Just a thought....
Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Town again

Republica Sê Liberdade - 24 August 2008  - 016a

The weather is fairly fresh here today. Jorge and I went into town this morning to collect the leather item we were meant to get last week. What should have been a 1 hour bus ride into town (before taking the metro to our destination) turned out way more.

Every year, around this time, they have a day where ALL university student hopefuls go to allocated schools and universities to do a test to see if they qualify. One of those locations was on our route. The traffic was backed up for miles! Many of the students on the bus got off way before their destination to walk, as it would be faster. They had to check in by 1pm or lose out on their chance to go to university until the following year. Once through that traffic mess, we 'sped' along to the metro station for the next leg of the journey. We took a different route to last week to eliminate a lot of the walking.

The leather guy came through for us this time. I'm fairly pleased with the work. We decided to go home the same way we went there last week to avoid the university issues, which turned out to be a mistake.... after a fashion. We walked from Republica to Liberdade (the Japanese quarter), where we stopped off at one of their little supermarkets. This place is incredible to walk through... narrow and cramped with absolutely everything written in Japanese... with tiny translations to either Portuguese or English below the Japanese. We got some of our favourite Japanese biscuits and I suggested we go through to the spice section. I struggle to get decent spices here. We went this whole winter with No curry! Much to my delight, curry is just what I found there! A whole big bag of it! : ) And mushrooms, for which I would gladly exchange a limb. We love mushrooms here, but struggle to find them and when we do, they're horrendously expensive. They're reasonably easy to find in pickled form, but who wants pickled mushrooms. I want them fresh!

We went off to get the bus. Liberdade is one huge construction site right now, so we pretty much end up having to stand in the road waiting for the bus. We waited for around 45 minutes (we should have taken the hint). Finally the bus came and people crawled out from the woodwork to pile on. Who knows where the others were waiting.

I think, for the home trip, we should have done the route we went out on. The favela I blogged about was being filmed. Funny, the last time we went through, I was saying to Jorge that I wished we could get that place on film and wondered if anyone would be brave enough to try. A massive detour and an idiot who felt the need to stand behind my seat and lean over my head (I seem to attract them) later, we got home just before Tat left to go to her dance meeting. Now I need to finish up those photos I took. Yes, I'm still muddling my way through them.

Hope you're all having a good weekend.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

A quick blog to prove I'm still alive

It's been a somewhat crazy time since I last blogged. I never even got to visit all the PP entries on Friday.


Friday evening, I was asked if I wanted to go with Tatiana to see the Lithuanian dance troupe's presentation at the 40th annual Cherry blossom festival in Campos do Jordão, a small town in the mountains about a 3 hour drive away from here. I went... camera in hand. We met the bus at 6:30am. The day was overcast and damp. I loved the event though... the kids were amazing. Ok, they weren't really 'kids'. Most were Tat's age and over. The 'team' spirit was wonderful.... on the bus, regardless of the hour of starting and all the way there. Once we arrived, there was  a short time where a few of us wandered through the gardens.


The dancing was incredible... energetic, fun, colourful. The dancers actually 'looked' as though they were having loads of fun, such a rare thing to see. I'll blog that day separately... if I can rescue some photos. I discovered at that event how bad my photography really is *sigh*

We arrived home after 10pm, ate some delicious chicken Jorge had prepared (how sweet) and collapsed.


Sunday, Jorge and I had to go into Praça da Republica to collect a leather item which was in for repair... it wasn't ready. I was so annoyed. It is an all-day event for us to go in, involving a long bus ride and a fairly long walk. I took some more 'realistic' São Paulo photos, which I'll put up at some point. So many people tell me we live in 'paradise' ; ) We got home tired, but it was a good day otherwise.

Sunday night, I got an e-mail from Felicity's sister, speaking of her day with Fel. It tore at my heart... I knew the end was near. Monday, I got stuck into the dance photos, as I want to be able to have them online in time for the next dance practice. I checked mail rather late. Felicity was gone. My day just crumbled. I have been struggling to pick up from there... so there you have it... my 'quick' blog, where I was going to talk about how I had nothing to say for myself.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Birthday boy

feuding family - jorge corrianne tatiana - xmas 2007


Jorge, the family clown, trouble maker, stirrer of the year...

Over a mug of his favourite Malzbier, we asked him, "How does it feel to be middle aged?"

"I don't feel middle aged," said he.

Tatiana reached over and twirled the curl over his growing bald patch. "So how does it feel to be going bald?"

I think he snarled.... before he got his revenge.... Ooh yes... he got his revenge, right Tat? ; )

Happy Birthday Jorge!

Technorati Tags: ,,

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Goodbye my friend

For Fel


Goodbye My Friend - Casey Stratton


Felicity, I said goodbye to you a while back, when you got to the point where talking was too painful. All the pain and confusion is over. You are at peace now and in a good place, but, oh my friend... you are so missed.


