Monday, December 13, 2010

It's been about three weeks in Brazilianland

Last night Alessandre placed a live hummingbird in my hand while we were in his restaurant. I couldn't believe that this small creature was sitting in my hand looking up at me without the least sign of fear or anxiety. He/She was so small, so perfect, and beautiful that the experience seemed quite surreal. Upon placing him on the table to try and feed him water, he flew away. I was elated to see that he could fly. When he was handed to me I was told he hadn't been flying. Now that he could fly I relaxed knowing he could take care of himself. What an incredible sensation to hold hummingbird, someone that normally flies so fast that one would not be able to imagine holding her/him. Beyond my imagination!! Another miracle.
I am still awaiting my interview for next week. I would appreciate prayer and positive thoughts for a successful interview and outcome. I would like to stay here and work, spending my vacation time in the USA (mostly Florida), rather than the reverse. The support I have received from everyone here is incredible. I know many of my friends and Brazilian family for 40 yrs. No matter what the outcome, I know I actually realized a dream of mine as best i could. It took a lot of courage to make this leap of faith. Before I left Florida, the fear was a constant shadow awaiting to envelop my dream and my courage. Fear is definitely a force to be reconned with. Perhaps it didn't appear that i wrestled with this fear on a daily basis. Everyday I was doing therapy in my mind, practicing what i had preached to so many. Living the dream, regardless of the false appearances. Fear= False Evidence Appearing Real....or False Emotions Appearing Real. I just got to a point where it didn't feel right to allow this fear to dominate my life anymore. Yet it crept in everyday, telling me every scary myth I could possible never want to "This is the biggest mistake of your life" or "What are you doing now? Avoiding ..blank, blank, blank.." "You are going to regret this!!" I don't feel or think that anymore. As soon as i arrived here, none of those fears were present. That's the thing about fear that i always forget when i'm seduced by it. The fears go away the instance you are doing what you feared. It's the minds' personal boogyman. Now i have new fears but they seems small in comparison, more manageable..more like concerns...such as those related to the interview.
It took my sister and I 3 days to translate the resume and use a strickly adhered to format that is used in the Universities and colleges. It was extrememly challenging. The format was much more difficult than the translation. Well, that's done and now it's all about possibility and future opportunities .
I started rehearsing with Ricardo last week. He is one of the finest guitarist I have every seen. I plan on video taping Ricardo, his brother Salem, and his sister Suzanna playing on one guitar. You read me correctly. Three people playing on one guitar at the same time, without mistakes, without rehearsal. It's magic and the world needs to see this. I will let you all know when it goes on You tube. Ricardo, Suzanna and I will be performing at that Nectar Bar in Mar de Hespana and in Juiz de Fora. You are all invited and I can't imagine what would stop you from coming!hahahah Here they use heheheh and kkkkkk instead of hahahah.
I know i need to put up pics. Perhaps i'll get to that this week. I miss my friends in the US. Ever since i lived here in Brazil, i've never felt complete in either country. I am a little of both cultures and it was just time to live this one for awhile.....maybe for the rest of my life.?!?! Only time will tell. Americans have a different mentality. I miss the American connection sometimes. What I love about this culture is the ease and frequency with which the people demonstrate their affection. I feel so loved by the show of physical and verbal affection that is showered upon my soul everyday. I like myself better as a person here. It is such a win-win approach to relating. I don't see the competitiveness among people like i see in the US. In a country (USA) that has so much abundance, i see a society that focuses on lack. Lack of time, lack of enough, lack of money..fill in the blank (whatever). It makes it too easy for me to abandon my place of gratitude where my joy and peace reside. It seems so much easier for me to live in gratitude and abundance here. More to say on this in another blog.
After the interview i plan to go to Paraty with Rose to enjoy some gorgious beaches with fine white sand and crystal clear bluish green water. After having lived in Florida near the Gulf, I miss the easy access to walk on the beach whenever i wanted. Florida is without a doubt my preferred USA residence. Yeah Pinellas County!!!

Of course I do love it here. I go walking with friends almost everyday here in the mountains of Minas Gerais. The natural beauty of the bright green mountains and the redish-pinkish, almost a deep salmon colored soil is delious visually. The animals graze freely and naturally. They are genuinely "Happy Cows"!! In California they had a "Happy Cow" commercial to sell milk or cheese. Trust me when i say that many of those cows are not happy the way they are treated. That's a sad story that i'll save for a different podium.
You would all love to come and visit here. My backyard has a beautiful pool and there are gatherings at people's homes almost every night. I can't keep up with all the food and cerveja (beer), though it is hard to resist. The food is mouth watering. I've already gained weight. That has to stop!! Soon.....Today i plan to begin my diet, which is really nothing more than a reduction and a deletion of foods that are too good to eat!!

