Monday, December 31, 2012

Mommy by Agnaldo Timoteo

She is the owner of everything,
she is the queen of the home
She's worth more to me
Than the sky, the land and the sea

She is the most beautiful word that one day the poet wrote
She is the treasure that the poor received from the hands of The Lord

Mommy, Mommy, Mommy
You're the reason of my days
You are made of love and hope

Ai, ai, ai Mommy
I grew up, I lost my way
I Get back to you and feel like a child

Mommy, Mommy, Mommy
I remember the slipper in hand
The apron all dirty with eggs
If I could I would, one more time, Mommy,
Start it all all over again

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I wish, I wish with all my heart

... That I could hibernate from November to May.

It's cold out there. It is really cold. The thermometer reads 26 F. In my brain, that sounds kind of like this:
26 F! That's below zero in normal degrees!

By normal degrees I mean Celcius, the scale in which my mind was taught to think. In the scale my mind was taught to think anything below 25 (80F)  is too cold. In the scale my mind was taught to think, zero (32F) means the armagedon. Now 26 F? That's below zero! What comes after armagedon? the Mayan apocalypse? The end of the world? Fire and brimstone? .... no... no, fire and brimstone actually sounds better that what is outside right now.

That's when I think of bears. Bears are so smart! They don't have to deal with this whole mess! They go into their little lair and hibernate. I wish I could hibernate like they do.

Why? Because the simple thought of leaving my house is so terrifying that start to cry. No, I am not using figure of speech, I actually cry every time I have to leave the house this time of year.

As if the idea that I can't just put on a spagetthi strapped shirt and a pair of shorts and slip into flip-flops whenever I want to leave the house wasn't terrifying enough, there's the fact that, no matter what I put on, I will be too cold!

If I could leave the house in my cozy jammies, wrapped in my sleeping bag, which would be stuffed with cozy blankets, and I could keep my head buried in it at all times, maybe I would be fine. But I actually have to get dressed. And guess what! Every single piece of clothes I put on seems to have been pulled out of a freezer! Not to mention the fact that anywhere other than under my bed covers is way - way - way colder than the cut-off temperature at which I would even be allowed to play outside when I was a kid. So basically going outside at such horrific temperatures is going against everything I was taught to be the right thing to do.

Now put your brain inside my brain and tell me - would you not cry like a baby as well?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

From a Proud Brazilian to Americans

I don't understand today's America. I'm originally from Brazil. My home country has been a mess for as long as I can remember. But it was ok to be proud of being Brazilian. The one thing we had to be proud of was soccer. We were proud of it. I'm still proud of being a Brazilian. I always will be. Just bc that is the place that made me who I am. The place where I'm from. The place where I've learned to be a person. It might not be the best place in the world, it might not be perfect. But I'm proud of it. We don't accept people coming to our country and saying our flag and our traditions offend them. So why is it not cool for Americans to be proud of their country? Americans, silly Americans, who said you're supposed to be ashamed of who you are? Who said your country isn't worth it. This is a great country. People from all over the world want to be here. To make it here. Be proud of being American. It's ok to be proud of your country. It's ok to love your country above all else. Even if you weren't that great. But you are. Look how much your countrymen have done through the years. Look how much they've brought to the world. It's ok to be proud of that. I'm am American today, but I know I will never have as much love for this country as those of you who were born and raised here. This place taught you to be who you are. So be proud. Be obnoxiously proud. It's your country.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

what if you only had a day left?

I often hear people say, "live each day as if it were your last". With the whole end of the world hype that we had last week, a lot of people gave that thought a lot of consideration.
I did too. And I came to the conclusion that, if I were to live each day as if it were my last I'd be fat and unemployed. I mean, why would I hold back on chocolate and other yummy things if tomorrow i'd be gone from this body?And why would I wake up early and go to work and put up with everything one must put up with at work in order to keep being allowed to come back the next day? Someone answer me, please? Why?
"Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die." That would be my philosophy.
Why should I live a life of responsibilities? Responsibility is all about the future. I will do A, B and C because if I don't I won't have a roof over my head, I won't have teeth, I won't have health, I won't have clothes, and I will need all of those things if I want to keep on living a few more years.
A care free life is not a life of happiness. Quite simply put, a care free life is an irresponsible life. Living for today ignoring the existence of a tomorrow is the stupidest thing anyone can do. Just about as stupid as a life that ignores that very real possibility of death.
I know I might die tomorrow. There is a very good chance that happens. But I also know there is a very good chance I might live a long life, and I don't want to live each day of a long life putting up with the consequences of living each day s if it were my last.
If I knew the world was going to end on 12-21-12, I would have quite my job. I would max out my credit card buying anything I wanted to buy, I would eat all the treats I typically control. Because I would know for a fact that there would be no pink slip, no bills, no extra pounds - none of that at the end of the month.
If you are a Christian, you know we'd be in heaven. If you're not a believer of any sort, that means we would all just be dead. So it doesn't even matter what you believe it would happen, one way or the other the consequences of all those wild actions would not be there.
Part of the reason why we lead responsible lives is that we know the consequences of an irresponsible, self-gratifying life.
Please, if you want to live a long life without getting yourself into all sorts of trouble, don't live each day as if it was your last. That's just stupid. Just live each day knowing there's a 50/50 chance you might live another 100 years, as well as you might be gone tomorrow. Prepare for both.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Scary dream

So, going to bed late isn't enough, I have to wake up half way through my close-to-nothing hours of sleep with a scary dream.
It was a confusing dream to start with. It was all one building - the school, my house, the mall, a dining lounge of a hotel with a swimming pool downstairs... And it seemed like the place was haunted. It had an aura like the one of that Tower of Terror ride from Disney Holywood Studios. First I was scolding some students for getting themselves in trouble. Next I was in this dinding lounge. For a minute there it seamed like I was in a train's dining lounge. Well, since it was haunted, there were monsters and ghosts around. By the end of the day, I was at home with my husband in the computer. Then we heard steps coming into the computer room. It felt normal. When it's night time, people are supposed to be arriving in the house. And, in our house, when someone arrives they walk into the room where there are other people. What didn't occurr to my dreaming mind was that , the only person that should be arriving in my house and walking into my computer room should be my husband. My husband, however, was sitting right at the computer with me. So we heard the steps and waited for a familiar face to show up at the door as if it were the most common thing in the world that someone else arrived at our house. Dad walked in and looked at us. No, the fact that dad passed away last year did not freak me out. It is common for children to be home and dad to arrive from work at night. That was all I had in my mind.
But here's when I freaked out:
"hi, dad," I smiled.
No answer. Just a blank stare. That was when it occurred to me, maybe dad was a zombie. He just stared.
"dad, for real, you're freaking me out. It seems like you're a zombie. ... Dad, just say something. .... ... D-Dad, quit the blank stare and say something. You're really scaring me. ... Dad? ... Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!" That's when I realized he was some sort of zombie and that we had no place to run, considering we were on the second floor and the only thing dad wasn't blocking was a window. That's when I heard Dean's voice, "Sweetie,wake up! You're having a scary dream."
I had woken him up with my heavy breathing, and it was still a while before I was able to calm down.
And then he wonders why I freak out when he does zombie sounds!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Don't politicize this