Into the dim lit, bare walls of my world,
You entered, bringing light and life to me,
The vivid colors, painted with a swirl
Of wit and charm, of personality,
With tender care, you added comfort, warmth,
And images that line the now bright walls.
I look upon them fondly, bringing forth
A thankfulness that you walk in these halls
With me; our friendship has become a part
Of my world now; it has its special place,
Within my being, life, and in my heart,
Your name hangs right beside your smiling face.
Rememb'ring just how drab these walls had been,
I have to thank you for the light, my friend.

Tat wrote this poem, "All I can do", for me, not long after we were told of Fel's prognosis:

All I Can Do
All I can do
Is try and make you smile,
Watch you suffer,
Cry out in pain -
Why didn’t I foresee this?
Why can’t I make it go away?
Holding your hand,
I breathe deep again,
Wipe away another tear
Wish I had known,
Found some miracle cure
How could this happen?
Why did it happen?
You of all people
My heart shatters,
My world falls apart.
Please don’t leave,
I need you.

© Tatiana Lasevicius

Technorati Tags: ,,

Friday, 22 August 2008

I'm angry

We just took our dogs and the cat for their annual rabies shots.
Specs was a breeze... she got a little wild in the eyes, but kept still and devoured her treats when we got home.


Dingo was easy, though she wet herself when the needle went in. That must have hurt. Still hyper as ever. In fact, I strongly suspect there was caffeine in that shot!

2008-05-15 - Dingo

Romany... my tough boy... is hurting. We used to give our dogs their rabies shots ourselves, having large dogs (a shepherd, a great dane and a rotweiller) and living on a small holding. We injected, as the vets did, under the skin. Last time, they injected the dogs into the rump, which is fairly understandable too. This time, they lifted the dogs' hind leg and injected underneath the thigh.... close to... well... you know.... That must have hurt like crazy. Romany was crying all the way home and his leg kept twitching. He couldn't get comfortable lying, or standing. Sitting was out of the question. He refused all treats. Poor baby. He's so miserable. I gave him some Eco-heal, a homeopathic remedy for dogs, which speeds healing. He's looking more chipper now, but still sorry for himself. What on earth makes them inject under there??? There's so much that the needle can hit and cause damage to!

2008-05-15 - Romany

Technorati Tags: ,,,

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Lookalike ~ A Picture Perfect Theme


They're twins! I tell you...
Duke and Hercules.
Hercules is the sleeping twin
100% lookalikes
In every way
Don't ever tell them otherwise


Of course, I was going to put up this incredible likeness.... don't you agree, that the resemblance is spot on?


Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Why Tint?

I am in the process of moving my entire personal site to Multiply. This is off my site...

Back in 1984...  ... when I was completing high school.... The annual tradition was to have what we called a "Matric Farewell Dance" and a "Matric Banquet". The dance was our final year dance to which boyfriends, friends, blind dates, etc were invited. The banquet was a more formal event to which only parents were invited. In both cases, the Std 9 (or grade 11) students did the decor and planning for the event. Our banquet theme was 'Fantasy' and each Matriculant received a personalized scroll.

This is mine.... 

That was not the end of the story though. It was a brilliant help with finding a name that wasn't already used in my earlier Yahoo days. Tintalasia became my ID, but a little long for regular use, so my dearest friends at the time... the Gyms... nicknamed me Tint and it stuck. You will find that if you Google 'tintalasia', it is my login just about everywhere : ) So there you have it! The 'Because...' part of Tint!

Technorati Tags: ,,

Monday, 11 August 2008

The streets of São Paulo

SP streets

I went in this morning to collect my sewing machine. When Jorge called for the quote, he was told that the bobbin was cracked (it is plastic). I said... no way. I'm going in myself to check. Turns out the guy he spoke to though tit was cracked, but what he was seeing was the slot for securing the thread. My machine is purring like a well-oiled engine. Music to my ears! The guy who worked on it has probably been working on those machines since the the old treadle machines.

The bus we took was one of those that take you on a 'tour' of the city before you get to your destination. Talk about a long drawn-out route. We arrived close to our destination with just a few blocks to walk. I was in for a surprise.

One thing I continually find fascinating about São Paulo is the sectorised shopping. If you're looking for jeans, there will be an entire street, often a few streets, that only sell jeans. The same goes for wedding dresses, kitchen implements, shoes, trainers (yes, trainers have their own 'section'). Whatever you're looking for, there is bound to be a sector selling just varieties of that item. Today, we were in the fabrics, needlework, and sewing machine sectors.

