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Jun. 2nd, 2013

dolce

Grams

There was a holiday on Thursday, so we used the extended weekend to visit some family members.

It's been two months since Grams passed away, so people still ask and comment on it very often.

What I've realized is that I do not mind at al talking about Grams. Sharing stories, revisiting memories and all of that. But I'd rather not have to talk about how she died.

I look forward to the days in which when Grams is the topic, it'll be about who she is and how she lived, not just about how she passed away.

May. 18th, 2013

woody

Emergency contacts

I've just opened one of my notebooks looking for something when I looked at the personal information part.

I usually only fill in my name, one way to contact me and info that could be useful in emergencies, such as blood type.

On the emergency contacts, there are my parents and my grandmother.

It just hit me that I don't really have emergency contacts anymore.

My mother is hard to track down on her cell. Either it's dead, or forgotten at home, or off , or in silent mode and she doesn't notice it's ringing.

My father is moving away because of his new job.

My grandmother died.

My sister moved away because of uni.

My grandfather has Alzheimer's.

Of course, Mom's my emergency contact, but if it's one of those cell-less days of hers, who'll come for me?

May. 17th, 2013

not funny?

My last name

If I had a complicated last name or one that isn't Portuguese in origin, I would completely understand what my entire family goes through.

But our last name is one of the most common in my country! It's very much Portugeuse, our mother tongue. It's perfectly simple, except for one teeny tiny detail: it's spelling.

Our last name is Sousa. But the most common spell around here is Souza, with a Z. So everywhere we go, we have to specify it's "Sousa with S". ("Sousa com S" in Portuguese.)

In Portuguese, an S between two vogals sounds like a Z, so both spellings produce the exactly same sound.

And these are some of the things that have happened to either me or one of my family over the years:

  • We say "Sousa with S" and the person totally ignores it and writes "Souza" anyway;

  • The person gives me the "I'm not stupid look", assuming we meant the first letter and spells it wrongly;

  • Ice said "... Sousa with S", the person wrote on the paper "Souza com" then looked up at her and asked what came after it. (I saw it with my own eyes!)

Seriously, people, S-O-U-S-A. Sousa with S.

On a side note, people working with telemarketing and custumer's services really need to learn phonetic alphabet. I say "Sierra, Oscar, Uniform, Sierra, Alpha" and they have no idea what I'm talking about. It's quite sad, really.
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May. 14th, 2013

ashley

Samba versus Samba

I don't usually read comments on YouTube videos and blogs because something will bother me.

But, against my better judgement, I read some comments on two Samba routines from So You Think You Can Dance. And there's always an upset Brazilian saying "this is not samba".

Well, as a Brazilian, let me tell you: it IS samba. It's ballroom samba, which is quite different from 'street samba'. (I don't know if that's the actual name, but that's how I call it.)

The popular samba we see during Carnival or when there's samba or pagode music going on is one thing. It's basically all footwork and either you can or you can't do it. There isn't really a way to fake it, regardless of the "pretend you're trying to kill a roach" advice some people give.

The ballroom samba, however, is different from what we do. I'm not a ballroom dancer, but I've seen a number of presentations (both live and recorded) to know it's not just the footwork.

So, will you please get off your Brazilian high horse and accept a foreigner can samba too? 

May. 1st, 2013

dizzie

Fangirling alone isn't as fun

I admit, the main reason for me to write this post right now is to use my new userpic. Thank you, daynawashere, for the beautiful icon.

I have written about Lizzie Bennet Diaries countless times on my Tumblr. I've also written some of the actors involved about how mcuh this webseries means to me and about it's impeccable timing in my life.

But today, I'm talking about something else: fangirling.

I've been shipping Dizzie before Darcy was even mentioned. It escalated exponentially at every mention of his name, costume theater, mentions of his interest in Lizzie. Then there was Darcy Day and then he asked her out. Then there was heat, chemestry, tension and another "excuse me, Lizzie" with that unmistakable torso in frame, and finally, after 98 episodes, Dizzie Day!

It was... to quote Barney Stinson, it was legen - wait for it - dary. Twitter, YouTube comments, Tumblr... The internet (that I inhabit) just exploded in sadkjfnsdpnsgoinsg because none of us could form decent sentences after that. The feels, the flailing, the kisses, the everything!

