List of Places to be Visited and Things to Be Done Before you Die, Based on Music

Blogworthy? Not sure. However…

1. Take the “A” Train (Duke Ellington)
2. Float down the Liffey (nevermind I can’t swim. I already floated down the dead sea, but that would require Radiohead to re-write the song) (Radiohead)
3. Get to Oceanside (and lay your muscles wide…) (The Decemberists)
… (neverending list!)


I’ve been sort of absent lately, but there’s nothing going on other than going from home to work and then back home after the day is already over. Nothing worth talking about.

After a long absence, back during carnival holidays.

It’s been a long time since my last post. I’m now married, moved to a new place, have a dog beyond the two cats, and I’m slowly cooking in “Forno” Alegre with temperature around 40 Celcius. I’m completely broke fromt he whole moving and stuff, I’m bored, and so it goes. I’m still reading the same book from last post since it’s so slow and its mentions about god all the time really get on my nerve, but I’m determined to finish it. We are currently without AC because the guys who install it are taking 4 days off because of carnaval, as everyone else Brazil. I dare anyone to find a person who hates carnival as much as me. Oh well, maybe this vlogger:

(thanks to my friend Mico)

December has come…

…2012 is near. It’s that cliche cheesy time of the year when people re-think their lives and make new promises as if their lives were about to start all over again and the past never hapened. Ten years ago I thought my life would be very different than it is right now. I don’t know how exactly, better, worse, just different. I just do.

Anyway… to the news: Cary is moving in the next few days and I couldn’t be more anxious – in a good/bittersweet sort of way – and happy (and feels the same, I’m sure). I always considered myself a convicted bachelorette by choice, independent, a lone wolf, whatever you prefer to call it. I decided had decided that my life would be going to work and loving my work, then going back home and amusing myself as I wished. Then I found the love of this this wonderful man. Or he found me, or we found each other, I don’t know exactly how it all started. But it started with Twitter. And from that we moved to getting married in the next couple months. I love you, Cary. Thank you for everything. You’re the best thing that ever happened to me. I love your family as if they were mine and I wish I could spend more time together with all of them.

“Family” news: I have adopted two new kittens, Mister Mistofelis and Nikita. You can seee their lovely faces on my Flickr account. Also, Cary is bringing Ysabel the dog, so we’ll be a big family and we’ll be moving to a new appartment soon.

More news: soy un perdedor, I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me? I failed the residency exam I appplied to. Very very upset about that. I had all the year of 2012 planned out carefully based on this residency. Now I’m kind of lost and back to general-practice-who-doesn’t-know-exactly-what-else-to-do state of career. And the time to decide what to do is tight. Well, for the sake of whatever, I’m still a general and private practice medical doctor. And so it goes…

Catharsis – Desabafo

In order for this to flow properly I had to write in my first language, that is, Brazilian Portuguese.

Antes de qualquer coisa: não escrevo este post para posar de viajada cosmopolita fajuta. É só um desabafo.

Toda vez que eu volto pro Brasil eu fico homesick. Mas não é homesick de acordo com e significado americano. É o contrário, porque eu só me sinto em casa, de verdade, estando lá fora. Toda vez que eu saio da Brasil, a pior parte é voltar. Eu jamais sinto saudade. Eu nunca tenho vontade de voltar pra cá. O único sentimento que eu sinto em relação ao Brasil é medo, vergonha e tristeza. Nunca como em todos os lugares para os quais eu viajei eu me senti tão à vontade, tão livre, tão cidadã, tão respeitada, tão ser humano, tão SEGURA, tão bem-quista, tão parte de uma sociedade de bem, que tem valores em comum com os meus.

Bad news, good news

Last Friday I had my wallet stolen from within my handbag, within my office. I went to work with my wallet, and at 6:30 p.m. when I wanted to put money in it, I noticed it was missing. “I must have forgotten it home”, I thought. I went home, and after a thorough search operation that would make the best CSI look amateur I decided that yes, I had indeed been robbed, and it had been within the clinic. Panic stroke me immediately. I called operators to cancel my credit cards. When I was on the phone in the middle of canceling my checks too, my doorbell rang. Through the intercom, a man said “Hi! Are you Olivia? I’m the doorman of a building at Andradas Street and I need to talk to you, is that OK?” I was like “Hmm… Ok”. First lesson of Brazil survival guide: you do not, ever, open the door of your building at night for a strange man. Specially if you are a woman alone. So I knocked at my neighbour’s door, explained the situation and he accompanied me. Down at the door was this fat man in his early 60’s, holding a paper in his hand. He said “Hi! Is this yours? I found it sitting on a bench on the 4th floor of the building I work at.” I took the paper from his hand: it was my vaccination card. It had my address in it. I said “Yes, that’s mine, you happened to find my wallet by any chance?” He said “I found this and a pile of documents. I didn’t bring the documents with me because I wans’t sure I was going to find this street, as I didn’t know where it was, and I didn’t want to keep walking at night with a bunch of documents loose in my hand, risking to lose them. Would you go with me to where I work to get the rest of the documents?” Lesson number two of Brazil’s survival guide: suspect everyone, trust no one, looks can be deceiving, nice people can be bad. What if that man took me to some shady place and kidnapped me, raped me, or something like that? My neighbor and I exchanged looks and agreed to go with him. We went walking. Arriving at the building he worked there were people there who greeted him happily, then we knew he was really the doorman and not some conman or worse. He showed me where he found my documents and finally gave me my documents back. Lucky me, everything was there: my bank and credit cards, checks, fidelity cards of many stores, identity documents, medical license, driver’s license, photographs, bank extracts and even a Moleskine I carry with me. The only thing missing was actually my wallet. I concluded that I was robbed by a female patient of the clinic who must have entered the office and stolen it when I left for the restroom or to grab a prescription pad at the clinic’s reception. Why a female? Because my wallet was a feminine wallet, a very expensive designer’s feminine wallet, just the kind of expensive mime that you know it’s many women’s consumer’s dream.

