Wanda & I at Wuai

We’re back in Shenyang after both being home in Canada for Christmas with our families. Today Wanda and I decided to spend some much needed girl time. You know…a little retail therapy and lunch and just a chance to get together before we get back to school! And a day with Wanda is soooo WONDERFUL! Love her!!

Today we hit Wuai Market! Wuai is an amazing place to shop BUT both of us will admit we can get lost in there. And you put the two of us together laughing and talking and shopping…well we’re bound to get lost! Haha we can even get lost in an airport…well almost. Anyway, today we went coat and purse shopping and had so much fun checking out cute styles, modelling and taking pictures. Look out Wuai… here come two blonde Canadian girls that LOVE to shop…

We had a lot fun and the more we spend time together the more we realize we feel the same about a lot of things, especially our love for China, the culture and the people here! Thanks for a great day girlfriend, it’s just what I NEEDED today!

And it’s an especially good day if you can come away with a new coat AND a  new purse!

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LAST POST FROM BRAZIL, SOUTH AMERICA!~ We’re DONE! and off we go again…

YES! FINALLY!!! Finished in Brazil and headed to China tonight. Can you feel my excitement?!!!! I’ve missed Asia!

This morning it’s a little bit of FB, changing some blog stuff around because one can never be sure of internet in China, finishing packing, cleaning the apartment… a bit, giving keys to Simone, and returning our car. Goodbye little red car. It’s been fun traveling the back roads and exploring Brazil…you’ve done us well!

Goodbye little red car :)

Goodbye little red car... :)
Goodbye little red car… 🙂 and so ends David’s driving for awhile!

THANK YOU Michelin Brazil. It’s been a great 1+ years!

TChau Michelin Brasil!
TChau Michelin Brasil! ( probably the nicest back drop ever for a factory, beautiful mountains of Itatiaia )

YES!!!~ We’re flying BACK to Shenyang, China!

At the beginning of this expat assignment, I really never thought I would be saying “FINALLY we’re done here” about Brazil. I actually thought it would be the other way around. “Let’s get through China, so we can get on to the “highlight” Brazil” But no, for me, it has been the other way around. I LOVED China! Truly loved it!! The history and culture, the travel opportunities…so many things.Originally our assignment was 1 year China, 1 year Brazil. Both countries got extended a bit and NOW I am so glad we are going back to China! Does that mean I have to rethink my blog description? Two years, two cultures…better change it a bit!

Almost from the beginning of Brazil, I could see what it was gonna be like. Don’t get me wrong Brazil is ABSOLUTELY beautiful. This country has some of the MOST gorgeous places on earth and I feel so blessed to have seen them, really!! The Brazil friends we made and the people that were responsible to assist us were terrific, some of the nicest, friendliest people you would ever want to meet, the food so delicious, no adjustments there, and the weather…well who wouldn’t love to spend Winter in a tropical climate? Haha and you say, “Why is she complaining, and happy to leave?” Well, let’s just say it is BEYOND frustrating to continually deal with the NOISE and people who really don’t do their job. Actually living in a country you have bureaucracy to deal with, NOT fun!! And well…just the REALLY LAID BACK approach…showing up REALLY late for an appointment and not calling or apologizing. Then there is the violence and safety concerns. I don’t like living that way…nervous to go for a walk by myself, nervous and uneasy when we take off for the weekend that we will run in to problems. That is all I will say, I won’t go in to detail because I could literally write a book with my frustrations in LIVING here. It’s hard to describe…you would have to live here yourself to see what I mean. However, A tropical vacation in Brazil is actually quite lovely!!

BUT tonight…we are leaving Sao Paulo, Brazil flying to Madrid,Spain and will be in Shenyang, China first thing Saturday morning! ( Actually, Friday 9:30pm Nova Scotia time) We just gotta get through those CrAzY long flights! 23 hours of ACTUAL flying time!!! ( not to mention the layovers and the 3 hour drive to Sao Paulo, arriving 2-3 hours early to start our journey)

Well…gotta get going, our taxi awaits!!

Oh…PS~ David’s not so sure about getting back to authentic Chinese cuisine! Haha

Not to worry sweetie, we’ve already tried frog. There’s LOTS more NEW things awaiting us…

TChau Brasil… and Ni hao China!

Cancel Accounts and other last day STUFF

David’s last day of work and just a short day because Today is the day to cancel all our accounts and pay bills,and do the odds and ends ready for our departure from Brazil. Simone is THE BEST to deal with such matters,  and she met with David after lunch to do this. It is very important to have someone that speaks Portuguese to do these kinds of things.

