This is my last column for the Papagaio. I am feeling all the feels about this because I have loved this job. I can’t believe I never got fired. Yay me! I’m getting ready to head back to the United Plates of America for a bit of home leave and tutoring my kids so they don’t fall behind in school. And when I say tutoring, I mean training them to be restaurant critics. I thought I would use this space to highlight the highs and lows of my time here in Brasilia. I’ll start with the lows, not to be negative, but just to present a few of the challenges that I’ve encountered while living here.
- Internet/Cable: I can’t even. I mean, my internet is sooooo slow (HOW SLOW IS IT? shouts the audience) that it takes me three days to download a movie. My internet service makes me want to punch a kitten in the face. I haven’t been able to Skype my husband this past year or even use our internet phone. Okay, to be fair, sometimes our internet is amazing. Yesterday we had it four times!
- Electricity: During the rainy season, simply having electricity is a bonus. I don’t mind being without power, but we’ve lost a desktop computer and two laptops to brown-outs because I’m not very good at lesson-learning and surge protectors.
- Language difficulties. This is totally my fault because I am a lazy learner.
- Fear of critters. More about that here and especially here. I will say that creepy-crawlies don’t bother me nearly as much as they did when I first got here, because I am adaptable (hush, you).
- Requirements and red tape and getting things notarized. So many steps. So complicated. That’s all I’m going to say about that. If you’re still waiting to receive your CPF you know what I’m talking about.
- Speeding tickets. I think I’m supposed to pay them, but right now they are propping up a broken chair in my living room.
And now for the highs:
- The people. I could go on and on. I love you all. Except for the cable guys, whom I most definitely have strong negative feelings for.
- The weather. Perfect in every way. I prefer the rainy season, but my hair looks better in the dry season, so it’s kind of a tie for me.
- The birds. I still get excited when I see a toucan out my bedroom window. And then I want Fruit Loops.
- Buying things out of my car window. And buying things out of the back of a car. It makes me feel dangerous.
- Mangoes, giant avocados, limes, and those little bananas that aren’t too sweet. And my guy who sells me strawberris at the bottom of QI 23 and makes fun of me because I told him his Christmas strawberries were so expensive they would make the baby Jesus cry (sometimes my portuguese comes through in the clutch).
- Caipirinhas. Hmmm, that should have been at the top, but I don’t feel the need to go the extra mile to change it because what are they going to do, fire me? Hahaha! I kill myself.
- Rio, and also Rio. It’s my second-favorite city in the world. Seattle has my heart for number one.
- Foz do Iguaçu. Sure, I nearly died by insect there, but it was an amazing trip.
- Beer in line at the grocery store. Okay, I admit that I’ve never actually partaken in this, but I find the concept delightful.
- Getting paid to write snarky things about the cable guy.
- This past Sunday, when Richard Salazar carted off my kid’s drum set. Apologies to Laura Chamberlin.
- The awesome coffee table I bought at Jardim Botanico.
- The Marines. I love them. I have this fantasy where I move into the Marine House and become their house mother. I think it would make a good TV show.
- CEASA. It’s a perfect slice of Brasilia.
- Traffic signs. I like how they are more like guidelines here, because that’s how I drive. I feel like I’m mature enough to make the decision to stop at a stop sign if there are no cars coming. Can you believe people sometimes let me take their children places?
- How much does Brazil love children? So much.
I’m sure I’ll think of a million more things I love about Brazil after I leave. Well kids, thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings. And you don’t have to be a stranger. You can catch up with me on my personal blog, Pulling Stakes, which has suffered serious neglect since I took over this gig. It’s way more personal and has no helpful tips, but I’m sure there is a future post in there about trying to get cable and internet hooked up in Belgium.