Friday, March 30, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Okay, here she is, all unpacked! Not necessarily where everything should be (like all art is sitting on the floor), but that will come with time. I'm in the market for some rugs, and maybe a new coffee table, I think ours is too small for our giant living room. We're having a tough time fitting our TV where it's supposed to go (in the TV room! We have a TV room, how neat is that!). We might have to cut out the middle of a shelf. But we're not sure if that means the rest of the shelf will fall down. Trial and error. I guess that might be our process.

Also, my 'office' is in the living room, which is fine, but I went to plug in my computer and found that there are no grounded outlets in the living room. So that got me looking. There are absolutely no outlets in the whole living room and about a 10 foot reach beyond. I've only found ONE grounded plug in the whole apartments (except for, I assume, the outlets that the fridge and washer are plugged in to), in the larger guest bedroom. What in the world? This apartment is hilarious sometimes.

Here are some pictures of the house:
There's so much space between the chairs and the coffee table... Maybe a rug will bring it all closer together? Also, that nice red bookshelf, that's most likely not it's permanent home. 
OH the start of a garden! Cilantro is sold in the grocery store with the roots attached, so I thought it's try and revive it. Mint and rosemary I bought yesterday for $2 (about $1.65 USD) and in the toilet paper tubes: papaya!
Giant TV would go right in the middle here... Taking out most of the middle shelf. Also, see those light bulbs off the ceiling? Any ideas on how to cover those guys up? I like the eco-friendly bulbs, but not how they stick out.
After the TV goes in I'm rearranging all this stuff, which I think is so much fun to do.
So much shelving and storage in this place. This feels a little cluttered to me right now, but it'll get there.
The room with the only grounded outlet. Also the bedroom with the best view. So maybe it would make a good office? But also if guests come, it's the room they'll be staying that means no office while guests are in.  
The smaller guest bedroom. I made great covers for the AC holes, but they don't like to stay in while the wind is blowing. I'll revamp them later.
Our bedroom. It's mostly bed.
The kitchen. It's a super old style kitchen... But TONS of storage. Shelves as far as the eye can see.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Gone Fishin'

Hey yall! We got a new boat! It's a pretty sweet little yacht, in a beautiful turquoise blue with a yellow bottom. We haven't named her yet, but on the drawing board are: Blue Footed Booby, Suzi, the Minnow. All sorts of good names out there, it'll be hard to come up with something that we like and is somewhat readable down here (where they ain't speaking the right language). Here she is in all her glory:
That's a pretty sweet weed wacker motor, eh?
The gal with all her riggings, two anchors, keel and rudder (used to be a sailboat), live well (it's just a hole in the boat), and long sticks to steer with incase we run out of motor.
This sucker is really hard to steer. And keep in the water. I'm putting all my dirty-shirted might into it.
Some catches if the day. Nothing big enough to eat yet, but we're getting there. 
Rolling her up on the beach on coconut trunks. This image is misleading; it takes about 7 men to roll it.
Our fishing paddles. 
PUUUUFFER FIIISH! We caught three of these our first time out.
Fellow fishermen, to give you an idea of what the boat looks like in the water. Looks like a door, no?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Just pictures and captions.

I just realized I haven't posted in a while. Our stuff arrived and I've been working on that non-stop! Here's a catcher-upper.
Toby's cousin Renata, one of our closest friends here, took me to Recife's city center shopping area a while ago. It's really crazy, tons of vendors, stores just JAM packed with every sort of good you could imagine. The food section looked like a lot more fun to me, but we spent a lot of time in the notebook/hair accessory and jewelry part of town. I'll put up more pictures when I go back and visit the fruit section. Renata is inside the store here in the yellow dress. Also, note the store is called "a lot more". I have no idea how you could top that.
I have never seen so many leaks as I have here. This one that finally got some work done had been leaking (releasing a sizable stream of water into the road non-stop) since we moved in. I've noticed about 4 more, just on my walk to Jiu Jitsu. No idea whether it's a busted pipe or some sort of magical moving spring that's moving around the city. I guess fixing them is one way to keep cool on the job?
I've walked by this tree every other day for a while now, it's on the way to Jiu Jitsu. Toby's called it everything from a mango tree (which are huge magnolia-like trees, they look nothing like this) to a coconut palm (which, again, look mildly similar but not very. I do love his inability to spot a plant, it's cute). I've seen it in different stages of fruiting, and kept thinking it looked like a papaya, but thought there was no way that tree could support all those full size papayas (called mamao here).
Well, it is in fact a papaya tree. I did a little more research. They are apparently easy to grow from seed (from storebought fruit, no less), so I'm planting some as soon as my 'compost' looks brown enough to call dirt. The papayas in the photo are young. The trees fruit year round and grow to fruiting stage in less than a year. They fruit year round and grow well here. Here we come papaya tree.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Whoa! Where have I been?

