Saturday, February 24, 2007

The day has come!

...Deep breath....
I'm meeting Al's mom today. It's his birthday on Tuesday, so we're all going today to his sister's today and he's gonna cook for everyone, as he usually do on his birthdays. Que meeeeeeedo!!
Wish me good luck! :s
(man, and I still don't know what I'm giving's hard!!!)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

One month!

Today I complete my first month in the us!! (it feels like years tho...). Well, I'm really busy now so i can't write much else but I didn't want to "passar em branco" (lit: "let it go in white"...blah you americans don't have an expression for that so you learn the portuguese one because it's cool!)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Good news

Long time no post! sorry...but it was for a good reason! I finally finished one of the assignments for the newspaper, and on the meantime I had also been sending resumes to the stuff I really wanted to do. Turns out I got it! The first interview was last Friday, and I already started doing things as an administrative intern for an up and coming dance, it doesn't even pay the bills, but I'm really excited! I still have another interview tomorrow for another place, let's see how it goes...(maybe I can even do both together).

Today was a looong day! I spent the morning in a much nicer side of Brooklyn, near Smith Street (lots of restaurants and boutiques), where the dance company's office is. Then I met Al at Columbus Circle (pic, from inside the mall) and we had lunch at Whole Foods, the trendiest New Yorkers' market hehehehe. It's really cool, it's an improved Pao de Acucar, where you can shop for products and also eat in a self-service setting. They had japanese, morrocan, indian, salads, some very good stuff. The eating area sits 1156 people and has a very modern design, with color-changing walls and all. Then we spent some time at the the Time Warner building mall, where I bought Thomas Pynchon's V., an author I discovered through Tonya's blog, and also hang out at the impressive Samsung store, where every product is simply for sampling, they don't sell anything (some are not even released in the US market). You can try everything from phones to laptops to huge plasma TVs sitting in comfortable couches, without being bothered with the pressure to buy anything. Gets you thinking how much money do they have so they can put up something like that.
From there to higlight of the day: ice skating in Central Park! We had soooo much fun! I was really scared to get in that rink, since it was my first time ever, but everything went fine and I only fell once! hahaha we got there when it was still daylight and only left after it was dark (photos on Flickr). It's expensive (12 for each adult, plus 5 for the skate rental and 3.75 for locker rental), but it's really worthy it! (pic: kids sliding on ice behind sax player @ Central Park). It was hard at first, but slowly I was able to slide by myself, and it feels so good. With the music on the background, feels like you're in a movie. In the end my body couldn't go anymore but I just kept going for "one last lap" (my ankle was destroyed but it's ok hehehe)
It was Sunday night, but we could still do some more window shopping at the city that never sleeps, so we headed to the famous 5th Ave. and the drool-worthy Mac Store, and some other fancy stores around. To wrap up the day, US' probably best hamburgers, Jersey City's Fatburger (nothing to do with your usual McDonalds, uh-uh), and that was it!

PS: People always tell you how nice it is to see snow for the first time but they fail to tell you how disgusting is to have to navigate trhough that dirty mess for several days after the actual storm. Ew! Ok, I've had my share of that, can we please go back to clean and walkable streets?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


You never forget your first snow storm. YAY! :D

Something funny happened today, I was on the phone with a girl trying to get information on where I could exchange my travelers checks, and you know when you are spelling a name and you say a word very recognizable so she can understand what is it, like in Brazil we say "p" de "pato", "n" de "navio" and so on, so I was spelling my name to her and she was trying to it "f" for "father"? Me: no, "s", as in...(30 seconds trying to figure out a simple word begining with s)..."sing?" She: what? hahahaha It got me so confused that I even said my name wrong to her (the situation lasted for some good 5 minutes)! hahaha
I had never thought about it but she wanted to confirm every letter using this system, and I really didn't have the slightest idea of which words they use for what!
So, just in case you ever find yourself in that situation, here's a quick dictionnary (at least those were the ones she used: F - father, A-apple, P-Peter, C-Charles, S-sugar
what I -and most people- use in portuguese for those is: F-faca(knife), A-amor(love), P-pato(duck), C-casa(house), S-sapo(frog)

Monday, February 12, 2007


What better way to forget about your problems than shopping? (or window shopping at least). This weekend we went to those places that come to mind when you think of New York, or at least that came to my mind. Village, West Village, Soho, Little Italy, East Village. We walked so much! And as you pass the streets you recognize all their names, you don't even know why but you do (Bleecker st., Houston, etc etc). It was all so great.

