Sunday, August 29, 2010

Saudade - I miss my family

Saudade is a bittersweet word. Saudade is a feeling, but it is translated as a verb: missing something.

But saudade is much more than that. Saudade is more than just missing something. It is more than mere nostalgia. Saudade is the emptiness filling a place that once was full. It is the bitterness left in the place of something sweet. It is the burning feeling in which your heart sinks when you no longer have that which if you did would make the feeling go away. Saudade says that something has made me happy, but now it's gone. Saudade says I want back near my eyes that which has never left my heart. Saudade is the one word I can tell my family that will be enough for them to understand I love them.

I miss my family.

Every time I go places we went together,

Every time I do things we did together,

I miss my family.

Sometimes I'm just doing something they taught me,

Sometimes I'm just doing something I know they would like to do too.

I really miss my family.

And whenever I think I never know when I will ever see them again,

I miss them even more.

And whenever I think I never know IF I will ever see them again,

I miss them so much that it hurts.

Every time we say goodbye I always wonder,

"Is this the last time?"

And I just wish I could find the words to let them know

That everything I am today,

I owe to them.

And that they mean the world to me.

I just really miss my family.

not a patriot

I'm not a patriot.
I am proud to be Brazilian and I will get mad at you if you make fun of my country. But I don't really stand up for it. I don't know why, I guess I was just raised that way. "you stay out of those crowds, so you don't get yourself in trouble.". Implied: Crowds are trouble -> Now crowds usually stand for things -> Preserving my life is more important than standing for something.
So it's not like I don't believe in things. I just don't believe in things enough to put my life in the line for it. And here I am married to an American patriot who will not think twice to participate in a rally.
Destiny does play pranks on us.
Here I am at the Restoring Honor rally. A rally dedicated to bring the USA back to its founding values. Working hard, families helping families, that kinds of stuff.
This Glenn Beck is some guy in our generation, in our time, who is calling for a restoration. Every generation needs someone like that. It's happened before.
Why won't that happen in my country? Why don't we have any one standing out for such values? Where has my country gone wrong? The country I love? Let's say from the beginning something has gone wrong. I am not sure where.
Maybe that's why in my country too many people were raised to be like me? "Stay out of those crowds. It's just not worth it." We were raised to preserve our own lives. At the cost of our country's welfare. Because it is not worth fighting a lost cause. Why do we think that way? I don't know. Could have to do with the religion we profess? Could it have to do with the kind of people that first went there? Could it have something to do with the kind of help we never got from those American founding fathers - who never really supported the Brazilian Revolution when we asked for help? Yeah, you tend not to believe the values of a person who says something is good for them, but could care less about you.
Maybe I will never know. I just know I will probably never be the kind of patriot my husband is. For any country.


Who can say, like Voltaire, "I might disagree from what you say, but I will fight till death for your right to say it"?

on rights and governments

The constitution says certain rights are natural, given by the creator, inalienable. And governments exist to protect those rights so other men don't take take away - governments must protect men from themselves.
However, Just because certain rights are natural and inalienable, that does not mean that governments can't grant any other rights. Certain countries grant their citizens certain rights that other countries don't. So what is wrong with that?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why Great Britain instead of just England – heritage issues.

