forget about it.  Some people journal to get things off their chests.  I have to talk about it.  Once I talk about it, vent all of my frustrations, I can truly move on.  Be careful who you talk to, though.  When I vent to my husband he just gets stressed out along with me.  When I vent to my mom she tries to come up with solutions to everything.  I like to call my sisters because I know they will just listen and let me get it out.

Move on

Get busy
I'm a firm advocate for allowing yourself to wallow in misery for awhile.  But not for too long.  Eventually you just need a distraction from your own thoughts.  Find a ministry to get involved with, do some service work, volunteer, help the less fortunate.  It has helped me realize that the world is bigger than me, and maybe some of my problems aren't so big after all.

What are your go-to methods for coping with life when you're feeling the blues?



Thursday, May 22, 2014

Souvenir - Toucan Salad Tongs

Picked up these cute salad tongs on our last trip to Paraty.  I just couldn't resist!

I can't wait to have a dinner party and break out these bad boys! haha I'm such a dork.



P.S.  Apparently this blog has turned into a review of my recent souvenir purchases.  #boring?  I keep forgetting to get the most recent Paraty pictures from Peter, as well as the pics from our quick trip to Sao Paulo.  I'll try to post those asap!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Souvenirs - Brazilian Amethysts

Most people don't know that Brazil is known for their abundant precious stones.  There is a store in Sao Paulo and Rio called Legep, and it is amazing.  They have rows and rows and rows of precious stones of all shapes and sizes.  We hope to get a person-sized amethyst someday, but for now, we could only afford some paperweights.  






Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Souvenir - Paraty Watercolor

Peter picked out this watercolor of the church on the bay in Paraty.  I would have gone with a different scene (maybe the rows of colorful buildings) but he loved this one, so this is the one we got.


I can't wait to get back to the States and figure out how to display and use all of our cool souvenirs.  I think a mat to match the church roof would look nice, with a green frame?  Brown frame?  Gold?!

We have 30 days left in Brazil, assuming the airport doesn't shut down.  Which reminds me to please ask you to send prayers to Brazil.  Tomorrow the police are going on strike (not working) in four different states, including the beautiful city of Rio, where I live.  You can imagine what happens when desperate people realize there are no policemen to stop them.  When this happened in other cities recently, there was massive chaos and crime in the streets.  

Brazil has been under a lot of stress recently.  The citizens are aware that eyes are on Brazil for the World Cup, so they are using this as an opportunity to make their demands known, hoping that the government will appease them to avoid national headlines.  In the past couple of weeks we have seen protests, strikes, buses not running, buses being burned, streets being shut down, and now the police are not going to work.  The Federal Police (different than the ones striking tomorrow - the Fed Po deal with all customs and everyone entering and leaving the country) are threatening to shut down the international airport during the World Cup.  We are supposed to leave June 20th (right in the middle of the Copa), so a Fed Po strike could seriously ruin our plans. 

It is a stressful time for all involved, and for those of us observing, since we realize how this has the potential to unfold into a very serious problem.  We are hoping for the best and that everything will be resolved quickly, but in the meantime, please pray for Brazil!

Travel Tuesday

Today I'm participating in Travel Tuesday.  Click on the link to see other cool blogs and posts about travel.



Monday, May 19, 2014

All that for this?

We placed an online order for groceries and other household items, and this is how one package of sponges was delivered:

This is one of those moments when all you can do is sigh, "Oh Brazil..."



Friday, May 16, 2014

"No Makeup" Makeup

No direct sunlight

Every time I do my makeup like this, I get the most compliments.  I don't know why... it's the simplest, quickest, easiest makeup "routine" I have.

Step 1: Massage coconut oil all over my face and neck
Step 2: Foundation all over my face (currently using MaryKay) - I like that it provides full coverage but still allows my (very few) freckles to show through.
Step 3: Blush on apples of cheeks (currently using an old wet 'n' wild one)
Step 4: Neutral Eye Shadow on lid and slightly into crease (currently using this one by MaryKay)
Step 5: Mascara on top and bottom lashes(currently using this one by MaryKay)
Step 6: Lip Stain (currently using this one by Tarte)

Time: Approx 5 minutes

No highlighting or contouring, skip the eyeliner, and nothing on the brows.  Easy-peasy and lots of compliments?  I guess I better stick with it!
In sunlight from the window.

What's your favorite makeup for a quick and easy face?



Thursday, May 15, 2014

Has moving abroad made you more patriotic?

I debated whether or not to post this, because I don't want it to be taken the wrong way.  But I think I need to get it off my chest.  Living in Brazil has been very difficult.  I've spoken with many other expats who have validated my thoughts and feelings.  Don't get me wrong, Rio is a beautiful city.  I love the city of Rio.  The beach, the mountains, the historic center - all beautiful and gorgeous places to visit.  And yet I don't think I want to live here and raise a family here.  I have spoken with several expats here who have mentioned that moving to Brazil has made them more patriotic.  And I think the same goes for me, too.  For me it's more than just general homesickness or culture shock.

Maybe it's the fact that the Brazilian government is so incredibly corrupt.

Maybe it's the fact that the Brazilian government does not seem to care one tiny bit about their citizens.

Maybe it's the fact that at least 40% of my husband's salary has gone to this corrupt government.

Maybe it's the fact that the country seems to be falling apart and the people just want to ignore it.

Maybe it's the fact that I've met a lot of foreigners (whether Brazilian or from some other country) who have some incredibly misinformed opinions and beliefs about U.S. politics and try to tell me what our country needs to do to be "better."  Thank you, incredibly biased media.

Maybe it's the fact that there is such a huge distinction between upper and lower class here, with almost no middle class.

Maybe it's the fact that houses don't have yards, they have tall walls armed with barbed wire, electric fences, and glass shards.

Maybe it's the fact that normal, dollar-store quality items, are incredibly expensive.

Maybe it's the fact that I haven't purchased anything for myself (be it a new shirt or a new lipstick) in the year that we've been here because everything is so ridiculously expensive.

Maybe it's the fact that they came to repair a leaking pipe in our bathroom, worked on it for a whole month, and then realized that they "fixed" the wrong pipe.  "Oh well that's the pipe that was leaking in all the other apartments, so we just assumed it was the same one." They didn't even check to make sure they were fixing the correct one before they threw my apartment into disarray for a month.

Maybe it's the fact that we spent an exhausting 6 months trying to figure out how the heck to get my visa?

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Everything in Brazil is so much more complicated.  I understand that the U.S. has its problems.  I understand that the U.S. government is getting more and more corrupt, that the middle class is shrinking, and that our rights are slowly being chipped away.  But overall I am proud to be an American.  I am proud to (patiently) explain to my friends how the U.S. government actually works (no, the president doesn't have all the power, even though it seems like our current one does sometimes).  I am proud to (patiently) explain to my Brazilian friends why they have to pay for a visa to enter the U.S. (hint: it has to do with the fact that Brazil is technically considered an "enemy" of the U.S. because they are allies with some major communist countries).  I am proud of the fact that I attended public schools and had the opportunity to play music and sports in school (not available in public schools here).  I am proud of the fact that our country was founded on the basis of freedom.

Yes, the U.S. has problems.  But Brazil has even bigger ones.  And I think that every U.S. citizen who is fed-up or annoyed at our country should come live here for awhile.  You might leave with a greater appreciation of your country, its history, and the principles it was founded upon.

So tell me, has living abroad made you more patriotic?



Disclaimer: Brazil is not a horrible place.  We've had some lovely experiences here.  But sometimes the negative outweighs the positive, which is why we are leaving in June.