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Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

about handmade pillow covers…

Strange title? Maybe. But there is no way I can’t blog about my super cute pillow covers G’s mom made me for my birthday (granted, they’re two months late)! I chose the fabrics and then she did the magic! She sells and makes these pillow covers for good prices and also makes adorable patchwork handbags too! They are thoughtful gifts for Christmas or any event. Let me know if you want one!

Peace.
– L

about the continuity Brazil asked for…

Hm. I won’t go all political on my blog, I merely want to state my opinion on the recent elections that brought Dilma Rousseff to power in this ever-changing and growing nation. I can’t vote here and it is frustrating, so in the end I only have the right to comment on facts and opinions I have heard and that I feel. So what I write here is simply this and not a complaint about this country.

Many say that Dilma Rousseff’s election to office was a sign of the democratic progress Brazil has made… really? I don’t know if I completely agree with this. I think that this election was highly influenced by Lula, not the fact that they wanted Lula (which may be true), but that the country was voting for continuity (of more than just a person, but of the policies and procedures). Over the past eight years that Lula has been in power Brazil has seen many changes for the better and this was enough to influence many people to vote for Lula’s party, which as a result put Dilma in power. My point is that it could have been anyone and with the approval and backing of Lula, this person would have won.

I always find this interesting…if you look at a map of Brazil and the past elections there are clear reflections between states and poverty levels (even look at the city of São Paulo, the exterior part of the city is plagued with hills of favelas). The higher the amount of poverty, the higher the chance of voting for the worker’s party (Dilma’s party). The lower the poverty, the lower the chance of voting for the worker’s party. For this reason, Brazil is stuck between class voting. Maybe this voting is present in many countries and I am just now becoming aware of its power over what happens in a country’s elections. The Economist stated this difference in class level voting and although I don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing because in the end it represents the country and what and who the country is. However, I do think that it is something that separates a country rather than unifies it, and this task may be Dilma’s most difficult.

Another point I want to make was the convenient holiday that was declared over this voting weekend, which consequently accounted for a 21.5% abstention. This is an extremely high percentage, considering voting is compulsory in Brazil. Another thing to consider…

The last point I want to make is about Dilma’s identity, whether she will simply be Lula in a woman form or she will represent herself and choose her own path and identity. There are many things Brazil needs to continue to work on (the health system, schools and universities, labor, union, and political reforms). Furthermore, corruption and violent crimes are still high and remain another one of Brazil’s biggest challenges.

I sincerely hope that Dilma will make a difference, will continue to improve this country, and will seek to further the progress of this country and not only the appearance of the country in the International world. Most of all, I hope that Dilma understands what truly needs fixing in my opinion, the importance of equal education for every child, this will in return create a better family structure and equal opportunities and the presence of a community.

about food and flowers…

G surprised me with flowers yesterday. So I cooked a nice dinner for the two of us. It was mutual love I suppose…

The stuffed zucchini were delicious, filled with tomatoes, zucchini, onions, cheese, and cream cheese. The gratin potatoes were superb filled with leeks, calories and well… calories. Then we had broccolini (not pictured) to try and justify the cream overdose.

Nights and dinners like this one don’t happen so often… but they should!

-L

about a sense of community…

I grew up in many places where being a part of a community seemed natural… second nature. Your neighbor drops her wallet, you pick it up. I see a can on the floor, I throw it away. You need a cup of sugar, sure! They are simple things… things that make people want to live altogether in the same place. However, I didn’t realize that this is something very precious. A sense that everyone is working for the good of other people so we can all live in a better place. Am I being naive? Maybe. However, if I thought there was one big thing missing in São Paulo that would make a big difference I would say community. A sense of feeling connected; motivated by each other to improve ourselves and the place we live in.

The dictionary describes community as a group of people in a district or country considered collectively, especially in the context of social values and responsibilities and society. Wake up São Paulo! We all live here… we all need to survive! So let’s try and help each other out. Maybe it goes back to my argument about education being the primary problem in Brazil. In the end, with education comes respect, with respect comes community… right?

