Things I miss while I am traveling

Yesterday I posted about the things that I love about Brazil. Things I can only experience while I am traveling. Of course there are also some things that I miss about home…


  •  Clean, public restrooms. I know it sounds silly, but when traveling with two young kids it is nice to be able to find a bathroom at a moments notice. As much as I plan ahead…”try anyway, even if you don’t have to go”… they inevitably wait until the last minute before frantically announcing that they need to go RIGHT NOW!! Yesterday I got to see a little too much while trying to supervise my youngest in the men’s room. Embarrassed, I used my broken Portuguese to ask one of the other young men to keep an eye on him for me as I averted my eyes (and probably turned six shades of pink!)

  • Dryers. This is something I think I would miss if I lived here because who has time to hang dry and iron all of their clothes?? However, I am finding that the process of doing laundry while I am here on vacation with nothing better to do is kind of therapeutic.

drying clothes outside2

  • 3G Internet connection. Thank you Verizon for not including Brazil in the countries that you support internationally. Did you know that Verizon iPhone’s don’t support SIM cards? Maybe it’s a good thing not to be connected 24-7…

  • Driving. I’m used to being able to go wherever I want, whenever I want. I probably could drive here if I really wanted to, but without knowing the unstated rules of the road I think I am better off waiting for someone to drive me around.

driving in brazilDon’t get me wrong. These are minor inconveniences, and I actually had a hard time thinking of very many things that I really missed because there are so many other things here to replace them. There is never a shortage of delicious food, smiling faces and a sense of togetherness that I will definitely miss when I head back to the United States.

I’d love to know what everyone else misses when they are traveling, whether it’s for a weekend, a month, or an extended stay!


Ten things Brazil has that the United States doesn’t have

There are some things that Brazil has that just don’t exist in the United States. I love traveling and getting to experience new things. Here are a few of the most notable ones.

1. Havaianas. We have flips-flops, but we don’t have these. At least not in as many cool designs. One of the things that is actually cheaper here than in the United States and worth buying!!


2. Chocolate Quente (aka Hot Chocolate).  This is nothing like the hot chocolate in the States. It was like chocolate syrup filled with nuts (which makes for an interesting drinking experience).

Brazilian Hot Chocolate

3. Pastel. Sort of like a giant wonton filled with ground beef, chicken or cheese. A delicious, giant wonton. (How do Brazilians stay so thin??)

Pastel de Frango e Beef

4. French Bread. If you ask for French Bread here in Brazil, you won’t get what you are expecting. Usually delivered fresh from “padaria” each morning, these small loaves are perfectly crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. Ask any Brazilian what they miss about Brazil, and I bet this bread will come up in the conversation.

French Bread

5. Requeijao. A cross between sour cream and cream cheese, it is the perfect pairing for the afore mentioned bread. I’ve found something similar in the International food section at HEB, but it’s not quite the same.


6. Peta. I don’t really know how to describe this one. It’s sort of like a pork rind with a little more substance and a little less bacon flavor. It was the first thing the kids asked for when they arrived. Careful. They are addicting!

Peta7. Pao de Queijo. The literal translation is “cheese bread”, but you can call it a little ball of heaven.  Brazilians seem to have mastered the art of baking anything with a perfectly crunchy outside and a deliciously gooey inside. (Side note: Those with gluten intolerance may have a difficult time surviving in Brazil.)

Pao de Queijo

 8. Pizza. You wouldn’t think eggs, peas, or corn belong on a pizza, but Brazilians will top their pie with just about anything, and make it work. I forgot how good the pizza is here. Many of the pizza places are “rodavarias”, where servers come around with pizza by the slice so you can try lots of different varieties. I don’t understand why this isn’t more of a “thing” in the US.


9. Quibe. I think this may have originated somewhere else, but it’s delicious and try as I might to make it at home, I haven’t gotten it right yet. Think crunchy, seasoned meatballs.


10. The. Best. Coffee. Ever.  Better than Starbucks could ever hope to be, and that is saying a lot coming from me. It’s also available everywhere, all the time, for free. Often there is a small coffee station on the way out the door after you eat. Or at the grocery store. Or the hardware shop. You know… wherever.



Summer Vacation in Brazil: Part 1

Brazil 2014It’s taken me WAY too long to get out this first post about our trip to Brazil this summer, but there is always something going on here. There is never a shortage of people or activities, and it’s actually hard to find a few quiet moments to blog. But finally…

After a nearly 24-hour trip half-way around the world with two children, we arrived in Cuiaba. Thankfully all flights arrived on time, and there were no breathless sprints towards urgent last calls. The trip was fairly uneventful aside from one bumpy landing that resulted in the deployment of the proverbial “barf bag” nestled in the seat pocket in front of us. Unfortunately, it was a little too nestled, so most of it ended up on Noah’s pants, but being the prepared mom that I am (sometimes) I had pack extra clothes in each of the kid’s backpacks for just such an occasion. We cleaned up in the first WC we found upon landing, and went on our way to customs. It was just as well for avoiding the long line!

We are all having a blast aside from the crazy heat. I was under the false impression that Brazil had something of a winter. This may be true in other parts of Brazil, but it appears that we have landed in the Devil’s armpit because it never drops much below 80 degrees here, and the average high is 89 degrees. In winter. I told them that I am never visiting during the summer. That doesn’t stop the workers from beating the heat to try to make the final preparations for the World Cup. The city is not ready, and it is pretty clear that they will not be ready in time for the first game.

Getting ready for the cup

The kids are soaking up all of the attention and entertainment. Actually, I think their American sensibilities are a little overwhelmed with all of the hugging and kissing!  They extend a tentative hand for a greeting, and are pulled into a full bear hug before they know what hit them. The enthusiastic Brazilian greetings take a little getting used to, but I am starting to feel right at home here. Abraços, or hugs, are a standard greetings, as well as um beijo, or kiss, on the cheek.

grandma and grandpa

I don’t think the kids realize how lucky they are to be able to spend the summer, or winter depending on your perspective, in Brazil. They are surrounded by family and friends (who might as well be family for all I know…it seems as though everyone is a cousin!). There are plenty of other children around for the kids to play with here, and they are noticeably different then the children the kids are used to being around. Careful. Considerate. Kind. Although my mom instincts keep kicking in because Brazil is definitely not “kid-proof” , I am comforted by the abundance of mom’s and grandma’s here! I know that whoever they are with will treat them as if they were their own, and I am at ease. I feel blessed to be able to have such an experience.

Brazilian spirit

Of course, with some of the World Cup games being played in Cuiaba, the city is full of tourists, but the Brazilian influence is still strong. I don’t think the abundance of Brazilian flags and banners has a lot to do with the Cup. Brazilians always show love for their country. We drove past the Arena Pantanal and took a few pictures. It was hard to get a clear shot because there are houses all around the stadium.

Arena Patanal em Cuiaba

Arena Pantanal do Cuiaba

We enjoyed Brazil first game with a fun group of Brazilians. I thought that Husker fans and Spurs fans were animated, but they have nothing on Brazil! The first own goal was a little heart-breaking, but the three goals after that erupted in dancing, more hugging, cheering, singing, and of course, the musical stylings of the vuvuzela.

watching the gameafter the game

Until later! Ate mais!