It's hot, hot, hot here. Just the way i like it!!
All for today. Gotta go. Hugs and kisses to you!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Day at One of Rio's University

Today I attended one of the top Universities in Rio. Luis Carlos was teaching sign language which is a required course for all teachers in Brazil. He was excellent, combining acting with clowning, making each facial expression so obvious I could actually follow most of the conversation. It was my first sign language lesson and I loved it. What really surprised me was the "school" cafeteria. You wouldn't believe what i am about to tell you. It was a buffet. Nothing spectacular about that aspect of it. What was different was the food was all organic, gourmet with everything you might find in one of the best resturants in your area. I am not exaggerating one iota. Each dish was mouth watering and there were waiters to take your plates, utensils, and glasses away after you were done eating. One of the dishes was shrimp in a creamy pumpkin sauce. Delicious!!!! The beef was filet mignon. The dessert section had Caramel flan, coconut flan, banana cream pie, decadent chocolate cake, to name just a few. All home made. Can you imagine going to school and eating like this everyday? There was an entire section with nothing but vegitable dishes. Another section with sushi. Salmon, crab, and cooks preparing fresh meat on a grill. And I don't remember seeing one obese person. Perhaps a few pounds over weight on a few people. This food is brain food, if you leave out the dessert!! It made me sad to think about the food industry in our country, what we feed our children in school, and what we consider normal eating. Organic food is expensive, relatively speaking, and organic restaurants are practically unheard of. Imagine what it would be like if you could eat organic gourmet dishes daily and cheaply??? What a concept. In addition, this is a Catholic University!! Luis Carlos is openly gay, works there as an adjunct, and is well respected. I sat down to observe people while Luis Carlos took care of some things. I was amazed at the relaxed atmosphere. People seemed happy, content, and relaxed. There was an exhibit the students had put together showing innovative approaches to recycling and improving the environment. It was very creative and practical. One was a beach umbrella with it's own trash container attached that goes into the sand and helps keep the umbrella sturdy and straight. There are no garbage cans on the beaches in Rio so most people leave their trash which is picked up by laborers in the wee hours of the morning. The students seem to be much more aware of the need for environmental change. Well, that was only one example.
The food and the relaxed, friendly ambiance was enough to make me wish i had studied here when i was younger.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My first 24 hours in Rio
Nov.24, 2010I finally arrived and got through customs easily. I didn't have to go through the hastle of having my bags opened, turning eveything upside down to see what i was bringing into Brazil. I had three pieces of luggage and a guitar. It would have been long ordeal and a mess to straighten out. The only question they asked was if my guitar was mine or (was i planning to sell it) not. No way, i said. It's mine and i am VERY attached to her. My entire trip went so smoothly until i walked out of customs and Luis Carlos was no where to be found. I was completely dependent on him to pick me up with all that luggage. Mind you, he is an extremely reliable person and ordinarily very punctual, unlike most Brazilians who live with a different sense of time than Americans. As i walked outside the first awareness i had was the air, so pungent and thick with humidity. My nostrils and skin immediately perked up to the smell and tangible physical sensation that is both familiar and yet had been so long. I breathed a sigh of relief just breathing in the tropical scent that i love and missed so much. But I didn't have my cell phone, or any "real" (brazilian money) with me. I felt stuck and unsure about what to i decided to do nothing but relax and wait. After a half hour a complete stranger came up to me and offered to loan me her cell phone. Apparently the "lost" facial expression mixed with anxiety was beginning to surface. I was so grateful. People are so willing to be helpful here. I remember that is one of the cultural gifts of living here. I called him and he was on his way, profusely apolegizing for his mistake. "I thought you were arriving at noon", he said."No. 11am and we arrived early." "OMG, I am so sorry. I don't know how i could have gotten the time mixed up. I'm on my way now! "I breathed a sigh of relief and truely relaxed while i watched for his red Volkswagon Fox.Since than we have walked to the beach, it has drizzled at least three times as if it can't make up it's mind......but that's not it. It's a tropical country. That's what the weather is like. I just forgot.After getting my luggage situated in his condo, we went to eat at an organic buffet where i proceeded to eat all the food i had missed for four years until i could eat no more. I had Thanksgiving early. I more than made up for missing Thanksgiving in the States which is day after tomorrow.Last night we met up with Luis Carlos's mother and later on with his brother. His brother is a psychologist and teaches at the University. Our discussions were centered on the political situations in the USA and the field of psychology. They both expressed support for the new FEMALE President of Brazil, Dilma Roussef. They also told me that there was a law passed 10 years ago that prohibits anyone from making racist statements or slurs. It is punishable by law and they do enforce this one. Not all Brazilian laws are enforced. What i like about this one is you can't pay your way out of it like a ticket. You have to do time. Imagine how quickly people learned to hold their tongues before speaking. WOW! Glen Beck, Russ Limbaugh, and most of Fox news would be in jail. I had a complete sense of satisfaction imagining this ban in our country. Obama would have a break for "a change". I am somewhat surprised by the progressive changes that have occurred here. It makes me even more aware of how my own country is back sliding into archaic and small minded cultural mores. I try to imagine what my own country would be like without rampid racism verbally spewing wrecklessly out at others and polluting others sense of safety and dignity. I think it would be a nicer place to live. It might not stop racism at first, but we wouldn't have to be exposed to it and it sets a good example for the younger generations.It is impossible to get work here without a CPF number. It means i'll be getting married to Luis Carlos's brother, Toni ASAP. Toni, the psychologist. It turns out that Luis Carlos can't marry me because he and his partner have been together for almost 10 years and have conjugal rights. If he married me it would nullify that. So he kindly offered his brother. So Gay couples have more civil rights than we do at this point. Marriage is the only way i'll be able to get my life going here, if I am to have a chance at staying here and finding decent work. He's gay too. How convenient. It will make for a great marriage on paper. No interviews here. So much simpler. Everyone wants to help. How refreshing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And i need it too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!