Friends, Family & Coxinhas!

Michael and I have been having a blast getting to know the city a little more each day, and the best parts have been the friends, family and a few good coxinhas along the way.  Check it out…

Michael and Joe, running in Parque do Povo. We are so lucky to have family here. Joe has been absolutely amazing, welcoming us to SP.

Mikey's first day of! Lookin' sharp Michael!

Church at the beautiful Paróquia Nossa Senhora do Brasil -- It is a Brazilian church so everything is Portuguese but this church has very detailed programs with most of the liturgy, so that helped us follow along.

Beer and coxinhas at the BEST coxinha spot in SP - Veloso!! With Joe, Sara and Jake (friends of Joe's and ours from SF!), and a new friend, Tom. Seriously, I could have stayed there all day.

Culminating in a big gathering of new, ex-pat friends who came out to welcome us to SP  (thanks to April for organizing)!  We met up at Cervejaria Nacional and ended the night at  at Pe de Manga.  Such a great group from all over, with whom we got connected through: friends of friends, friends of Joe’s, blog-stalking, etc.  I think we met about 15 new people on Saturday but below is a good chunk of the group.

Back (L-R): April, Jana, Michael, Suzanna, Jami, Jeff, Alex. Front: Divya, me, Nick, Jeff


Better Know Brazil: Carnival

Get excited because this is the first post of a new weekly series called, “Better Know Brazil” in which I will highlight fun facts and random aspects of this amazing country.

This week, I felt I had no choice but to discuss… CARNIVAL!

Where does it come from?  Traditionally, on certain days of Lent, Roman Catholics and some other Christians abstained from the consumption of meat and poultry.  The term “carnival,” from carnelevare, literally means “to remove meat.”

Today: Carnival celebrations happen all over the world leading up to the season of Lent (in the US, the big celebration is obviously Mardi Gras in New Orleans), however the Brazilian celebration of Carnival is the biggest, most well-known celebration in the world.  The main event for Brazilians occurs in Rio de Janeiro, but São Paulo and the other cities definitely get in on the action as well.

What happens?  In Rio and São Paulo, there are enormous parades organized by local samba schools.  The schools perform and compete with each other as they sing and dance down the streets wearing the most ornate, unbelievable costumes alongside outrageous floats that they all construct.


There are also major block parades and other festivities.  It is said that during Carnival, Brazil receives 70% of it’s annual tourists and this week accounts for 80% of annual alcohol consumption.

Carnival is such a major holiday for Brazil, and because the main event occurs in Rio, when Michael and I arrived in São Paulo last week, the city was already starting to get quiet since everyone gets out of town for vacations.  On Monday and Tuesday of this week everything was closed for Carnival, and today many things (including Michael’s office) are still closed for a “recover-from-Carnival” day.  Seriously.  We have been following the celebrations on TV (which are being shown 24/7) and hopefully next year we’ll be able to partake in some ourselves.   A common greeting / farewell during this time is “Bom Carnaval” which means “Good Carnival” (think, “Merry Christmas”).

So, on that note, Bom Carnaval!

Feijoada anyone?

Since we landed in São Paulo, Michael and I have been loving every second, walking around and getting a feel for this new city that we call home.  We have explored a lot of our neighborhood (Itiam Bibi), but on Saturday we saw lots more of the city with new friends Paige & Trent!

Paige and Trent actually first met Michael’s brother, Joe, while vacationing in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  They lost touch but later ran into each other on the streets of São Paulo.  As it turns out, Trent and Joe work very near each other here.  (Such a small world!)  Anyway, long story short, Joe spent some time with them and thought that we would get along so he connected us a few weeks ago and we set a date to get together on Saturday.  Paige and Trent are both from Oklahoma and their southern hospitality was in full force as they picked Michael and me up at our apartment and commenced to take us on a fabulous driving-tour of the city.  It was great to hear their stories of living in São Paulo and see more of the city.  After the tour we went for a traditional Brazilian lunch of Feijoada and Caipirinhas at a fabulous restaurant, Bar des Arts.

Paige, me, Michael, Trent -- enjoying feijoada and caipirinhas!

Feijoada is basically a stew of black beans with different cuts of beef or pork.  At this particular restaurant they served many different variations of meat that you could choose from.  One of the options was “Pig’s Ear.”  We tried it…kind of a one-time thing…


After a long and luxurious lunch, Paige & Trent took us by their apartment to have a cup of coffee and review our day’s travels on a map.  They live in a neighborhood called Alto de Pinheros and their apartment has the most amazing views, overlooking a beautiful park and the city.  It was incredible.

View from their balcony - amazing!

