Friday, June 20, 2008

Have iPod. Will travel.

During the many months of preparation for this move, it hardly seemed real to me. I remember the specific moment when it became real, both to me and to anyone who knows me well: it was the day I sold my 600+ cherished CDs to Reckless Records.

I am one of those people that rely on music to help me emote, to relate, to cope, and to shine. I remember once describing an experience in Spain—feeling lonely and languageless—how I was comforted by Sarah Brightman. That was in the mini-disc phase of my life. I’ve grown, in mind and technology, since then. What a little miracle this is, my iPod. I have nearly 6,000 songs at my fingertips, which, in the first few months of iPod ownership, gave me a serious attention deficit condition. Today I have chilled, grooved, composed, and strutted to Flickerstick, Face to Face, Morcheeba, Arcade Fire and other favorites. I have some amphetamine-driven dance tunes on there too, which I listened to while pounding out a few kilometers on the treadmill. And some “guilty pleasure” stuff that I won’t even admit to in public.

So Beyoncé (oops) and I did a little running today. Again. Finally. Running is a double-edged sword: sometimes I loathe the effort, but the endorphin-high afterward is a great pay-off. In lieu of pilates, I joined a gym for a few months. Most of the equipment is standard, except the butt machine. (I don’t know its proper name, and frankly, I prefer this one anyway.) Essentially it’s a reverse leg lift, with weights. OW! It figures that, in the land of the thong-obsessed, they’d create this wicked yet effective torture, err, fitness device. Readers, please be warned now… even after 10 years of rear-perfecting on this thing, you will never catch me in a thong. Case closed.

Actually, though it was Reason 76 on my list, no-thong-wearing did enter into my decision regarding desirable cities here in Brazil. I love to stare at the ocean, love to take a dip in salty water once in a while, and love to feel the warm sun on my skin. But I’ve never been a beach bunny. For me, cities like Rio and Florianópolis—while beautiful—are better for long weekend visits.

I love the modesty of Porto Alegre. I love that Rio Grande do Sul has four seasons, and a rather European feel. Take Café A Brasileira coffee house...

...where I frequently sip an espresso duplo at the counter, Italian-style. I love that tonight I bought a replacement remote for my TV from some guys with a blanket on Alberto Bins (the street for technology-type vendors, apparently). Then I bought fresh-baked pão de queijo (a cheesy bread ball) for fifty centavos on Andradas. I adore the chaos of Centro and the entrepreneurial feel of certain shops and restaurants. I like the decorated sidewalks, which are repaired by hand, just like many of the old colonial buildings are refurbished.

(Granted, my construction industry heritage makes me feel a little dodgy about the scaffolding—but that’s another conversation.) There are so many things to adore in this city where I am an estrangeira, including that itself.

It’s way past my bedtime, as I have a morning lesson. One quick teaser before I go...
For those of you that haven’t yet heard, I received some news last week. Good things are happening. Stay tuned.