From the beginning I and several others have been asking people to avoid politicizing this tragedy and make it about gun control. Many people strongly believe one way or the other. I do too. And I have been trying hard to avoid making political statements. I have even deleted a repost after thinking it might be too political. Is it the time for that kind of discussion? Lives were lost and families are mourning. Should we use their pain to serve our agenda, instead of simply joining them on their mourning? They are not statistics. They are not a parable. They are real people in real unthinkable pain. They need comfort and sympathy. Something any of us would want at a time like this.
Unfortunately the president of this country has already set the bad example with his speech yesterday. I wish for once, he could give a speech of comfort and didn't try to push an agenda. When you are elected by a divided nation, you should try to bring people together, not put them up in arms (forgive the unfortunate figure of speech) against each other. I'm very disappointed at how that which started a beautiful speech ended as a political statement. He missed a good chance to bring his nation together. Instead, he used others' pain to introduce his plan. How unworthy. Never let a good crisis go to waste, eh, Mr. President.
But I still hope other people will allow families to mourn before they start with the we should/not have guns discussion.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Cruelty is always an evil thing - against property, against plants, against animals, against people... But cruelty against children is about the worst thing I can think of. Why do people do that?
Shooting a kindergarten class? I know humans are fallen sinners but I keep finding myself amazed as to how low we can fall.
Most of us have children, or younger siblings, or some of us are teachers (according to what I was taught - moms from school). I'm sure we are all crushed by such a horrendous event.

I'm look back at the awful event in Brazil, when carjackers dragged a little 6 year old boy for about 3 miles just bc he had gotten stuck by the seat belting the car they were trying to take. How low can we fall?

How low can a race of sinners fall? The amazing thing though shouldn't be that we can fall that low, but that most of us actually don't. God's mercy still keeps in humans the ability to care for each other.

In this fallen world nothing should surprise us. But it still hurts. Nothing but the assurance that God is greater than all evil and that he is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalms 46:1 KJV) will keep us from despairing at times like these.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gems from school

Sometimes we hear funny things from little people. Here's a few select ones from school:


Student: This is torture! (after hearing several compliments about her hair)
Me: do you know what that means?
Student: no. It's from I Carly.
Me: it's something bad that someone does to you over and over and over again.
Student: oh, like what Sam does to Freddie?
Me: well, more like when you guys talk non-stop all the time that the teacher is trying to teach. THAT is torture!
Student: oh.

I say I don't think it's appropriate to say I love you I a student. I love my family, my friends. I care about my students. Love? No, love is something else. But every now and then words come out without thinking. Introducing Awkward School Moments:
Students running after me after being dropped off in homeroom
Me: What are you doing? Go back to your classroom?
Student: but I love you!
Me: ok, I love you too. Now go back to the classroom.
Student: ok.


Student: Mis, witches are real, did you know that?
Me (sarcastic laugh): sweetie, I don't believe in witches.
Student makes crying face: no?
Me: no. But I'm pretty sure they are real.
Student (confused): what?
Other student: She always says that!
Darn! Students are beginning to catch up on my weirdness.


Student(pointing to classmate): Mis, tell him something!
Me: Something!


Student (walks up almost to my face): I have strep throat.
Me (backing up slowly making sure no part of me touches anything that might be touching the student): honey, you're not supposed to be in school. Go to the office and let them know that. .

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Trade your dog for a homeless child

I watched a video about PETA's wacky demands yesterday. The video mentioned that they were upset because during the aftermath of the storm, people were being saved in detriment of animals! Are you for real?
I always thought of PETA as a good, reasonable animal protection society. However, of this video is true, I guess I was wrong. I had no idea they did wacky things like that.
Now I'm here wondering what PETA would say about this famous Brazilian rock song sang by Eduardo Dusek that goes "trade your dog for a homeless child".
"With people things are different," goes another song. Face the truth, people are more important than animals.
How come fertilized animal eggs are protected as if they were sacred material? Are they more important than fertilized human eggs who can be destroyed in the name of choice?

I love animals too, and I don't think they should be treated with cruelty. But, yes, a homeless child should have precedence over a pet.

I don't think that the rocker guy was saying that we should all just dump our pets. But why spend millions on our dear animals while letting children go hungry in the streets?

Whose side are we on when we care more for the well being of another species than that of our own? Does the word self-preservation mean anything to the human race?

"With people things are different"

Accident in Japan

9 people died in their cars in Japan. How? The roof of a tunnel fell in. They were just driving, on their way to work, to a friend's house, to a vacation, to a special dinner, who knows!
The roof fell in, three cars were smashed and caught on fire. What an awful way to die. And, just like that, nine lives were taken... How many families are crying now?
This just goes to show how fragile our lives are. One minute we are here. The next minute we are gone. How many times a day do we dodge death by a few seconds?
And yet, we live as if our lives are so certain. We are so foolish! Why are we not on our knees everyday, thanking God for another day he spared us? And why don't we live each day as if it were our last? I mean, the best way possible, as if in a second we would have to give an account of our actions to a higher authority, aka God?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Me? A mom? Yeah, right.

So, after four years of marriage I still say,"children? I'm too young for that. We'll think about it in 5 years."
Some days though I wake up thinking, "man, I think I'm ready to raise a kiddo." then the next moment reason hits me,"what are you saying, crazy girl?"
The thing is I'm slowing coming to grips with the idea.
The idea of childbirth is not what scares me the most. Neither the fear that I will screw up on the whole child-raising thing ... badly. No, no, no.
I'm mostly scared of no longer being the center of attention. Once you have kids you become Mom and Dad. Yup, that's your new names. Even your friends will call you that. I'm not ready for that. I like being Vika. Cute Vika. The only daughter and granddaughter Vika. Everyone's little girl Vika.
Once babies come, Vika is just going to be the mom of the new cute stuff in the fam.
I'm not making that up. I was told. I was told, "enjoy your privileges now, bc when our grandchild comes, everything that used to go to you will go to the baby".
That means the attention, the gifts, the special treatment, the spotlight. Where did it go? Baby took it!
I'm not ready for that.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Most critical election?

I laugh at the power the people give the elections and, by the same token, the president. I think that it is important to be mindful when you vote. I do believe the person in charge makes a difference. But hey, has anyone ever heard the saying "each people gets the government they deserve"? The president will not change the course of history. The people will. It is the mindset of the people that elects the president. So the person elected to be in power will reflect the thinking of the constituents. The president will not change America. America will choose the president that is more like the majority of the voting Americans. Nuff said.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Trade your dog for a homeless child

I watched a video about PETA's wacky demands yesterday. I always thought of PETA as a good, reasonable animal protection society. I guess I was wrong. I had no idea they did so many wacky things.
Now I'm here wondering what PETA would say about this famous Brazilian rock song sang by Eduardo Dusek that goes "trade your dog for a homeless child".
"People are different," goes another song. Face the truth, people are more important than animals.
How come fertilized animal eggs are protected as if they were sacred material? Are they more important than fertilized human eggs who can be destroyed in the name of choice?

I love animals too, and I don't think they should be treated with cruelty. But, yes, a homeless child should have precedence over a pet.

I don't think that the rocker guy was saying that we should all just dump our pets. But why spend millions on our dear animals while letting children go hungry in the streets?