I've been unpacking, that's where!

Warning: it's a lengthy post!

Our stuff has arrived. We went through a few phases of unpacking. The first was "GET IT ALL OUT OF THE BOXES! QUICK!" That was so the packers could take the boxes back and we wouldn't have to worry about getting rid of them. Next was "ACK! IT'S ALL SO MESSY! GET IN ALL IN A CABINET!" I did this one without Toby. So it's all in cabinets now. It took me a few minutes to get to a plate for my scrambled eggs this morning. But I found one.

This house is larger than anything I've ever lived in by myself (I know I'm not by myself, I have Toby). It's above the 2000 sq. ft. range, we believe. Or that's what I've heard at least. And there is an enormous amount of built in storage. So most everything we have is out of sight. And the furniture that made our tiny tiny tiny house so cozy before, seems spread out and lost. Also, everything we have seems to be very warm. It seems like furniture that you'd like to cuddle up in. But the climate here isn't the cuddliest climate. So I'm working on getting it all feeling a little more beachy, but without buying anything new or making too many changes. Haha. I'll let you know how that works out.

Right now I'm finishing some stuff up while Toby is in the US. Hopefully by the time he's back I will have:
Recovered the dining room table chairs
Figured out a way to block the holes in the wall of the spare bedrooms that are supposed to be filled with air conditioners
Plant some seeds to start our porch garden!
Organize the stuff in the kitchen cabinets a little better.

One last note, there are some hitches to this place that I haven't figured out yet. The walls are cement, so hanging seems like more trouble than it might be worth. We have a few sticky hanger things, and I don't think I feel like making holes in the wall, so possibly we'll have wall art, on the floor? Our house is open air, with an open window in the front and one in the back there's a pretty great stream of air. Through the smallest area (hallway) it gets super breezy! Sweeping is very challenging. I'm trying to go front to back, with the air flow, but sometimes the breeze takes the grossness places I don't want it to go. I could close the windows to sweep, but it's a big apartment! That's a long time with no breeze! The sun is very strong here, and we've been told things will fade quickly. A good solution: close the curtains. But why would I want to close out the best part of the house, the view? Maybe we'll just have a nice faded look to our clothing and furniture.

So that's all. I'll post some pictures of us lounging in our great stuff filled house. But for now, a little before/after.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Goodbye empty house!

Our stuff is finally being delivered as we speak (as I type?).  We're so excited!!!! It might be a two day process to deliver it, but I'll have all next week while Toby's back in the states to rearrange and clean. Whoopeeee!
Before and after pictures to come soon.
Also, we bought a boat! Pictures of that to come soon too. And we found a baby sea turtle on the beach. We didn't have the camera, so no pictures of that.
Lots of posts coming this weekend. Hold on to your shorts.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Horse Bath

Some guys washing their horses on the beach. Sort of pretty. They just rode them into the water. I feel bad because the horses have to pull carts all day on the cement streets. I think the sand and water must have been nice for them.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

And now, in no particular order:

Thoughts gathered thoughout the last few weeks:
Also, photos that just haven't made the cut. Or aren't organized enough for a whole post:
What's that? A sunrise, no way! It's a moonrise!