This was supposed to be a trip to England. We were thinking about the next place we would visit and we both knew that both of us really wanted to get to know England. We both want to visit Italy badly as well, but we settled for England for our first trip outside the American continent. I have a friend and former student who lives in England who is always asking me to go there to visit her. And my husband's heritage does go back to England. Yes, England was definitely the place that we should go first.
As a planner that I am, I got on to my computer and started planning. London, Liverpool, Bath, Nottingham, Sherwood forest. As I excitedly shared with Lu, my friend/ex-student, about our plans she even suggested we should include a couple of trips to France. Why not? it's so simple to get there from London! Lu lives nowhere near London. She, as a good Beatlemaniac, found herself a husband just a few miles away from Liverpool. Oh, when I think I taught that little girl her English... But she would not mind a trip to London and a quick escape to France!
I thought that was cool! My husband thought it was cool! That was it! We were going to see Paris, and a few Cinderella Castles, and the French Riviera. How tough could it be, right? Yeah... I know what you're thinking. Shhh, don't say anything, but she's crazy.
I soon found out however that there was too much ground to cover in France. Paris and a few castles around the area would do for a 4-day escape. After all, this is a trip to England! Or so I thought...
My talks with Lu went on. We should go camping in Scotland. Scotland? That is not England, is it? My husband however does have Scottish ancestry. He liked the idea. He also thought, since we were right there in Liverpool we should hop on a boat to Ireland and go visit an Irish pub. After all he does also have Irish - Northern Irish! The protestant ones! - ancestry.
The trip was getting packed. More packed than what I usually make sure they do. I have this problem - since I know I probably will not be going back to that place any time soon (because remember we want to travel the world before we start popping out babies), I want to include everything there is to do. And the days are packed. As in packed full. As in we-slept-soundly-through-every-night-of-our-honeymoon full.
However there's only so much cramping of activities one can do. It's not only the money issue. And do believe me, money was getting to be an issue. It was the time and distance issue. It was physically impossible to everything we wanted to do. How would you like to go on a trip that you've dreamed of going your whole life and have the feeling that you did not get to enjoy it? It was a constant hop-out! Picture! Hop-in! Quick! We must get to the next stop!
No, that was not what I wanted for our trip. It had to be enjoyable! Yes, fast-paced, packed full, but not a constant stress. That's when it hit me! We have two weeks and this trip is no longer about England and a quick escape to Paris! This trip is about the United Kingdom and a quick escape to Ireland! After all, doesn't Dean want to go visit the land of his ancestors? Doesn't he brag about the fact that he is x% English, y% Scottish, z% Northern Irish and n% American Indian? If we are going to see the land of those ancestors we can't waist time in France! France will have to come some other time. We're no longer going to England, we're going to Great Britain!

Cash?! Cash?! Cash?! Are you freaking nuts????

Why do some people still insist on using that ancient form of currency called "cash"? Why??????
Have they not heard of the invention of plastic? Nice, slim, shiny, fast! FAST! I spell it for you, indian: F-A-S-T!
It does not delay the life of everyone else waiting in line behind you!
It is easier to keep track of what you spend!
It avoids (that's right!!! Avoids!) painful and useless trips to that ancient meeting place called "the bank"!
Off the top of my head, there you are! 3 advantages for replacing your cash usage for credit card usage.
DO IT!!!!!!! And stop making everyone in line mad as you count your freaking pennies at the register!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Can you do that acording to the constitution?

If the constitution limits the power of the federal government, if, according to the constitution, anything not established in it is up to the states and the people, can the federal government establish an official language?
As a matter of fact the colonies didn't all speak one language. Aren't we forgetting our colonial past when we demand that there is a national official language?
It seems obvious to me that the government needs an official language, but imposing it on the people seems pretty unconstitutional.
Why don't the constitution defenders make no case against such a thing? Maybe because it goes against their own interests and agenda?
It's naive to think that people defending the constitution don't have an agenda, and that they will not immediately drop any trace of morals and constitution abiding ideas in order to pass their own agenda. Everyone, every sinner on the face of the Earth has an agenda, and it's just a matter of time till you find it.
Do you think I don't have one? Think again. We all do. You do too.

vacation in Brazil vs. Vacation in the U.S.

I am so sad my vacation is almost over.
I did not crave vacation in Brazil so much because in Brazil I could be on vacation any Saturday I wanted. The beach was always a 30 minute walk away.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

quote from Cinema Paradiso

"When you are here everyday you believe nothing will ever change. Then you leave for a year or two. When you come back everything has changed. The thread has been broken. You don't find what you expected to find. What was yours is not there anymore. You have to go away for many years to be able to come back and find your people." Alfredo

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

All free man can vote

Why would anyone argue against giving every free man the right to vote?
Why should you take away from free man the right to decide the destiny of his nation based on the fact that he does not own land or has a job or pay taxes?
Is it reasonable that a thinking free citizen be taken away the right to choose his lands magistrates?
It sounds like a plan. An evil plan. A plan to keep the have-not ones out of political power.
The argument that citizens who don't pay should not be allowed to choose the people who will govern over them, because they will don't care what those people will do with the money of those who pay assumes that people can't think of what's best for society, they can ONLY think of how to find ways to rob them.
And even if that be true to many, even the majority of those. Do we take the rights of free citizens who can think what's best for society, just because we fear that there will be those who can't?
Do we not know that anywhere, under any regulations, evil selfish people will be bad and find ways to take advantage of the system? Are we going to take things away from the good people so that the bad ones won't have it? Sensibly you will have to say, no! You make it easy for the good people, and go after the bad ones.
Every man, every citizen who owes nothing to the law must be able to have a voice in saying who he wants determining the destiny of his nation. Regardless of race, social class, religion, or wealth.

Laws or lack thereof - do they pass human dignity test?

