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Staying active

8 May

It’s been 6 years since I stopped swimming professionally and 8 years since I swam in the Olympics. After that, I purposefully avoided athletic activity for as long as my body allowed me. Swimming was more than a life commitment and I had other things to focus on after that, not to mention my body was more than exhausted.

Since then, I’ve gone to the gym in spurts, but I’ve really have a problem committing to a regular workout routine. It’s nearly impossible to motivate myself to workout on my own, likely because I’ve always had a strict schedule and a coach breathing down my neck my entire life.

With swimming, it’s different. I find it soothing to count every single lap, and well, it’s about 1000% times easier than running for me. That’s why I’m so happy to finally start swimming again (recreationally) at a gym in Salvador called Estação Atlética. It’s a 6 lane 25m pool located in the neighborhood Pituba. The coaches are friendly and there are swimmers of all levels (although you wont see anyone at Michael Phelp’s level).

In addition to swimming, I’ve taken up a hobby of stand up paddle boarding (SUP). I bought a 10′ board in Maui and hauled it all the way to Brazil (they are at least 4x as expensive here). We’ve gone several times, and it’s really a blast and great workout. SUP is really popular in Salvador and I’d love to get more involved. They had a race last month (7.5 miles) and there is a huge community (http://supbabibrazil.webnode.com/) of SUPers.

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My competitive side is thrilled to be active again and my body is getting back in to shape. Now all I have to do is enroll in some races! 🙂

Driving in Salvador

2 May

Rules to driving:

  1. Switching lanes is mandatory, the more often the better
  2. It’s ok to stop your car in the middle of the freeway or main road, for any reason
  3. What lanes? If you can squeeze through, make your own
  4. If you don’t have a car, ride a horse or a bike, on the side of the freeway
  5. Don’t bother with red lights after sun down
  6. Cut off others or be cut off
  7. The side of the highway is a lane, even though it’s dirt
  8. If there are no parking spots, double park behind someone
  9. Turning signals are overrated
  10. Pedestrians never have the right away
  11. Stop signs are just a recommendation to merge
  12. You can turn from any lane
  13. A light is still green if it’s only been red for 5 seconds
  14. Merge at the last possible second
  15. Accept that there are no rules to driving and do not flip off another person

What happens when there is this kind of madness? See below. 

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The main highway (Paralela) I use to get into downtown looks like this at almost every hour of the day. 

I’ve had my own car for a little over a week now, and I’m very proud to say that I have yet to get in an accident. 

Catching up

20 Apr

Ya ya ya, It’s been nearly 8 months since my last post. My blog turned into just another one of my projects that I pick up and abandon as soon as I find something new. A lot has changed since my last post, so here’s an update!

  • I’ve been working for DoubleDown Interactive (doubledowninteractive.com), running their marketing remotely from Brazil since last August. I’ve visited their headquarters in Seattle twice and went on a company paid trip Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with the entire team (75 employees plus their spouses and kids)! The trip was insanely fun, and quite taxing on my liver.

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This is a shot from DoubleDown Interactive’s holiday party in Seattle. This is my “sister wife” Lisa and her husband Phil, my coworker.

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At the Four Seasons Punta Mita living the life at our company vacation. What a fun group and crazy memories! 🙂

  • We moved into our apartment and managed to get everything completed. It was quite the task given that there were no lights, electricity, floor tiles, or cabinets when we moved in. Now, it’s the modern clean pad we both dreamed of.
  • My parents visited Salvador and Brazil for the very first time! The week they came happened to be rainy and windy but we still had a blast. We rocked out at a Caetano Veloso and Jau concert in Praia do Forte, spent the weekend at Itacimirim, experienced a delicious Brazilian churrascaria at Boi Preto, and toured the entire town. It was so great for them see my new life here! I miss them all the time.

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My parents and us at the Caetano Veloso and Jau concert.

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My American and Brazilian families.

  • I rang in the New Year dressed in all white on the beach of Guarajuba with Marcos and his family. Right after midnight, I jumped over 7 waves and made a wish (Brazilian tradition to bring good luck the coming year). After that we danced until the sunrise at a huge party near the beach.

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Another great year together.

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We made it to the morning!

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  • I experienced my very first carnaval in Brazil! And wow, what an incredible adventure it was! I spent the first two nights in Salvador attending camarotes (Nana & Salvador). The camarote carnaval experience is a world of it’s own, overlooking the actual street procession and parade. This VIP experience is pricey, costing up to $700USD per night. That said, the camarote is a secure club of your own, full of beautiful people with access to numerous stages, unlimited delicious food, activities, and drinks. For the first few months of the year, Salvador’s main focus is prepping for this massive event. Huge structures are built along the main street, and everyone is scrambling to buy tickets for blocos or camarotes. Preparing your outfit for carnival is a process in and of itself. Both women and men get their shirts professionally cut (each party has a specific shirt for each night that you are required to wear) and women get their hair and makeup done to look their best. After two nights of exhilaration, I was positive I wouldn’t survive for the remaining 4 days. That’s when we jetted off to Rio de Janeiro and continued on with our festivities. Rio’s carnaval is extremely different from Salvador’s. Opposed to the Salvador VIP experience, you get dressed up like it is Halloween drinking cheap beer all day on the street. Rio’s carnaval is reminiscent of Beta Breakers in San Francisco, except the party continues on for 6 whole days. Overall, my experience was more than memorable and I can say it exceeded all of my expectations. It’s true, no party in the world can compare to Carnaval in Brazil.