Whose side are we on when we care more for the well being of another species than that of our own? Does the word self-preservation mean anything to the human race?

"People are different"

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ayrton Senna from Brazil!

To end the children's month with a golden key, another one of my childhood. I'm here watching a documentary about Ayrton Senna and crying my eyes out... Nostalgia ... I miss that wonderful jingle along with Galvão Bueno's scream, "Ayrton Senna from Brazil!" Any Brazilian who lived in the 80's or 90's remembers this famous line.
Senna was our hero. He started as a nobody.  Upper-middle class boy, it is true, but a nobody from a third world country in the world of Formula 1. He stood out in karting, then came to Formula 1 in 84 and soon showed everyone he had come to stay. He surprised everyone with his geniality. In wet circuits, he was king. He won three world championships and more pole positions than any racing driver in history. Ayrton became the great phenomenon of Formula 1. He was a fighter who came, saw and conquered. But he never forgot Brazil, this suffering and injusticed country. Our flag was something he always carried with pride. The rich boy didn't even forget the poor of his country. In secret, he donated fortunes to our poor children, and when he was still alive, created what would be called the Instituto Ayrton Senna.
Can I imagine my childhood without seeing Senna racing - and winning? I can not. Sunday was the day to go to church and watch Ayrton win. Win and carry, with pride, our flag with him. At a time when we had so little to be proud of in this country, every victory of his was a victory of the Brazilian people.

And those of us who lived through the 90s will never forget the words of Roberto Cabrini, "Ayrton Senna da Silva is dead. News we never wanted to give. Ayrton Senna da Silva is dead." A black day in the history of Brazil. A black day in my history.

He was gone so early, but he left his mark on every Brazilian - the message that we who are born on this Tupiniquim land can be somebody.
Senna was and always will be the great hero of my childhood.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Elections here and there

Elections for mayor in Salvador were held yesterday. The winner was ACM III, the grandson of a man who used to be called the boss of Bahia. People voted for him because he "robbed, but he got the job done". Considering that elections for president in America are coming up, I figured I'd write here a little bit of what I thought about what happened there:

The jingle of the ACM Senior went like this, - "Do you remember me? I've never seen you so lonely. Cuddle of mine, darling of mine, my Bahia!"

From what I saw yesterday on facebook, ACM III could have sung the same jingle in these elections. Everyone was so desperate with the deteriorating condition of this beautiful caiptal of Bahia, that ACM III was celebrated as a hero simply for being elected.

I have not been following the politics of Bahia. But I have been hearing about the abuses of the dirty politics game that has been played there.
I never liked that old story from ACM's time : he robs, but he gets the job done. Admitting that you're a thief is little better than gross jerkiness.

But I know that in the real world nobody is 100% good. In fact, according to the word of God, no one is good, no one does good. So I believe that instead of saying "he robs, but he gets the job done", let's say "the lesser of two evils". Hopefully this elected mayor is a politician who fights for the interests of the city and do what is best for the citizens of Salvador.

But by the same philosophy that no one is 100% good, let's not forget that politics is no hero, no politician brings salvation of the fatherland. I do not care who you voted for - your candidate is not a hero. Is not and never will be. Let's not admit it is ok to rob! He gets the job done? Ok, so let's get him in power and keep an eye on him so that he will not rob ... much.

You citizen, you who went and voted and celebrated your victory at the polls, and even you who, I-don't-know-why-on-earth, have voted for the other guy, you still have a job to do, your civic duty is not over yet.

Watch, demand, criticize what deserves criticism and praise what deserves praise. Do not swallow their pills, do not sit back and hope, do not wait for the next four years. Know your councilors, write to them expressing your opinion, be informed and make your voice heard. And if your voice is not heard during the rule of these men, leave a message at the polls in the next election. But do not wait until then to act again.

Politics is part of life for a community. Citizens who are politicized is the essential part of a democracy. Only politicized citizens will not let politics turn into a dirty game. Only with politicized citizens will the men placed in power not do what they want to us. Only with politicized citizens will we build a democracy that's evolved and honored.

Seeing the American and Brazilian politics through history, I realize that when citizens are not apathetic to public life, men placed in power understand that they have to answer to a higher power- their constituents.

I end this post with a great truth which I've heard all my life:
The fate of those who are not interested in politics is to be controlled by those who are interested. Do you want to be controlled by others whose moral and good manners you doubt? Or would be interested and keep them under control?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Beatles copying Justin Bieber?

this was reposted by a friend of mine on facebook:
And this was the answer some dude gave on a comment:
Your full question was:

Are the Beatles copying Justin bieber?
I was thinking, the beatles have copied justins haircut, musical style and numerous other things. Isn't this illegal?

Let's break it down, shall we?

Q: Are the Beatles copying Justin bieber?
A: No.
Q: I was thinking,
A: No, you were NOT thinking.
Q: the beatles have copied justins haircut, musical style and numerous other things.
A: The Beatles had the haircut which I assume you mean circa 1963 to 1966. Justin Bieber was not yet born in 1967.
Q: Isn't this illegal?
A: Assuming the style had actually been copied, NO, it would NOT be illegal. Twisted Sister wore makeup. KISS wore makeup before THAT. Alice Cooper, T Rex et. al. wore makeup even earlier. Musical style was copied from The Beatles? Hardly. The Beatles rock, Justin Bieber sucks. Enough said about the musical "style" of Justin Bieber.

Little 12 year old girls love Justin Bieber's "music". Granted, many 12 year old girls loved (and love) The Beatles' music. However...if a 17 year old guy were to say then (or now) that he thought The Beatles were great, many would express agreement. Should a 17 year old guy say Justin Bieber were great he would (after being laughed at, ostracised, et cetera) have his sexuality called into question. Comparing Justin Bieber to The Beatles is like comparing apples to something that is NOTHING like an apple. Claiming that The Beatles "copied" Justin Bieber is like claiming that Ludwig von Beethoven "copied" Reginald Dwight (Elton John). Should that analogy have gone over your head, please note that Ludwig von Beethoven lived in the late 18th century to the early 19th century, whereas Elton John began in the late 20th century and continues into the early 21st century. However, that analogy lacks something. Mainly the fact that for it to be a really APT analogy, one would ALSO have to assume that Elton John is an untalented hack. In conclusion, it hardly seems likely that The Beatles somehow managed to travel through time, see Justin Bieber, and basically say, "This bloke's 'music' is horrible!!! But, little 12 year old girls seem to like him. Here's a thought! Let's go back to our own time and emulate him so we can be popular." Assuming that this DID in fact happen, The Beatles mucked up. They actually got people with musical taste to like their music, rather than simply tone deaf 12 year old girls with no musical taste. Brian Epstein (The Beatles' manager), while trying to get The Beatles a recording contract, would tell the prospective agent that "The Beatles willl be bigger than Elvis" (Presley). Many managers in the 1960's would say that about artists whom they were trying to get contracts. Brian Epstein was the only manager to make the statement about his artist and be proven right. The Beatles copied Justin Bieber? Hardly.

Camp is good and bad

Today the weather reminded me of mornings at camp.
I like and I don't like thinking about camp.
It's good because it brings back such wonderful memories.
It's bad because I know I will never have them back.
There's nothing about my childhood and teenage years that I miss more than camp.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Brazilians and the temperatures

Transcription from you tube.

