Tuesday, June 10, 2008

O vento lá fora

“The wind outside” is more than just a lyric from a Legião Urbana song that’s stuck in my head. There really is wind outside. In fact there is lots of it and it appears to be angry. Last night I heard glass shattering all around the neighborhood as the wind wreaked havoc on open windows, including the one in the hallway outside my front door.

So we’ve covered that the rain and wind are different than I am accustomed to. Allow me point out something strange about the clouds. There have been times when I have seen two strata of clouds creeping across the sky at different speeds, but never in different directions. The other day I noticed four distinct layers (let’s call them A, B, C, and D), moving at speeds which ranged from “float” to “I’m late for a meeting,” but in opposite directions. That is, A and C were heading south and B and D were going north. Clearly I missed something in junior high Earth Science, because I was under the impression that when such things happen I’d be too concerned with my roof blowing away to enjoy the view. Apparently it’s just the arrival of autumn, as the weekend was sunny and rainy at the same time, and the next few days will be brisk (cough) with a low around 50.

I’ve struggled lately with the notion that, being in a new place, I had to run around and soak it in all the time. To do so, however, would be to miss out on the equally foreign lifestyle that is chillaxing. I’ve been a bit of a hermit lately—venturing out mostly just to teach or watch Internacional play on Sundays in a crowded neighborhood lancheria. I am cognizant and appreciative of my newfound leisure. I rarely set an alarm, and I never feel rushed to arrive or to meet a deadline. I received a stash of books, in both English and Portuguese, when Fernandão and Girassol arrived. During these cooler months I look forward to many hours of goose-down-and-tea style comfort, indulging my imagination in their pages.

While I didn’t have any Aventuras na Cozinha this week (the extent of in-home food preparation was steaming broccoli and spooning on a little requeijão), I do have some food observations. Cashews are not a luxury item here, and although not necessarily healthy in the quantities I like, I figure my habit is offset by the desserts I’m not eating. Buffets are standard fixtures in restaurants (from chic churrasquerias to shopping mall food courts), and they offer a nice array of entrees and sides for a very reasonable price. My strategy is to enjoy a buffet lunch once per week because:
1) it’s nice to have the sensation of eating a balanced meal,
2) it’s easier and cheaper than cooking for one,
3) having lunch rather than dinner allows my belly to recover from the inevitable over-indulgence, and
4) keeping it to once a week allows my metabolism to recover from the inevitable over-indulgence.
My sole complaint about southern Brazilian cuisine is that the only seasoning utilized to its potential (and then some) is salt. I do sometimes find myself craving foods with a stronger flavor. Honestly, I dreamt about Potbelly’s Italian sub last night—with extra gardineira. Oohhhh.

On a related note, last week I stumbled upon a great little wine shop around the corner. It’s tiny and completely charming. Being a few steps down from street-level, it has a cellar-like feel. I met the wife-half of the couple that runs it and she was happy to show me around, highlighting some local beers and their selection of gourmet foods. They stock some delicious looking frozen pastas, like squash tortellini, and jarred sauces. Obviously I’ll be making purchases there in the near future and will include a write-up.

Tonight, though, I’m eating out. After my evening class, I’m going to see a movie—Um Beijo Roubado—which, trust me, sounds much sexier than the English title, My Blueberry Nights. I have about an hour between class and the film, and there are lots of restaurants in the theatre complex, including a fondue place. Hmmm, sounds good.

Tomorrow morning I have an early class and then my day is free (smile). Perhaps I’ll use some of the time to return to a shop I discovered earlier this week, Linna—an armory of paper and glue gun goodness. My craftiness is on par with my cooking, but I want to see if I can find stuff to make my own little zen garden. It’s silly, but I always wanted one.

The other red item on the calendar tomorrow is the final match in the Copa do Brasil at 9:30pm. Last week I was cheering for Corinthians and was pleased that they defeated Sport 3x1. However, I changed my allegiance after learning unsavory information about Corinthians and how they robbed my team of the title in 2005. Hmph. Vai Sport!

Lastly, I have resolved to start carrying my camera with me more often.

Be well, everyone.