1. People really love to crochet... I'm pretty sure every household has at least a couple of pillows or crocheted floormats, but the restaurant we went to a couple of weeks ago proved that they don't mess around when it comes to crochet. The place was covered in crochet from ceiling to floor (as you can only slightly understand from the picture.) The chair backs had crocheted covers, the ceiling fixtures had crocheted covers, the toilet seats had crocheted covers, the baby changing station was a crocheted mat... I have learned to crochet a bit myself and am happy to say that we will have lovely hand crocheted bath mats when we finally get our own place! Ah, the joys of unemployment!
2. Bingo is illegal. Yeah that game your grandma plays every Saturday afternoon... There are people going to jail for it here. Guess there is a chance that Bingo could be used by a drug smuggling ring to get their hands on some oxycodon from old ladies' purses?
3. 10 people DIE in a motorcycling accident every day here. This number does not count the ones that just get hit and flung fifty feet in the air and manage to survive... (I was going to add a video that was on the news the other day of a guy getting flung off the road while trying to illegally pass a driver that was turning, but the search results led to extremely disturbing pictures and videos, so Í stopped looking.)
4. Fernando only decided to tell me how the shower really worked about a month and a half after we moved here. This means I was taking lukewarm showers for the first month and a half and now I can take gloriously scalding ones! The shower has a switch for winter, summer, and off (it's electric) then the water pressure determines how hot your shower will be... If Fernando had realized that it was the lukewarm showers that were putting me in a pissed off mood every day, he would have probably told me earlier...
5. Brazilian telenovelas. Brazilian television consists of news shows, health shows, old episodes of "Bob Esponja" dubbed in Portuguese, and telenovelas. Lots and lots of telenovelas. I have never once in my life had any interest in watching Days of Our Lives or One Life to Live or whatever other soap opera is on at 2pm every day, but Brazilian telenovelas (some of them) are pretty fantastic. They are a pretty big deal here too. All of the magazines have telenovela stars on the cover, all of the songs that are on the telenovelas become hits, all of the current fashion trends are a result of what so-and-so is wearing in the telenovela, all of the people on the Brazilian version of Dancing with the Stars are ex-telenovela stars... There are episodes every day except Sunday and I am currently pretty hooked on Avenida Brasil, which is just dramatic enough for me to understand what is going on without always understanding what they are saying. If you watch Modern Family in the states, you know how Gloria is watching that novela and Jay and Cam are all into it? That's how I feel right now... A whole bunch of impossibly hot people with a bunch of impossibly complicated and interconnected lives makes for the most impossibly addictive show on the planet.
6. Things that I miss:
-Milk (like 2% cold bayview farms milk.) The milk here comes in a box on a shelf and when cooled tastes only slightly better than evaporated kitten milk... Since I am a die hard cereal fan, I just have to suck it up, but man, I wish I could import American milk!
-Cereal. Cereal is available here, but only in tiny (think Grape Nut sized) boxes for way too much money. I have the choice between corn flakes, frosted flakes, or generic fruit loops (not good)... I have opted for frosted flakes, but I genuinely miss 1. Not being looked at like a crazy person for eating kids cereal every morning and 2. Giant boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios, Raisin Bran, and Lucky Charms... And I will have some boxes in my luggage next trip!
-Celery. We finally bought some celery today, it is almost all leaves and costed about 4 times as much as in the U.S. but I was SO excited. As we were buying it, a lady stopped us and asked us how we use that? Turns out celery is the Brazilian equivalent to that weird root that you see in the produce section of the store all the time and you wonder who buys it and what the hell anyone would ever do with it!
-White meat. Chicken and pork are highly underappreciated here. It exists, but it is hard to come by and unless you are talking about chicken hearts or sausage (which I never am), good luck finding white meat at a BBQ.
-Tampons (sorry boys). The leading brand of tampons here are O.B. and even those are hard to come by. There are entire aisles in stores of pads, but no tampons... If you have ever used an O.B. tampon that should speak for itself... Enough said.
7. Brazilian popular music. Brazil is the home to bossa nova and samba and all sorts of fun instruments that you've probably never heard of, but right now there are about 5 songs that play on the radio constantly (no doubt as a result of being featured in telenovelas) and they consist of these lyrics: "Ai, ai, ai, ai, ai, ai," "Oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi," "tchu tcha tcha tchu tchu tcha" and yet another "Ai, ai, ai, ai, ai." These also happen to be the only songs that I can sing along to, I guess this is how foreigners felt when that Usher "Yeah" song came out...
8. My excuse for not writing that much. As you can probably tell by this blog entry I am missing home. This is not really because I don't like it here but because I really don't have much going on as of yet. My average day consists of studying Portuguese, reading, eating lunch and cleaning the dishes, reading, watching Avenida Brasil, walking, and sleeping. I have given my resumé to quite a few English schools and have had 2 interviews and a few interested people, however, I cannot afford to feed Fernando and myself, pay for an apartment, buy a car, etc. on the crap wages that English teachers get. So we are waiting... Some days really really suck, others are good, but all are pretty uneventful. That being said, I really don't have much to write about. So bear with me while I start my life over here and I promise there will be more exciting posts as soon as the pieces start to come together.