Slavery was always part of human history. What suddenly made it so bad?
Slavery was never intended to be a lifetime condition until Europeans enslaved Africans in the American continent. Slavery was never so inhuman until it got to the American continent.

As for inhuman conditions, the slave ships packed as many people could fit in a small space, with no regards for personal hygiene or the need to breath. Probably so that they could bring as many of them as possible to sell for a profit. Sell for a profit - nothing wrong with that. We're in business to make money, right?

One of the must famous Brazilian poets, known as the Poet of the Slaves, wrote about the horrifying conditions of the slave ships. Slaves in Africa were used to being enslaved, it was part of life. They were not used to the inhuman conditions and treatment until they stepped into the slave ship. What's wrong with wanting a profit, you still ask?

As for lifetime slavery, the African people were not used to the idea of lifetime slavery either. African royalties could be made slaves and then be set free again. As it had happened in so many other cultures throughout history. Slaves in the British colonies actually used to have the right to buy their freedom... some of them owned land and even had servants of their own...for a little while.
But then the law changed:
-Slaves had to be African or Indians
-Slaves could never be set free.
-Africans had no right to own land. The ones that did had their land repossessed.
Why? Why did the government make these laws thwarting the rights of human beings just because they were different?
The answer:
-There was an economical need for it. The landowners needed more workers and the free ones wouldn't do the hard work needed. Without those slaves the plantation would fail, the economy would crash, the society would flunk. There was a pressing need for stricter slave laws. The economy needed. Yes! Indeed! Would want business to fail for lack of workers?
Nothing wrong with wanting people to work to keep the economy flowing well.

In the name of keeping the economy afloat we should pass laws that disregard the rights of certain people, namely the ones who don't have, so that other people, namely the ones who have, can keep things going. What's wrong with that, you still ask?

These are all very practical ideas from a timely perspective.
Are they honorable ideas from a timeless perspective?
As a Christian, we must understand that God values humans. And as the crown of creation, we are endowed with human dignity that another human does not have the right to take away in the name of profit or progress.

What about us? Look at the things you believe in. But really look at them. At their core.
The things we believe today, the things we fight for today, the things we bless today, do they have very sound practicalities that will be best for the well functioning of the society as we know it? Are they logical and good to the free market we so cherish?
However will they stand the timeless test of honoring human dignity?
500 years from now, when Christian kids think of the things we stood for in a society that will not mean much for them then, will they think of us as awful people who did everything it took for society to thrive? Or as people who were more concerned about the absolute value of a human being?
Yes, human beings have absolute values. And this is the real test for any new laws or lack thereof: Do consider, above all else, human dignity, regardless of color, race, social class, age, born or unborn status?
Do we put practical above honorable?
I don't care how good or bad something will do for society or for the economy. If our thinking can not stand the human dignity test, it will not be justified in history. It will not be justified before God.
How do you want to be remembered 200, 300, 500 years from now? How do you want to stand before God in no more than 100 years from now?

Disclaimer: I am not writing against any specific practices or ideas in here. I am just asking you to question your beliefs - your beliefs, not those of others in the present or in history - and see if they pass the test that God would probably use.

Locks 6-6-6-6

I had to use my knowledge of Math to figure out the combination of my bike lock that had been accidentally lost.
There was no way I could recover the combination, because it was not written anywhere. I had to try one by one.
The lock was cylindrical, with a 6-6-6-6 style. There are 6 options for each of the 4 positions. 6 to the 4th power, that is 6x6x6x6 = 1,296 possibilities.
I tried 1,186 of the possible combinations.
(6x6x6) x5 = 1080
(6x6) x2 = 72
(6) x5 = 30

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

the lands we take from others

The land the U.S. took from Mexico, who did Mexico take it from?
The land the Jewish took from the Palestinians, who did the Palestinians take it from?
The land that now belongs to Italy, who did the Roman Empire take from?
The land that now belongs to England, who did the anglo-saxons take it from?
The land that the Portuguese took from the Tupis and Guaranis, did it belong to Tupis or Guaranis? ... they couldn't seem to agree on that.
Maybe we should all just go home to some little town in main land Europe. Would that solve the world's land problems?
Yeah, I didn't think so.
Maybe, just maybe, we should let history be. The land you are born in is your homeland, I don't care who it used to belong to - it is what it is.
Brazil originally belonged to Tupi-Guarani Indians. It belongs to me and my people now. It's the only homeland we will ever know.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Doc photo

It does not matter how much I dress up for document photographs, they always come up hideous!
I am so afraid of what my picture in my new green card will look like. It did not look good on the computer screen. I was not about to make a fool out of myself and ask the officer to take another one.
I am now really mad I did not ask him to do that!