85 º F or moreBaianos (people from Bahia) go to the beach, dance, sing and eat acarajé.Cariocas (people from Rio de Janeiro) go to the beach and play soccer.Mineiros (people from Minas Gerais) eat cheese in the shade.All the Paulistas (people from São Paulo) are in Santos, facing 2-hour queues in bakeries and supermarkets in the region.Gauchos (people from Rio Grande do Sul) deplete the stocks of sunscreen.

75 º FBaianos do not let the kids outside after 5 PM because of the cold wind.Cariocas go to the beach, but do not enter the water, because it is too cold.Mineiros eat cowboy's beans.Paulistas have barbecues in their coastal homes in Santos, but no longer go in the water.Gauchos complain about the heat and make no effort due to physical exhaustion.

70 º FBaianos change the showers to position 'Winter' (hot water in an electric shower)!Cariocas wear a sweatshirt.Mineiros begin drinking rum by the wood stove.Paulistas decide to come home from Santos, and traffic turns into that well-known hell.Gauchos go sunbathing in the Redenção park.

60 º FBaianos tremble uncontrollably from the cold.Cariocas gather to eat fondue.Mineiros continue drinking rum by the wood stove.Paulistas are still stuck in traffic jams on the way back from Santos.Gauchos begin to drive with the windows down, because there's a fresh air outside.

50 º FBahia declares state of emergency.Cariocas use full-length coats, wool under-pants, gloves and wool hats.Mineiros continue drinking rum and put more wood in the stove.Paulistas have already arrived from Santos and go all to the same pizza place in the same mall causing traffic jam in the city.Gauchos consider the possibility of putting on long sleeve shirts.

40 º FBahia enters Armageddon.Mayor César Maia launches Rio's bid for the Winter Olympics.Mineiros continue drinking their rum and add some mulled wine, still by the wood stove.Paulistas crowd hospitals and clinics due to diseases caused by temperature inversions.Gauchos shut the windows of the house.

32 ° FLife in Bahia or the entire Northeast is now extinct.In Rio, Cesar Maia wears 7 coats and launches 'Snowboarding in Rio'.Mineiros enter alcoholic coma by the wood stove.Paulistas do not leave home and give high levels of audience to Luciana Gimenes TV shows.Gauchos get ready to barbecue in the courtyard, before it gets cold.Source:

Monday, October 08, 2012

Peter Pan and the Nutty Boy

October 12 is Children's Day in Brazil. Just another excuse for candies and toys ... until Mom and Dad decide you're too old to be a child. Then October 12 is just like any other day.

I think most of us who grew up in the twentieth century know the story of Peter Pan, the boy who did not grow up. He lived in a place called Neverland. He could fly between our world and his. He could fight against the evil Captain Hook. The only thing he could not do was grow up.

When I was six years old I discovered poem of the ultra-romantic author Casimiro de Abreu "My Eight Years Old." "Oh how I miss the dawn of my life, my sweet childhood, that years bring back no more" ... Casimiro died at age 21, he had barely begun adulthood, and already he was missing his childhood ....

What was it that Casimiro knew? That Peter Pan knew? And I? What was it that I knew? I was only six years old and already knew that would be forever my favorite poem. ... I never wanted to grow up. Oh, yes I knew that I had a very special thing, and that it would not last forever. It did not last. Time came and took it away from me.

The first time I realized this was happening was on that day at the amusement park, when they barred me from entering the jumping house. Too big, they said. Too big? But last year I went in! How am I too big? It was the time playing its tricks on me. Years later, senior in high school, the teacher gave us all, pre-college students, lollipops on Children's Day ... And we mentioned to each other that in college no one would give us lollipops on children's day. Next year nobody would look at us and see a child ... It was time doing it to us again. The merciless time that not even Ziraldo's Nutty Boy could handle. Time came and made us all grow up.

So many kids out there wanting to grow up fast, wanting to be grownups. Ah, I never understood why. Why would you want to leave the simpler part of your life? The more careless part? That part where everything is possible, and where dreams and reality are almost one and the same? So many kids out there having to grow up too soon - for lack of choice that life gives them. Having to be grownups, to take care of themselves and take care of others sometimes. So many kids around having to bear responsibilities that life has brought upon them too soon. And you want to let go of your sweet childhood out of your own free will? Why?

Growing is fun sometimes, it's true. To grow is to live. Life is full of experiences. One after another. And with every new experience, a little bit of the child goes away. A little more of the adult arrives.

Growing up takes away so much ... so many things that we can never get back. The naivety of childhood will never return. The lack of care ... well, we can even have that back, but ... it will give you so much trouble ... better not. Growing up is learning to be responsible for ourselves and for others. It is learning that the only sensible choice is to be responsible.

Growing up, said one of  Marco Nanini's character, is slowly moving away from your feet. Actually, after that belly decides to sit there in the middle, those feet that once came all the way to your mouth, will never get as close and as easily. So it's true. Growing up is inevitable. How sad this fate of ours - Those of us who are classified as living beings in science class, in third grade - they are born, grow up, reproduce, grow old and die. Yeah there you have it - it is written in our homework, in our exam, in our textbook. Just as growing old and dying, growing up  is inevitable. ...

Stop! Stop everything! Says who? Growing up in the outside, yes. Stop being a child inside? Ah, that is optional, brother. Being a child is knowing to dream, to play, to run and to jump, to marvel at the little things of life like they were big things. You sing aloud, dance and act goofy and are oblivious to who's looking or who quit looking.

One day, said Ziraldo, the Nutty Boy grew up. He grew into a nice guy. But a real nice guy. He turned into the nicest guy in the world. And it was then, that everyone found out he had not been a Nutty Boy. He had been a happy boy.

I think the Nutty Boy never stopped being a child inside

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Girl! The day I met you, you were just a child
Now you come to me, out of the blue,
Beautiful, turned into a woman

Girl! How could I love you now ...
I held you in my arms, little girl
I sang for you to sleep ...
I sang for you to sleep ...

Remember an ugly girl
So shy, bare feet on the ground
Today so malicious
She keeps secrets in her heart
Secrets in her heart! ...

Girl! So many times I've made her cry
Finding amusing whenever she said:
"When I grow up I will
Marry you "
How could I love you now ...

I've carried you in my arms, girl
I sang for you to sleep ...

I sang for you to sleep ...
I sang for you to sleep ...
I sang for you to sleep ...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

minimum payment

My credit card's jut sent me this month's bill. Nothing beyond the ordinary. There it was my expenses, my reimbursements (for a purchase done and returned to the store 10 minutes later - because I found cheaper stuff at the store nearby), payment date and minimum payment. Yes, of course, the famous minimum payment! That more palatable amount you can pay each month without affecting your credit history.
It was this minimum payment that caught my attention.
The minimum payment, mind you, is $ 2.52
$ 2.52 ....
Shoot!! Can you imagine that? Paying $ 2.52 per month for a credit card bill? I guess this is meant to be funny.

Say I never use that card again. Also say that no interest incurs on my outstanding balance each month. Wanna guess when - just a wild guess, no need  to count ... just guess how long it would take me to finish paying my bill if, every month, I made that minimum payment!

