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Category Archives: brazil

Spanking/Hitting what’s the diff

So my rant this week was my 100th blog post.  Love that my 100th post was a long rant.

We watch the US news at night.  It gives us a little insight into what we’re missing, and we’re boring folk who like to watch the news.  Tonight it was CNN Anderson Cooper 360.  I couldn’t help laugh at the whole program.  Anderson was trying to be super carrying and serious about the “severe form of corporal punishment.”  Basically the author of the book “To Train Up a Child” was on and in his book they advocate spanking.  Maybe I’m just a horrible awful person, but I just couldn’t help laugh at it.

I have to admit, my dad spanked me.  In fact, once (and I don’t know what I did, but it must have been good) got myself a 15 year old spanking.  I think I was more mortified than hurt.  Anyway, that’s where my perspective comes from.  My dad’s an 8th degree black belt, so trust me he knows how to break boards with those hands.  But, if you gave me the option of being hit with his open palm or a belt or switch or what have you, I’d take his hand any day.  I knew some kids whose dad’s used belts, and I felt for them!

So back to Anderson Cooper 360.  They kept arguing about “hitting” versus “spanking,” as the author very seriously pointed out that hitting is using your hand and spanking is using an object like a plummer supply line, or 3 foot switch! I’m seriously messed up, because I laughed out loud when I heard that.  The author of the book thought seeing a lady carrying around a switch to keep her kids in line was a humorous thing.  Seriously, having an instrument to “spank” was more appropriate than hand spanking. Is this really the point to be debated? And how in the world could they even think being hit with a ruler was better than the nice soft cushyness of a hand?

So how does this translate to Brasil?  Well my kid is too darn cute for me to ever want to or feel a need to spank him, or even want to, I think I’d cry.  That kid is going to be a brat I’m sure since I’m too soft. Not because I don’t spank, just because I’m a push over to those big brown eyes.

Well last year Brasil passed a law banning spanking.  That’s right no “spanking” or “hitting” no need for semantics, you just don’t hurt your child as a way to punish them.  In fact degrading your child is illegal as well.

This law should be no surprise, Brasil loves children.

Where do I sit on the whole spanking thing? I don’t think it’s child abuse by any means, but I don’t think it is absolutely necessary. I can understand when you had 9 kids, were working a farm from sun up to sun down, you didn’t have time to do real discipline- a quick spank or threat of the spank kept your kids in line.  But with most people with two or fewer children today, we have the time to discipline and  spanking isn’t a tool we need to use anymore.






San Francisco comes to Brasil

Ok not really, but kind of…see plastic bags are prohibited in San Francisco.  This really shouldn’t be a surprised as San Francisco is the most liberal, green, super government regulates everything city in the US.  But today a friend mentioned that at Extra they were charged .50 for a plastic bag, as in January all plastic bags will be outlawed.   So thanks to Google I confirmed it, I totally missed the announcement in May when the law was passed.  It was also put on hold by the supreme court, but I think it will still take affect in January now.


A couple of arguments against the ban made me laugh.  One of them was that the lower income people use the plastic bags as garbage bags, and now they’ll have to buy real garbage bags.  This totally made me laugh, because that’s what we horde them for, all of the little trash cans in our house.  And in Brasil, with the whole don’t flush the toilet thing, I can see how families go through these little plastic baggies in bulk!  Yeah I have a nice big bag that I use to carry stuff in, as it’s sturdy and helps in walking home, but those little plastic baggies are so useful.  And when you have a kid in diapers, those baggies make things nicer when you’re on the go (for everyone).  I had to laugh at the argument against this, basically that the poor people should be happy that they won’t get to use the plastic baggies anymore, as then people will buy the proper plastic bags for trash, so then they won’t break and get all over the street especially when it rains, or clog the gutters (at least that’s what I got from my portuguese readings).

Per the law however it seems there still will be plastic bags for use at the feiras (street fairs), or for putting your meat (cuz seriously I don’t want my samonella mixing with my fresh fruit), or milk/dairy products.

The interesting thing is, in San Francisco they at least provided an alternative… these cornstarch based bags or paper bags. Here the only thing they’ve got are these teensy plastic bags, so they’re even one step more hardcore than San Francisco.

It will be interesting to see how the Brasilian jeito comes out, as even though buying a reusable bag once isn’t too much money, it does kind of suck when you bring one of those bags and then buy a little bit more than can fit in one, and are at the store forced to buy another one. For me not a big deal, for a Brasilian on a tight budget, I’m gonna say that’s the difference between milk for breakfast or not.  Plus why pay for something you know you could get for free… I guess we’ll see people using boxes to load things more now too, as like I said, paper bags don’t exist here.  Probably a good thing, as we all love the rain forest as it is now, not as a big soybean farm.


How do you survive

So Sao Paulo is one of the most expensive places to live, more than New York but less than Tokyo.  We lived in LA for a bit, which is also up there, but not as up there as Sao Paulo, and I have to say it’s not so bad.  But then again, I nor my husband are paid Sao Paulo wages.  I think that’s the big difference here from Tokyo, at least in Tokyo people are paid pretty well too.  In Brasil, the wage discrepancy is pretty big.