I found a friend today

"My friend, my school mate, today I sing for joy for meeting you again."
Today I met an old school mate whom I had not seen since 8th grade.
I thought I had lost him forever. I had looked for him a couple of times before. I wondered, "how can any one fall of the face of the earth like that?"
This time I lucked out.
Facebook is a beautiful thing!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Land of immigrants

Every single person in this continent then is an immigrant.

Did the immigrants wanted to leave their lands?

I don't think so. I think they loved it and were proud of it. This is just my thinking.

"If Brazil is so great, why did you come here?" People at the New Haven church used to ask me.

Why did I leave the land I was proud of? Because the land I love could not offer me decent living conditions.

Immigrants usually come here because their conditions force them to make the tough choice of leaving their land.
Religious persecution, famine, war, political persecution, dire financial situations. People come with millions of hopes of finding freedom, work and peace in a new land. A land of dreams. A land of liberty. They are happy to have found the new hope. But are they happy to leave behind everything they loved, their climate, their culture, their foods, sometimes even loved ones?
I think the answer is no. And that's why I think there is no such a thing as giving up your culture. There is no such a thing as forgetting where you came from. Unless you are so scared of showing who you are, unless you're traumatized and believing that who you are is responsible for the mess that led you here, you will want to keep the things that made you who you are. Even if for a while you don't realize that. Even if there are not many of those things that are cherished. You can renounce your history.
I am not defending that cultures should not mingle and melt, but that immigrants have the right to keep them. Keeping one's culture is what makes America so rich.

The mingling and the melting will happen naturally. Immigrants want to learn about their new home. Part of them wants to be like the people in the new place. Especially as far as the new generations are concerned. The second generation of immigrants are the true bi-cultural ones. They will naturally deal with their parents culture and their country's culture and mix them up in one thing. And hopefully keep enough of their home culture to keep this country ever richer.

disclaimer: this is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of every immigrant.

Cross Continent

Could it be true that all the indians of this continent really came here through the Bearing Strait and then walked all the way down to South America?


Sometimes I wish I did not have a life to take care of. I wish money was not an issue, I wish bills did not come every month. I wish I could put life on hold to travel on foot across the American continent, like the indians might have done.

Sometimes I just wish I could have lived every time of human history just to do these things I can only imagine and read about. Sometimes reading about things is just not enough. I really wish my time-machine was real and it took me places and times and allowed me to live a little of other lives.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The rest of the Disney ... er... Orlando Trip - Saturdayday

The alarms, both of them, rang at the right time. We chose to ignore them.

SO we left a few minutes late.

We saw a gas station as we were getting closer to the airport. But we chose to ignore it. Add 15 more minutes to the trip looking for a new gas station. One thing Dean and I have not learned to do yet is do the whole drive/navigate thing in harmony.

By the time we got to the airport we should be boarding.

Then the lady at the checkin counter could not find our tickets. Another 15 minutes.

When we had to go through security we waisted like 30 minutes because only one booth was working for all the national flights. I was bringing razor blades that I was going to try to convince them to let me take with me, cuz after all they cost me money, but at that point in time, I did not want to convince anyone of anything - just throw them all away! Quick quick quick!

When we finally go to security, guess who got picked for a random more detailed inspection? My husband.

See, that's why you don't start your day wrong. That's why you get up with the alarm. Because once you get one thing out of place, once you are five minutes late, you're done! Your whole day spins out of control. It's like a domino effect.

When he was let go by the security people, we put our shoes on and legs-why-do-I-need-you, as we say in Brazil. that means we ran as if our lives depended on it.

Wait! Honey wait! I don't care how late we are. I can not , I have no air in my body anymore. I am not physically prepared for that. The plane will have to wait.

I was the one who voiced it, but he was not much better than me.

We continued our way to the boarding area, at a fast pace, but no longer running. I was never a runner, I was always a wimpy, skinny, non-sportive little girl who would be taken by any strong wind had we had those in Brazil. It was not going to happen in plain adulthood. I was not about to become a runner not to miss my flight. Not unless God came down from heaven and performed a miracle, which he did not do.

We hurried. We got to the boarding area and the words from the airline person were "Dean and Virginia? We were waiting for you! Come right in!"

I felt like a rock superstar.

"Do you hate us already?"

"Not at all! You are just in time!"

As we walked into the airplane, I saw the looks - all eyes on me. And they were not kind eyes.

I overheard someone say "About time!"

Rockstar feeling was gone.

But at least we were in there, we were on our way home.