Thank you SO MUCH Simone for EVERYTHING you’ve done for us and helped us with!! We will miss you!! I hope you don’t mind I took this pic from Facebook. It is one of my favorites of you and it is how I always picture you… Beijos e Abracos !

Hopefully, after we cancel it will take them until tomorrow to cut us off…they are SLOW any other time. Although I had to cancel my VIVO on my ipad last Thursday and within minutes I didn’t have service. It would be nice to have gas for a hot shower in the morning and internet for just a bit longer.

You know all those miscellaneous receipts and papers you collect that normally you would put through a shredder, well we don’t have a shredder in Brazil and so David did what any Brazilian would do (Ok I don’t know what Brazilian’s do)…he made a trip to the country and had a little burning ceremony! Haha 🙂

This afternoon was one of the semi-final games in the FIFA Confederations cup. Brazil against Uruguay and I was home cheering!! The rivalry between Brazil and Uruguay is one of the biggest in world of futebol and one of the most unique despite the difference in size and population between the two countries. This is the last game for me to watch from Brazil and it was INTENSE!  Both teams are very good but Brasil WON!!!!! 2-1 🙂 Tomorrow is the other semi and Spain will play Italy. Maybe we can catch a bit of this game at the airport. Sunday is the FINAL in Rio at the Maracana Stadium and BRASIL is IN THE FINAL, so exciting!!!!  It is scheduled for 7pm Brazil time so that is 6am in the morning Monday China time. I am REALLY hoping I can find a channel at my hotel in Shenyang that is broadcasting the game!

Our last evening in Brazil and we went for dinner with a group of wonderful friends. People that are SPECIAL to us and who we have enjoyed special times with. Goodbyes are hard but with this group, we all know what it’s like because we are all expats and that is the expat life!

Mark & Melanie
Marc & Melanie
Massimo with David. Marghereita  is home in Italy for 2 months
Massimo with David. Margherita is home in Italy for 2 months 😦
Erin & Demetrios
Erin & Demetrios- Erin will arrive in China a few days after us 🙂
Jimmy
Jimmy
Hector, Marcella & their daughter Sofia
Hector, Marcela & their daughter Sofia
Daniel & Cristina
Daniel & Cristina- we will see you dear fiends in China soon 🙂

Thank you friends for sharing our last evening!

By the way…tomorrow we FLY!!!! 🙂

Boa Noite from our last night in Brasil!

PACKING TODAY

TODAY is the day I have to fit EVERYTHING else that didn’t go in the shipment in to our suitcases! That will be fun. I know I will be without my things from the shipment for awhile so I put all the things in my suitcase that I will want or that will bring me comfort in our adjustment period. Been there and done it all before, and even though we have and I can’t wait to be back in China…I KNOW there will be an adjustment period!

So today is packing day! I actually packed 1 suitcase the day the shipment left because I was a little concerned…I thought maybe I would have to buy another suitcase and pay for having extra baggage but NO PROBLEM!

Today while David was working his last FULL day in Brazil I have been sorting and organizing, making my little piles and even throwing a few things out. When I look at our apartment I think it’s funny how I go about organizing. I need time to think and figure it out in my mind. Make sure I pack enough in my carry on in case of a delay or cancelled flight but not too much so that it is heavy or bulky to deal with going through security… I think of all these things!

David on the other hand just packs. He comes home gets his suitcase down and puts it all together. I should clarify, I don’t pack the actual suitcases. David ALWAYS does that because he is an expert at putting things in, in a way that maximizes our space. Although, we each can have 2- 70lb bags traveling to and from Brazil. ( this is the last of the 70lber’s for a while, it will be hard to go back to 50lbs) plus a carry-on plus a personal item. And we always take full advantage!

Tonight, we took a break from it all and had some delicious steak at one of our favorite restaurants, and said our goodbyes to a young Brazilian guy who works there.We met him a year ago and  he always enjoys chatting with us and practicing his English every time we go. He will go to Canada in July on an exchange program so he can get a good grasp of the English language. We will miss Mouser and Terracao restaurant.

Our friend Mouser
Our friend Mouser

Well, that’s another day…2 MORE sleeps!

Hand Signals 101

It’s Monday! This is THE WEEK! Just a few more days 🙂

I should have posted about this earlier, before we were actually leaving…because this is something quite interesting, and it is VERY common in Brazil! David sees it EVERYDAY! I don’t see it as much but then I am not in the work place or places that he is that it would be used so much.

We have noticed there are a lot of deaf people in Resende. And Michelin, employs a number of them. I think this is great!! It actually works VERY well and David says they are some of the nicest people. Sometimes it is a challenge to communicate but along with some Portuguese, he has learned some basic sign language this year. So cool!