We are doing pretty well here (but like I said, US wages).  However, if we had an older kid, or even more kids, different story.  I often wonder how it is that Brasilians survive. On top of the price of rent, food, and insanely crazy gas prices, I’d also have to pay for school tuition (and they start young here, like pre age 3 in school), dance classes, instruments, athletic supplies, and the list goes on and on.  So if you look around Brasil and wonder why you only see a few kids in families, even though it’s a highly catholic society, I think you’ll know why. .. the avg is 1.9 kids as of 07.  I’m sure has declined further since then, as it was 2.1 in 2004.  Per 2010 stats in the US the average per family is .84.

Even still, with just a few kids per family, Brasil is still one of the most child friendly countries, so when people tell me that all the friendliness is because people in Brasil have kids, I find it interesting, because in such a tight economy as this, you’d think kids would be viewed as a burden, but they are not, they’re viewed as a wonderful gift, and hopefully that is what will keep Brasil from turning into Europe, where the birthrate is almost non-existent.

Angry Brazilian Ex

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So the other day my husband didn’t answer his phone (he does this frequently as he hates answering the phone and hearing “Quem fala” or “Who am I talking to?”  His normal response is “I don’t know you called me!” ).  This is rather convenient for two reasons. Brazilians don’t leave messages and usually it’s work people calling, so if he doesn’t answer they don’t leave a message and they just keep calling other people till the issue is solved, or call him back (so if you need something from my husband call twice or leave a message, as he does return messages).  Anyway, the point of this is Brazilians RARELY EVER leave messages. Super annoying habit that I hate, but I’m a phone slut as my husband says, “I’ll pick up for anyone, anytime, anywhere,” so this would never happen to me.  Going out of the normal Brazilian way, the other day a Brazilian left a message….or two.  And it was a BEAUTIFUL message.  It was so beautiful, that we made our baba listen to it and type it up into a Word document so that I could post it on here for all of you to read… please excuse the language (English edited out, but Portuguese is as left), but this guy was kinda pissed (and I think drunk)

If you listen to the audio you’ll realize two things, this guy is not drunk, and he’s not angry ranting.  He is very calmly going through all of these totally crazy very rational reasons she should return.

MENSAGEM NA CAIXA POSTAL (audio part 1 and audio part 2)

1 PARTE:  Ah minha nossa senhora, a bichona já mudou até a saudação da caixa postal da Sandra, esse cara tá brincando comigo..pô num eh possível isso , cs tao brincando comigo, cs tao brincando comigo… a hora que eu for aí pra reclamar a minha mulher..aí a coisa vai feder ta …entao fala pra essa bichona que fala inglês na caixa postal pra crescer um pouquinho ta, e num num.. e e e deixar de ser muleque ta… fala pro seu papí deixar de ser muleque ta…… e vamos parar por aqui ta, oh sandra se vc ainda tem algo por mim ta.. me respeita por favor ta e nao deixa esse muleque brincar comigo .. nao faça isso se ver o email que te mandei sandra,ver como vc ta linda de top less na piscina ta

Oh my gosh Sandra, some queer has changed your voicemail greeting.  This guy is messing with me .. hell this is not possible.  You two are messing with me. You two are messing with me. When I get there to reclaim my woman things are going to get ugly, so tell that quer that is peaking in English on your voicemail to grow and and stop being an dick. Tell your daddy to stop being a dick ok? Let’s stop here ok,  Oh Sandra if you still have feelings for me …. respect me please and don’t let this dick mess with me. .. do not do this to me if you see the email I sent to you Sandra, you will see that you are beautiful, topless, in the swimming pool.

2 PARTE:  Oh Sandra.. mas que porra é essa de msg que deixaram na tua ..saudação, antes era sandra, agora apareceu a voz de um cara falando em inglês, pelo amor de deus.. ave maria …onde a minha sandra foi amarrar o burro.. puta merda…. viu Sandra, aquela foto que te falei, eu tenho muita foto…nao fica preocupada ta bom.. que se fiz aquilo com alguem, foi so com vc e isso eu juro pela minha filha Clara.. pela minha família, quem você quiser, eu tenho muita foto com você e isso é uma coisa que eu vou levar pro túmulo.. so é minha e sua, que é sagrada ta…que vou guardar pra gente olhar quando for velhinho.  eu espero, espero voltar com voce um dia, quero ser muito seu amigo…

Oh Sandra .. what kind of S** is this msg on your voicemail? Before it was you Sandra now there is a voice of a guy talking in English.  For goodness sake,.. ave maria … where did my Sandra find this JackA** .. F*** …. Sandra, did you see the picture I told you about. I have lots of these pictures.. . don’t worry though, because if I did something with someone, it was only you and I swear by my daughter Clara .. and by my family…. and by whomever else you want me to swear by. I have a lot of pictures with you and that’s something I’ll take to the grave .. It is only mine and yours, which is sacred … I’ll keep it for us to look at when I’m an old man. I hope, I hope to be together with you someday. I  really want to be your friend.