When we got to DC for our connection however, which was supposed to be a 2 hour layover, we found out that our plane was going to be delayed 2 more hours.
"Are you serious?"
"There is a problem in the plane and we are trying to make sure it's all fixed up." the airline lady told us.
"BY all means! Take your sweet time! Dont get me in that thing until you can take me home safely. I'd rather stay here all night!

And safely we got home. Late at night, but safely.

Thank you Lord, for a wonderful vacation, and a wacky, but safe return.

The rest of the Disney ... er... Orlando Trip - Friday

So the last day came. It came too fast. Even though those days there felt like a lifetime of fun, the end came too fast.
I was not ready to forget Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Soarin', Spider Man, the Tower of Terror, I was not ready to leave them behind yet. The day woke me up on a sad note. But I soon remember it was not over yet.
I still had a whole new park ahead of me. And Magic Kingdom was open till midnight. Oh, yes, we'd end our vacation with the golden key! (as we say in Brazil)
This next park had Jaws, MIB, the Simpsons, Terminator 2, the Mummy and ET. They were all super cool rides, except for ET. I was unimpressed with it. But maybe it's just that I am not a fan of mild rides. I am a Coca-cola kind of girl. (Coca-Cola's logo in Brazil is "strong emotions" , so to be a Coca-Cola kind of person means you like strong emotions)
Wehn we did the rides we wanted, we headed to the one ride I had been waiting for in that park - the brand new - the Hollywood RipRide Rockit. I was afraid I would not get to go in it, since I had dreamed of that ride months before our trip. ONce we go there however everytime we tried it, it was out of order. Eventually we got there and it was finally back on. We waited about an hour in line. In a terribly hot, humid CO2 filled line. For much of the wait I saw little stars and felt I was really going to faint. I was trying to be strong for my husband, because I new the last thing he needed to deal with in that hell hole was an unconscious wife, since his situation was not any better than mine. I was really consciously trying not to pass out. Everything was worth to ge to go in that super ride.
And may I say what a disappointment!
The ride was rad, that's true. But extremely bumpy, it gave us both headaches. Rides should not give you headaches, rides should not make your head bump against the cart a bugillion times! Rides should spin you and throw you up and down, but keep your head at a comfy position.

After that ride, that was it. Time to go to Magic Kingdom and enjoy the rides till the firworks , and then a few other rides till midnight.
We headed straight to Swiss FAmily Treehouse.
Then we re-did some mild rides that Dean likes. Like "There's a great and beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of everyday..." Carroussel of Progress.

Before it got dark we also took the steam boat trip. Then we got a fast pass to see Peter Pan, which was just as water and sugar as ET has been.

We re-did the Small World, and we got to go on the Big Thunder mountain, which we had fast passes for on Monday, but they closed it down and than we got rained out. We also re-did Pirates of the Caribbean maybe twice, and our last ride was the Haunted House. Then was about midnight, time to go home.

The Fireworks happened at 10. At close to 10 it was hard finding a place in front of the castle. I had to be in front of the castle though. I had to. We walked and walked and we finally found a place.
I think I drove my husband crazy, but I had to be in front of the castle! I just had to. Besides, I wanted to see Tinker Bell!!!!!!!

Well was it worth it? Yes, every minute of it!

The thought of end of vacation did not cross my mind any time in that day except for on the way back to the car and to the motel.

I wanted to go to bed at a reasonable time. But there is no going to bed at a reasonable time if your husband is named Dean. He does not get the whole "I need some sleep" speech.

Things like that don't come without consequences.

The rest of the Disney ... er... Orlando Trip - Thursday

I was very much pissed at the fact that we were not allowed in the park. More for Dean than for me. I did not know what I was missing. He did. HE did not want to leave without going on certain rides that we had not gone thinking we were goign to able to get back to when it was not raining.
Now our Disney days were over.
Now it was Universal Parks time.
But I told him we would not worry about that. Universal had two parks and the one we were going on Friday did not have as many rides we wanted to go. So we'd plan on leaving early on Friday and ending our trip with the Magic Kingdom's fireworks.

Well, on this day we were going to see Harry Potter's world! It was crazy, but we were not the only ones eager to see it! It took us forever to get in there, which made me really upset, because there was so much more to see! But it was worth it. Had we not gotten in right in the beginning of the day, we might not have gotten in at all!

The trip through the School of Wizardry is a must do! I wanted to go again, but they are not like Disney, they don't give free fast passes, and by the time we got there to go for the second ride the wait time as 200 minutes!

I'd have waited, but I had a husband and we was not as willing as I was. It would not have been fair.