First we saw a performance by Amas, a musical theatre organization that Al sits in the board of. Then we strolled from the cute little Village shops (pic) to the high-end Soho fashion stores. (pic, Prada store - where you were not allowed to take pics - exactly as seen on Sex and the City! hehehe
And restaurants and more restaurants. Then we headed to the Lower East side to see Borat (unbelivable! It's not so much that it's funny, as I was expecting, but that you just can't believe the guts he had to do all he did. Very worthy watching.) To wrap up the day, we went to John's Pizzeria (In Times Square, nothing to do with were we were, but I said I was in the mood for some good pizza). According to Al, they're one of the last places that make brick-oven pizzas here (as it should be). Though good, they owe absolutely nothing to any Sao Paulo take out/"delivery". Sigh. I was exhausted by the end of the day but it was great!

Oh we also finally got some dishes, so we can get rid of the disposable ones (ok Tati? - oh, by the way, I saw a girl on the subway that looked so much like you! I'm gonna put the pic up on flickr! hehehe)

More NYC Trivia:
- on the subway, you can exit at the same turnstiles that people get in
- they don't have 3-phase street lights, so when you're at a corner and the light is green to pedestrians it's also green to cars that are turning, it's horrible! You really have to watch out.
- I saw my first rat in the subway (on the tracks). EEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWW. (Like Erica said, I could lick Sao Paulo's subway's floor after seeing these ones here).

On Wednesday it's Valentines Day here! (I have no idea if I'm doing anything special or even if I'm buying anything for Al - specially cause his birthday is in a few days too - but I thought it was worthy the mention...)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Where's the manual for adulthood?

I have to admit that this freelance for this newspaper totally depressed me. It's so NOT what I want to do it hurts. I accepted to do it cause I was really worried about not having a source of income, but I realized I'm just wasting my time. The time I had planned to work on it I started sending resumes to the things I'm really interested at (but are harder to know why). I've decided to do just one of the things she briefed me and then talk to her about this situation.
And here's the thing. I have no idea how to manage my thoughts, and my time in consequence. I never worked as freelance, so I kindda only had to think about my job when it was time to work, and the rest of the day I could think about the other stuff, which wasn't that much anyway apart from my own personal interests. Now it's like, I have to think about the work (I don't have a fixed schedule, of course), about the things I have to do at home, about the things I have to do with Al, and about the other things that are of my own personal interest. And I start thinking about all of it at the same time, so I start doing things at the same time and don't complete any as I wanted, or I just waste my time thinking and don't do anything at all! I'm not even sure if I could explain that well, cause it's really confusing even to me. Arrrrghhhhhhhhhh
On another note, I met Alta (Al's sister) in person for the first time! She came to visit us. She's really great! :D And also we've been having a lot of fun with that couple I think I've mentioned before, Judy and Chris. I'm getting to know Jersey City better and I really like it, it's small and pretty (there must be some not-so-pretty neighbourhoods, but of course I don't need to go there! hehehe)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Random stuff

- As the days progress, things become better and better when it comes to the fine tuning between me and Al. It helps a lot that the apartment is finally free of unnecessary clutter and everything we got is on its place, tho it's still a work in progress. hehehe As you know what to expect (and what not to) from each other, the day-to-day life gets easier, and (much) nicer.

- Just to make you girls jealous, Al cooks divinely, and he's cooking dinner and doing the dishes every night! (not to mention the desserts he makes, like this heavenly nutty brownie from yesterday!) hey, pick your jaws off the floor, it's cold! (In exchange, I make the bed everyday and get to clean the bathroom - but he cleans the bathtub. That is, after I "hint" about it for several days in a row) .

- they're changing the name of my ballet class to "advanced begginer", it seems they just realized what it really is! hehehe Anyway, I went to my 2nd one today and it was awesome!
And also I'm getting to know lots of interesting people, if only for a brief moment.

- people here actually stand on the right on escalators and wait untill people get off the train to start getting in. As a heavy user of public transportation, I can only say that's a dream.

- I had an allergy all over my face that was making me look like a monster, and I was using so many new stuff that it was diffcult to figure out the cause, but I think I finally did, it was probably the make-up remover cloths....(I was used to liquid ones)

- I went to Newark today. I didn't like the city itself a bit.

