July 22, 2005

Still living out of suitcases

We STILL haven´t moved into our apartment. The container arrived a week ago but still hasn´t cleared customs. And now we´ve found out there is a strike at the port. So we have no idea when we will get it.

We've been sleeping on the floor of our friend Max's country house a little outside of the city. He doesn´t
have a phone, internet or tv... sort of isolating, but really nice at the same time. There are lots of birdies and monkeys too. But it's also winter here, so it gets dark at about 5:30 and it´s kinda cold. It gets down into the 50´s at night, which for winter is nothing, I know, but the houses aren´t heated, so it´s cold!

Max and Julliana have been just incredible friends. They've opened their house up to us and our barely housebroken puppy. It's been so nice to come here and immediately have good friends. Here's pictures. C with a serious Cheshire Cat smile going on and Max and Ju and I looking a little confused... This is in my favorite cafe here -- it's the first one I've found that reminds me of New York -- minus the wifi...

Anyway life has pretty much been okay right up until this week... I´m getting pretty

tired of living out of a suitcase and am more than ready to get into our apartment.

But it has actually been good that it is taking a while because we did
major renovations on the apartment. It is brand new, no one has lived there yet, but it had some really poor design choices. We tore out walls, eliminating one of the bedrooms, and tore out the bathroom in the kitchen to make it big enough so we could put a table in it. We also took out all the tile in the kitchen as it was baby blue and really horrible! Labor is so unbelievable cheap here, it was really worth it to do all of that before moving in -- it will drastically improve the resale value of the place. Other things are also a basement bargain -- custom granite counter tops will only run us about 200 bucks and that includes installation.

Dharma is growing super fast, and is still super cute, but can be a real pain in the neck. Truly, she looks like one of those disgusting cute puppies you see in calenders. I've read that Llasa´s are very trying. She won´t take no for an answer and is really really strong willed. She jumps on everything, barks, mostly pees in the right place but chews everything like crazy -- and at two months old, I´m told she will continue until she´s almost a year! It's also difficult that we are still living at our friends house. Training her will be easier when we are in our place and the routine is the same all the time. Now, some days I´m with her all day, and others I have to leave her shut up in Max's laundry room for hours when I´m out stumbling around after C.

Portuguese is going slowly, but I´m not struggling too much, nor am I
working too hard. If someone speaks slowly to me I can understand and respond, albeit rudimentary. Most of the time I can follow conversations too. Most people speak a word or two of English, or have at least studied enough that I can switch back and forth. And of course I´m attached at the hip to C most of the time, so I have
my instant translator...

Well, my time is about up here at the computer. C is getting
anxious to do something, but I'm not sure what.

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