Tag Archives: Kate Romero

Home for a Visit

imageBy Kate Romero

I ran out of time again this week, but I’ve decided to throw some words onto the screen since I don’t like going home when the house is being cleaned.  I always feel like I should be cleaning too, and if there’s one thing I hate, it’s being guilted into doing something I don’t want to do.  I blame my Catholic upbringing. It’s not like my diarista is handing me a dustpan and telling me to get to work, but I feel guilty nonetheless, especially when I put on my pajamas and eat chips in bed while playing Candy Crush on my iPad as she scrubs the floor around me. And just because that run-on sentence was very specific, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve actually done that.  Whatever. It was Doritos. Don’t judge me. Continue reading


imageBy Kate Romero

I’m having trouble finding my snark right now, but no worries, I’m sure it will kick in any minute.  In the meantime, I can tell you Why! I’m So! Happy!  My old man is home, visiting from the sandbox.  And I missed his guts.  In fact, I should probably be following him around the house right now, petting him and stroking his face with a crazed smile, but no, I’m sitting at my desk, drinking lukewarm coffee, and writing about how deliriously happy I am right now.  Of course it’s not all rainbows and unicorns at Casa Romero.  I mean, he’s never even lived in the house we are living in now, so basically it’s like he moved into my house and stole my dog out from under me at the same time.  Which is fine.  I never liked that dog anyway.  Ooh, look!  My snark is back already. I knew it wouldn’t take long. Continue reading

Feira dos Importados

profilepicBy Kate Romero (Yes, that’s my stupid picture. My friend who edits a couple of online newspapers told me I need to have a photo so my columns seem “friendlier”, which I find hilarious, but whatever, here’s my super-friendly face!).

I’ve had several people whining at me for slacking off wondering where my column was the last few weeks, and the truth is, I keep running out of work hours.  You know what else I’ve been doing?  Working out.  I know!  Like, in the gym and stuff. Sure, people see me as they’re walking by and burst out laughing, but I don’t care, because now I have Extreme Muscles.  My friend Katie made me start going with her, and I was sure it was just going to be one of those things we do, like sit around drinking wine and talking about how skinny we’re going to get when we start exercising.  At first I tried to distract her from the fact that I was just fondling the equipment rather than using it by cracking jokes and singing, but no, she made me do a routine with reps and stuff.  I thought I was going to die the first day, but it’s getting easier.  Today I forgot my towel, so when I got out of the shower I had to dry off with a washcloth.  That was pretty awesome, but she locked her locker keys in her locker, so I still think I came out ahead. I am pretty annoyed that my massage lady didn’t notice my Extreme Muscles yet.

I’ve also been doing a teensy bit of CLO stuff. Last week, we went on a field trip to  Feira dos Importados, and I was apparently in charge of the group and stuff. Fortunately, I was with a very capable group of people that didn’t need any of my cruddy “help”.  Here are most of us:

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Marion, Laurie, Richard, Lidia, Me in my CLO outfit, Missy, Katie, and Christine

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Trick or Treat

By Kate Romero

Next week is Halloween, my favorite of all the holidays.  While it is not traditionally celebrated in Brazil, Halloween is definitely popular within the expat community.  Because who doesn’t love dressing up?  Boring people, that’s who.  So, if you find yourself invited to a Halloween party in the next week and you don’t have time to rent or buy a costume, I’ve come up with a few ideas to help you out.  Most of these costumes even reflect our host country in one way or another, because I am a bridge of diplomacy.  To diplomacy?  Bridge over troubled waters?  Grammar is hard today. Continue reading

Brushes With Nature. Horrible, Horrible Nature.

By Kate Romero

You’d think I would be tired of writing about critters, but you would be wrong.  If you are a recent arrival to Brasilia, you may be worried that it is the End of Times, what with the biblical plague of insects making their way into our homes with the onset of the rainy season.  Yesterday I woke up to my dining table covered in insect wings.  Where were the bodies?  How did they fly away with no wings? Not to mention the thirty or so millipedes curled up like tiny cinnamon rolls of grodiness throughout my house.  And it’s not like I don’t clean the floors (and I’m sure you know that when I say “I”, I don’t really mean I clean the floors myself.  I’m far too busy providing the essential service of helping you guys sell your patio tables and whatnot to clean my own floors).  The bugs cover the floors overnight.  My dog does his best to help, but he really only eats the heads, and then I’m left with messy carcasses.  I tried to get my kids to at least clean up the millipedes, but they flatly refused, at least until I said, “Well, that’s fine.  I just hope they don’t slither into your ears while you are sleeping.”  They did get pretty good at cleaning up the ones that were still alive after that. Continue reading


By Kate Romero

Well, I fully expected to not do a column this week, as I’ve spent much of the last week slinking around the embassy wearing a Post-It note that had the words “non-essential” on it, but alas, at least for me, it’s pretty much business as usual around here, despite the government shut-down.  Anyway, remember how I was telling you about moving a few weeks ago and I had this other thing going on so I couldn’t fully focus on the fact that the movers were packing pieces of trash and napping on my lawn?   Well, the day before the movers pulled up, I said goodbye to my obviouslybetterbutstillprettydarnlucky half for a very long time.  He’s off to build sandcastles in Afghanistan for a year.  It’s really hard to write out that sentence without adding a crying emoticon after it, but since I am a Serious Writer, I will refrain.