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Night 1 of Carnaval in Salvador with my friend Xenia (who visited from NYC).

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Headed to Camarote do Nana.

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Night 2 of Carnaval in Salvador inside Camarote Salvador.

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Dressed as hula girls (Xenia, me and Ale) on the streets of Leblon in Rio de Janeiro.

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At the statue of Christ overlooking all of Rio.

  • Several of my friends visited Salvador! I had a great time catching up and showing them my digs, city, and life.

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Me and Xenia in front of Porto do Barra beach in Salvador.

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Becca, Megan and I in Pelourinho, Salvador.

  • Marcos, his family, and I visited my house in San Clemente, California. Our families met (and loved each other) and the Peixotos got a glimpse of my childhood. After a few days we all headed to Maui, Hawaii to relax in the sun.

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Our second trip to Maui together.

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The Peixoto’s and Caverly’s in Maui at the Feast of Lele luau.

The year has now officially begun here in Brazil and we’re back to our busy lives. Every day here gets easier and I am feeling more settled in my home!

Meet Tarzan, our new puppy

14 Sep

On the 27th of July, Blanca (Marcos’ parent’s dog) had 8 babies. The puppies are half Swiss Shepherd and half black Labrador. In total there were 4 brown pups, 2 black pups and 2 white pups. All of them absolutely adorable!

I’ve had so much fun playing with the little guys that it was sad to see them find new homes. But, we’ve decided to keep the biggest and cutest one of them all, Tarzan, who I absolutely fell in love with!

Unfortunately he can’t live in our new apartment, but he will stay at the house of my Sogros.

Tell me he’s not cutest thing you have ever seen!

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I got my CPF!

14 Sep

Last week I got my Brazilian social security number, or as they call it here, my CPF (Cadastro de Pessoa Física). Why you ask? Because now I can open a bank account, buy property or a car, pay taxes (because clearly the US doesn’t have enough of these), get a cell phone, get a driver’s license, apply for a job, generate credit, and last and most importantly, it makes me officially more Brazilian. I hope I’m asked to provide my CPF, just like I hoped I’d be asked to show my ID when I turned 21.

Not only did I get a bacana (cool) and official certificate, but this may have been one of my proudest moments since I arrived here. I was able to withstand multiple visits to the Receita Federal (1000 times worse than the DMV), speak in Portuguese and understand some of their responses, and complete the process all on my own! Pat on back. It’s amazing how simple tasks here make you feel so accomplished.

I haven’t received my card yet, but here’s what mine will look like! Que legal!

I’m alive

25 Aug

I know, I know, it’s been a while since my last post. My mom keeps reminding me of that. No, I haven’t been kidnapped or sold for prostitution. It’s been a whirlwind since I arrived back from Europe.

ROTA 2011 (annual family vacation) with the Peixotos was as expected, a huge success. I got to see Paris for the first time, attend Marcos’ cousin’s wedding in Roanne, beach hop in Mykonos and yacht around the island of Santorini. I know, life could be worse!

Upon arrival in Brazil I started Portuguese school and work. Yes, I’m no longer unemployed and beach hopping in Brazil. Between class, my new job (marketing contractor), and the horrendous daily commute (3 hours a day), I have about one hour to eat, workout, and itch my million mosquito bites. I wish I could say I was now fluent in Portuguese, but I would be a mentirosa if I said that.

Since we got the keys to our apartment, I’ve been legit shopping it up on the weekend with the help of Marcos’ mom and aunt. The apartment is currently getting tiled, our kitchen cabinets/closets are being made in Rio Grande do Sul, and we’re planning to move in in about a month. We may only have a bed and furnished deck by then, but hey, we got a sweet pool.

It’s been over a month since this adventure started, but I’m now settling in to life here. I’ve realized that it’s nearly impossible to find shoes in my size and I’ll never be considered old meat to the mosquitos, but all in all life is pretty darn awesome.




My first samba concert

26 Jul

I attended my first samba concert two weeks ago. Mariene de Castro, a Baiana, lit up the stage and brought the crowd to life. The drums, guitars, and numerous instruments (still unknown to me) danced to a rhythm you’d rarely hear in the states. If I knew how to dance, I surely would have. Instead, I sat at a backstage table watching the feet and hips of the crowd move like nothing I’ve seen before. It’s like Brazilians came out of the womb samba dancing. I’m totally jealous that I was never taught to move my body this way. The free samba classes at school are becoming much more enticing…