When 1 + 1 Doesn’t Equal 2

Oh, these Brazilians do love their English. They’ll put it on anything. Sometimes they like to mix and match. They often have no idea what they’re actually saying. So I had a good chuckle when my very god-fearing in-laws checked in on Facebook (or “The Face-EE” as they call it down here), at the “Top Less”…

Lula Was Here

The town’s been talking about it–rightfully so–all week ever since the loudspeaker-car drove around town announcing it on Monday. “Lula’s coming!” For those of you not immersed in Brazilian politics, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva–better known as “Lula” because Brazilians love their nicknames–was President of Brazil for two terms, from 2003 to 2011, and many…

Strong

I poured my morning cuppa today and looked down and realized this old boy was looking a little worse for wear. And this is the best one of the lot. Ceramic floors are really unforgiving. Nothing makes me long for the architecture (and hardwood floors) of my native New England than one more shattered coffee…

Parking Job

Wandering the streets of Belo Horizonte we looked up and were dumbstruck by this parking job.  Now, I’m not sure what to marvel at first: the courage of the driver, the daring nature of the plan, or the apparent teeny size of the parking lot that led to this predicament.  In any case, bravo.  I’ll…

Laundry Surprise

I brought in the laundry the other day, only to find that my jean dress sounded slightly scratchy. We’ve had stowaways before–grasshoppers, praying mantises, but never one this size! Apparently our local chameleons don’t do denim blue.

The Reza

We went to a Reza last night. What’s a Reza? It’s an old, old Brazilian tradition. I discovered that this particular one has been going on for over fifty years. Rezar means “to pray,” so I guess you could translate it as a “prayer circle.” But if you’re from the US you probably haven’t ever seen a…

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…