August 31, 2015

Brazil: First Impressions

Our family is officially living in Brazil. We are sharing a home with Tymon's business partner and his family. They have 3 kids so we are a family of 12 now. I think we've got the chores set up so everything will run smoothly. Tymon and his partner are still trying to solidify details on a location for the trampoline park. There are ups and downs on that path. Mostly frustrations. They've been in negotiations with several landlords since last November. We didn't expect this part of the process to take so long.

Here is a photo of our home. We live in a gated community with guards at the entrances/exits as well as in stations within. I feel safe, but also a little trapped. I like to get out and go somewhere every day. And I don't mean the back yard. Ha ha. But what I love best are the many trees with flowers on them. They look and smell beautiful.

Notice the garbage bins in front of the house...the garbage people come three times per week. Why three times you ask?

Have a look at our toilet. Not only is the shape odd...like you'll fall in if your not careful, but the pipes are small. So you can't put toilet paper in the toilet because it clogs easily. 

You've got to put it in the trash next to the toilet. Yes. Used toilet paper in the garbage. Number one, two and three. So you see having the garbage picked up thrice a week is imperative to sweet smelling commode. On day one, I was 50/50 for remembering not to flush my paper. Since then, I've been golden.

I was a bit confused when asking Tymon about what types of outlets they used in Brazil and what kind of adapter I would need to have for my Vitamix...the only appliance I brought. He said I'd be fine. What he meant was that there is little standardization in outlets/appliances. I bought a Brazilian lamp for my Brazilian desk the other day and found I couldn't plug it in the Brazilian outlet. Today I went to Walmart thinking that finding the right adapter would be simple. NO. Not simple. I spent 20 minutes in front of a bin of adapters texting Tymon to send me photos of the lamp cord, the outlet next to the lamp, the Vitamix cord, the outlet next to it, etc. What the heck?!?! In other news, I've never seen so many adapters so cheap in all my life.

Our boys have been in a Brazilian school for the past month. Jocelyn and Kira will start tomorrow. One thing I like is that the kids wear uniforms. No thinking about what to wear. It's already decided. They also ride a private school bus. I've seen some others around town today. Some were original VW busses that seat 8-10. Others were of varying degrees of quality. This bus is the fanciest I've seen and comes complete with a lady to carry Jett's bag for him. That may change with Kira riding the bus tomorrow, though. I think her back pack is bigger than she is.

Traffic-wise, it's a bit crazy here. At some point, (maybe this week?) we'll buy a car. Driving around a new car makes me nervous about putting a mark on it. And I think it's highly likely one or both of us will put a dent in it. And it's only because I don't fully understand the traffic rules...like when is it appropriate to stop at a stop sign and when should I run it? Or when to stop at a red light? Doing the wrong thing (even if you think you're right), can get your rear-ended. This morning, I thought we were going to witness a 6 car crash...but it all worked out and no one hit each other. Truly amazing.

I'd like to take a driving class...just to know how the rules are officially taught. Then maybe I'll open up an Offensive Driving School...just got to get the hang of the driving culture here. The traffic lights here have counter lights to the side of them that count down to when the red light will turn green or the green light will turn yellow. Seems ingenious...until you realize that Brazilians shy away from any standardization. That means some lights move between the counter lights quickly and others very slowly. Part of me likes the quirky-ness.

2 Riveting COMMENTS:

  1. thanks for the pictures!! Now I can picture you guys in my head! The girls look so cute and I bet Kira is super excited she gets to go to school. Hows the doggy bite? Take care!! Its so interesting to hear how they do things in different countries.

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  2. Thanks for the update, Bridget. I love the pictures and the commentary. When Pat and I spent a couple of weeks in Mexico as part of our 2 1/2 month honeymoon, we spent some time driving in Mexico City where I ultimately figured out how to drive safely. It sounds like there may be similarities (and the toilet's flushability was the same as well). People didn't expect you to be friendly on the road, nor did they offer friendliness. The secret is that you do what you want such as changing lanes in front of someone in the next lane, and he backs off on his pedal and lets you slide in. No horn honking or middle fingers. You let others do what they need to, also. I don't recall (it's been almost 50 years though) any crashes. A lot of these lane changes happened in traffic circles making them even more nerve wracking. Do you remember our family was in Tia Juana and JC was learning to drive. We let him get behind the wheel, and I recall being nervous when he hit a traffic circle. We survived.

    The toilets are the same there as in Brazil. Why in the world don't they use bigger pipes as is building code requirements here? What would it cost to increase the size of the pipes, 50% more? Well worth the convenience!

    John and Pat

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