We did try butterbeer. I did get cream all over my upper lips like Hermione did.

Then we went on to Jurassic Park ride, Spiderman ride, Poseidon Ride, The Hulk ride and ad Dr. Doom ride that I was not impressed with. too short. Spiderman was a seriously good ride! All cartoony, but ubber cool.

We thought we'd get home early that day and rest. But we did not. We went out for dinner and stayed out for a while.

The rest of the Disney ... er... Orlando Trip - Wednesday

That was technically our last day in Disney.
The plan was to go to the Epcot, do the thigns we hadn't done on 4th of July (since we arrived at the end of the afternoon), then go to Magic Kingdom and see the fireworks.

So we enjoyed Epcot! We ate at the Morrocan place, and from there I called my mom. It was fun talking to my mom from Morroco, where one of our novelas had taken place.

We also went on a ride called Soarin' , one of my favorites, because you fly through many different places in California on a little roller coaster cabin. Super awesome! The only bad thing about Soarin' is thatI did not tell Dean I wanted to go on it again until it was too late to get a fast pass and we had to leave to go watch the fireworks at Magic Kingdom.

We also went on a ride called - living with the land. where we learned about the history of agriculture and incredible things that Disney Parks is doing on the agricultural research field. They have Brazilian trees in their green house!!!! Like Cocoa and Jack fruit! I should have taken pictures!

At a reasonable time, around 8:30 pm we left for the Magic Kingdom fireworks. Well, surprise - the last entry allowed in our tickets could not be used on the same day! It had to be one park per 24 hour period.

Really upset, we headed back to the motel and ate at Checker's.

By this time I was craving a foot massage. But every time we got to the motel we were too tired. Too tired for every thing, if you know what I am saying, foot massages included. So that's how come we spent the whole time there with no foot massages, even thought my feet were "souwery" all the time, and with very little of other types of entertainment.

The rest of the Disney ... er... Orlando Trip - Tuesday

Tuesday was Hollywood Studios day!
We saw an awesome car stunt show, Indiana Jones stunt show and other movie related stuff. I was really glad with the real rides. The Rock'n'Roller Coaster featuring Aerosmith and the Tower of Terror, which we rode twice! And it was not enough!
I like rides, and I like scary stuff and the Tower of Terror was both things together.
We also went on other movie rides, such as Star Wars. It was easy to get to rides on this day. Partly because there was not much we wanted to see there, and partly because , according to Dean, there were not a lot of people there.
It makes sense, not a great time to be in Orlando, since it's so hot and humid. Only those crazy Brazilians travel to Disney at this time of year - and man, there were Brazilians there. There were more Brazilians in Orlando than any other nationality including American. It was the BRAZILIAN INVASION!
But since we got everything done soon, Dean wanted to get to Downtown Disney to get those souvenirs.
But I wanted to watch the fireworks show - Fantasmic!!!!
Well, we decided to hurry to Downtown Disney, get those gifts and hurry back to the Park just in time for the show.
We did.
The store Dean was talking about was huge!!!! ANd they did have everything, literally everything that we had seen in all the other stores around the parks. By then we had been to all the three parks we has set out to go, and we has seen our share of souvenir stores. Everything we had seen was there. So we bought all of our gifts for the whole trip.

Ok. Let's hurry back to Hollywood Studios! We must see the fireworks. We saw the Fireworks at Epcot on 4th of July, we were going to see the Fantasmic show at Hollywood Studios, and we were going to see them the following day at Magic Kingdom. We would see the fireworks in the 3 parks!!!!

Yes, because since we had 5 tickets, we still had one more entry that we were not planning on using , but that came in handy due to the fact that we were rained out of the park on Monday.

We got there in time to watch the show and to go one more time on the TOWER OF TERROR! huahuahuahua!

No time to eat the huge smoked turkey I was eying since that morning, but I could do it later.

The rest of the Disney... er... Orlando trip - Monday

Monday's destination was the Magic Kingdom.
I had organized our trip in a way that we would only go to the parks when they did not have extra magic hours, this way the parks should be semi-empty when we got there in the morning.

It was still cloudy, and 30% chance of rain. Yeah, sure.

I was excited about Magic Kingdom because it's the image of Disney on movies and TV shows. The castle. The fireworks. Oh!!! The Fireworks at Cinderella's Castle! That's just MAgic. And as much as I had never cared about it before, I cared much about it now. I had to see that.

ONe beautiful thing about Disney is the fast pass. They don't charge you for it!