Dizzie Day was about a month ago and when I talk or write about it I go into full fangirl mode with arms waving around to emphasize my point and not very coherent sentences.

I learned to bake snickerdoodles because of this show! There are so many quotes to be used. Totes, adorbs, whaaaat, I'm all about the drama, impecabble timing, it's so good to see you, it's super important, oh my gordh, everyone deserves tea...

There are guys and shampoo-ad-haired girls to sigh over.

But I only have one friend who watched The LBD. And he's my ex-boyfriend. So I can't fangirl about Daniel Vincent Gordh or talk about Laura Spencer's beautiful red hair (I think she might be a real life Disney princess) with him.

So, in short, I really need a girl to fangirl with. And my sister has declined my invitation to watch LBD so we could fangirl together. I probably should have reminded her I watched and went to anime events because of her...
dolce

It talks!

"Olha pra costura e vê o que ela fala. Aí, segue."

I'm still working on the proper translation of Grams's sewing lesson. See the pattern the sewing tells you and follow it.

After years of me asking Grams to teach me to sew, this is what she told me: listen to it and follow it.

I cannot tell how frustrating that was. "It doesn't talk to me." Was my answer. Truth is, even in that moment, I knew the sewing did talk, but in a language I didn't speak, so it didn't really matter.

But I've seen her do it a number of times. Always the same: sitting in a well-lit place (preferably natural light) needle in hand filling in the blanks in tears and small holes.

Her rule was: sew it up while it's small.

The other day, I put on a top and after minimum inspection on the mirror, I saw it needed some stitching up. I gulped thinking "if only my grandaunt was here". She certainly could fix it or show me how to do it. But she lives 9 hours away (by bus), so I had to figure this one out myself.

And the sewing pattern, the fill in the blanks way Grams did, it talked to me. And I understood what she meant.

I haven't finished it yet and it's not as good as hers, but it's something.

She was right - as always. She sewing does talk.

Apr. 30th, 2013

keep trying

"What happened to you?"

One of my bosses asked me last night, between my classes.

What prompted this question was the fact I have about 3 months of late paperwork to catch up on. It has never happened before.

The only thing I could tell her was "What didnd't happen to me?". I didn't mean that in a snarky way and she knows it. But, frankly, can I be blamed for being just so mentally tired at this point?

The year started off pretty well, actually. If you count only January. I traveled with my mom and sis, we had a great time. Good company, good place, good food, good hotel.

While we were out of town, we got the news we'd been waiting for a few years now: sis got into Med School.

... in a private Med School, in a city nearby. So she had to move and we had to focus on getting a student loan or it'd become unpayable in a few months. Getting the student loan took from Feb to late March.

Meanwhile, my grandmother fell ill. She had been feeling bad for a long time and doctors kept saying it was nothing. Turns out it was something. And quite something, at that! Myeloma, a kind of bone merrow cancer that affects the blood (super strong anemia) and bones (pain and weakening of bones everywhere).

After the Student Loan Drama was over, Grams got the dyagnosis and was immediatly admitted into the hospital. After a few days, she was transfered to Intensive Care, where she contracted a pneumonia. After nearly two weeks in the hospital, Grams passed away. After 54 years of marriage, Gramps is a widow.

Grams taught me about pretty much everything, except how to deal with things without her. So this is what I'm doing: learning to live without my most beloved grandmother, who raised me. Who I had never been parted from for more than a month, while she'd be away visiting my great-grandparents.

My bosses were kind enough to give me a few days away from work. As she's my Grams, I don't have the legal right to a leave.

I came back to work after about a week, trying to get back on my feet and teach when more drama happened.

One of The Aunts, who isn't my aunt by blood, but surely is by heart, was also in the hospital. She was elderly, her health was not fine and doctors were telling the family it was only a matter of time. And time came. Two weeks after we burried my Grams, we burried Aunt L.

Another week and more bad news. A family, friends of ours, lost their 22 years old son. He was out with friends, slipped and hit the back of the neck - that spot where head and neck meet - on the first step and slid down hitting the same spot in every step until the bottom. He was in the hospital for two weeks (his accident was a few days after Grams's funeral), until he passed away too.

