Describing the world around me--from the big picture all the way down to our little local news.

How long could you go without gasoline?

There are two bars of fuel in my tank. That’s approximately 10 liters and when that’s gone there might be no more. Our town is running dry. We were lucky enough that the propane tank on our stove ran out on Friday. Inconvenient, it meant that we had a take-out lunch rather than a home-cooked […]

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 […]

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 […]

This is What Corruption Looks Like

This week, in the middle of the night, while all the press was looking towards Colombia, and the nation mourned the loss of a whole team of talented, young men, Brazil’s politicians gutted an anti-corruption bill. The President declared three days of national mourning and the Congress took advantage of it. They went into overdrive […]

12 Things About Brazil the Guidebooks Never Tell You

Waiting in line is over-rated. Brazilians don’t really do lines. Unless otherwise directed, they tend to form a large, organic crowd and all push forward to the front. Why is this important? Banks, grocery stores, bus stations, they’ll probably have lines that people respect. But if you’re trying to get through a market or a concert […]

Racial Panels and a Drop of Blood

I have this cringeworthy memory where I’m pretty sure I offended a whole roomful of people of color repeatedly. I mean, it’s one of those really bad memories where it flashes back and I mentally go: “LA-LA-LA-I-CAN’T-HEAR-YOU. LA-LA-LA-I’M-STILL-A-GOOD-PERSON-SO-GO-AWAY-LA-LA-LA-LAAAAA!!”  Sigh. It’s an “oops!” memory of Epic Proportions. All of us probably have them (well… everyone except maybe Donald Trump, […]


“Heard of rainbow hair?” I said, “You wanted me to go more platinum blonde. Ok. Deal. And when I do, I want that.” I showed her a photo. She said, “You’re feeling radical?” I said, “I’ve always been radical, you just never asked.” But clearly this was beyond my hair stylist’s comfort zone so I […]