Walking to the street with the sewing machines was a treat... fabric stores both sides of the road with tons of variety! The area was surprisingly clean and well kept considering it was close to the center of town. What a pleasure. Apparently, it used to be the old Jewish quarter. We passed a fairly run-down synagogue on our way out, which was still in use. Today, the area has more Koreans in, apparently. Now I know where the fabrics are, I replenish my stock when I'm done sewing up what I've got. I saw the tracksuiting was only R$13/meter... a pretty good price. Hm... that is about US$8/yard. I don't know how that compares to overseas prices.

When we'd done there, we went to see if we could get a new seal for my pressure cooker. That was trickier. They don't work with serial numbers, but want to see the parts, so we'll have to go back. Jorge can do that another day. The walk back was long. We left the Jewish quarter and went home via Estação da Luz, through the center of the city, past Sê Cathedral, and on to Liberdade, the Japanese quarter. We arrived just in time to get the bus going home.

On our way home, there was a bit of a fracas over some street kids who were riding holding onto the back of a bus ahead of us. Just a slip and those kids would fall under the car or bus behind. Very dangerous. Later, an old lady got on the bus. I think she must have been quite a beauty in her heyday. She greeted everyone, then looked over our way and commented on my, to put it euphemistically, rosy cheeks. The reality was that I was toasting and I always look like a broiled lobster when hot. Without a word from me (I had given her a rather embarrassed smile), she went on about how her grandparents on one side were German and Italian and on the other side were Spanish and Arab. She then looked at me again and said, "You don't speak Portuguese, do you?" in Portuguese, of course. I said 'no' and she went on, slower, with hand signals, that underneath all our blood is red and how she wishes me well from her heart to mine. She was so sweet. I spoke about two words the whole time. She just chattered away : ) I love chatting to the old folk. I get frustrated here when I don't understand them. I think this lady had a wealth of stories to tell. Our trip home then took us through the favela where I learned something interesting. I'll post on that later.
In short, it was a fairly successful morning. The skies are clear, the air fresh, the sun shining... a great day for getting out. 

Technorati Tags: ,,



Yesterday, I mentioned that I had learned something interesting about the Favela. 'Favelas' are what Brazilian slums are called. Interestingly, they have an origin besides simple rank poverty.

The slum I have photographed here is not very far from where we live. I photographed this long ago when we were driving by in a hired car. It is not the kind of place where you go to do a photo shoot. It was this favela that brought on the discussion and learning curve.

Jorge and I came home and looked up the entymology of the word 'favela' to confirm the story he heard. We enjoy digging into the history of language. It turns out that the word 'favela' originated on a hill in Rio de Janeiro. This hill had many 'fava' trees. After the war of the 'Canudo' (Don't ask about that... I have no clue), many soldiers returned home and were left destitute by the country they had just fought for. No longer earning a living fighting, they had no income. They built up this collective housing settlement on this hill and called it "Favela". The word has since become the generic word for slums here. Another curious thing about favelas here is that they can be found in any area, be it a wealthy, upmarket area, or a downtown 'poor' area. The city center has a few upright 'favelas', tall buildings that have been turned into slums.

Researching the 'fava' tree led me to this site where I discovered that it is either a mimosa or family of the mimosa. Very interesting!

Back to our favela....


Our bus regularly takes us past this favela. It intrigues me. The homes, as you can see in this photo, are skew, ramshackled, tiny, and not quite the kind of dwelling any of us can see ourselves being happy in. The people, for the most part, do appear to be content. I strongly suspect that this dwelling also houses the 'pub', judging by the quantity of bottles of '51', a well known 'cachaça'. Cachaça, incidentally, is a locally-made cane spirit.

What makes these people content? They have so little. Their homes are rudimentary at best.  Some have pot plants balancing precariously on ledges outside their windows. Some are brightly painted, but, for the most part, delapidation is the order of the day. Few of the people I know are totally content, not wanting more.

This provoked a long discussion between Jorge and I as we trundled on our way home. What makes us want more? What is it that makes us not settle for 'less'? Jorge speculated over the whole 'ruler class' and 'slave class'. Class aside... what is it that makes us want to better ourselves? What is it that makes people like this content to stay where they are? What is the difference? Is it because they know what is important in life or is it because they have given up? Are we shallow for wanting more... for wanting better? I have learned a new set of priorities over the years. What 'things' are truly important and what aren't. I still think that if I found myself living in a place like this, I would slowly die. When I am being honest with myself, I know this to be true. I have often said that if I had my family around me, I'd be happy in a tin shack, but would I? I doubt it.

Having said all that, I have a great deal of admiration for the people who live in the favelas and really make a go of it, prettying up their homes with whatever they can find... living in dignity... making the best of their lot. I bet they whine a lot less than I do too!