Boy, I could not resist. I sat down and added the blessed numbers. Wanna know it? Dying to know? Well then prepare your funeral. Here's the answer:

64 years!! Yes, my friend, this bill gave the Paul McCartney song "When I'm 64" a whole and enlightening new meaning ...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

that smell coming from the kitchen

There's a sweet, sweet smell coming from the kitchen, and it is making me sad. It is a wonderful smell. It's not my cooking, but it is wonderful nonetheless.
It makes me sad because it brings back the memories of a time that's all gone.
My husband just bought this liquid potpourri that smells like apple cinnamon. The thing mixes with the smell of fresh bananas and bring me back the memories of boiled plantains.
Boiled plantains means breakfast at grandma. And breakfast at grandma's means my life in Brazil.
Days like today, when I have to stand outside at 7 am in a bitter cold of 41 degrees, make wonder why did I trade my always warm hometown for this ever cold place. What was I thinking? Days like today make me wonder if I am ever going to be warm again.
"Oh, how I miss the dawn of my life, my treasured childhood, that years bring back no more."

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Seven years as a Shepherd

Seven years as a Shepherd
Sonnet by Luis de Camoes (free translation by Vika Winters)

Seven years as shepherd Jacob served
Laban, father of Rachel, beautiful mountain girl;
but he did not served the father, he served her
and she was the only pay he desired

The days, in the hope of one day,
he passed, contenting himself with only seeing her;
But the father, using stealth,
instead of Rachel, gave him Leah.

Seeing the sad shepherd, that, by deceit,
he had been denied his shepherd girl,
as if he had not deserved her,

promptly serving another seven years,
said: I'd serve even more, if it weren't
for such great love, so short a life.

don't look American

We went to the Big E for an un-stressing session, much needed after this long, complicated week. We arrived in the middle of a parade and some people were walking around giving out American flags. They offered Dean one. OK... and me?
No, of course they did not offer me an American flag! I don't look American, do I?
Well, obviously not. Since the flag guy walked right by me, without even wondering whether or not I might want a flag.
No one thinks I am American.
But no one ever even suspects I am Brazilian.
Should I mention the amount of people that come to me speaking Spanish as if it was the most natural thing in the world to assume I can reply?
At the subway station, at the Mexican restaurant, at the train station, at Walmart, at the airport ... you name it. Some Spanish-speaker is bound to come to me and try striking a conversation as if it were an obvious, unquestionable fact that I am one of them.
Everyone looks at me and immediately thinks, "Mexican!" "Puerto Rican!" "Hispanic of some sort!"and opens his Spanish dam on me.
Why does it not occur to anyone that I might be from Brazil?
You know, Brazil! That ridiculously huge spot that takes over the majority of the South American map. Right! It's not just a black hole! It's an actual country. I could be from there. Does it not occur to anyone? Oh, of course not. After all, we are only the 5th largest country in the world.
Why does it not occur to anyone that I might be Brazilian and actually speak Portuguese?
Don't take me wrong. I am proud of my language skills. And I love to show off and let people know that I can speak 4 languages.
But I do have a problem with the assumption. Don't assume I can speak your language. That's when I'll try my best ignorant Brazilian accent and go like "No hablo español!"

Sunday, September 09, 2012

The humming bird

A long time ago, there was a fire in the forest. All the animals in the forest started running away. In the middle of all this mess, while lions, leopards, monkeys, birds, giraffes, elephants, bears and armadillos ran for their lives, a little humming bird traveled back and forth.
The little humming bird would fly all the way to a brook, get a drop of water in his beak, then fly all the way back to the fire and drop the water on it. He did that again and again.
One of the animals, noticing the attitude of the humming bird, laughed at him, and asked, “What are you doing, humming bird? Don't you see you'll never put out this fire all by yourself?”
The humming bird replied, “I am doing my part.”

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Eighty years young and a tragic end

She was a young lady of eighty years. She had so many stories to tell ... if she could talk. But she did not speak. She did not know how. She told her story in her wrinkles and her size. The task of speaking was left to others. And one thing she did better than anyone - she was always there for all of us - calm, imponent, shady - as a mother looking after her children wisely. How many times we've ignore her. How many times have we thought she would always be there. Under sun and rain, wind and snow.

Until, one day, they came after her. It was a Tuesday. And when I left for work, she was still there.

And on that day they came. Mercilessly, they toppled her. She said nothing. She did not ask for help. She could not. She did not know how. She was silent ... until her death.

When I came home that day, I saw her no more. She was gone. Gone was her trunk, her branches, her leaves. Gone. Never to return. Only the stump still reminded us that she had existed. For eighty years she existed. And, unannounced, she left us. Without even giving me a chance to say goodbye.

Who was she? Eighty years ago, it was planted by our neighbor and his first-grade classmates in front of the school where they went. A tribute to their retiring principal. For eighty years this tribute grew and gave us all shadow and protection. ... Until the day that unscrupulous people came to destroy it. Without mercy. Without even the right to do so.

Underneath its roots, protecting a secret, a time capsule. A capsule we all still hope to find, and finally provide her this final honor - At least the dignity of having the secret entrusted to her, and held until death, rescued into the world.

To me, I can only say what I wasn't allowed to before: Goodbye.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Heights and coasters

Ok, so I am a wimp, ok! Yes, I am afraid of heights, darn it! I admit it!
Dean and I love to find new places to go for a walk and this other day we followed the train tracks to a bridge. 
He asked me to walk over the ridge with him. I said yes, of course! But, as soon as I looked down, I began hyperventilating. He was already halfway through to the other side, and here I was, looking down, petrified, hyperventilating.
He laughed at me.
Wait ... HE LAUGHED AT ME??? NO ONE LAUGHS AT VIKA!!! ... Well, except for her husband.

Now, wait a minute, you ask, how does a roller coaster fan is afraid of heights? Simple, very simple, my friend – Fear excites me as long as I know I can't get hurt. People don't plunge to their deaths while riding roller coasters. Except, of course, in the case of that girl at the Hopi Hari park, who was ejected from a defective seat of one of those shoot-up tower rides. But, think with me, if there is a chance of a ride seat being defective and killing,, how much greater are the chances that, while walking on abandoned train trail bridges, a quarter mile above a river, you will step on with missing parts and rotting wood and fall to your death!

You know when they say in the movies, “don't look down!” and someone does look down? And then they fall and die, don't they! Well, I will bet you a million dollars that would be me:
“Vika, don't look down!”
And, on my gravestone, one will read, “Her last word was 'What?'”

Monday, August 20, 2012

life soundtrack

Do you imagine your life with a sound track? Do you have a theme song? I can't imagine my life without music in the background. And for everything I do, there is a song playing in my mind in the back ground.

Does that sound weird? How could it be any different? If you grew up in the same time I did, and in the same situation I was, you'll understand it.

I have grown up in a time where lives of people, real ones and imagined ones, were told on TV every day, all the time, as series, shows, novelas, movies, music videos, commercials and anything else one could fit in that little blue light screen.
I have also grown up in a time where we could carry our music with us everywhere we go. In the car, in the purse, attached to our bodies.
Then every where I go there is music playing. The mall, the store, the restaurant, the school. Music is everywhere in the background.

