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American Easter

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So my kid’s both had their first Easter in the US. My almost 3-year-old never experienced American Easter.  In Brazil we didn’t get to have Easter egg hunts, just one giant chocolate egg of yumminess.  So I bought some eggs and we did a “practice” hunt in the back yard, so the poor little guy would have some incentive the day of.  t.

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When we got to the field, all set up for the 1-3 year-olds he was definitely in game mode.  My husband was coaching and prepping him as he took a lay of the field, which egg he would go for first.

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He was great, quick, decisive, swooping in and grabbing eggs as older 3 year olds were going for them as well.  Granted the eggs were spread out ever 1-2 feet, but he didn’t know that, he thought he was king of the field.

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He wasn’t the only one who got to enjoy the Easter egg hunt.  His bro was just 2 weeks shy of being 1 so we figured he could participate as well… we just took him to the end of the field, and dropped him the grass.  Pure joy.

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Our nanny is kind of like our 3rd teenage kid.  She joined us to experience her first American Easter.  We also put together a little basket of chocolate bunnies, and other American Easter candy.  Because other than giant chocolate eggs, I still love my peanut butter candy filled Easter baskets… and Brazil has nothing on jelly beans! She had been having some “saudades” for Bis, so when her basket was full of Kit-Kats she was more than happy.  We also filled my son’s eggs with Starburst jelly beans, M&Ms and a mini-KitKat.  What that means is that he opened each egg for a 2 M&Ms or jelly beans, and threw the KitKat bar to her.  The hollow chocolate bunny (Lindt of course so we were at list similarity to Brazil) was as close as I could get to a giant hollowed Easter egg.
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All and all everyone one had a phenomenal time.  I was worried about the sheer number of eggs my kid collected… after all we still had our own family Easter hunt to get to as well.IMG_1210

My youngest just loved that he could shake the “Baaaas” .. the concept of eggs isn’t something he gets yet.  The other one is still mixing his English and Portuguese, so they were “oggoovos. ” Egg+Ovos.

IMG_1269But the best Easter surprise was mine, each and every egg was chock full of Cereal, Froot Loops and Lucky Charms.  It was pure awesomeness…after all most of those cereals are pretty much like candy anyway, but not quite as bad as chocolate… I think.

Adjusting

We are well adjusted to our new home now. Furniture arrived last week from Brasil! Woo hoo.  Only one bottle of saline solution was packed and busted in one box– so of course that kind of molded out.  All of our clothes smelled of mildew- and even after a trip to the dry cleaners, a few items still just smell off.  But we’re settled in… adjusted, maybe is too broad of a word.  Getting used to driving in the US is actually something we didn’t think we would need to adjust for– after all we had been flying back to the US and driving the whole time we were in Brazil. But I guess they were for shorter period of time and we never noticed the subtle changes Brasil had made to our abilities.

So my husband and I should not be allowed to drive at all in the US. Or we should be required to take expat driving lessons I think.  Mainly Brasil’s lack of regard for pedestrians mean that we’re not as watchful for idiots walking around anymore.  I use the term idiots, as seriously people in the US that are walking feel like they’re so safe they can walk through a parking lot or in front of a car and not even look around before stepping forward.

We are so used to pedestrians having the right of way, people take for granted their own safety.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve yelled watch out as someone stepped in front of my husband while their head was turned behind them to yell at a friend.  Who does that??  Americans that’s who.

Also, yellow lights in Brasil are A LOT longer than they are here.  In Brasil you can definitely squeek through one no problem… here well I forgot how short those suckers were.

And finally, yes I am now the idiot sitting on red waiting for the light to turn green before turning right.  So next time someone is sitting at a red trying to turn right, have a heart, maybe they’ve just come back from Brasil!

Our nanny of course just marvels at how all of these cars can turn right and left and cross paths at the crazy busy multi section intersections we have here, with free way entrances, and several inlets and outlets.  I have to say, I love that I don’t have to take these long round about paths just to turn left, I do get lost a lot less often (sort of…).

 

The transition

SO I’m not dead.  And I haven’t given up yet on my blog. I’m sure I will eventually, being that I’m no longer in Brazil.

from The Load Star UK

Oh but don’t worry, I haven’t abandoned Brazil completely.  See I can’t the country is still holding my belongings hostage.  You know how when you move to Brazil there is always some “reason” why customs is behind and it takes 3 months to get your shipment.  Well we figured since we were air shipping, it would take 2 weeks max to get all of our belongings.  I’m still waiting, because there is a customs strike in Brazil, so all of my precious belongings (KitchenAid, Vitamix, all of my pots and pans, art work from Brazil) are sitting in a crate somewhere.  We’ve stopped getting updates from the moving company, so I guess one day it will just arrive— maybe 6 months from now??  I think I feel worse for all the expats who thought they’d buy their year + supply of America.. sorry guys! At least I can hit up the local Costco while I wait.