And, the hospitality didn’t stop there.  Today, they picked us up and took us to their church with them.  So kind and welcoming.  Thanks Paige & Trent for an amazing first weekend in SP!

Bem-vindo ao Brasil!

After getting our Visas and running final errands, Michael and I arrived at SFO…4 hours early.  On purpose.  You have to understand that after being delayed time after time, when it seemed within reach, all we wanted to do was get to the airport, get checked in, and go.

Cheers! Taking off in first class (thank you Jones Day!)

We flew through Miami into Sao Paulo.  The first flight was 5 hours and the second was 8.  It’s all kind of a blur of sleeping, movies, not really sleeping, eating… but all that mattered to us is that we made it, safe and sound.  We landed on Wednesday at around 8pm, went through customs, no problem, and then braved the madness of getting our 5 checked bags.

Michael swimming through the masses. 2 points if you can find him. Hint - all you can really see is his black backpack.

Thankfully all of them made it and we were promptly met by our driver, Alsindo, who took us to our new pad.  We are staying in a “residence” which is basically a furnished apartment that functions like an extended stay hotel.  (Note – this is a different place than I previously posted so check it out!)  It’s pretty compact, but perfect for us right now.  When we arrived they had a nice little welcome basket waiting for us that contained: a bottle of pinot, a box of milk (no need to refrigerate this 3.5% box of leite), a huge bar of chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, instant coffee, and a box of tea.  ha.

Arriving at our new (temporary) home after many hours of traveling

We tried to get mostly unpacked and settled in, then headed out to a neighborhood lanchonete (pronounced lan-cho-neh-chee) to pick up some bottles of water.  Lanchonetes are these awesome little neighborhood restaurants that are everywhere.  They are usually partially exposed to the outdoors and serve basic meals (sandwiches, salads, beer, chicken, rice, beans, etc.).  Anyway, after that it was around midnight so, we turned on a little Big Bang Theory (yes, it’s always on here too) and then crashed.

This morning we woke up and couldn’t believe that we were here.  We spent the day walking around our neighborhood and doing our first grocery store run.

Morning coffee & breakfast in the neighborhood .

Michael loves Brazil's pão de queijo. (cheese bread) They have it everywhere!

Stopping by Michael's brother, Joe's, office building!

Lunch at a lanchonete

It is hot but gorgeous outside.  The streets are buzzing, full of people running around.   And Michael and I could not be happier to be here.  We are on cloud 9.  🙂

Sweet Southern Fun

My visit home to South Carolina started with a bang….or maybe I should say…a baby!  My mom picked me up in Charleston where we stayed for 2 nights with Brad, Suzanne and Augusta Clare.  My mom and I were on babysitting duty so we had fun playing with AC, giving her baths, and all of the other fun stuff that you do with babies.  I love being an aunt!!

Do I look awkward holding a baby?

Splish Splash I was takin a bath

Then my mom and I went back home to Columbia and the headed off to an event hosted at the home of the President of the University of South Carolina in honor of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer who were visiting the state for the SC bar convention meeting.

USC President Pastides speaking, standing beside his wife, Patricia-Moore, US Senator Linsdey Graham and South Carolina's former Attorney General Henry McMaster

Not only is Michael generally a fan of Justice Scalia, but Scalia actually also started his legal career working as an attorney for Jones Day, SO Michael sent me on a mission to meet him and get a photo at the event.

With my parents meeting Justice Scalia!!

Mission Accomplished.

Finally, I was able to snag a night out in Newberry with my grandparents and my Aunt Sheryl.  We went to Delamaters for dinner, one of my old favorite restaurants, and enjoyed amazing She Crab Soup, Shrimp & Grits, and family time.  🙂

Nan and I with our matching scarves that Sheryl made! Thanks Aunt Sheryl! 🙂

I miss you all already but am so glad we got one final trip in!  🙂  xoxox

It’s a DATE!

Why is February 14th, 2012 going to be so special?

Because it is Valentine’s Day perhaps?

No, not exactly.

Because it is Arizona’s 100th birthday?

While monumental, it still is not the answer.



Michael and I can finally confirm that, God willing, our Visa will be ready to picked up next Tuesday, one week from today, and we depart that evening to our new home!  Praise God!

We received the last of our papers yesterday (thankfully the Atlanta documents didn’t take as long to process thanks to a couple key phone calls 😉 ) so the photo above is Michael and me this morning, first in line, waiting for the doors of the Brazil consulate in SF to open so that we could present all of our papers.

Today is a very happy day for us.  And February 14th, 2012 will surely be the most memorable Valentine’s Day EVER.