I learned the lessons. One: do not buy fancy wallets. Two: There are good people in Brazil. I was as happy to find an honest person who gave me back my things without trying to con me, kidnap me or charge me for it. Just like there are bad people here, as the woman who stole from me, there are indeed very good people here.  Altough the man didn’t ask for anything, next week I will get him a present (I’m still thinking): in Brazil crime pays, so why shouldn’t honesty pay too?


Island Obsession

I’m all out of topics to talk lately.


I was thinking about the fact that I liked “Shutter Island” so much – since my childhood I’ve been keen on desert island stories. Perhaps I have  a bias on judging stories that have an island as main background. If not, then I’m just being cliche and following the general unconscious concept that desert islands are the most fertile land to grow fiction and everyone loves the fruit it ultimately bears.

It all started back in 3rd grade with a school task.

We had our teacher read us a text. It was a mini story, the length of one short paragraph. It was intended to be an introduction for a story that we should afterwards develop, headed to wherever our minds were willing. The catch: such story should be “written” in colors in the drawing pad’s blank canvas, instead of the familiar notebook straight lines and it’s best pal, the pen. It was a story about a man in a desert island. I can’t quite remember all the elements given in the preamble that our work was supposed to be based on.  Anyhow, there it was: the island. And we were supposed to draw the story, not write it. Do it in a way that it spoke more than any words. That took my class half an afternoon. I remember everyone was focused and excited about it. After that day, whenever my class was given any art related task, a big part of us kids invariably ended up picturing islands, or something sea related, yet with an island as a part of the landscape. Until one day our teacher, very much intrigued, couldn’t help asking us out: “What’s the issue you all have with islands!? It’s an obsession that you will only draw islands! What’s that all about?” – she then laughed, in a sympathetic way, a little bit to us, a little bit to herself. Perhaps it was a rhetoric question . Perhaps she had the same obsession back in her time. Perhaps she understood us. Perhaps she loved islands when she was a 3rd grader too! And perhaps, in secrecy, she still loved desert islands (scadal!).

Around that same period I had read “Robinson Crusoe” . I was fascinated by it. I re-read it quite a few times. My classmates were not exactly bookworms back then. I used to comment, in awe, about Robinson Crusoe’s adventures, to what the others reacted as if I was an alien from outer space. Three of them actually happened to read Crusoe’s adventures, and with me they shared their awe, – just to make me feel less an alien and more like a normal kid. After all, it was a book that took place in a desert island (big and loud exclamation here) – how could anyone possibly *NOT* want to read it? I got over that, in time. I realized I was too cool, and the other kids just too uncool for not reading, and –  more specifically – for not reading a story that happened on a *desert island* (another big exclamation mark here).

All that happened in 1988.

In 1988 brazilian television was re-running a 1985 soap opera that partly (and mostly) took place on a desert island. Not surprisingly, I was a fan of such soap opera (yeah, so what? but don’t worry… I won’t ramble on soap operas – at least not yet).

A little later I read The Swiss Family Robinson, and then The Lord of the Flies, which added a darker shade to the desert island picture, only to make it more attractive. Yet to increase my island overdose, Family Robinson had a TV series adaptation as well. In a roll I read 20.000 Leagues under the Sea and The Mysterious Island and finally, The Island of Doctor Moreau. In spite of the absence of an island as a main background “20.000 Leagues…” was responsible for a 10 fold increase in my love for desert island stories – fact of peculiar interest, I must say, as later it partly lead me to understand the reason behind my uncanny passion for island stories.

(Intermission – in case you had enough of my verbose childhood memories, this is the time where you can go grab a coffee, while I try to remember if I left any important memories out.  Anyway, it’s almost over, I promisse.)

Personal bias or not, I guess desert island stories trully fascinate people – because it represents all that is new and unknown (this is  where “20.000 leagues…” played a role); new possibilities: good things, yet to be conquered, lying there waiting, untamed, untouched; new beginings full of adventure, thrilling and defying.

“If you could take only one thing to a desert Island, what would it be?” That’s a common question. Whatever one answers, it would certainly be something pleasant. Something important. No one would take as their only company or resource something that they hated or to them was trivial. The island is a metaphor for how we deal with what really matters in our lifes – most importantly, do we know what really matters? It’s a metaphor for new begginings, a dream come true to all the “what if…” we insist to place before all of our past acts.

Until today (that is, in my supposed adulthood), islands continue to be a common subject of interest and fascination. Those same books and stories from my childhood continue to amaze people nowadays (in spite of Harry Potter and awful vampire books). Moreover, other stories came up. Hollywood and television are full of examples: Lost, Castaway, The Island, Harper’s Island, Fantasy Island (a redundant name in my opinion), Shutter Island, and so on.

Now to finish all this, just for you not to think I’m an island freak who spent her childhood and most of her life obsessing over the same subject: I used to read other books, too (awe!). One of my favorite books was called “The Yellow Handbag”, a 1981 book by brazilian writer Lygia Bojunga, and it was quite girly (phew! ), and the main character was a kid with the greatest internal musings that I have ever seen. But that belongs in another blog post.

P.S.: Forgot to mention “La Invencion de Morel“, short story by Adolfo Bioy Casares; and The story of Sinbad the Voyager, from Arabian Nights

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