Saturday, January 24, 2015

Observations about Alabama

After living in SoCal, NorCal, and Brazil, and after having traveled around North America, South America, Europe, and Asia, my husband and I have settled in the Deep South.  Even though it's in the USA, I've had my fair share of culture shock...

I know I'm supposed to be on a blogging break, but I thought I'd pop on here to share a few things I've noticed about living in Alabama.


I don't know if it's a "Southern" thing or just an Alabama thing, but monograms are EVERYWHERE.  Seriously everywhere.  I've seen things monogrammed that I didn't know could even be monogrammed!  Earrings, necklaces, shirts, sweaters, purses, cars - you name it, it will be monogrammed!  I'm not just talking about one initial.  Or your three initials lined up next to each other.  Monograms here are serious business.  They are fancy, difficult to read, and very very personal.




I may have mentioned this before, but the number of people that smoke is beyond my comprehension.  It's crazy.  Also the number of obese people is a little bit out of control.



Will I ever get used to the accents???  I can't understand what people are saying!!!  And I'm ashamed to admit I've unfairly judged people based on their accents...




I always grew up saying "please" and "thank you," but now I feel so self conscious for not saying "sir" and "m'am" all the time.  I never remember to say it until it's too late, and then I feel like a horribly rude person for not having said it.



OMG STOP CALLING ME "SWEETIE!!!"


Linking up with Travel Tuesday!





Thursday, January 15, 2015

Blogging Break

I had so many great intentions for keeping my blog going this year.  I have so many posts in my drafts folder.  But I just can't seem to finish them.  I have begun to realize that when I start to think about finishing those posts, I get anxious and frustrated and I postpone them.

I just don't think I can blog right now.

I LOVE reading blogs, and having my blog in Rio kept me sane, seriously.  But I want it to be something I do for fun, not because I feel obligated.

I feel a little bit guilty for wanting take an official break.  But at the same time, if I just don't post for awhile without mentioning anything, then I feel like a flake.  So I just wanted to take the time to mention on here that I'll be purposefully taking a break from blogging.  If I start to feel inspired again, and if I get around to finishing those other posts, then I'll get back on here and start it up again.  But for now, I just need to concentrate on my real job.  I'm taking my choir to "honor choir" this weekend, next weekend I have a 3 day conference, and in February we have our Beauty and the Beast production.  So I have quite a bit on my plate right now.

I know that when I have spring and summer breaks I'll do some traveling, and so I hope to post some more then.

I'll also continue to read all the blogs that I'm currently following.  In case you want to discover any new blogs to follow, here is a list of all the blogs I regularly read.  It might seem like a lot, but they don't all post every day and some are even on "breaks" of their own.  I hope you check some out!

Art
Alisa Burke
Colossal
Emma Block
Emma Kisstina
Geninne
Hart
Jennifer Frith
MakeWells

Beauty/Fashion
A Model Recommends
Essie Button
Garance Dore
Amelia Liana
Lily Pebbles
Lisa Eldridge
Pen. Paper. Polish.
The Beauty Look Book
The Beauty Department
Vivianna Does Makeup

Food
Manger
Keto Adapted
Real Food RN
Roost
Tea Cup Tea
The Skinny Confidential

Lifestyle
A Beautiful Mess
A Cup of Jo
Chasing My Extraordinary
Craftberry Bush
Daydreams of Summertime
iHeart Organizing
Liberty or Death
Megan Nielsen
My Ideal Home
Oh the Lovely Things
Perfect Harmonies
The Small Things Blog
This Darling Day
Wit and Whistle
Witness the Miracle

Travel
Adventitious Violet
A Girl and Her Travels
Girl Meets Globe
In Search Of
Ink and Adventure
Living in Another Language
Mr. and Mrs. Globetrot
Paris in Four Months
Postcards from Rachel
Rhyme and Ribbons
Snow in Tromso
The Misadventures of Morgan
The Thrifty Gypsy Travels
To the Sea
Valerie's Adventures
World of Wanderlust


Whew! Those should keep you busy for awhile!  Let me know which ones you check out.

In the meantime, wish me luck.  I have a very busy semester ahead!

XOXO,
Julie




Saturday, January 10, 2015

Saudades, Brasil

I've sat down and tried to write this post several times.  While we were still living in Brazil it was too emotionally "close to home" to fully express my feelings.  Now that I've been back for a few months, I'll try to write clearly, and hopefully it will all make sense.

Our year in Brazil was very tough.  Emotionally, physically, spiritually, relationally, mentally... I was so anxious to get back home, but more than that, I was anxious to get out of there.  To leave the toxic situation we were in.  I don't know how many times I tried to convince Peter to leave before the year was out.  Now that I've been back in the States for half as long as I was in Brazil, I can't believe it was only a year.  SO much happened.  So much stress, so much anxiety, so much loneliness.  But also so many adventures, so many new friends, and many fun experiences (and soooo much food).

After we got back I couldn't write about it for awhile.  I couldn't think about it.  I needed time away to process.  Life in Brazil was very difficult.  But I should clarify that many of our frustrations were caused by the Americans Peter worked for, not Brazilians.  Not Rio.  Of course we had our general annoyances with the bureaucratic idiocy of that country, but we handled it and moved on.

Rio is a beautiful city, full of so many fun things to do.  And actually, I didn't mind speaking Portuguese every day.  In fact, I loved it.  I loved learning a new language and getting actual, practical experience with it.

As much as I love our families, I loved living far away from them, especially during our first year of marriage.  I loved that we had the freedom, the necessity, of making our own decisions, of growing as a newly married couple, of having to rely on each other more and more.

***

I DIDN'T LOVE
Having to take Peter to the emergency room twice for stress-related illnesses.

Not being able to work a job that I was promised because of completely avoidable visa problems.

That our rent was higher than we  were told expected and our salary was lower than expected.

That our apartment was under construction for a month, during which the only room in the apartment I could use was the bedroom (not even the kitchen), and finding out after that they "fixed" the wrong thing and the original problems still existed.

Working exactly opposite schedules of my husband and hardly ever getting to see him (he worked days, I worked evenings/nights).

Feeling isolated and unwanted by the people that should have been my friends.

Knowing said people were gossiping about me behind my back (I found out by accident...).

The utter loneliness and sheer boredom I felt for most of the year.


I LOVED
That I was able to meet people from all over the world.

That I was able to get involved in our church and help start a children's ministry to the favela kids.

That we lived so close to the beach.

The city of Rio.  It is beautiful, stunning, exciting, and extremely unique.  I loved exploring Rio and all the adventures the city offered.

My English student, and every Brazilian I met, for that matter.

Connecting with other expats all over the world through blogging.  It has been so fun and has warded off many a lonely afternoon.

***

I finally feel like I am having more rationalized, objective thoughts about our time there.  I can think about the frustrations without getting worked into a frenzy.  I can remember the good times without the bad times overshadowing them.  And I can finally think about moving back some day.

I think the entire year can be summed up in one word: intense.

Was it rewarding?  I don't know.

Was it worth it?  I don't know.

Would we ever move back to Rio?  Yes.  I think we would.