- I finally got my nails done and also some waxing! Yay for Brazilian salons (one in every corner)! One thing, tho....while the nails and the underarm pricing can be equivalent (10 dollars each, or 8 dollars the underarm at a Boticario store) - meaning they will not always be, u can find it for waaaay more if you want - don't expect the same for your "bikini area". Cheapest I found, even on the brazilian salons, was 30 bucks!! :(

- Last and least, I got a freelance gig on a Brazilian newspaper (#1 reason I went to Newark). Unlike Al, I can't say I'm excited about it, cause I'm gonna be writing for the business desk, which is pretty close to what I did in Sao Paulo, only it's very far from what I really want to do. But it's something already... Also it's looking as a great opportunity to put Al in contact with some potential clients (which would be great!), so let's see...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My first ballet class in the US!

Only ballet could make me leave home on a 10oF (-12o C), “biting wind” weather at night. I decided to try the Alvin Ailey school, so I went to the open intermediate ballet class. I was outraged by the price of the slippers I bought on my way, at Capezio, 38 dollars for a leather split sole!! Anyway, I always was knew ballet isn’t cheap…
The class was full (specially full of very flexible and good people), it was almost 40 students, but the room was very big so everybody was accommodated well. I immediately thought that there was no way in the world the teacher could notice me in that setting, a fact that was at the same time good and bad. So I just found a place at the barre and tried to follow. The sequences were complicated but I could keep up. Everybody else seemed to have been taking the class for a long time cause they knew everything. The center began ok, with the tendus and all, but as she advanced I got somewhat lost. The big jumps part, usually the last part of a ballet class, I didn’t even try to do. So I decided to be humble and try the beginner class (which later I found out is not even that beginner, actually they have a category called absolute beginner, which is for real beginners). On my way out, I found out the same teacher, Kat Wildish, was teaching a beginner class right after the one I had, so I just stayed there for one hour and a half more, so I wouldn’t have to come back some other day to make up my mind. The class was really good, she actually gave practically the same sequences, except she took more time to explain them, which was perfect! The great thing is that in the 1st class she had already “noticed” me and nodded approvingly when I was doing a cambre and on another occasion she corrected my ribs. Then on the 2nd class she noticed I had stayed, so she approached me in the middle of the barre and asked if I had brought a bottle of water, and if not, I should drink lots, and that I could leave the class to do that. It was really nice of her, I wasn’t expecting that because of the huge number of students. I’m definitely staying for this month, I’ll try to take it 3 times a week. (the good thing is hat you pay per class, so you don’t really have a whole month or year commitment, like we do in Brazil, and I can also try different styles or even different levels at the same time)
The only downside is that today I’m really sore!! Hahahaha Two classes back to back after one month completely off, you imagine…But we dancers are masochistics so I’m digging even the soreness hehehehe :D I’m so excited!!!!!!
Actually, the real downside is that now I definitely have to find a job soon, otherwise I won’t be able to keep the fun going :(

PS: Yesterday I wrongly identified the bridge in the picture as the Brooklyn Bridge, but that’s actually the Manhattan Bridge, they’re side by side. I corrected in the post already.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Union Square + Brooklyn =

