cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year

Copacomplainer? And the Year's Goals


A new year, already. 2011, Salty is getting old. Have I really already been in Brazil for one month short of a year? I'm going to miss 2010. My celebration this year was not to ring in 2011, but rather to celebrate what was 2010. Moving to Brazil, getting married, starting a different life and navigating though it. 2010 was an amazing year. 2010 was a learning year full of struggles, tears, confusion, laughter, smiles, frustration and love. And we got throught it. So if ever there was a successful year, it was 2010. Can 2011 be as good? Yeah, we think it can. 2011 is going to be the push year. 2010 was the adjustment year, and 2011 will be the push year. We know we will continue to adjust forever as long as we are in Brazil, but after a full year, a full circle around, we are a little more preapred, hardened and ready for the next year in Brazil.

2010 was an adjustment year for Salty as well. When Salty was born in 2007, he was a combination between journalistic food writing and food "discoveries" in Paris and other European cities. During the year in Paris, Salty moved slightly away from food and centered around European adventures and daily life in Paris. In other words, it was an expat and travel blog. After returning to the US, Salty mutated back into a food blog. In 2010, Salty once again altered his tone and slowly has become more personal, more "diary blog like" about my life in Brazil. That is, Salty is your average expat blog that attempts to honestly report the personal trials of life in a foreign country. The difference with Salty this time is that food is used to tell those stories through, and that is the road that Salty will be continuing down for 2011. My life, my triumphs, my hardships. Blogging is not for you, it is for me. If my writing, opinions and feelings are not to your taste, then stuble onto the next blog. There are hundreds of thousands expat and food blogs alone that you can frequent rather than mine. This being said, if you find me to be a complainer about life in Brazil, well, sometimes i am. Rarely, but sometimes. That is our disclaimer. Ninety percent of my posts are positive experiences about life in Brazil, but like life anywhere, there are some things to complain about, some things that are unpleasant and somethings that anger me, sadden me and confuse me. I will write about these things. My Brazilian Christmas was hard for me. And i will repeat the phrase that offended some; Christmas in Brazil sucked for me. What i write about in this blog applies only to me, it does not apply to you and your Brazilian family/experience. That's why you have your blog, and i have mine. So, Salty Cod 2011 is heading for a year of raw ups and downs, and we are not going to sensor it.

Our goals for 2011 are not surprising. Portuguese leads the list. Speaking Portuguese properly is the number one goal. I have improved a lot in one year. Improved meaning going from zero to intermediate level without any lessons or courses. Go me. But i need to push harder. I need to put more effort into the technical Portuguese. After Portuguese is conquering driving. I've finally learned how to drive manual transmission and in the next year will come my drivers license and city driving. After Portuguese and driving are the goals we have for every year; laugh more, smile more, love more and continue to be thankful for the wonderful life i have in Brazil. The final goal is to continue with Salty. Continue to post interesting stories and eye catching photos so that we can keep you all in our life here.

So the new year in Brazil; the second best new year's in my life. For serious. Second because nothing can surpase the bed & breakfast on the San Jaun Islands last year. We planned to go to the beach, but things came up, got in the way, too late in planning and we ended up having the casula new year with the family. But this one was pretty good even though it was nothing special. Big family gathering, but with a little less noise. Good food, good conversations, fireworks and cheap Champagne (sparkling wine) in the street, and a small, quiet New Year's morning breakfast at home with H. Perfect way to start the new years. Apricot clafoutis and lemon scones. All gluten free. My Brazilian Christmas may have been hard, but my New Year's was spectacular. As expats, we have to remind ourselves constantly why we are here. For me, i just have to look at the person next to me and i am reminded. So, 2011, bring it on. Brazil is not for beginners, but one year in, i'm not a beginner any more.

Thank you readers for your support throughout the years. Happy new year to you and your family. As always,

a bientot

14 comments:

Siri said...

Happy New Year, Mallory! Here's to a tasty 2011!

Linds said...

Cant' wait to keep reading Salty... and P.S. some people like to read the complainy blogs. It helps me feel real and not alone.
Keep up the delicious blogging :)
Happy New Year!!

Nina said...

come take Portuguese at Unicamp with me!!!!!!

Corin said...

Happiest of 2011s to you and your man! Thank you for everything, and come see us soon in the Great White North!

Cláudia said...

Happy New Year (Feliz Ano Novo)! I wish you all the best. And your pictures, by the way, are to die for. Really beautiful.

Nani said...