Okay, well just a tiny one:

crybaby Continue reading

Welcome to Your New Home!

By Kate Romero

With all of the new arrivals at the embassy over the past few months, I thought I’d be a Helpful Newsletter Editor and move to a new house, just for you guys, so I could tell you what it will be like when you get your HHE delivered.  Or, if you are preparing to depart post, I can give you a glimpse of what to expect when moving out of Brasilia.  GSO and FAC totally were on board with moving me, lock, stock, and barrel, just so I could write this column.  I kid.  We moved because our old house needs renovation and we got tired of watching tv under umbrellas. Continue reading

Frutaria Mikami Japanese Market

By Kate Romero

007Hey kids, I have a lot to tell you about moving in Brasilia, but I’m not quite to where I’m finding it funny yet (even though while it was happening I kept telling myself, ‘someday I’m going to think this is hilarious’), so I’m going to tell you about a market that’s good to know about if you enjoy Asian food.  A few weeks ago I went with my friend Katie (don’t all my posts include my friend Katie?) to Frutaria  Mikami Japanese market.  It’s at 415 Sul and is pretty tiny, but it has a large variety of Japanese and other Asian products, including sushi making supplies.  My husband makes sushi, and I love sushi, so I bought all the supplies while we were there for him to make simple california rolls.  I was pretty sure we already had most of the stuff, but I would have had to find everything and I think my girls had been using the rolling mat for a Barbie raft.  Also, you know I can’t resist buying kitchen gadgets. Anyway, I bought more things than we would ever need to make sushi because that’s how I roll.  Get it?  Because sushi roll?  I’m writing this on four hours’ sleep in the last two days if you can’t tell. Annoyingly,  my old man called and said he would be late getting home, so I learned how to make it myself by watching a video on   Youtube.  My point is, it isn’t hard to do, even if you never dated an Asian girl back in architecture school who taught you the proper way to make sushi.  Whatever. Continue reading

Ladies Who Lunch: Marvin American Burgers

By Kate Romero


Look! Crayons. Wait until you see the World’s Saddest Picture I drew with my blue crayon.

Last Friday, the Ladies Who Lunch were hungry for hamburgers.  To be completely honest, only some of the ladies were hungry for hamburgers.  At least one lady was really just interested in a good caipirinha.  We were also short on time, as everyone but the caipirinha lady (who spends her days writing about how she fails at being an expat) was very busy preparing for a VIP visit.  We went to Marvin American Burgers in Lago Sul, right in the little development where Oba in QI9 is. It’s kind of in an unusual location. I think it shares space with another restaurant, because we got a menu from two restaurants at the same place.  If I was any good at restaurant reporting, I would have the name of the other restaurant handy so you could find it easier, but I do know that the other restaurant was a buffet of some kind (can you believe I get paid for this?).  The two restaurant thing was weird, but IT WASN’T THE WORST PART. Marvin American Burgers serves beer, but you know what they don’t serve? Go on, make a guess……..

That’s right: Continue reading


By Kate Romero

roachYou know it’s going to be a good day if you open a bag of flour and nothing crawls out. If you get grossed out easily by buggy things, you may want to stop reading right now.   If you continue on,  don’t come crying to me when you have the heebie jeebies and are afraid to open your kitchen cupboard.  Now, I’m not one of those people that you would exactly call a “nature girl”, but if you’ve ever read one of my columns, you already know that.  I particularly don’t like things that have more legs than I do (except for my dog, because he’s cute and stays out of my King Arthur whole wheat pastry flour).  So, it’s awesome that I moved to Brazil, right?  I should have stayed in Seattle, where you can leave a bag of flour open on the counter for three years and nary a weevil will show it’s ugly face. Continue reading

A Trip to CEASA

By Kate Romero

514 CEASA is a great place to know about if you are new to Brasilia.  It’s an open air farmer’s market and the produce is beautiful, bountiful, and much cheaper than you will find at your local grocery store. It’s kind of a trek to get there, as it’s way out by Sam’s Club and Super Adega, but you can kill two birds with one stone, because Super Adega is a great place to buy large quantities of booze for your next party. Or for yourself, if your kids haven’t started back to school yet.  Whatever, I don’t judge. Anyway, the drive is totally worth it, because, ROMAINE LETTUCE: Continue reading