There are also some basic sign language/hand signals that Brazilians use. Brazilians are very expressive and emotional people. They have a great sense of humor and love people. When you see a Brazilian talking you will probably see his hands moving and making different gestures. I thought it would be fun to get a Brazilian friend to demonstrate. Actually I asked David to ask one of his friends 🙂 I wanted to do a video BUT time is short…we ran out of time and this is such a cool thing with Brazil culture. I did what I could to find something from the internet.

So here is some basic hand signals you should be familiar with if coming to Brazil.

Hand Signals 101

Come here: Turn your palm up or down. Flex you fingers out and back a couple times. They also make this sound along with the gesture “psiu psiu”.

Telephone call: Put your fist up to the side of your face with your pinkie finger and thumb extended to show that someone is on the phone. This is also used for call me.

Warning or disbelief: Gently pull the bottom of your eye lid down with your index finger. This means “be careful” or “watch out”. It is used when someone doesn’t believe or trust a situation or person.

Disbelief: Tap your fingers under your chin. This means “papo-furado” which implies someone doesn’t know what they are talking about.

Let’s eat: Point your fingers to your mouth then bend them up and down a few times, which means that the food is ready or let’s eat!

Let’s have a Coffee: Hold your thumb and index finger together about 2 inches apart in front of your mouth. This indicates and invitation to have a “cafezinho” a small cup of dark coffee or espresso.

Let’s have a beer: Hold your hand in a fist with your thumb pointing towards your mouth. This is an invitation to go have a beer “cerveja” or a draft beer “chopinho”.

Delicious: Tug your earlobe when you think something is delicious! This gesture is not as common as it used to be.

Great or cool: A thumbs up sign means something is really good.

The good life: Put your thumbs under your armpits and move your fingers. This means that someone has it made or living well!

Jealousy: Rub your elbow with one hand to suggest jealousy. The slang for this is “dor de cotovelo” which literally means a pain in the elbow. There are many Brazilian songs that mention this phrase in them.

Crazy: Hold your index finger to your temple and move it in circles. This means a person is crazy “louco” in Portuguese.

Friendship: Rub your two index fingers together to signify closeness or friendship.

Bad driver: Rub the front of your fingers to your cheek to suggest someone is a bad driver.

Expensive: Rub your thumb and index finger together to show that something is expensive or that you need money.

No: Hold your index finger up and shake your hand from side to side to indicate no. This is very common.

Don’t care: Hold your hands in front of you palms up, hit your fingers on the top and bottom changing hands to express you don’t know or don’t care.

Full: Hold one hand in front of you palm up. Bring your fingers and thumb together to indicate a place if packed full of people. This is used a lot by taxi drivers when their car is already full.

Speed or fast: Hold your thumb and middle finger together. Shake your hand hard so that the finger and thumb make a snap. This means hurry or fast.

Obscene: The North American okay sign inverted is very vulgar in Brazil. It is the same as giving the middle finger. It is best to avoid the okay sign to be sure you don’t use it wrong and use the Brazilian okay sign which is the thumbs up.

That’s just a few of the ones he sees. There are a lot more. So if you are planning a trip to Brazil, it’s time to brush up on the hand gestures and you’ll fit right in 🙂

Did I mention this week we FLY?!!!

Last Weekend in Brazil!

WOW! Here we are last weekend in Brazil!!! It’s hard to believe really!

We decided we wanted to spend it someplace very nice. Many of our friends have been to this weekend getaway spot but this is our first time…

Angra dos Reis is in Rio state and is a beautiful escape of 365 islands. There are thousands of beaches and is a popular getaway for Rio de Janeiro city residents. Many people go here to enjoy boat cruises to one of the islands. To REALLY know this part of the Fluminense Green Coast, you must travel by boat, taking in the crystalline waters, and the mansions of the rich and famous, erected on private islands.

Among all of its islands,Ilha Grande stands out. Considered the paradise of adventurers, with its trails, waterfalls and deserted beaches, it played an important role in Brazil’s historical-cultural scenario for having housed a prison for almost 60 years. Again many of our expat friends here have gone to Ilha Grande. We don’t plan to do this.

In the past, Angra dos Reis was one of the most important ports of the Fluminense coast. Ships loaded with goods docked there from the other side of the world. Slave ships also arrived there with hundreds of slaves to supply forced labor in the coffee fields.

Well,we are off ( as soon as I can get David awake) 🙂 We booked a REALLY nice hotel on the water, we may not do a boat cruise, we’ll see, but we will enjoy our last weekend in Brazil( hopefully well away from all the protests and media) in a tropical paradise some only dream of!

See you when we get back! Enjoy your weekend!

This is where we are going…