Oh, I am so sorry to hear about your deception with Brazil's Xtmas Mallory! You know, my Christmases in Brazil were always sad because my parents always worked so late and we never had time to make the food and stuff. And they were always stressed out so it was hard. I do like Christmas in America a lot more, it's something about the "xtmas spirit". But I know many families in Brazil have great Xtmases, perhaps you should make next Xtams your "own way" together with your husband, start your own Xtmas tradition, how cool would that be? As for New Years, I do think New Years in Brazil is a lot better than New Years here. I love the energy, the fireworks at the beach... here it is just so plain! You have all the right to express your feelings about your experiences in Brazil, after all you are an expat. Happy New Year to you and H!!! By the way... I moved!
My husband and I moved from Tucson, AZ to Farmington, NM just a couple of days ago. It's not forever, just for a couple of year while I go through nursing school. Farmington is small town, not very pretty, but we are excited to be in a different place for a while, we needed some change. We hope to move back to Tucson in a few years. Good luck to all of us! :)

Jana @ Paper plains said...

Just stumbled across Salty, loving it and looking forward to reading in 2011. A very Happy New Years to you!!

Jim said...

Your blog writing is always endearing and often just plain lyrical. Don't change a thing.

And your photos! Jaw dropping.

All the best throughout 2011.

dinnersanddreams.net said...

Languages fascinate me. I wish I had time to learn Spanish. Maybe one day.

Happy New Year!

Nisrine

Mallory Ferland Ramos said...

thank you all for the kind words, the best sort of motivation :)

Nina i should, but that would have to come after the driving part. ahk ahk.

parabems Elaine! nursing school in NM! but when are you going to move out of the American dessert! :P

Dinnersanddreams; perhaps Spanish someday. it all depends on where we are living. and who ever really knows!

Skarrlette's Hammer said...

Don't change a thing I want to hear the real raw deal, that is what makes interesting reading, and gives character. Perfect if boring and frankly I don't believe it when I hear it no one can always be happy with everything its not possible. I too do not like huge loud groups of people. I appreciate the honesty and the awesome part is that your putting yourself out there and telling the truth and that takes guts.

With that said I am interested in your blog because currently I live in Boston, and have also met a Brazilian man, and will be moving to the south of Brazil to Parana residing in the city Cascavel, probably within a year. I am scrared excited SCARED sorry did I say that already? But also looking forward to it, I need a change and would like to learn a new culture

Maybe some day our paths will cross as we are both Americans and I am guessing that expats need each other (just a guess).

Anyway keep up the good work and don't let anyone derail you. In the end all we really have is the truth.

umavidalegendada said...

I was disappointed to see one or two people offended by your Christmas post (which I found to be on the definite mild side when it comes to whiny posts).

Holidays, events, and the emotions wrapped up in them can be pretty personal. This was my 4th Christmas in Brazil, and the 5th in a row far away from the US, and it's something I'm still struggling with. For a long time I got by by feeling like since it didn't "feel" like Christmas, it should be easier to get through. But this year, I found myself missing "my" Christmas more than ever.

Homesickness for me is often tied up in food, and Christmas is a lot about food for me. I'm sure there are some expats out there who really miss Easter. I don't, but it was never a big deal in my family. Point being, everyone has the right to be homesick for whatever their personal reasons are.

My Brazilian Christmas sounds pretty similar to yours. My husband's 65+ member family descends upon a chácara in the interior, since the family farm no longer has enough room for everyone to sleep. There's an epic gift exchange, heavy drinking, live pagode, and even a fully costumed live enactment of the Christmas story from the bible (in a family that big, there's always a cousin who's pregnant to play Mary).

I do enjoy it, but with all those people hanging around a pool, drinking beer, eating potato salad and chicken on paper plates, the whole thing is a lot more akin to a summertime family reunion to me than what I knew as Christmas for the first 25 or so years of my life. Fun? Yes! Christmas? No! And if it were held on any other day of the year, it wouldn't even phase me.

I also baked 5 types of cookies, which was probably more for my self than anything. I certainly ate more of them than anyone else.

So, don't let the comments get you down. Your photos are gorgeous. And if you're ever in the big city, let me know.

Nani said...

Hi Mallory! haha, I have no answer to your question. I would love to move live in Boston, MA again one day. My husband think of going to Oregon sometime too... but it's just dreams for now. His dream is to move to Austria one day. We will see.

Thank you for offering to make me a banner, I would be glad to pay for it! I just don't have the time to think about it now, and I don't know if I will keep this background I have now for much longer. But I will let you know if I decide to change to something more definite. Thank you!!!! Hope 2011 will be a better year.

Nani said...

Hi Mallory! haha, I have no answer to your question. I would love to move live in Boston, MA again one day. My husband think of going to Oregon sometime too... but it's just dreams for now. His dream is to move to Austria one day. We will see.

Thank you for offering to make me a banner, I would be glad to pay for it! I just don't have the time to think about it now, and I don't know if I will keep this background I have now for much longer. But I will let you know if I decide to change to something more definite. Thank you!!!! Hope 2011 will be a better year.