Oh, let me say something about Disney Parks - they know how to treat you well there. They know it. They know how to keep their parks nice, clean and organized too! It's a wonderful experience to be at a Disney Park. So the fast pass is a courtesy they give us, allowing us to not have to stand in too many lines.

We got to several rides. But halfway through the afternoon, before we were able to go to The Swiss Family Tree house, rain just down poured.

We thought we could wait it off. We were walked in the rain. We were singing in the rain. But Dean eventually said, it was not worth it and we decided to leave.

I was not happy. I wanted to stay. But he and the non-stopping rain convinced me to leave.
His argument - we can go to Downtown Disney and buy souvenirs. We made it to Downtown Disney, but not to the souvenir store. The rain was only getting worse, and eventually I just told me to stop saying it was a passing cloud, because every time he said that the rain got heavier.

We stopped at Downtown Disney on the opposite side of the stores. We started walking as brave people who are not afraid of the rain. Eventually he said enough was enough. He could no longer see through his very wet glasses.

BAck to the hotel we changed into dry clothes just to get soaked again - we had to go to the neighbor Waffle House, maybe 15 feet away if that much. But we did get soaked on the way there. That's how bad it was.


I was scared of NYC growing up.
I was scared of a lot of things growing up. Like driving.
Then God brought me to Connecticut. Or really Con-nec-ti-cut - as my friend Silvio would have me say. Because "Really, that is how it is said. Right? You're just trying to sound cool. But that's really how it is said, right?"
"No, Silvio. It's ... whatever."
In Connecticut I learned that NYC was not as bad as the media had made me think throughout my life.
There were always girls raped at Central Park on the news. There was my learning about a member of my favorite band shot dead by some maniac (which really happened when I was still too young to have a favorite band, but I learned about it just in time to add it to my fears). There was Jason Vorhees on a killing spree in the yucky undergrounds of the city. There was Home Alone 2, in which the boy I was planning on marrying when we both grew up got lost and chased by bad guys in creepy Central Park...
Then... where did I end up? Con-nec-ti-cut.
The hot thing to do in Connecticut is to travel to NYC.
Oh, of course! When I arrived from Brazil, I arrived through La Guardia. Still not sure of the whole New York thing. Just get me out of here, Mr. Bus Driver.
The bus driver who was picking us up from the airport and driving us to the au pair training center in Stamford-CT, was born and raised in NYC. He was proud of his city. He told us stories as he drove us to our final destination.
So people grow up here? Normal people? People like me? No, I did not say that to him. But I said it to myself. He stopped at Wendy's for a quick snack, because some of us had been travelling for over a day. Most of my au pair friends had never seen a Wendy's before. He was proud to introduce it to them.
"Yes, America has more than just McDonald's, ladies!"
I was scared of getting out of the bus. But he laughed at me, so I did. I don't take mockery very well.
On Christmas time I finally decided I'd get the special bus sponsored by the community center in the town I lived. The bus left town in the morning and took a bunch of elderly citizens - and I - to scary NYC.
I walked a lot. I had no friends with me and the one person I knew in the city would not be available to babysit me till evening.
So there I was, for the first time, alone in New York City. Time to face my fears.
I walked and walked because I was scared of the subway. Not so much of getting mugged, but of getting lost. I saw the places that looked interesting on a map, and on the map they did not look so far.
Bad map!
I ended the day with sore feet. I met my friend and he took me to the top of the Empire State Building.
"Isn't it beautiful?"
Yes, it was beautiful. I guess he too was proud of his city.
Then he brought me back to the elderly citizens bus just in time to leave back to Nowhereland, Connecticut. (that's a made up name. I called the town Nowhereland because I felt it was in the middle of nowhere.)
That's when I told him I did not believe in dating outside of my religion. And that was the last I heard of him. I wonder why.
Then came Brazilian Day - the day Brazilians living in the U.S. celebrate Brazil's independence from Portugal.
Some Au pairs told me about it.
Yeah, when a bunch of peers tell you do to something, you do it, right? That is called peer pressure. Ever heard of it? Me neither!
After you've seen New York on Brazilian Day, you are not afraid anymore. New York was no longer the scary scene of Friday the 13th, no longer the evil city that killed John Lennon. It was a fun place to go. A place with Brazilian music, TV actors and my hometown food - which cost an arm and a leg!
I got lost from my friends half-way through Brazilian day. I thought that was good. I thought I wanted to go and find myself a one-day boyfriend. So I did. But when he started asking for my phone number, I figured it was time to take Metro-North back home.
"Come on, let's go to the Brazilian dance club!"
"Oh! There's my friend!"
"Over there! 6 blocks down this road! She's waving at me! Bye!"
Now, how do I get to Metro-North again? What's the name of that station?
Asking for help from police officers and kind city-dwellers, always looking back to make sure I was not being followed by lovy-dovy new-found trouble, I got to Grand Central.
Surprise - surprise. Mr. Lovy-Dovy followed me to Grand Central Station. He put his hands on my eyes, and for a moment I was glad! I thought it was one of my friends!
"You're gonna leave without giving me a kiss?"
A kiss! I can't kiss! I don't know how to! And I can't let him know that I don't know.
Oh, my gosh, I forgot boys want to do the kissing thing when they are interested in you!
That's the last time I flirt with boys I don't know. Last time! Last time!
Now think fast! That's right, dunk!
"My kiss!"
"Where are you going to?"
Crap! He'd be on my train! I was dismayed. I had to find a way out. But how?
I couldn't have this guy trying to kiss me for 2 hours inside a train.
"I-I I will kiss you! At the train!"
"Where are you going to?"
"uh New... Boston! Boston! I'm going to Boston. That's where I live. My dad works for the police there. Hey! There's my friend again!"
I joined a crowd of tourists that spoke another language and hopped onto the express train. When he saw me again, the doors were closing. Free at last.
Icky-sticky-goo had a whole new meaning for me on that day.

