Sunday, April 14, 2013

Best. Party. Ever.

I will say:  Scott and I know how to throw a party!  There are many, MANY things that we cannot do together without arguing:  Most home improvement projects, driving long distances, and shopping for appliances.  However, me as the ex-server/bartender and him as a current caterer/corporate dining manager, we mesh well and we get. it. done.

Ok, so enough of me bragging about Scott and I's ability to steal decorating and recipe ideas from Pinterest.  Last night we did have a party at our house for my cousin Amber.  She turned thirty last week and I insisted that she celebrate at my house.  So. Much. Fun.!!!!!!  Oh my goodness:  Food, great people, and drinks allowed us to give my cousin the ultimate birthday gift:  Being surrounded by happiness, love, and great energy.

I often question moving back to northeast Ohio.  Since I've been back home, I've had a lot of problems, but times like last night absolutely make it worth being closer to family and old friends.  I'm gushing about last night because I'm proud of Scott and I bringing together so many good people, making them feel comfortable and having them leave either a) drunk or b) hungover, but definitely full and worn out from hours of laughing and entertaining.  I feel good. I needed this weekend as a buffer between the end of one stressful work week and the beginnig of another uncertain stressful week ahead.

I like to have fun.  I like to eat.  I like to drink.  Combining all three with amazing company is an awesome feeling. 
 30 candles!!!!
 My daddy and me!!!
 Happy Scott.
 Best. Party. Ever. (words of the birthday girl)
My Aunt (birthday girl's mom). Amber (birthday girl). Karen (Amber's MIL), and baby Avery (Amber's little girl).
Ummm...about 2 a.m.
The lovely husband Mike (Amber's husband).

Ok. So I wasn't done bragging:  Best. Party. Ever.

Friday, April 5, 2013

North America v. South America

For my first trip outside of North America, I think I did pretty well.  We chose a beautiful location with great people and great food.  Candace and I really tried to immerse ourselves in the Brazilian culture by eating Brazilian food and drinking Brazilian beverages.  We attempted to learn Portuguese, but the differences between Spanish and Portuguese proved to make Portuguese difficult.

I personally battled my OCD, fear of germs, a bad head cold and unexplained facial swelling.  Together we battled differences in what it meant to be on vacation.  Despite these small challenges, I had an amazing trip that I hope I can repeat with my family in the future.  To put it plainly:  I'm in love with Brasil.

The United States is good.  We have a strong infrastructure, clean water, clean streets (for the most part), and democracy.  I don't know much about Brazil's economy or politics, but I do know that after a week in the country, the United States has a much better infrastructure.  Our sewer system is much better: Water in hotels works even though it is raining.  In many ways, the United States is like Brasil:  We have homeless people.  We have good areas of cities and we have bad areas in cities.  Brazilians, however, don't seem to be so stuffy and overworked.  The trip made me thankful for what we have here in the U.S. of A, but also made me realize some changes that would benefit Americans. 

I'm so happy to be back home.  I'm still sick and choosing to see a doctor today (something I was very skeptical of doing while in Brazil).  I missed my kids and Scott terribly and it was so great to see them yesterday.  I'm looking forward to the weekend.  Even though it will be cold, I'll worry about work, we'll spend the weekend doing chores and paying bills, and the closest body of water is a murky lake, I'm relaxed, content, and already planning my next international excursion.

Rio De Janeiro

Sao Paulo

Monday, April 1, 2013

The British Man, the Bank, and I

I'm enjoying Brazil.  It is extremely frustrating not understanding Portuguese but we're managing to survive. Rio is absolutely beautiful. The beach and the mountains are fabulous.

True Story

I went to the bank this morning to try to cash my travelers checks which have proven to be worthless.  While standing in line I asked a man, via my portuguese app, if the bank was open. The man was English. After chatting about where we were from, the bank teller comes out yells something in Portuguese. My new English friend turns to me and says "they're not opening...come quick!" So we hurriedly left the bank and proceeded to run, yes run, through the streets of Rio. At this point, all I've managed to understand is that the last bank wasn't going to open and all the people in the lobby would now be going to the other branch two blocks away and me and the Brit needed to be there before the others. So we ran.

The New Bank

Now the Brit and I are standing in line at the other branch. 10 a.m. Comes and goes. 10:01. 10:02. 10:03. Enter stage left angry Brazilian man. The angry Brazilian man walks up to the security glass and starts banging on it yelling in Portuguese and pointing to his phone. Apparently opening at 10:03 is not acceptable.

Meanwhile the Brit and I are chatting. He's a 50-60 year old white man with one eye that doesn't fully open. He's telling me about all of the places in the world that he's lived: Australia, Thailand, China, Singapore and of course Brazil.  While living in Singapore he made a living as a juggler. "sir, did you just say you juggled in Singapore?" "oh, yes, it was the best..." The Brit then went on to tell me how he also lived in San Francisco and Thailand but didn't like Thailand.


Thailand didn't work out so well for the Brit: He had a women - paid for her in full - and she turned out to be a man.

So the Brit and I finally get inside. The number machine wasn't working and there was only one teller. I kept getting pushed aside by old people taking advantage of their old person status and moving to the front of the line. To save me time, the Brit was kind enough to ask one of the bank workers if they could cash my travelers checks.  No.

So that's how my story ends. The one-eyed Brit who once accidentally paid for a man and juggled in Singapore and I parted ways.

Today Candace and I are meeting up with a friend of hers that is also in Rio on vacation. Small world. Crazy world, but beautiful.