Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Happily Ever After? Yeah-Good Luck with That.

The kids’ school here has an excellent library. Supposedly it is the best children’s collection in all of South America. And the kids get to use it a lot; they go at least twice a week and sometimes 3 times a week to check out new books to bring home. Today Juan Carlos (4 years old) brought home “Hansel and Gretel”.

When I saw it I gave him the Brazilian thumbs up and thought, “Cool-what a fun story!”

OK. Have you read the story of Hansel and Gretel lately?

It is disturbing with a Capital "D".

Disturbing Part #1
Right off the bat we’ve got the wicked step-mother’s solution to their lack of funds: just “ditch the kids in the woods” (Juan Carlos won't be letting go of my leg at the beach anytime soon.)

DP #2
The father agrees with, and helps execute, this plan. (Show some spine man!)

DP #3
The cannibal witch is planning to EAT them. (Can this get any scarier for a little kid?)

Said witch puts Hansel in a cage for apparently several days at least… (Good times, good times)

…And makes Gretel slave away in the kitchen preparing food to fatten up her soon-to-be-food brother. (this has got to be more than a little girl can handle-both the cooking and the guilt)

Poor, sweet, innocent Gretel ends up KILLING the witch by pushing her into a stove and shutting the door. (Have fun carrying around that baggage the rest of your life, Gretel.)

Our hero and heroine loot the home of the witch (OK, so this isn't really scary, but is it really a message we want to instill in our innocent youth?).

DP #8
They run back into the arms of their father who got them in this predicament in the first place. (Does anyone else feel so sad for those kids at this point?)

And supposedly they live “happily ever after”?

It’s a good thing they took the loot because there’re certainly going to need it to pay for all of the therapy.

Whew! So why did I have fond, happy memories of this story? What’s changed? Is it because I am a parent now and the thought of hungry children lost in the woods is very unsettling? Or because there are such heinous crimes these days that it sounds more like a CSI plot than a so-far-fetched-it’s-ridiculous fairy tale? I’m thinking maybe my sweet-toothed-self focused in on the gingerbread house and unlimited goodies the kids were allowed to eat and blocked out all the scariness.

I don’t know. Does this story bother anyone else, or am I nuts?

P.S. Just so you know- I am not one of those people who's anti-fairy-tale. I think I might just be anti-Hansel-and-Gretel. Or maybe just really, really tired.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Good Riddance Guapo

Normally I dread Guapo’s travels-the life of the single-parent is not one I have ever wanted or ever hope to have. I miss him, the kids miss him, bedtime without our normal tag-team strategy is at best a trying situation.

However. When Guapo left to go to the States yesterday I have to admit I was happy. Doing-a-little-dance happy.

Why you ask?

Marital strife?

A desire to practice my patience/coping skills?

The chance to have the bed all to myself?

The opportunity to watch one program on TV, and its associated commercials, without the constant flipping that Guapo so enjoys?

Nope. Here’s why:

Peanut butter, and many, many other things, are in the process of being delivered to Guapo's office. The poor secretary doesn't know what she's in for come Monday morning (think Harry Potter receiving his acceptance letter to Hogwarts). And poor Guapo; when he sees the stack of boxes and has to make everything fit into two suitcases (think 20 clowns coming out of a VW bug) he's probably not going to be a happy camper.

Shhhhhhhh! There may even be a new pair of shoes for me in one of those boxes!

Thursday's going to be like Christmas. I can't wait.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

First Impressions: It's Good to Be Pedro

Ok, now it’s the time on my blog for me to make blanket generalizations about a country and a people that I’ve known for a little over 5 weeks.

My most recent observation: Brazilians LOVE babies. They seem very tolerant of all children, but are especially fond of babies. Perdo, out and about in his stroller or his Baby Bjorn is like a rock star. Women go out of their way to stop and coo at him; and when he delivers his sweet little smile they just go crazy.

Here he is in his stroller a few days ago-pretty cute huh?

The thing that is most surprising to me is it is not just the women who are interested in babies; the men seem equally enthralled by little ones. The other day two government- type-worker-men came over to fingerprint all of us for something. When it was my turn I told them I would be right back, that I was going to go put Pedro down and one of the guys said, “No, let me have him.” So he held him and must have interrupted his buddy who was trying to fingerprint me 5 times because Pedro was smiling or laughing.

Last week, I had to go to an orientation at the school for Margarita. I took Pedro with me. All of the parents, teachers, and support staff were sitting in a room listening to the headmaster give his spiel about the school when Pedro started to fuss. Two of the school’s librarians got up out of their seats and came over to me and asked me if they could take him up to the library for me so I could listen to the rest of the presentation. They looked like nice enough women and there are guards at all of the entrances of the school just in case they were really kidnappers disguised as librarians, so I handed him over.

I went up to retrieve him about a half an hour later and this is what I found:

Obviously they weren’t reading The Deathly Hallows to him!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Brazilian Delights: Cheese Sticks

One of the best things about Brazil so far is the delicious food. It’s a good thing there are great places to run, because if not, I could really pack on the pounds.