Perfect Weekend! On Saturday Al and I hang out for the whole day at Union Square. I checked out an interesting store called Urban Outfitters, then I tasted all of the samples at the Farmer's Market, where farmers sell their organic products, and we bought some very good stuff (sheep's milk cheese, yogurt, sheep's sausage, "seriously good bacon"). The setting is exactly like our feiras there, only everything is organic (and pricey!) hehehe For lunch we headed to an asian fusion restaurant called Republic (yum!) , then I got me some real winter boots at a sports store Al likes to go to, then to Barnes & Noble, a 4-story bookstore where I lost my earmuffs. After reading some books sitting on B&N floor, we caught a veeery good movie, Children of Men. It's by the same director of Y tu mama tambien, Alfonso Cuaron. It's amazing, serioulsy, you guys don't miss it when it opens in Sao Paulo. Then we went back to B&N to search for my earmuffs one more time, and they had found it, yay! To top the the perfect Saturday, we had dinner at this ridiculously good chocolate place called Max Brenner. I can't even begin to tell you how good it just gotta check for yourselves. (We did all that in no more than 2 or 3 blocks! It's really great that area)
On Sunday we spent most of the day doing more home maintenance, we installed the air conditioning (not that we're gonna be needing it anytime soon, it's just that we really had to take that huge thing out of the way!). Took us a really long time to do that, it was supposed to be a 2 big men's work! I even had to climb on the filthy hundreds-year-old fire escape to help put the thing in place...:S Then I learned how to do laundry (and hung the clothes on the bathroom...oh well...what you're gonna do...) and we installed the new shelves we got for the library area (hahahah makes one think we live in a mansion doesnt it?).
On the evening, I went to Brooklyn (!) to see a dance performance Tonya invited me to (pics = Manhattan Bridge, dancers warming up). Afterwards, we met Tony, a dance technology teacher that writes on The Winger, and we hang out with him and two friends at a suprisingly nice restaurant nearby (surprisingly because thse surroundings of the theater were not that "nice" if you know what I mean....hehehe). Funny thing is that Tony had ordered a pizza and it came sliced as an appetizer...I was waiting untill someone other than him got a slice so I could get mine...And when i did, the cheese that was on my slice just wouldn't separate from the other slice cause it was melted together, and we didn't have any knife on the table...I didn't want to put my hand on the other slice to separate it (I would if I were between my friends...but not with foreign strangers...!), so i ended up eating a cheeseless slice of pizza hahahaha I had a really good time.
When we were about to leave, they even started playing Brazilian music on the background (The standard Bossa Nova, you know...). I am very suprised, everything Brazil seems to be very en vogue. I hear Brazilian music in the most different places we go, even at "Babies R Us" (before you think anything, we were just hanging out with Al's friend, who is 9 month old pregnant)
PS: I'm gonna update Flickr with more weekend pics, cause I've got tons!

Friday, February 02, 2007

The quest for a ballet school

Manhattan top to bottom. That was my whole day yesterday, in the search for a ballet school. I had reasearched 3 schools, Steps, that's uptown, the Ailey School, midtown, and Dance new Amsterdam, downtown. I was gonna begin by Alvin Ailey, and I got to their nearest station, Columbus circle, just fine. I was so proud of myself and thought that I had finally mastered the system. But then I decided to begin at the one uptown and work my way down. But I hadn't researched which train I had to take, so I took the same that I had taken to Ailey, the A, but it was an express (doesn't stop in all stations) so I ended up in the 125th!!! (Steps is between 74th and 75th). hahah Anyway, I easily found my way back, and I was really proud of myself at the end of the day cause it was the first time I did everything on my very own, I feel more confident now. (pic: Central Park West, my first stop)
The Schools

Steps is on the second floor of that 3-story building. It was packed when I got there. I was really surprised cause I was expecting something more... spacious...cause their website is really huge and they have all sorts of programs and etc. They have two big studios, one medium-size one and a small one, all connected by one hallway, and the dressing room on the end. I didn't have the best 1st impression, cause people were all spreaded in the hallway, stretching, eating, and mothers were changing their toddlers right there, it was just a mess!The dressing room was three times a mess, bags and coats everywhere and etc. Apart that, they seem to have a very good faculty, and their students seem very good too. It was funny cause there was no dress code so they had people taking class in these rags, in scarves, loose hair...hehehehe. They were having a ballet class that i couldn't figure out if it was intermediate or beginner, but the teacher only had 2 students in class and even so she seemed a little bit careless, not corecting them enough...I don't know...The rate per class is $15 and no membership is required.

Alvin Ailey

Wow. I knew the company and the school even before they moved to their new building (last year or the previous, something like that). But they are just wow. They have this whooole building custom built, state-of-the art facilites, everything is shiny and beautiful. I was only allowed to browse in the 1st floor, where there were 3 big studios. Students were neat and teachers seemed very focused and attentive. Rate is $15, no membership required and I can take the school classes (the ones offered to the graduate students, as opposed to the extension classes, open to the general public) if I have the appropriate level.

Dance New Amsterdam
I know that they're a traditional NYC dance studio that changed their name and location recently. The place looks great and organized, and they have 5 studios, some small ones and some medium-to-big. All of them have one glass wall facing the hallway, it was a great way to observe the classes. The beginner ballet class was packed, but the teacher seemed very attentive. The dressing room was spacious and neat (and it has two bars for stretching!). The rate is $18 wihtout membership, and $16 with anual membership of $30.