I’ve been busy.  Between coming off of maternity leave, and then moving back to the US, trying to get our nanny a Visa, and then well just trying to find a home I’ve been under water.  The rental market here in the San Francisco area is crazy crazy tight.  We found a place though, and I have to tell you, even though I leave in a very nice suburban neighborhood, where everyone knows your name and waves at you while you drive by, I couldn’t sleep the first night.

Where was my gate? Where was the security of the guard sitting below.  I was on the ground, and anyone could easily climb into any window.  It was unnerving to be soo, so unprotected.  My nanny when she arrived was amazed at how quiet and clean everything is, it just felt odd to her.

Nanny Observations:

  1. Is the (heater) hole on the bathroom floor for throwing water down when cleaning the bathroom?
  2. Did you really just wash a load of laundry and dry it in an hour?? (Halle freakin lujah!!)
  3. Why don’t we have Oreos in Brazil?

Oh and can I just say I just brought myself a Mint, and I wish I had that little thing in Brazil. It quietly cleans all of our wood floors wonderfully.

 

Goodbye Brazil

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We flew out of Brazil for good on Friday night. That’s the end of things for us here. We’d been dreaming about the food of the US, the things we can buy, and all of our friends and family for weeks before.  My husband started perusing Costco’s website a month ago. I of course one up that behavior, shopping online so that I already had purchased items once I arrived in the US.

I took this photo awhile ago, as I knew it was the photo I wanted to use. In Hawaii when you’re done you say you are Pau! Friday end of day is Pau Hana time. In Portuguese Pau is wood, or well slang for the male anatomy. But in Hawaii it means you are done. So that we are, we are done with Brasil.

Everyone asks, “Oh what will you miss?”   And the thing is, in all honesty I don’t know if I’m going to miss anything that drastically.  The freshness  and the diversity of the fruit cannot be matched.  The convenience of bakeries and butcher shops on seemingly every corner are nice.  The bread’s delicious.  But then for me, when I weigh it against the sheer cost of living and the traffic, it kind of just washes out.  So the one true thing, I will truly miss about Brasil is Brasilianess of the people.  Brasil’s great love of children from strangers loving my kids, to preferential treatment everywhere.  Brasilians large hearts and social disposition is hard to match, and will truly be missed.

I would have said my son will miss his nanny most of all.  However, after a failed Visa interview last week, we got the good news this week.  Intensive prepping the days before we left Brasil for good, paid off.  She was approved for a Visa on Monday!  We put her through an Aupair program, so she will be able to join us in the US on the 23rd for the next year.  We’re so excited to share the US with her, and show her all the things that I always complained of missing.  She’s already in love with Big Red Gum, Oreos, and Clorox Wipes :)

 

The mold problem

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I’ve read it on other blogs, but I thought maybe it was where they lived. Perhaps their apartment? The climate in their area of the city?

That is until I opened the closet of “clothes I can’t wear, so don’t want to see while pregnant.”

That’s when I found that everything smelled of mold. A few of my fancy party dresses had spots on them, and well as you can see from the state of this belt the mold ran wild!!

I love this belt, so sat it in the sun for the past few days, and it cleared up its pitiful state nicely. Thankful for the beautiful Sao Paulo sun the past few days.

Funny fruit

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My brother in Texas shared this with me.  He speaks Portuguese, which is why I assume he ran across something this cute.

 

So you wanna cook Brasilian Food?

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Ok, so I told myself when I started this blog I’d put down all the recipes I found and take pictures.  Lo an behold a year and a half later, even though I’ve made a ton of things from scratch, and some quite regularly (Stroganoff) I haven’t really been super great about doing this.  Well imagine my sheer joy when I found Kitchen Corners.  One because she’s all about cooking and lives in Bahia currently, and two because she had a recipe up for Passion Fruit/Maracuja/Lilikoi bars.  MMM mmm yumm~!

I can attest they are delicious. Especially because by the time I finished making the bars everyone in the house (but me) got sick , and no one but me felt like eating.  My poor husband can only look on sadly and wish he felt like eating these golden goodies.

Here is how my bars turned out (not as lovely looking as hers, but lovely still the same.

The crust is cripsy, caramel, crunchiness.  The fruit layer perfectly tart and creamy.  My oven sucks, so I ended up cooking the whole thing for 45 minutes instead of 35 like the recipe said, and still think the center was a bit soft.  I also only used a stick of butter (220 grams), which isn’t quite a half pound (like I was going to measure that out).  Seriously, I will NEVER make lemon bars again.  These are perfect.

But this post isn’t just about Maracuja Bars, this is about all of the other great Brasilian recipes she’s got up on her site.    They are good staple Brasilian dishes like pao de quiejo, coxinha, Brasilian lasagna, feijao, etc.  All in English, with photos, and using cups and oz and tsps.   Seriously, when I first moved here I made coxinha, and the only English recipe I could find wasn’t helpful or looked that Brasilian delish, and the Brasilian one while it looked yummier, was harder for me to follow (obvious reasons).  The recipe on her site is clear, and has photos of what each stage of the time consuming process looks like.

So go visit the site, and at the very least make your self some of these yummy bars.

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