Our neighborhood Recycle Man

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Sorry for the bad photo, best angle I could get

All neighborhoods have them, they probably have a few (it seems we do).  When we first moved here, I looked out our window and saw a large dumpster in the street (across the street was doing construction).  Some guys came and went through the bin, VERY thoroughly and took everything recyclable or semi usable out.  They were pulling hand carts, and my lil’ American mind thought, oh how interesting the government recycling guys.

So now that I’ve been here longer, I’m a little more aware.  These are the guys I always saw in downtown LA or at the beaches in Hawaii digging for plastic bottles and cans to recycle.  Except these guys take it to the Brazilian extreme. They’ve got the jeito going on.

See, our building even asks us to separate out our recyclables and I think sets them out for these guys.  I’ve noticed around town, all of the cardboard laid out for these guys.  Businesses hand them their boxes for them to recycle it.  It’s not just dumpster diving, they’ve got a symbiotic relationship going on with those with money.

I feel bad, as really how much could they be pulling in with recycling, compared to how much they’re pulling around on these handcarts.  But I also really respect them, and others who go out and try and find a way to make money.

Sexy Brasilian women

The title alone should garner a lot of attention by creeps and weirdos I’m sure.  However, I ran across this interesting article about Gisele Bunchen today.  In short the Brasilian Ministry of Woman (shocked to hear this little thing exists!) is against her add as they felt it was sexist to women.  She’s wearing underwear (what’s new those ads are everywhere) and telling her husband about all the awful things she’s done as a way to distract him from the bad news.

I’m not going to get into whether the ad should be banned or not. I just find it kind of hilarious that there’s a Brasilian Ministry of Women, and they’re taking up this cause.  Because seriously… there are some crazy sexist things on tv all the time. Woman are demeaned all the time and made to be sex objects, so why now? Why this.  Just one more thing about Brasil that mystifies me.

So exactly when are we going to be mugged?

I think that’s the question on most of our family’s minds.  They told us not to go, it was too dangerous.  Let’s face it, there are some scary things that happen here in Brasil.  While in Utah on the international page of the newspaper I happened upon an article noting how a judge was killed in broad daylight by 8 dirty cops (they’d taken over the Favelas from the drug lords and were running it mafia style).  Anyway, people ask all the time how safe is Brasil? Can you drive down the street with your windows open? Can you walk anywhere? Have you been mugged?  I’ve been told by people that you never walk anywhere, it’s too dangerous.  And to all of that, I laugh.  Maybe I’m naive, but I tend to think that my odds in life are good.  I will walk to the store at 9pm at night.  I drive with my car window down, and I take photos all over Sao Paulo with my smart phone.  I’ve even been known to flash a 50 at the feira. 🙂

from Aljazeera

This morning (6am ish) we awoke to 2 gunshots.  Followed by a very very loud shouting match between what sounded like a husband and wife, and then some other guy (to which they all silenced down).  Fairly sure some angry guy shot off a gun in his house, thus the sudden eruption in yelling.  We couldn’t figure out where the sounds were coming from, as there are so many complexes around us, but it happened, it was interesting, and it made us laugh. And yes they were gunshots, we know what they sound like.  So it made me think, how dangerous is Brasil really? Even with gunshot sounds, my husband and I were more curious WHAT the fight was about then that someone shot a gun.

See the thing about Brasil is it is dangerous.  I would be unrealistic and lying if I didn’t type it out.

But when you think about this mega-city you don’t think of small town life, but it’s here.  If we took my mother in law and put her in downtown Los Angeles, she’d have the same stories of fear and death that I hear from the average Brasilian.  It also doesn’t help that the media here loves plastering bloody shot up corpses on their front page (sensational much). Brasilians are close, walking home I get accosted by random grandmas and grandpas all the time that just want to chat.  The last time some old guy approached me in LA he smelt of beer and urine.  People here are connected at a level that you don’t see in the big cities of the US, and with that comes sharing of stories… so I do think there is some exaggeration going on to a small extent.

They also live REALLY REALLY close to everyone, kind of like downtown Los Angeles.  See in downtown Los Angeles all the wine drinking yuppies with their teeny house dogs live just a few streets over from all the whino, druggies, with their tents and cardboard boxes.  The closeness means, the rich encounter the poor on a daily basis.  Unlike the rest of California, where those in Beverly Hills can feel nice and secure in their happy little utopia, as they know all of the “trouble” is freeways away in South Central.  Sao Paulo is like downtown Los Angeles, with favelas smashed up against the homes of the super rich…. you get all close and chummy like that rich folk are going to have bad things happen to them… those same bad things that probably happen to most poor folk in South Central.  Except if you’re rich and something happens to you, you’re going to exaggerate it 100% over because “things like that just shouldn’t happen to people like me.”