I got lots of flyers from each one, I still gotta do the math, and also check the schedules...they all have lots of afternoon classes, which is horrible for when I start working....
For now, I think I'm more inclined to Alvin Ailey, 1st because I always wanted to take classes there, 2nd because they're the medium combination between price and location...Steps is as cheap, but farther, and DNA is closer to where I live, but more expensive....Anyway...I gotta think about it now, and I'll let you know when I decide...I might even go in each one again to take a drop-in class and see what it feels like...

I had a really great day, cause I went walking from one place to another, so I could also do a lot of sightseeing too, and that area is really nice! (pic: The Warner Building at Columbus Circle). When I got to DNA, that's right across the City Hall, it was night already so I couldn't see much, I definetly wanna go back there in the morning cause it must be beautiful too. And to top it all, I even went to meet Al and his friend Mari at a nice allegedly Brazilian restaurant at Union Square, called the Coffe Shop (I asked the waitress and she told me that some guys involved in the foundation were Brazilian, so the menu had a "Brazilian flair (flare?)", as she put it, but the owners or anybody else there are not Brazilian). hehehehe

Thursday, February 01, 2007


It's definitely not easy. From all the changes I'm going through now (and they're not a few), the most challenging one is certainly adjusting to living with a partner. This is a difficult thing for anyone, but I think it's worst when the parts come from different cultures. As much as you know each other, as much as you try to talk about all the possible issues, some things you'll only realize when you're actually sharing the same roof. And the cultural difference, in my case, doesn't manifest istelf on big things, but on daily life details. It takes lots of deep-breathings, lots of countings-to-ten, and lots of will, cause if you're not immensily willing to do it, you can't take it very far. But it's a great learning, it makes you grow a lot as not only you figure out how to live with someone else, but also as you figure out how your own personality and quircks work. I'm loving it. ;-)

Random stuff

- in the land of the gazillion products variety, I had quite a dismay when we were shopping for groceries the other day. Hundreds varieties of cookies, hundreds varieties of soda and even of water (!), but NO varieties of yogurt! I don't know if it's just the place we went to, which is a big one (I forgot the name), or if it's just like it is...but they don't have 1/10 of the yogurts variety we have there...sigh....

- I never thought I'd say that, but shopping for clothes in the winter is a huge pain!! Specially if, like me, you need lots of stuff. You can only take 5 or 6 items at a time to the fitting room, so you go, take your 5 layers on the top and 2 or 3 on the bottom off, them put everything back on, then come back with more, take everything off again, put everything back's really tiring.
Moreover, 1) It's really hard to find things my size. Sometimes even the S is big. I see lots of things I like but I can't buy cause it doesn't fit. I was really frustrated the first day I went out, untill I found the petite department at Macy's! That was a life saver. On the other stores, I have first to see what they have in XS, and then see if I like anything. 2) their pants have a horrible fitting!! (for my body, at least). From what I've tried right now, "low waist" for them means bellybutton level, you imagine the rest... :'( I only managed to buy one pair so far, I need at least one more. Somebody please send me Colcci pants!!! ( I love their fitting).
Oh and as for the shoes, they don't even make my number (at least not at some stores like Zara. I bought gorgeous boots there, but 2 numbers bigger...hehehe at least it stays in place). But that was starting to become a problem even with Brazilian brands. sigh....

- I get electrical shocks from everything. I gave up finding it annoying and started finding it hilarious. From the comforter when I'm making the bed, from door handles, from my wool pullover, and even from a kiss I give Al. hehehehe

- my new CBN: 1010 Wins
-my new Climatempo: Accuweather

- they don't seem to have public scales like we do! At least not on pharmacies or anywhere else I've been to so far. I really wanted to keep track of my weight, cause things can get soo out of control here, specially cause I didn't get back to exercising yet. :S

- Al's metabolism and mine have been in a severe conflict. He has the weirdest eating hours. He doesn't have breakfast as soon as he gets up and he only eats when he's about to die from starvation (not to mention he pratically swallows his food and can work and eat at the same time), and he doesn't mind eating alone. I, on the other hand, usually eat every three hours more or less and can't stand having working devices on the table when I'm eating, and I really apreciate having company to chat, in other words, the meal time is "sacred" for me. How are we gonna pace ourselves, I still don't know...hehehe