Hi there. Sorry for the long absence but we needed time to settle and adjust. Adjusting has been difficult. Everything is so different and our heads hurt at night trying to figure out things. We have a nice apartment in a nice part of town. Within a couple of blocks have a small market , a nice little bar and restaurant, a big pizza and steak restaurant, a yarn and fabric store ( I know, I am loved!) all in walking distance. When we first moved in we thought we only had air conditioning in the living room and I was (I am ashamed to admit) having a hard time sweating it out. This was before it got really hot. But we finally figured out the machines in every room we thought we only heaters are also air conditioners. So thankful. It got up to 102 F a few days ago.
Our view from the dining room window looks straight into a neighboring building's apartment. We exchanged "Hellos" and "Happy New Years!" with these new neighbors (in Portuguese of course.) And now we ignore each other. It is a weird part of apartment life for me. I can see what they watch on T.V....not that I am spying. :-)
We have heated water in all the bathrooms which is a huge plus! We bought a combination washer and dryer because it was the only way to get a dryer. It takes 6 hours to do one load and often doesn't finish drying the load and the loads are half the size of what mine in the States were. I am mostly just washing and line drying and it is working out ( mostly because we have less clothes.). I will do a video tour as soon as I can steal Joffre's phone for a bit. I will post more about some of the differences we are experiencing soon. Ciao for now!
The entire Swait clan is reunited and trying to find a home. We encountered many more obstacles than expected. Brazil makes everything a little complicated. Joffre went to a realtor and saw great apartments but when he applied to rent one the realtor did not like that we had no prior history of renting in Brazil.
These are some plants and seeds I have been sketching. The ice plant (succulent with the pink flowers and tentacle like leaves.) was my favorite. They use those to cover entire walls here and the plant gets huge here. I messsed around with a stencil in the background for it and then drew on top. I used oil pastel for a couple of the sketches.
The laundry situation here is a bit different than the US. The washers are smaller. They only use cold water (no hookups for hot) and they don't really have good stain removers! I need to pack some oxy clean stain sticks next time or spray.
Most people do not have dryers and most houses are not equipped for dryers. So everything is line dried and they have these nifty thingys with clips for little socks and such (below). We might have them in the US but I had not seen them till I got here. I have learned to turn things inside out to keep them from fading. They don't use clothes pins because the walled house keep the wind from blowing things off. They do have them in the stores. I have also realized why they iron everything. It makes the clothes and towels and sheets softer. It is not uncommon to have someone come in once a week to do your ironing. You have to wash everyday so the lines aren't to full . I used to do all our laundry in 2-3 days of a week and it would mean we had to have clothes for at least a week. Here it is washed and dried everyday so you don't need as many clothes.
Joffre's Aunt and I went to this market of hand crafted things yesterday and really enjoyed it. We had gone to Los Dominicos, another art market, but it was more expensive and less extensive than this one. Here are some of the things we saw a lot of : handmade purses and shoes, lots of Peruvian textiles and blankets, jewelry with lots of lapis lazuli and copper, onyx sculptures and horsehair butterflies. We got some cool things but I can't share because they are Christmas presents. Sorry folks. There was a lot of Peruvian things because they can get them so cheaply and make a profit. They just stamp "Chile" on it for tourists. It was super fun.
Here are some more pages from the sketchbook. I had fun messing with some stencils. I am not sure if the sketches or stencils themselves came out more interesting.
Happy Thanksgiving! It feels weird not to be cooking anything today. Joffre's family here doesn't usually bother celebrating Thanksgiving but we are having chickens, mashed potatoes and a pie as a concession to us. (Yea! Pie is always good.) Hope you have a great holiday!
Before Joffre left we went to Santa Lucia overlook and yesterday his aunt and I went to the art market that is across the street from it. It has been one of my favorite things we have done. The overlook is a hill in the middle of the city with parts of an old fort? on top. You can see a 360 view of the entire city from the top. There is a sort of garden along the way and a neat sculpted fountain of Neptune and archway at the main entrance. Our favorite view was the apartment building across the street with a cool rooftop garden sitting area. The picture (below) doesn't do it justice.
These are 1-3 minute sketches. Georgie decided to try one of me (below). He was disappointed the drawing I did of him didn't look like him in the face. I explained I wasn't really spending the time trying to get likeness but trying to quickly get the fom and just practice ( I am quite rusty.). He decided to try for himself. The first thing out of his mouth was "Oops, your ears are really big...uh.. shoot!..this is harder than I thought it would be."
I sucessfully made chicken and roasted potatoes andI have been trying to figure out Joffre's aunt's stove and oven. Joffre had the brilliant idea of having the maid teach us to use it as if we were children. Here is what we figured out:
The stove and oven are both gas.
The stove is pretty similar to US gas stoves except they run hotter so you can't simmer for a long stretch.
It is also easy to get 6 burners instead of 4. They like stove top cooking.
Now the oven is a whole new ball game. The temperature dial has no temperature markings . Half the dial is just marked for lighting the oven and then a little bit at the bottom allows for max temp and low temp. Unfortunately "low" is not very low. There is a lot less variation of temperatures but I really will miss a low setting. I like to slow cook meat but it may not happen while I am in S. America. Baking will be tricky without temperature markings. I guess I will have to really get to know my oven.
We tried cookies and they got a little too brown/black on the bottom but I was a little happy to see the maid darken a cake a little too much too. So it is not just me. I successfully made chicken and roasted potatoes but had to watch it like a hawk.