Fotocrônica: Faith & Family

Faith and family. That’s about it for a Brazilian. And a good time. But faith and family usually come first. So it’s not surprising that this is a pretty typical Brazilian rear view mirror decoration. Keep what’s important in sight.

Insect Bites

The ants were swarming all over the gate. Why? Who knows? They’d never done this before, but tonight, there they were. I paused a moment to size up their black motions in the shadows from the car headlights. There was no way to unlock that gate without standing right in the middle of them. Without…

Saturday Night Cruisin’

Saturdays are tough, man. It’s the day where our week SHOULD be ended, but we both drag ourselves through one.more.day. In our little town, it’s the day that all the folks come in from the hills to sell their vegetables at the market and run their errands. So Mr. Crônicas has to open the store, come hell…

Bank Blowout

A little escapism in these difficult times isn’t all bad, and so last week I was devouring a copy of  Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower. Escapism is all well and good, unless you live in a third-world country. And Parable of the Sower is an excellent novel; I recommend it highly—UNLESS, that is, you…

Train Wreck

What was that in that dark corner? Chipped paint? Or was it… My daughter had been running all over this stadium with that diaper.. She had been playing in that corner. Was it…? It couldn’t be. I stood there by the door, barefoot, with no paper towels at hand (Sketchy Bathroom had been out of them by 11p.m.), armed only with the diaper wipes in my bag, I contemplated looking closer at what that might have been… just in case. I contemplated getting down on my knees and cleaning that floor, walking all the way across that hall with handfuls of poopy diaper wipes to brave that bathroom… And I turned my head and walked out the door.

‘Merrica, Can We Talk?

[Scene – A car in a mall parking lot, in a Red State somewhere.] California: Middle America, honey, can we talk? I know I said I needed a new dress for the Inaugural Ball, and the help of my best gals to pick it out, but that was a lie. Your wedding is just a…

This is What Corruption Looks Like

You really couldn’t imagine anything more dastardly or shameful. This week, in the middle of the night, while all the press was looking towards Colombia, and the nation mourned the loss of a whole team of talented, young men, Brazil’s politicians gutted an anti-corruption bill. The President declared three days of national mourning and the…

Broken Hallelujah

Goddamn you, world. You just gotta kick a gal when she’s down. Leonard Cohen died this week, one of my favorite poets. This loss coming on the heels of Trump winning the election in the USA, and the Republicans taking both the House and Senate. Seriously, life just isn’t fair sometimes. People here in Brazil are shocked…

Stars in the Sky

My students were bickering over who had stars on the Awards Wall. One was proud of her achievements, but disgruntled that there were other students’ on her heels–soon to achieve the same thing she did. Negativity is not allowed in my English classes. I watched the dynamic for a minute, conjugated a few verbs in…

12 Things About Brazil the Guidebooks Never Tell You

Waiting in line is over-rated. Brazilians don’t really do lines. Unless otherwise directed, they tend to form a large, organic crowd and all push forward to the front. Why is this important? Banks, grocery stores, bus stations, they’ll probably have lines that people respect. But if you’re trying to get through a market or a concert…

Elevator Talk

They were all waiting for the elevator: a businessman, a young man and his stylish wife. Three in a row, all staring at their cell phones.  The young man sighed and reached out to impatiently tap the “Up” button again. The tall, thin Steve Buschemi look-alike in the business suit looked up. “It’s on strike,”…

Racial Panels and a Drop of Blood

I have this cringeworthy memory where I’m pretty sure I offended a whole roomful of people of color repeatedly. I mean, it’s one of those really bad memories where it flashes back and I mentally go: “LA-LA-LA-I-CAN’T-HEAR-YOU. LA-LA-LA-I’M-STILL-A-GOOD-PERSON-SO-GO-AWAY-LA-LA-LA-LAAAAA!!”  Sigh. It’s an “oops!” memory of Epic Proportions. All of us probably have them (well… everyone except maybe Donald Trump,…