Today the groceries came with a little dry ice to keep the milk cold… I threw it in some water and let Stavros have some fun. He thought it was pretty cool.
Stavros was having the best time, so we just had to catch it on video and share… hope you enjoy it as much as Stavros did
When I graduated High School, my parents had a great party for me. It was really wonderful. It was one of the best days of my life… I know this because I think of it often, and every time it puts a smile on my face. It wasn’t lavish, it was simple. It was at the local park (Stony Creek). All of my friends were there. We played volley ball had a huge barbecue, tons of food and lots of fun. After the party my parents gave me a gift, it was a gift of money $500.00 to be exact (a LOT of money to me at the time), and a card which said something to the effect that the remainder of the first million was up to me. There was also two pieces of advice, the first was “don’t spend it all (the $500) in one place”, and the second was in the form of a book. My mother enjoys poetry, and she gave me a large book of American poetry. Of course there was a book mark included and of course it was placed strategically. This one poem has very much played a large role in shaping who I am today, and I’m sure it will influence who I become tomorrow… I just thought of sharing this with everyone in appreciation for my loving parents. It may be self serving to say that they did a good job, but they did. I hope to honor them by raising our son with the same love I was raised with. As my mother would say, to provide him a safe nest so that he may grow strong wings and fly and one day make a nest of his own… I love you mom and dad. I just wanted to thank you for all that you have given me.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Easter simply could not have been better! Yesterday, Stavros woke up to a fun-filled basket and several toys! (We definitely recommend the “Okiedog Fropper” ride-on toy for traveling toddlers!!!) Stavros was dressed in an adorable, custom-made bunny hat and diaper cover while opening his basket, which added so much fun to the morning… some thought! Then, we went to see the movie RIO with Lou and Joanna! It was Stavros’ very first movie and he really had a blast! He watched the entire movie and danced along to the music, which completely shocked us! Interestingly, the depiction of Brazil in the movie was quite accurate–especially for an animated film. Later, we met Grandma and Grandpa Jarjoura for dinner at Maggiano’s. It was their first time seeing Stavros since December, so it was quite a wonderful evening! Stavros got spoiled with more toys and the complete attention of his Mommy, Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa at dinner–which he absolutely loved, of course! After Stavros went to bed, Sandy and Jovan came to our hotel to catch up! It was definitely nice to be “home” for Easter!
Yesterday, Stavros decided to initiate a jam session! He’s getting ready for his 2029 World Tour, so he wanted to start putting his set-list together! He made sure he was getting the fat tone he wanted from his equipment, and he really focused on the music.
*Just for the record, all I did was get the guitar out and put in on the couch… Stavros did the rest! Bren and I were just standing there, completely awestruck! I was like, “Grab the camera, something really cool is going on over here”!
You have to check out this add for CCAA. CCAA are the English/Spanish/French schools throughout Brazil. They are schools used by the expats and Brazilians who want their children to have access to languages other than Portuguese. The expats in our area send their children to the local CCAA school. When you watch this video, keep in mind that “chute” (like in the word Parachute), means “kick” in Portuguese.