Twenty-two! The same age as my sister. The eldest of four kids. One of the most enchanting smiles I've ever seen, such a charismatic person that you just loved him. I still can't quite believe it.

It's not just losing three people that hit me hard this year. It's dealing with their absences and with everything that rubs it right on my face. Grams kept everything running. She took care of everything and everybody and now... Well, now there's a big part of it that became my responsibility. I have a home and an elderly grandfather to care for. To keep an eye on medication, to take to doctors, to run errands for...

So, really, after these months (specially the last month - yes, the three deaths were in just one month.), what didn't happen to me?

I'm not saying my life is worse than anybody else's, I know there are people going through things a lot worse. But... it doesn't mean this is easy.
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Nov. 22nd, 2011

keep trying

It's silly, but...

...there are some small things that really make me nervous.

The first class. I've never liked the first day of class because I've always been very shy - almost anti-social at times. But, as a student, i just have to sit and pay attention. As a teacher, I have to prepare everything (and students hardly ever have the books on the first day, which means more work for me) and assure them that learning English will be fine.

Seeing self-farm photos. I've been following Compassion Alert on Tumblr and it became the photos became inevitable for me, as I started following some people whose tumblrs were on the alerts. Great people suffering a lot and expressing their suffering on their sites. But I feel my heart beating faster, heavy inside my chest whenever I see the photos of bodies covered in scars, animated gifs of self-loathing and even suicide pictures. They're usually in black and white, so it made me desperate to add color to my dashboard.

Doing medical exams. There's always either just a chance or an actual suspicion something is wrong with me. Thank God, usually everything is fine and normal.
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May. 2nd, 2011

dolce

Old Ladies

Months ago, I overhead a mother and daughter chatting while walking on the street.

The little girl said something about old ladies being bad and her mother replied it wasn't so. People weren't bad because they were old. The little girl cited Disney as source of such knowledge.

Carrie Goldman (www.chicagonow.com/blogs/portrait_of_an_adoption/2011/04/tangled-up-in-tangled.html) talked about adoption, women and Disney in one of her recent posts.

Until the day I heard that little girl, I had never thought of old ladies as bad. Quite on the contrary. My grandmothers, great-grandmothers (who are now with the Lord), my boyfriend's grand-aunts are lovely ladies. I love these women dearly, they are so sweet, wise, they rejoice with our small victories. These are the old ladies I grew up with.

Are we teaching our kids old people are bad with all these stories? Cinderella, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty and more recently Enchanted and Tangled.

I hope that little girl has the chance to meet nice old ladies like the ones I know.
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Apr. 20th, 2011

dolce

Passover

One of my favorite holidays deserves to have the story told. It's not about chocolate or bunnies, it's about freedom, hope, promises and faithfulness. How could I not love this holiday?

Then the LORD said to him [Abraham], “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions." (Genesis 15: 13, 14)

(One day, I'll write more about Moses, today I'm only talking about Passover.)

The Jews were slaves, mistreated, of course. And Moses arrived back in Egypt saying "The Lord tells you to let his people go".

Pharaoh just answered "Who's this God I've never heard of?" That meant "no".

God had warned Moses about this. The plagues came upon Egypt, except for one region: the land the Hebrews lived. Water turned into blood, there were frogs all over the place, then lice, flies, animals died, festering boils, hail, locusts and darkness.

The last plague was the worst: death of all first-born.

Moses told the people to prepare themselves. They were to take one lamb, a perfect one, and roast it. They would eat that together, at midnight. They would also eat bread without yeast and bitter herbs.

They should also use the lamb's blood on the doors of their houses. God said "I'll see the blood and I'll pass over your house, no destructive plague will touch you"

The people was also instructed to pack their things, to be ready to leave.

In every home in Egypt, there was cry and grief for their first-born sons. The Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said "Leave. Take your things and leave my country."

The Egyptians were giving away gold and silver and whatever else the Hebrews asked for. They said "Leave or else we'll all die. Take whatever you wish, but leave."

And Hebrews left.  600,000 men plus women, children and elders.

And they were free.

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