Technorati Tags: ,,,,

Friday, 08 August 2008

Calling Major Tom

departure for Australia

So we got a message today. Jorge's brother, Henrique, is finally off to Australia... the start of a new life. We just got, "Cheers mate! We're on our way!" They leave South Africa on the 14th. They're currently living with Marlise's family and have already sold all they need to sell. I think we'll have no contact with them until they land in Australia. We then have to wait to hear from them.

I'm thrilled for them. I wish them every happiness and smooth sailing on this new journey. I can't help being a just a little envious though. Ah well... our turn will come : ) Funny, I was busy working on my new Multiply theme when I got the message. Somehow fits.

Before our phone line went down, we had had incredibly dry weather. That ended a couple of days before we got telecoms back. We have since had nightly storms and pretty much constant drizzle. Apparently a record amount of rain for August? Don't know where they get that from. Yes, it has been raining and we've gone from constant bone dry to constant damp, but still...

My sewing machine has finally gone in for repair/maintenance. This machine was given to me by Jorge when Tatiana was just a couple of months old. It has worked very hard. It has taken me through soft furnishings in 10 houses, much of our clothes these past 18 years, self-employment doing soft furnishings for others, and so much more. If they had told me it was past repair, I wouldn't have been surprised. They had never seen this model of machine. It is old, for one, and secondly, was bought in SA, where machines are very different to here. Repair quote, a very surprising R$50 (US$31). Nice! I have a pile of fabric and a major deficit in pants. I need to get sewing. Shopping for clothes in this land of midgets is... well... challenging ; ) On the other hand... sewing time means time away from the pc. Oh dear... *sigh* I can't win haha!

Technorati Tags: ,,

Thursday, 07 August 2008

Calling Major Tom

phone lines

Remember that song? I might as well have been out on some space ship this week for all the difference it made.

Friday morning at 10:30, our internet abruptly died... totally. Jorge went to call Telefonica, our service provider, and found the phone was dead too. When he got outside, he encountered a guy from Electropaulo (the electricity dept) who was connecting power to a house two doors away. He told Jorge that a truck had come by and snagged our phone line. Jorge went up the road to the nearest public phone and reported the incident to Telefonica. They told him it would be repaired within 72 hours. Simple, huh?

We waited.

I started organising and backing up my pc. On Saturday, Tat and I went into town. Sunday, we sorted out some of our disastrous store room. Sunday night, we were beginning to get annoyed. Monday morning, we were angry.

All work Jorge and I get comes in via the internet. The client calls to see if he is available, then the work gets sent via e-mail. Internet downtime means zero income, a situation we can ill afford. Yes, it was over the weekend, but that is often when work comes in for Jorge. My work is far more sporadic.

Monday morning, Jorge went off to the Telefonica offices, where he was told that the 72 hour wait was 72 office hours! What was more.... the 72 hours would only start the day after the original complaint. This meant that the Friday incident would only be counted from the Monday morning!! *insert expletives of your choice here*
So we waited some more. Wednesday rolled in... no internet. Jorge went to Pro Con this morning first thing. Pro Con is a consumer rights thing. They arbitrate between you and the company in question. They're pretty good. They told him to return tomorrow morning with the last 6 months' worth of phone bills at which point they'd take action. Huh?! On his way home, he stopped in at Telefonica again... a new problem...

The girl at Telefonica said, "Oh.... isn't that strange. You are down for a line inspection. There is nothing here about a line being damaged. We'll have to put in a new service request." How long would it take? From the time the new service request went in... another 72 hours!! That would take us through to next Tuesday. Jorge got a little... upset. Jorge doesn't 'do' moderation. He either does nothing or totally blows his fuse. He blew a fuse, then came home and settled to wait some more, with plans to go to Pro Con in the morning. Pro Con has the  power to enforce immediate action, but, to get anything done, you really have to be there by 7am or you only get attended to late afternoon. That is the length of the queues there.

At 4pm, our front bell went. It was the technician who was cursing on his own account. Apparently, he could have had this job done virtually immediately after the first call went in. They have spent the whole week being sent out to jobs that other technicians had already been assigned to. Apparently all the technicians are complaining. To top it all, we have had some much needed rain and they have had to work out in the rain, poor guys. He was aghast at how long we had to wait. We learned something else too. The call center for Telefonica isn't in this city, but in some far-off little town in the same state, but far away... where they have absolutely no idea of the geography and demography of the city of São Paulo. No wonder it is such a mess.

But.... I'm back online... and we actually survived this period without killing each other, so all is well. I will try to catch up, but may not go to all the backlog of blogs. Gosh, it's good to be in touch with friendly faces again. At times like this, I realise how cut off I am from the rest of the world when I don't have internet... and McD's has removed all its computers. Who said they could do that???

Oh the photo? That is the mess of wires outside our home ; )