A few months later someone to whom I had actually given my phone number on Brazilian Day, called me. It was a Brazilian school in New York City, CCLS. And before you know it I was commuting to scary NYC. Teaching English and training teachers.

When I met my husband, NYC became an obsession. We had to do something fun together, and I had to go as a tourist to see the place where I worked like dog for no reasonable explanation other than I really love to teach. Because the pay was not worth the 4 hours a night I had left to sleep.

One beautiful and cold Saturday morning in January, we did go there. And we walked to places I had been wanting to walk to without being by myself. The major tourist places. The Library, Times Square, the MET, the Brazilian Street. This time I had my boyfriend with me! It was so much more fun!
We saw the tribute to John Lennon at Central Park. I had never seen it before. I was so excited! I think we just ran into it, it was not planned! I had read about it before, but we had not planned to see it.

Unfortunately we also ran into the guy I had a crush on, and his girlfriend. What do you do when you are out with your official boyfriend, whom you think you like, and you see the guy you have a crush on, with his official girlfriend? Hold on tight to your official boyfriend before you start acting like a fool - that's what you do. That's what I did.

We never made it to Chinatown, Little Italy, or to the Statue of Liberty. In fact I would never make it there until one year after we were married. It took my family coming to visit, for us to take the trip to that part of town.

I really wanted to go there, but on this trip we stayed around the Central Park area, which was a place I was familiar with.

I was just glad to be out with my boyfriend. Actually travelling with someone that meant something to me. It was the first time that happened since I had gotten to America. That was good enough for me.


Corruption is always surrounding power.
Political power gives people certain rights, privileges. And it scares people who don't have it. Who wants to go against someone who has the power to destroy their lives?
Political power gives people power over other people, their minds and their bodies.
Immunity to members of the congress, parliament immunity as we call it in Brazil, leads to the idea that they can get away with anything they want. And they take advantage of it. Who won't take advantage of license to get away with murder? Even people with good morals may slip. What to say of people without them?
We want to believe that some people of good character will stand up against people with with none. We want to believe that some politicians with a hint of what honesty means will fight the impunity of those who have never known it.
But if there are those who have the guts to stand up against politicians who are not afraid of anyone or anything, because they can buy them or control them, who will stand up for them?
Is a multi-party system any better than a two-party system in fighting corruption? I don't know. I think the only thing that makes one better than the other really is the people that are part of them.
But regardless of how good or bad people are, I have to say that maybe at two party system will fall into the trap of making the opposite party the enemy, and corruption gets overlooked if it's on your side.
In a multi-party system, because the lines of party loyalty are blurred maybe it's easier for everyone to join together against the corrupt ones - it does not matter which side you're on. Should that be the answer however, Brazil would be the cleanest country in the world. Should that be the answer we would not bitterly call our country the land of impunity.
Is a two-party system the answer? I already made my point why the answer is no.
The answer? From a strictly human point of view I don't know. I say make as many regulations as you can. I do believe that as much as possible people with power should be scrutinized - without the privilege of the party allies to protect them.
On the risk of sounding cheesy, I will speak as a Christian, the answer is not one system or the other. The answer is the people. People who take a stand of following the morals instituted by God.
Besides that I don't believe there is a perfect system. But I will still strive for one as faultless as humanly possible.