Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Feliz Ano Novo and stuuuufff

It's a new year! I can't believe I already have to put down the first payment on that washer-dryer combo I bought at Sears in 1999... time really does fly.

Hope all of your (non-specified religious) holiday celebrations were wonderful and joyous and that you didn't wake up wrapped around a toilet on Jan 1! I know I sure didn't!!!

Since SOOO much time has elapsed since I last wrote you all an email, I guess I'll just have to summarize what has been going on down here quite briefly. First of all, my parents came to visit, which was spectacular (hi Ma and Dad!). I got to show them around the crusty underbelly of São Paulo -- actually just the crusty upperbelly to be honest -- and we also took a few days and went to Rio, which was soooooo nice. We stayed in the kind of hotel that provides robes and slippers and free drinks at the rooftop bar. Sooo lovely.

It wouldn't have been a real vacation without me burning myself to a crisp in odd, almost impossible patterns all over my body. Right now, for example, my left hand is sort of a skin pastiche of golden bronze mixed with white streaks that appear to be finger marks, as well as a bright pink burned patch, which is starting to peel. I look like Lindsay Lohan with leprosy.

Anyway, the vacay was great and I was sad to see the 'rents go. They left on New Years eve day, and I hopped on a bus to go back to Rio for New Years. In Rio, I met up with my friend Nicola and her husband Gabriel -- she is British and he is Brazilian, she is 25 and he is 22, she says tomah-to and he says tomate, which is Portuguese for tomato... I stayed with them in their apartment in Barra (new area of Rio that is basically all gated communities and malls), and we went to a party at the Museo de Arte Moderna (see pic below for exterior view), which I will get to in a minute.

So the custom in Brazil is for everyone to wear white head to toe on New Years eve. It has to do with the Afro-Brazilian diety Yemaja who I think is in charge of the sea, and her color is white, or something. I didn't bother to do thorough research on this -- I instead spent December 30 scouring the mall for non-hideous white clothes. You'd be surprised how hard it is to put together a cute white outfit. I was shooting for an outfit falling somewhere between white-vinyl-slut-suit and bridal gown. It all worked out -- I'll spare you the details, but I did pretty well, thanks to my mom's keen shopping eye. Love ya, Ma!

I got to Nicola's around 5 and we got ready at her house, which was fun. We then drove into Leblon (ritzy neighborhood of Rio) to Gabriel's friend's building to pick up our tickets. All of his friends are these wealthy Brazilian Jews whose parents are diamond merchants and jewelers (seriously -- diamond merchants), so his friend, not surprisingly, lived in an absolutely beautiful building. After that, we went to the museum for the party...it was gorgeous all around. Gente bonita like whoa, of course, plus an awesome set-up -- half the party area was outside looking out towards Copacabana beach so we could see the (largest in the world) fireworks show at midnight (see pic above). Awesome. The party was a bit short on food -- it was mainly teeny weeny crab sandwiches and weird crackers -- but it was high on alcohol, so it was a happy night for all involved. I will leave it at that.

After such a fun new years, it was really hard to drag my butt back into work on Tuesday. Plus, after having such a fab break with my family, I really started to realize how much work sucks and how badly I miss my friends and family (you know who you are!!!)... Oh, side note -- for those of you who I hadn't talked to in the past 3 weeks, you may not know that I worked two 6O + hour weeks right before Christmas, helping out with this STUPID thermal power plant deal (Petrobras bought ANOTHER thermal power plant -- come on). It was awful and horrible and several days I left the office when the birds were starting to chirp (3 am). Also, on more than one occasion, I teared up drafting emails at midnight and once I got so frustrated with it all, I threw a pen across my office. Actually, no, I slammed it against my desk until it broke, then I threw it. Yeah.

ANYWAY, after I returned from my break I decided to send in my 2 months notice to my supervisor. My new last day of work will be March 15, the day my cousin Amanda arrives in SP to visit me for a week. After hanging out with her in SP for a week (which will be doubly fantastic without work hanging over my head), I am going to travel around Brazil for a month or so, go to Buenos Aires, then to Santiago for a few days to visit a minha familia chilena... so, long story short, I will be back in San Francisco on April 28 and will be there probably until I have to go to Boston to start law skewl in August. So, yay, I am going to be back in the States! And I hope to see as many of you crazy doodles on the west coast as I can before beginning Harvard.

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