Soup! A really nice guy that works in our building made up soup! How nice? Right?
But we put it in the fridge and it congealed...the whole thing. Like jello soup.
And this piece of "meat" was in it. What is this? Any ideas guys? Because we have no idea. It looked like chicken skin, but had flaps, like pages in a book.
This guy is always sunning on this stump. Every day. I scare him away every day.
Electric lawnmower. That's right, it's plugged into the wall. Who invented a LAWN
(it seems like they'd know you were going to be outdoors) mower that you need a plug for?
*I know I don't speak the language well, but it seems really hard to get what I want to drink either way. With my tutor, the conversation goes a little like this:
Lena: What would you like to drink?
Sarah: Water, please.
Lena: Juice?
Sarah: No, just water, please.
Lena: Coke?
Sarah: Uhhh....
Lena: Guarana? (it's a Brazilian soda)
Sarah: ?

I usually receive anything but water to drink.
This game looks like a lot of fun to play. If you've ever played foursquare, a favorite of mine, it's very similar. Except there are only two squares, and teams of two. But pretty much the object is to get the ball to touch the ground in your opponents square. But it starts with a "serve" like volleyball, and is played like soccer, no hands.
*Above our sink is a shelf, right at forehead height. I hit it all the time. The cabinets in the bathroom extend over the sink knob, so you have to reach under the cabinet to use the sink. The toilet directly faces the shower, with about a foot of wiggle room. I usually slide sideways to get off it. Who built this place? It makes me laugh all the time.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Another food post.

Hey, me talking about food again?You've got to be kidding me. Okay, well I am. Below is the rundown from this week's food talks. First, guava, not that great fresh. It's got these seeds! Darn seeds! They're like little rocks! Next, we went to fondu with some family. Toby's told me since we've met that we'll go, and he finally made good on the promise. It was the meat in oil kind of fondu. I'd like to try the cheese too, but I was so full when we left that I was very happy we only ordered meat. Then some beach food, a meal at Aunt Solange's house (it was reeeally good), dessert food, etc. Most of the pictures have self-explanatory captions.
Remember that goiaba (guava) that broke the bank (okay, it was only a dollar or so). This is it. 
Fondu! See the flat grill thing to left with meat, and pot of boiling oil in the center. Also, Toby's cousin Pedro and his girlfriend Pamela. Very fun folks, and around our age. Yay!
Look at that hunk of meat! Okay, the one on the skewer, but the guy is too right?
Finally, more in our fridge than just eggs. Contents: Beer! Cokes! sausages, cheese, quail eggs, guava paste and lots of  chopped up melon.

Fried fish from a beach vendor. We've had these guys a few times now, and they are DELICIOUS! They're on my list of must-eat visitor foods, for when all of you come visit.

Fried plantains. I've started frying regular bananas too, because they're all over down here, and lots of people fry them. Pretty tasty treats.
OH MAN! I forget the name of this dish, but it was sort of like a stew. Like 5 different kinds of meat, potatoes, carrots, lots of stuff. Then a hard boiled egg, rice greens too. Voted one of our best meals here so far.

And of course, dessert. YUM-O. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Guess what we saw this morning?

We take a walk on the beach almost every morning. We've seen lots of washed up fish, some really neat ones (like a puffer fish, a boxfish or cowfish of sorts, lots of crabs), but today we saw something that I think/hope we might never see again. A turtle head! Just the head. It was about the size of a grapefruit, and then had it's neck and everything too. We guessed that someone caught the turtle and threw back the head. Sad, but I guess there aren't many rules/enforcement of rules around these parts.
Look at that sweet little face. Or...actually. He looks mad. Mad that someone cut his brother's head off!
I think it was a green sea turtle. Not sure. Anyway, here are some links to Sea Turtle Conservancy programs, incase any of you are interested:

See Turtles
NOAA Fisheries
Conserve Turtles
Bonaire Turtles

Also, for any of you coastal folks, look into egg hatching programs, or helping with them, I guess. When I was in high school and college (Gulf Shores, AL and Savannah, GA) I was on a signup list that would be called when sea turtle eggs were hatching. You would go help guide the sea turtles to the water. I never got called, but I always thought it sounded like fun.