How could I possibly view life in any other way but with a sound track?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Things I love about about people on TV

You know those times when you're sitting down watching your TV show or movie and then the people in the screen do something that you go like - that only freaking happens on TV!!! 

Yeah, TV people are funny. They do things that no one in real life does! I am not talking about time traveling or flying with a cape on, or jumping off a cliff on a motorcycle and make your way into a flying airplane. No, because, when you watch a fiction story, you sort of expect those things to happen. I am talking about daily things that they do that makes no sense whatsoever. Only on TV. I'm talking about things that look normal, but, well, aren't. 

Usually they have to do with sex, but not always. I'd say don't read this if you are underage, but hey, you've seen this on TV, so go ahead and read for fun... just don't try it at home ...

Here is a few examples:

Example #1 – A couple went to bed last night and they made love. Then they fell asleep. It's morning and they get up from bed - they have clothes on! Whoa! Did they master the art of having sex with underwear on or the art of changing back into exactly what they had on the night before under the covers without anyone noticing the commotion?

Example #2 – A couple wakes up in the morning and starts kissing passionately … without brushing their teeth!!! What is wrong with this picture? Well, unless I am the only weirdo who suffers from morning breath and does not wish to share with my husband, they either secretly sucked on breath savers right before they opened their eyes or they have a strange addition to nasty tasting kisses.

Example #3 – NOT A SEX ONE! When a person is being chased inside their house they run upstairs. Because the safest place to be when fleeing a maniac is cornered at the top of a tower.

Example #4 – Another one on waking up in the morning. Everyone wakes up perfectly made up, shaved and with their hair done. I want the number of their hair salon.

Example #5 - Nothing ever possibly goes wrong before wild sex. Nothing! The clothes come out like butter. Hair is always lose but it doesn't accidentally end up on partner's mouth. No one goes like... I haven't showered today yet.

If you think of more of this stuff, (again, it doesn't have to be about sex scenes...), send it over the comments. I would love to hear your TV insights.

See you next week!

Sunday, August 05, 2012


In these past days I've been following my little plants growing. My tomato and pepper flowered. And I thought, gee I'm not a total incompetent. Is it going to bear fruit soon?But at the same time, when I stop to think more deeply on the subject of planting and harvesting, I'm afraid.This week I went with my husband to Plymouth, the city started by the Pilgrims who fled religious persecution in England.They have a village called Plimoth Plantation, which recreates life in 1627. Each family has its home, each house with its garden. They planted and ate the fruit of their labor. There was no electric light, no telephone, no mall. But everyone had enough to eat, what to wear, and how to protect themselves from cold. They landed there in 1620, a desert land (because the local Indians had been decimated by disease), and in less than seven years had a self-sufficient life.And we? We depend on the fragile technology that surrounds us. What would we do if, suddenly, we had no electricity? We lost all ability to survive - the one our ancestors had mastered so well.Is our life more fragile today than it was back in 1620? We have cures for many diseases, better control of nature, but not by our own abilities - it's thanks to technology - technology based on electricity. If we lose our beloved electricity, what have we left? we are accustomed to a life of comfort, and forget that it could collapse any time. And if it crumbles, what have we left?And why go that far? Why go back to 1620?My grandmother certainly led a life far more self-sufficient than me. My grandmother certainly had more knowledge of how to survive than me. That was 70 years ago! How is it that in three generations all that knowledge that was passed on from parents to children has been lost? Knowledge of thousands of years ... lost - because the current technology made it unnecessary. But the current technology lives literally hanging by a thread. What if the thread breaks? How unprepared we are to survive! We do not know how to treat animals for own consumption, plant gardens for subsistence - in school I learned that whoever did that was the poor peasant. We, people of big city, practice the following subsistence culture - the supermarket. We don't even know how to make our own clothes! 
 I'm afraid - afraid that much valuable knowledge is lost forever. And one day we might need it.As I wish I could bring back the tradition of passing knowledge and traditions from parent to child.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Anguishing Start

My vacation this year began with a trip to the airport. A trip in a raining morning, after an anguishing weekend. So let's begin by the anguishing weekend.

JP and Aunt Léa were leaving Brazil on Friday night, arrive in Washington on Saturday morning and have an intense weekend in the American capital, filled with visits to museums and monuments. I had planned their itinerary along with JP, and Aunt Liana was there waiting for them. SHe was to be their host for that leg of the trip

But on Friday night I received a message from Aunt Léa saying that the conection São Paulo-Washington was going to be delayed due to an issue in the aircraft. They'd arrive in DC six hours late.

Darn. That's so annoying. It will be a rushed day.

Hours later, another message from my aunt. Flight canceled. They were being taken to a motel and would only leave in 24 hours.

Twenty-four hours? A whole day? Half the trip, gone? At this point, I, who had spent hours with JP on the phone planning each step they'd take in that trip felt frustrated! So much planning for everything to go wrong!

But, fine. They would have Sunday. JP was taking advantage of the time at the hotel to check out the itinerary and pick and choose some stuff.

The problem was that, at this point, I had no psychological conditions for anything. I was to spend Saturday doing housecleaning and making sure the house was ready to receive them. But, in the anguishing wait for news, I couldn't even finish my lunch. At this point, if I crossed paths with a United employee, I'd fill him up with punches.

Saturday afternoon, the bomb came. THe flight would only leave Sunday afternoon. This news, once and for all, buried the Washington trip. On Monday, at six in the morning they would be flying here, so they would have no time at all to see Washington. No museums, no monuments, nothing.

My frustration was so that at this point I didn't even need a United employee. One had only to be a moving being to be a potential victim of mine. The trip planned with so much love and care was canceled.

Noting my anguish, Dean tried, in vain, to solve the problem. He called United and tried to get them into a flight, any flight, from any airline, that came from there to here. No flights had room.

Sunday was lived in the anguishing expectation that this flight would indeed leave the ground, so that they wouldn't miss the flight here to my home. If that happened, then the plot would thicken. I didn't even go to church, in the expectation of receiving any news. God knows at what time I remembered my house was still to be cleaned.
Dean, who was being a true angel to me, helped with the cleaning with no complains. Miracle?No! He knew exactly what a nerve-wreck I was.

When I heard they had boarded the plane, two hours delayed, I rested. I rested an un-restful rest. A disappointed rest. That rest that every Brazilian rests after the loss of a world cup. This dream is over. See you next time. My comfort was knowing that the next part of the trip was coming. Our part. God willing, that would go ok. Let's go to bed. Monday is another day.

To be continued next Sunday...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Back from Vacation

Yes, I am back from vacation. Back to real life. Every time I come back from vacation it feels like I am waking up from a dream. The wonderful moments lived, fulfilling the year-long planning - now just eternal memories. Even the time at the awful waits at the airport and the dreadful flights feel like a dream.
This year was particularly special because for part of the vacation my little brother and my aunt were here in America.
Anyway, unfortunately I am back to real life. Vacations are the only thing that get me up in the morning and get me through a day of work. I keep in mind that each day of work helps me pay for a little bit more of my precious vacation. So now, now that I am back to real life, I am also back to planning and counting down for vacation 2013.