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

By Kate Romero

Well, I can say with absolute honesty that I’m happy to be back in good old BSB.  My own sheets! My own knives! Forgetting how sharp I keep my knives………..my own bandaids!  As Brasilia is our first overseas post, I was unprepared for the strange sensation of feeling like a foreigner in my own country.  Yes, we’ve been back to the States before this, but we’ve been living overseas for two years now, and I guess that’s enough time to fully acclimate to a new place, because I felt like a fish out of water the moment I set foot on home shopping mall soil.  Sure, I admired how Americans actually stop at stop signs, not to mention their dedication to Starbucks.  On the other hand, I was thinking, is it really necessary to come to a complete stop, when no other cars are in sight?  Also, WHY THE HUGE CUPS, Starbucks?  I tried to order a just a shot of espresso and three employees had to confer about what I was talking about, then they served me a lukewarm shot in a giant (Venti? Grande?) cup.  Full disclosure: I avoid going there whenever possible, as Starbucks is to espresso joints as, say, the Olive Garden is to fine Italian dining.

You know what else, America? A vodka gimlet is no caipirinha, and what’s with the air conditioning turning every restaurant and shop into a meat locker? My girls took to carrying blankets with them whenever we went anywhere.  However, it wasn’t long before America pulled me back into her loving embrace, with her giant supermarkets filled with hundreds of varieties of cheese and produce, the Nordstrom shoe department, and the gorgeous chop salads. Continue reading


By Kate Romero

I’m leaving today for R&R. I wish I could say that my bags are packed, but I haven’t even gotten the suitcases out. Besides, I plan on arriving with empty suitcases and returning with full ones, so how much packing do I really need to do? My kids have outgrown all their clothes, so they don’t have much to pack either.  I usually let them pack their own bags.  This plan tends to backfire, as we end up at our destinations with suitcases full of stuffed animals and no underwear more often than not.  I tell myself that I am raising independent children by making them pack their own bags, but the reality is that I’m just lazy (see above: leaving today and have yet to pack). Continue reading

Ladies Who Lunch: Duetto and Mormaii Surf Bar

By Kate Romero

This installment of Ladies Who Lunch is going to be a twofer.  You’ll see why in a minute.

duettoLast Friday a few of the ladies and I went to Duetto Lounge and Bar for our Ladies Who Lunch.  We ordered our celebratory caipirinhas (what were we celebrating, you ask?  Why, that it was a sunny day, of course) and settled in to admire the view.  Duetto is on the back side of Pier 21, facing the lake.


Pictures of the Ladies Who Lunch Have been Removed to Protect the Guilty

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The Festa Junina Dresses

ProfilepicBy Kate Romero

Edit: This column originally appeared in the Papagaio in June of 2013.  Therefore, most of the information in this post is no longer relevant, other than the title, which has ‘Festa Junina’ in it. I’ve also since discovered that Festa Junina dresses can be purchased for a good price at Feira do Guará. Man, I would look great in one of these. I think I’m going to buy one and wear it to pick my husband up from the airport. He hasn’t seen me in three months. I think the look on his face when he sees me in one of these get-ups will be priceless.

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It’s that busy time of year when my eye starts twitching from the unfortunate combination of poor time management and too much going on.  It’s the end of the school year (goodbye parties, finals, forms to fill out, field day, yearbooks to buy, blahblahblah) and we’re preparing for a move to a different house. At the same time, we’re planning for home leave in a few weeks and I’m trying to make a bunch of appointments in the US  (Okay, that’s kind of a lie, I haven’t made a single appointment, but I HAVE mapped out which dentists are closest to Designer Shoe Warehouse, and that’s practically the same thing).  And then I just got an email from the school saying our twins need Festa Junina dresses for a program at school.  Now, in order for me to plan to go out to a store and find a place to park and speak my cruddy portuguese and just generally be in public, I need at least a few weeks’ notice, not a couple of measly days. Anyway, since my parenting style can best be described as benign neglect, I’m going to pass on the Festa Junina dresses and let the girls pick out something they think is appropriate.  I’m pretty sure that means one of my daughters will be wearing her bear costume and the other one will be wearing her pajamas,  but since I like to keep the bar low (just ask my portuguese teacher), I am fine with that.

This is my first Festa Junina in Brasilia, so I don’t know what it’s all about, but I hear it’s a pretty big deal around here. I Google Translated it and Google said it meant “Jerk Party”.  So basically like a party I would have gone to back in my 20’s?  I don’t think Google is right in this case.  Fortunately, Luciana will be in the embassy Duck and Cover at 12:15 today talking about the vocabulary, history, and customs of Festa Junina if you are as clueless as me and would like to know more. I might see you there, but it’s also my Ladies Who Lunch day, and if there’s one thing I’m dedicated to, it’s my weekly caipirinha restaurant review, and I may be too exhausted to do both.  How exhausted am I? Continue reading