I think the closest I have felt to a community here was when I went to Favela Rocinha. Favela is a Brazilian shanty town and Rocinha is the name of one of the biggest Favelas not only in Rio, but in Brazil. G and I visited the neighborhood a couple of years ago and I will never forget it because of the sense of community I felt when I was inside this place. Unfortunately, Favelas are usually funded and maintained by drug trafficking and drug-lords, so putting that detail aside the sense of community is much stronger in a place like this. Everyone is working together to create a community. Why is it like this? I understand that the people within this community probably earn much less than the average person in Brazil, they probably have less education, less things, less worries and maybe outside of this Favela they don’t contribute to society, but inside this Favela you see that people live so close to each other… it is impossible to not know what your neighbor is doing, it is impossible to get away with being rude or inconsiderate, it is impossible to not play your part in society (within the Favela). So what is it that São Paulo needs to change? Or maybe it is bigger than São Paulo and Brazil.. What makes us humans want to feel a sense of community or not?

Searching…
L

about my parents…

YIPPEEEEE!!!! My parents are coming to visit!! They arrive today and I couldn’t be more excited!

We will be traveling to all these places…

See you soon,
L

about hiking the Camino de Santiago!

I’m hiking. I will be out of touch for weeks. maybe months.

Love to you all.

Peace,
L

about travel days…

I read a blog post by Almost Fearless the other day that got me thinking (actually it was posted by a guest-blogger on her blog). The post was about what travel days show us. Most people I know, including myself, despise travel days… the lines, the waiting, the junk food, the bathroom stops and the smelly passenger. However, this post made me think of them in a different way.

It carries on saying that travel days should be considered a luxury. They are days to think and days to reflect on the past, present or future. I began to think more about this and sure enough… it was true! All the days spent on and in buses, trains, planes, taxis, sheruts, cars, boats were some of the best days of my trips (if I put aside some of the previously mentioned things).

While living in Argentina we took many bus rides through the night and I remember many bus rides I would spend just sitting and looking aimlessly through the window… but thinking…pondering… or listening to music. A song would come on and I would think of something or someone else…a memory…an event.

Again, on the Middle East trips, the travel days (oh and there were so many) were a blessing. They forced me to sit and relax, rest, and prepare for the next step. They allowed me to meditate on the days before… what had happened, who I met, what I saw. It was a moment that I otherwise wouldn’t have given myself and a moment necessary for all travelers.

Often I spend so much time planning a trip, some time on the trip, and even less time reflecting the trip. Actually, I often forget what happened… small details… people I encountered, conversations I had. For this reason, the days in between travels are for recording these events… either on paper or in our mind. The moments spent with only ourselves (and the smelly passenger) are the moments we should cherish the most.

I remember waiting at a bus station in Syria somewhere between Palmyra and the Iraq Border and waiting for hours… but more than this I remember the time I had to observe the people and the culture around me. The striking difference in communication between men and men, women and women and men and woman. I remember observing the looks people gave me (being the only foreigner). I remember observing the positions and places where men and women would sit. It was a time of reflection and I see that now.

In the hustle and bustle of traveling I often forget to do the most important thing. Sit. Think. Observe.

Travel days confirm our beliefs or ideas. They contradict and negate others. They anticipate future plans and keep an eye on the present.

Think about it the next time you curse the unforeseen travel day.
L

p.s.- Especially with an exploding Volcano, travel days seem to be more common over here.

about dreaming of Buenos Aires…

I miss you, my city. It’s been too long. I know this because I had a dream about you…you were the same…but more people had discovered you. I miss walking your avenidas and drinking cortados. I miss shopping your boutiques and eating your medialunas. I miss spending hours in your parks in spring and smelling asados in summer. I haven’t forgotten about you though… I’ll be back soon.

-L