Sometimes this is how we feel living here. We think we know what people mean when they speak, but what we understand is FAR FROM WHAT THEY ACTUALLY MEAN . To make this video even more fun to watch, just think of Bren and I not understanding what is being said to us while you watch this video
So, we had a small refrigerator at our house, it was about half the size of a standard fridge in the US. I don’t mean half the size of a side-by-side; I mean half the size of a standard, old-fashioned, freezer on the top, fridge on the bottom… that we grew up with. It wasn’t even that cold, it was… lets say… cool (but not Fonzie cool), like 50 degrees cool. You know, the kind of cool that turns lettuce into lettuce soup in about 2 days…
Anyway, we bought a new refrigerator from “Ricardo Electro” (Salvador’s closest thing to Best Buy). It was quite an adventure negotiating for a fridge with a salesperson who spoke only Portuguese, and a sales manager who kept on saying “We deliver it my house, we deliver it my house.”… We basically had to rely on the 100 (or so) Portuguese words that we know. We eventually got the job done and actually negotiated the price down by R$700, or about 30% off the asking price!… Not bad for a couple of “gringos”… Brazilians love “gringos” because they think gringos are rich and do not like the negotiating game…
We bought the refrigerator, it’s a GE (good old American, not South American quality… although I’m pretty sure this one was actually built in South America, just like the Fords that I am working on down here. Good American brand, barely built in America anymore… but anyway, it’s a GE and I still felt good about that)… I paid the salesperson, he told me again that he is going to have it delivered to “My house” and we thought it might actually show up at our house, but then again it’s Brazil and it just might show up at his house… ya just never know down here. By the way, this was Saturday evening, and they tell me over and over again that the fridge is going to show up “amanha”, 8:30am “amanha”… We’re like, who the heck delivers a fridge at 8:30 on a Sunday morning!?! But, once again, it is Brazil… OK, whatever… Amanha it is!
Sunday morning 8:30: no fridge, but this is Bahia, Brazil (everything is no less than 30 minutes late, ever)! People from other parts of Brazil complain about this area because no one ever is on time and it is perfectly acceptable), 9:30 no fridge… 10:30 no fridge… 11:30… we are about to leave the house and go to the store to see what happened, or possibly to the managers house to see if it showed up at “my house”… then low and behold… a rusty pick-up truck with a pathetic unfolded card board box “protecting” a beautiful new fridge. It was such a classic moment, we made sure to capture this one on film…
Just in case you were wondering where I workout down here (Which I’m sure you weren’t, but I’m going to tell you anyway!), I found a gym that is a couple of miles from our house. It is pretty complete. It has just about everything that you can find in a LifeTime or LA Fitness… free weights, machines, cardio area, a pool, spinning, yoga, and pilates. What you will not find at a typical super-gym in the US, believe it or not, is that it has a pool table and a foosball table… and… drum roll… just one more thing that is totally normal here (and wildly strange for anyone who is “non-Brazilian”), it has a “Samba Room” where they teach Samba dancing (I mean, they seriously only teach Samba in this enormous room, they use it for nothing else, and it is always full).. Brazilians REALLY love Samba I guess!…
The coolest part about this gym is that it has no AC and no furnace!… Something I would have loved to be able to “not” provide in the gyms I used to own ($$$$$)! The weather here is about 78° at night, and about 85° at the hottest point of the day year-round (sometimes a little warmer, but not usually). Therefore, the gym is always just about the right temperature for a good workout where you can sweat yet not get overheated. The gym also has some exterior walls, and some areas that are completely open to the outside… Something I would have loved to be able to provide in Michigan, but simply couldn’t due to the weather… Muscle Beach, anyone!?! It does have a roof to keep the you sheltered from the sun or rain, which are both pretty intense down here; but no one has to worry about being under the cold AC unit when you are all sweaty and then get a chill, which is nice. I actually really enjoy the gym here. There is one more advantage: no one speaks English! Needless to say, I don’t get dragged into too many conversations (the guys talking about sports, I mean soccer or… soccer… or the other sport, football – which is what they call soccer) while I’m in the middle of my workout! There is one profound disadvantage… the shower has only one knob… COLD… WOW! That’ll wake you up before work!!!!!
Anyway, below are a couple of pictures of the gym! I thought some of you might be interested!…
Well, I thought this was a good name for the post because it is catchy and might get your attention!… Actually, the link (at the end of this paragraph) has very little to do with my particular job (actually, nothing at all!). However, The Detroit News, my hometown, covered a story on the Ford campus I currently work at in Camaçari, Bahia, Brazil… Pretty cool! I do not work directly for Ford, nor do I wear the uniform or eat at the cafeteria! I like this video because I walk through this plant everyday on my way to office where I work, and I drive by some of the same scenes that are shown in the beginning of the video (I see the banana stand EVERYDAY). Click this link to see the video: Camaçari Ford Manufacturing