So, in case you ever visit Brazil, I will be showcasing the best of the best.

First delight: Cheese sticks. Not American breaded-and-fried-cheese-sticks.

I’m talking about cheese that's actually on a stick.

You put these babies on the grill for a few minutes and…


Monday, August 13, 2007

5 Things Meme

It's been a while since I've done a meme. Thanks to BlackeyedSue for tagging me!

5 things I was doing 10 years ago

1. Guapo and I had just celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary.

2. Guapo and I had just announced that I was expecting our first baby!

3. I was starting my 2nd year of my master's program at BYU.

4. I had to tell my professor I was pregnant and therefore didn't want to go to Bolivia with him to do field research (using the pregnancy as an excuse-really I was afraid to go to South America-little did I know what my life held in store for me!!!)

5. We were living in the basement of a house owned by Guapo's family-with 6 single guy renters above us. A little icky.

5 Things on My To Do List Today

1. All things domestic-the maid doesn't come on Wednesdays

2. Go to Margarita's 4th grade open house

3. Master Portuguese

4. Pick up kids

5. Blog!

5 Snacks I Enjoy

1. Chip Cookies, especially ones that my friend Suzzy makes

2. brownies

3. Jicama with Chile and Lime

4. Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey Ice Cream

5. Peanut butter cookies with a kiss on top (again, preferably made by Suzzy)

5 Songs I Know the Lyrics to

1. Sadly, most sappy love songs from the 70's and 80's as when I was in high school I listened to a cheesy station called "Kosi 101". (Guapo LOVES to tease me about this)

2. "Come, Come, Ye Saints"-just memorized this one

3. "It's the End of the World As We Know It"-high school graduation song

4. La Cucaracha

5. Most songs from "Grease"

5 Things I would do if I were a millionaire

1. Invest in real estate

2. Set aside enough money for college for our kids

3. Take a trip to Asia

4. And Italy

5. And buy some shoes, of course

5 Bad Habits

1. Leave cabinet doors open after use

2. I buy fun stuff for my kids to do and then hoard them for a "rainy day"

3. Can't just eat one cookie-must have a lot!

4. Stay up too late needing "me" time only to hate myself in the morning

5. Smoking (just seeing if you are still reading this)

5 Things I'd never wear again

Enough said!

5 Favorite Toys

1. My label maker

2. My laminator

3. My paper shredder

4. My Kitchen Aid

5. Pedro
Anyone want to play?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Muchacha Monment-We've Finally Got A Winner!

After going through 6 maids in 10 months (the 6th one would have been fired had we stayed any longer), I am happy to report we have found a great maid here in Brazil.

Maids here are not called muchacas here but "impregadas domesticas" (sounds bad doesn't it?). Having one costs way more than it did in Mexico or Venezuela because you have to pay 12% of their salary towards their retirement program (like Social Security), but it is still WAY cheaper than having help in the US. Our new maid was recommended by a friend of a friend. The last family she worked for had 5 kids, so 4 should be a piece of cake for her right? Hopefully Julio and Juan Carlos won't join evil powers and lock her in the closet like they did to poor maid #4 in Mexico.

She shows up on time.

She speaks some English (so Maragrita doesn't throw a fit when she gets left with her)

She has 3 kids of her own so she knows how to take care of Pedro.

She cooks.

She cleans.

She goes home at night so I can have peace.

Except for Friday night when she stays over so Guapo and I can go out without the kiddies.

But, the very best part about our new maid is (drum roll please):


Can you imagine? She makes a list, plans out meals, goes to the store loaded with money, shops away, then comes home and puts everything away.

I think I am really going to love Brazil!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

You Know How Much I Love Monkeys

Remember Monica? My Small Town monkey/daughter? I sure miss Monica.

But check out these cool little Brazilian monkeys we saw the other day:

Aren't they adorable? My sister-in-law said they looked like "glorified squirrels", but I whole-heartedly disagree! My kids wanted to touch them so bad (they tried to reason with me that because their mouths were so small, they wouldn't bite); I tried to discourage them but I couldn't quite "walk my talk" as I, too, had to reach out and touch the little guys.

Speaking of monkeys, here's my favorite little monkey sucking on his big toe:


Friday, August 03, 2007

The Best News I've Had in A Long Time

Packing lunches is the bane of my existence. Trying to come up with new, innovative, healthful foods to put in my kids' lunch boxes only to find after school said foods still present, but now squished up and warm in their lunch boxes drives me nuts. I hate it. I was especially dreading it here as I have seen very few juice boxes, no peanut butter, and the only box of granola bars I can find cost close to 7 dollars.

The school here has an awesome cafeteria where they serve a buffet style lunch everyday (Guapo and I got to eat lunch there last week). They even get a popsicle after lunch if they have eaten well. How cool is that?
And the best part?
For Juan Carlos in Pre-K and Julio in first grade it is REQUIRED (read: NO GUILT!!! I couldn't even send a lunch if I wanted to!) that they eat the school lunch. Margarita is more than happy eating in the cafeteria.
No more packing lunches for me!!!
Things are really looking up. :)