Saturday, June 23, 2012


The husband came home from our favorite grocery store with an impulse purchase:

They are harvested twice a year--November, and now!   I've had them before (thanks to Fruit Day at school, which has provided me with lots of different exotic fruits to try).  They look kind of like grapes, and they have a big seed (pit?) in the middle.  The skin is a little sour, and my husband prefers to eat them without the skin, but I like them with.

And thanks to my wikipedia research, they are native to Minas Gerais.  They have a very short shelf life (3 or 4 days), so they are pretty much unknown outside of our state.  The other fascinating thing is that the fruit grows on the trunk of the tree.  I've never seen it in person, but someday:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Google Voice to make calls to the States!

Wow, I'm so excited. 

In one of my last posts, I asked about making and receiving phone calls on my new Android phone.  And today I figured out how to do it! I can't promise that my instructions will work for in all situations, but this is what I did.

1.  Get a google voice phone number.  I had to do this while I was in the states, because I needed to have a physical phone line to register the number.  Don't ask me how to do this.  I just found the directions on the Google Voice website.

2.  Download Groove IP on your Android phone.  You can also google information on how this works.  I actually downloaded Groove IP Light from the App store for free!  The "normal" app is about USD $5

3.  You have to make sure that your Google Voice settings are set to "chat."  Again, if this doesn't make sense, do a google search.

4.  Log into Groove IP on your phone.  As long as you have a data connection (WiFi with Groove IP light, or if you pay the USD $5 I think you can do it over your mobile data network) you should be able to make and receive phone calls. 

And I still love technology...

Friday, June 15, 2012

The popularity of the Farmer blow in Brazil??

One of the many "perks" of our current apartment is that we get to hear our neighbors.  We hear them talking on the phone.  We hear them arguing (and they hear us).  And, we hear them clearing their nasal passages.  Not just one neighbor.  But many neighbors.  Loudly. 

I wouldn't post about this, except that I've had other conversations/experiences/observations recently that lead me to believe that the Farmer Blow is an acceptable the method of blowing one's nose for Mineiro men (and perhaps women too).

1.  Someone confided in me that their significant other would clear his nose in the shower.  Every day.  And if I understood the Portuguese correctly, it was perhaps even while she was in the shower with him.  Ew.

2.  At my son's 8th birthday party, we had several boys spend the night.  In the morning, one of the boys was all stuffed up.  He went into the bathroom and proceeded to blow all the crap in his nose into the sink.  With the door open. 

3.  Total lack of Kleenex.  Okay expats:  when was the last time that you saw a box of Kleenex in Brazil?  I know they sell it at Araujo for like R$10 a box, but seriously.  All the places you would normally find it in the states (a waiting room, your mother's bathroom, schools, doctor's office) are TOTALLY vacant of Kleenex.  Is everyone out there blowing their snot on the sidewalk?  Along with leaving their dog poop? 

Anyone want to speak to this?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Apps for Expats

My wonderful, amazing dear hubby got my a smart phone for Dia dos Namorados.  This beauty is to replace the previous cell phone that was duly given tribute here.  I had always told him that I didn't want an IPhone or a fancy schmancy phone, because I have a tendency to be a little rough on things.  And the idea of investing in a small, breakable electronic that I carry all over the place felt like, well.... a risk.  But my husband loves me, and decided it was time for me to grow technologically. 

And I'm surprised at just how happy it makes me.  I never really understood what a "smart" phone was, and I'm not going to explain it here.  But it's so nice to be able to have instant access to so much information.  I'm having a lot of fun playing with it. 

And dear readers, I'm asking for your help.  What apps do you find helpful?  I just found out about Whatsapp, and I know I can get Skype and probably some language apps.  But any suggestions?  Recommendations? 

What I'd REALLY love is the ability to be able to text my sister in Africa (she doesn't have a Smart Phone), and to be able to call a land line in the US, or receive phone calls from the states (for free of course).  I do have a Google Voice number, but I think since I'm outside of the US I can't use it to receive phone calls on my phone. 

Comment away!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday afternoon walk in the neighborhood

I went out for a little walk this afternoon, trying to soak up the sun (it's been unseasonably rainy and overcast this fall) and get a little exercise.  While (successfully) attempting to avoid the dog poop, I saw a few things that caught my attention and I thought were worthy of mentioning here.  I realize it's been a little slow on the "blog front" recently, but hey.  You are here.  You are reading this.

1.  Quail eggs on sale!  One of my favorite little corner grocery stores has a sale on quail eggs.  I don't know the usual price, but this week they are R$1,99 (USD $.98).  Quail eggs are very popular here, especially hard boiled and served along with lunch or in a kind of herbed salad with onion and olive oil  and vinegar.  I first had them at a Self-service restaurant (a restaurant where you pick what you want and pay for it by the kilo).  Sebastian and I are the only ones who like them, but I don't think we'll have any problem finishing off 30 little eggs in a few days time.

2.  Dog booties.  You wouldn't want your little schmoopy poopy lap dog to get it's cute little paws dirty and then bring that horribly yucky dirt from the rua (street) into your pristine apartment.  So of course, you have dog slippers!

3.  Two new lançamentos (announcement regarding a new building project) for new luxury apartment buildings.  Alto padrão!  Lazer completo!  There is so much building going on right now, it's nutty.  And even though there are LOTS of apartments for sale right now, apparently there is still a market for new, bland looking apartment buildings. 

Off to take my allergy medicine.  It turns out that my sore throat and general lethargy are due to some allergy that I've acquired.   I never would have guessed that, but it's nice to know that I don't have an infection or some kind of weird throat growth.  Tchau!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

sick day

I woke up this morning and decided to take a sick day.  A well deserved sick day, I must say.  I've had a very sore throat for over a week.  Normally I would just suck it up and head to work.  But I'm a music teacher and my voice just needs a rest. 

Plus, I've just been downright exhausted recently.  I just finished the 2012 season of the Kelzenberg Kids birthday parties.  I had a lot of fun, I think the kids felt loved and celebrated, but it took its toll on me.  So today is going to be a much needed day of R and R.  What am I going to do?

1.  Go see a movie at the theater.  And buy a fountain drink!  Ah, the luxury!!!
2.  Eat a mango.  A whole mango.
3.  Play Mario Cart with my kids.
4.  Not do any dishes!  (Irene is coming today, hooray!)  Nor will I do any laundry.
5.  Finally take a look to see what is on the Kindle, and start reading something.
6.  Dream about some vacation time in July.  My husband has to work pretty much the entire month, but the kids and I have off 2 weeks.  Some planning is in store.
7.  Drink lots of tea, lime juice and honey.

Here's to getting healthy!