I owe my readers an apology. I have disappeared from the blogging scene for over a month now without offering a reason for it. But, I try not to announce on the internet that I will be away from home. And, unfortunately, when we travel, internet is spotty, and when you lead 20-hour vacation days, like we do on our vacations, very little time is left for blog-writing, editing and posting.

This is absolutely my no means an excuse for the lack of journaling. I should absolutely register each and every day of my vacations, considering how precious they are to me. I need to register such days. What I do, how I feel, what I eat... Even when I get back to the hotel only four hours before I must leave it again, I should take the time to write a reflection on that day.

I am vowing right now that, from this coming vacation on, this is what I will do. But as for now, I will register to the best of my abilities, each day of my vacation here.

Get ready. See you next Sunday!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I believe

I believe in the right of all people to position themselves against or in favor of polemic issues. I believe in the right we all have to try, using arguments, in a coherent and civilized way, to defend our positions and to try to convince others using those arguments. I believe no one has the right to humiliate another person for his or her personal convictions.

Unfortunately intolerance is a reality. And intolerance comes from all sides. It is very easy to call someone intolerant because she refuses to believe the validity of homosexual marriage. Even if this person uses democratic means in civilized and respectful ways to convince others of their point of view. A person who dares to express an opinion considered unpopular is now accused of intolerant - simply because this person expressed a personal belief.

On the other hand, the current society tries to convince us that certain groups are above good and evil. The gay community, for instance, is made up of tolerant and loving people, people who possess good taste and super human sweetness. It is as if being gay turned any regular person into a model citizen. If you think gays are tolerant simply for being gays, try to explain what happened when I tried to explain my personal belief to a person I considered a friend of many years. After making it clear that I respected his right  as a citizen to do whatever the law allowed him to, I explained that my religious convictions established certain parameters by which I guided myself to understand right and wrong. I explained that, among countless things (many of which I was also guilty of), homosexual behavior was considered wrong as well. I explained that such issue would never prevent me from being friends that had such behaviors.

This person, without my permission, took my name and my words, put them in public discussion on Facebook, called me a liar and ridiculed my convictions. Others liked it. So what have we here? Public humiliation and ridiculing are now valid - of course, as long as they come from a homosexual against a religious person who dares to express an pinion.

Now I ask - someone who ridicules a person in public, exhibiting a private conversation done in civility and respect, does that person deserve to be called a friend and nice person? A friend - that is what he will not be called anymore.

Intolerance - the attitude of which people who hold more conservative views are usually accused of - will countless times come from those who call themselves open-minded people. They believe they have the the right to their opinion. But only they do. Isn't that funny? If anyone has the right to not be bullied for being gay, don't others have the right not to be bullied for having a religion that believes that homosexuality is wrong? Does tolerance only favor one side?

In one instance I was accused by a teacher of being religiously intolerant. She didn't even care to hear my arguments. When I opened my mouth to to say there was a mistake on the exam, she immediately shut me off and told me to leave my religion intolerance outside. All I was trying to explain to her was that, on that exam question, which asked us to compare the text (a fictitious conversation between God and man at creation) to another literary work, the correct answer was the book of Genesis, not the New Testament. The teacher could have learned  on that day that if was the book of Genesis, not the New Testament that talks about the creation of the world. But she preferred to publicly shut the religious student before she could open her mind. Of course, because, obviously, anything that comes from the mouth of an evangelical is not worthy of respect. So why bother listening?

This is the world we live in.

The truth is everyone is intolerant to a larger or lesser degree. That is because we all have certain values about right and wrong and don't always know how to deal with those with different parameters. However, those self-entitled pro-tolerance tend to be the most intolerant of all. Some people like to humiliate others. These people can be everywhere. They can be religious, they can be gays, they can be of any freaking position they they want.

Being tolerant is knowing how to deal with the difference. Some of us learn that. Some learn to deal with the difference. Some learn that it is necessary to respect others as human beings, even though their values and world views are different. Some learn we don't have to agree, only respect others as citizens of democratic societies. In such societies, the right to disagree is not a privilege of special groups - that is why it is called a right, not a proivilege. Could it be that some day we will all understand that? Understand and live it?

Live as if you believed in the right of people to have different opinions and and be able to use arguments to support them. Live as if you believed in the right people have to completely disagree from you. Argumentation is a tool we all have for our use. It is a right of all who have opinions. But it requires mutual respect.

Live. Speaking is easy. Living is much harder. Live a life that shows the respect you demand from others.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

a day after the other

There is nothing like a day after the other.. And a night in the middle. People say times heals everything.
Yes. Somehow, the new day is telling us that we have survived, and that there is a chance we will survive another day. We know that not everything is perfect. Sometimes it even feels like the world is falling over our heads. But, unlike fairy tales (where everything is so perfect all the time), life brings little surprises everyday in many different shapes. Blessings in disguise or blessings you can see. Live is never all good, but it is never all bad either. There's always tomorrow to remind you that life goes on. And that something good might just happen.

One day after the other, and someday that pain of the broken heart is gone – or it doesn't feel as important anymore. One day after the other and someday you learn that what people say is not as important as what you know and how you feel. One day after the other and, when you least expect, you'll be near the ones you really love. One day after the other and you realize you are still here. You can't even believe you have come this far without falling apart. And if you have come this far, you can probably go a little further. You realize that somehow you've found a way to cope with life's lemons, and sometimes you even came up with a yummy lemonade.
Nothing like a day after the other to show there is always hope. Nothing like a day after the other to show that while it 's true that nothing good lasts forever, no evil is eternal either.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dual citizenship

Wednesday, 30th of May 2012, I will gain dual citizenship. That is, I have Brazilian citizenship - that I have not resigned, nor intend to - and will gain the American one.
Many people do not understand this matter properly. When I talk to people about the citizenship process, they stare at me and ask, "But were you not a citizen already?"
No, people. Yikes. Citizenship is a serious thing.
Let's get this straight.
When I entered this country, I came in with an exchange student visa - a J1. The J1 is a visa that entitles you to enter and leave the U.S. for a year, plus a year's bonus stay without the right to multiple entries. This provided that you maintain the status of exchange student.
At the end of my bonus year, Dean and I were already dating, and several people had suggested I did my graduate studies here. Having nothing to lose, I started the paperwork, returned to Brazil and got a student visa - an F1. The F1 gives you the right to enter and leave the U.S. for five years, provided that you maintain your student status.
At the end of the second yearas an F1, Dean and I were married. Now I was the wife of an American, and the U.S. thinks (with a mind of a donkey of the people that make the immigration laws) that a person married to an American citizen must have the intention to live in this country permanently. It does not occur to them that maybe, and just maybe, I just want to finish my degree and move with my new husband, back to my home country. No. Wives/husbands of Americans obviously have to give up their original visas (ie, temporary stay) immediately and apply for permanent residence - the famous Green Card. What do I call that? Presumption, if you want to know my opinion. They presume that if you marry an American, you obviously want to live nowhere else other than America. Who are you, I ask, to think for me?
There are scores of ways for a person to get a Green Card. Marriage to a citizen is the fastest of them. But, in short, anyone who has a legitimate reason to establish residency in the U.S. can enter the Green Card application. We must have good background, and never have attacked the U.S. government. It also requires that the greencard-holder be residing in the U.S. for six months plus a day every year. Right! This is a residence permit. If you do not reside, why do you need the document? But to speaking English and knowing history are unnecessary things to obtain a green card.
A person who has obtained a green card in the U.S. can live their whole lives here without being bothered. For, as the official name says, a green card gives its holder permanent residence.
A U.S. resident, has all the rights stated in the Bill of rights. Freedom of expression, of worship, of assembly, to bear arms, to make petitions to the government, having a fair trial, among others.
To recap - anyone with legitimate reasons to establish residency in the U.S. can apply for the Green Card. And you can spend your whole life here with a Green Card.
GREEN CARD is NOT CITIZENSHIP !! It is not the same. Understand this, guys. Citizenship is a serious thing. Can you imagine if the government went around giving out citizenship to everyone that sets foot on the country? That means now you are also offering these people diplomatic protection and the right to influence in the political life of your country. A bunch of foreign nationals, telling nationals what to do witrh their country. 
Let me explain. Citizens have certain rights and duties that residents simply do not have. For example, citizens can vote and be voted. Citizens must serve in public jury when called. To become a citizen, he must prove that he can speak the language of the country and has a basic knowledge of American history. To gain citizenship, you also have to have some years with a Green Card.
After a few years with a Green Card, you can reach citizenship. Obviously, you do not need it. But you can. Citizenship gives you many privileges, and I do not have to renounce my citizenship natural, I have not seen reason to wait. Green Card has the expiration date and must be renewed every 10 years. Citizenship is forever. With citizenship I have the right to participate politically, but not with a green card. The Green Card can be revoked at any time by the government. Citizenship may not.
So yeah. It was the best way. That is why on Wednesday I become U.S. citizen.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Theology from an lay girl

I really like theology. Even though I am far from being a theologian, it have fun learning and discussing biblical doctrine. I like organizing and improving my thinking, especially concerning things related to God.
But, sometimes, when I am at church, and the pastor is preaching his sermon, my mind wonders to ideas that are not very theological, but are just based on biblical facts.

So, here it goes, theology of a lay girl:

A couple of Sundays ago, we started studying the book of Daniel. And we soon read the account in which Daniel and his friends make a point of not contaminating themselves with the king's food. They decide to adhere to a diet of vegetables and water. Daniel and his friends didn't know it then, but, by choosing not to eat from the king of Babylonia's table, they adhered to a vegetarian diet, which was healthy enough for them. So if you want to argue against vegetarian diets, take it up with Daniel.

I am not saying I agree when vegetarians say they don't eat meat because the poor animals had to be killed. When we eat salads the poor tomatoes and lettuces had to be cut off of its life source - so lives end so that others may continue, just the same. And, hey, animals farts are not, by any respectable scientist's standards, increasing the hole in the ozone layer or contributing to green house effects.

But, most vegetables and fruits have negative calories in them, besides vitamins and minerals. So you're eating nutrients and not getting fat. How about that!

On another Sunday we were studying the book of Samuel. Back in the beginning of Samuel's story, we find Hannah, his mother. Hannah was a tormented wife because she could not have children. God eventually hear her desperate prayers and granted her Samuel.
That shows how great and loving God is. But here's what I don't understand - Hannah was so upset about not having children! I don't think I'd be that worried if I found out I couldn't have any. But then again, this was 4k years ago. I mean, what else was there for a couple to do, after a year or two of marriage, than to raise children? Life must have gotten pretty boring after a little while without children.
I mean, how much entertainment was available? How many plans for the future could they do that would be made harder or impossible by having children? Were children ever part of an either/or choice (you know, either children or that other thing that makes my life so meaningful)?
I love it though, that even when Hannah's heart was breaking, she didn't prevent herself from worshiping God. Stop going to worship is the worst thing anyone can do. Don't give up on worship when you're overwhelmed. It would be like saying, I am too tired all the time, I don't even feel like eating, so I should stop eating. Well, you'll just make yourself worse. The thing is - life will go on, with or without you. So it is up to you to choose to continue or not. Do the next thing - keep your life going. Don't collapse.God is there - He is the one who holds you up.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Life Deals

I skipped a week in my blog posting, but not because of lack of reasons to write. It was lack of time. Last weekend was jam packed. Last weekend's laundry didn't get put away until this morning and this weekend's laundry is done but still sitting in bed.
I don't like when life suddenly gets so busy that it feels like I even breathing takes too much time out of my day.
However exciting things happened. For instance, I got my citizenship appointment and I got a publishing contract with a fairly big publisher for my Little Girl From Yesterday book.

But there's something else I have in mind for tonight.

Let's talk about money issues.

Money is never a problem. Money is always the solution. The only problem with money is that money is hard to earn and easy to spend. It's the opposite of weight – which is easy to earn and hard as heck to lose. It makes me think of that Roberto Carlos song, “Can it be that every thing I like is either illegal, immoral or makes you fat?”But let's get back to talking about money, something king Roberto Carlos has enough of. Let's talk about how to save money in little things!

Last weekend, even with all the rush, I purchased two pairs of Converse for only 21 dollars each! I got home and the first thing I did was throw away my old sneakers. I can't say they lasted well. I have older sneakers that are in better shape than those ones. But, hey, you never know when you'll get lucky with anything you buy! I had bought those from the Avon magazine for only $29 dollars. But, at least with converse I have a better chance.
The crazy thing, however, was how I got that great deal. I was trying on the women's size, which was a size 8 and it cost 35 dollars. So I looked at the Junior sizes and they looked an awful lot like the same size as the ones I had on. I grabbed a Junior 5. A tidy bit too small. So I grabbed a Junior 6. Perfect fit. Seriously! For 14 dollars less I got the same shoes! I am so glad I am tiny!
I gotta say I love my high heels, but on a daily basis and sometimes when I just want to look cute, or for outings to the park, sneakers are a must-have in any smart girl's wardrobe. Now I have 2 pairs for only 42 bucks.

Since we're talking about good buys, I should probably mention the reason I was so busy over Spring Break. I spent a good part of my spring break doing price research at Walmart and PriceRite (our two major grocery stores). I put all the prices of all the stuff we regularly buy in a spreadsheet and now it's on our phones. It makes it so much easier to price check. And, when we happen to go to a different store, all we have to do to check if we have found a deal is to check the phone.

Here's an example. I had it listed on my Walmart column that my hair color was $4,98. PriceRite doesn't sell it and I tried the dollar store once, but will never do it again. The color looked on my hair like water color. And it lasted less than a month. So I figured I would go back to my Revlon 11. In an emergency run to Big Y (can you imagine! BigY!), I found it for less than 4 dollars. I checked the phone file and grabbed it right away. Today, after making a trip to Pittsfield, we entered their Walmart and fond my Revlon 11 for less than $3!!! Heck, I am getting it right now!!! It is so much easier now that I have files to immediately compare prices!!!

By the way, this is the thing about dollar store items. They are only a dollar!!!! Buy them! Try them! The worst it can happen is that you'll realize you wasted... a dollar!!!! The best it can happen is you will have found an amazing way to sabe money! But be careful with dollar products. Sometimes they cost less but they come in smaller amounts as well, so they end up being more expensive then at your regular grocery store. For instance – popping corn at Dollar Tree costs more per pound than Walmart brand popping corn. And just a little bit less than a brand name popping corn at Walmart.