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Lelei’s and Gus’ Everyday Life

Olá! Rio de Janeiro and London are two polar opposites, just like me and Gus, but it has been proven time and time again that opposites attract each other, so that’s why I stayed here. I really miss Rio sometimes, and I got really nostalgic last time me and Gus went there for a visit. It was Gus’ first time in Rio and he fell in love with it, I almost thought he was gonna insist that we move there! But, we’ve just built our lives in London – I’ve been here for two years already, and Gus grew up here, so for now, moving doesn’t make much sense. And I like living in London, even though it’s very different from Rio. It has its own charm, and it’s beautiful in its own way.

Both of us work as web designers, so we often talk about work at home. We work with different companies so we inspire each other. Even before we got married we were best friends and understood each other perfectly. Gus supports me and I support him, and we hope that maybe one day we’ll even have our own company. But all in good times.

For now, we just enjoy doing things together. I love the pubs here and I really like beer. Before I moved to London I rarely drank beer. In Rio, we mostly drink cocktails or other exotic non-alcoholic beverages, so beer isn’t really at the top of the list. But is there any comparison, really? Caipirinha is still the best drink for me, but those two are in two completely different categories. It’s weird that I grew to love beer and Gus grew to love Caipirinha, but that’s us!

You know, you have to be open to trying new things. Gus and I are getting better at it, now that we’re married. We try new pubs, new restaurants, new recipes, and drinks, we’re even experimenting with appliances! We recently got a new tankless heater. They’re more expensive but save you a lot of money in the long run because they use a lot less energy. We’ve found a way to prevent it from freezing in the winter from Tankless Center, so that’s on our to-do list!

Well, Gus came home two hours ago and we’ll have some dinner. We’ve been eating dinner in front of the tele while watching some of our favorite shows.

Until next time, chau!

Such a Thoughtful Man I Married!

I love the nightlife and coffee houses of London. When I am bored with the tele, I pick a new restaurant to explore. I like a variety of food and the city has much to offer on that score. It is a big metropolis full of exciting propositions. You can never run out of things to do. You can walk the streets forever and find new things at every turn whether it be a shop, a café, a movie house, or a theater. London is a grand place to live with all its regional magic. I am not a native so everything is a novelty to me. My husband usually accompanies me and we share rich experiences.

Gus is a thoughtful husband and let me tell you why. Recently he gave me a keychain flashlight so I am never completely in the dark. I’d been looking at them online, and he saw this web site over my shoulder – http://www.flashlightpro.net/best-small-edc-flashlights/. He worries that I might wander occasionally alone and need a small device to light the way. Nothing too imposing, mind you. Just enough illumination to read the outside of doors for example. Maybe I want to see the menu before I venture in. He heard about a friend of mine who got lost in the depths of St. John’s Wood. While it is a safe neighborhood, you feel unsettled when you are unfamiliar with the territory and can barely make out the street names, not to mention a map. She had gone off for miles before she got her bearings. He didn’t want this to happen to me. I am more practical, however, and usually plan my treks in advance. I often just repeat old paths and wait to be with Gus before I try something new and daring. I want to go to places where we have never been, even riding the tube to get there. This way we can select a new region each weekend and bone up on the highlights to be seen there, day or night.

I am sure that each and every one of you has a favorite London story and romantic spot. The pubs are quaint, the architecture is phenomenal, and there is the vast glory of Hyde Park. Day trips are easiest when we can remember how we have proceeded to our destination, but the city is a special place at night. Just keep that keychain handy. You never know when it will be needed. I have often tried to read signs posted on walls or directions that I am carrying in my bag. I keep a journal of places I have been so that I can share them with newcomers or family back home. Each location has its story to tell. The people are unique and all together dozens of neighborhoods comprise the varied cosmopolitan city. But even with ethnic conclaves, there is something very British about it all, especially as you tour the major monuments and landmarks. Let’s give a big cheer to the city of London and all the treasures it holds.

Butt Beautiful

When you tread upon the gorgeous sands of Ipanema, in your itty bitty thong of course, your butt is there for all the world to see. You get so used to seeing these body parts, in fact, that it is no big deal. They come in all sizes from small and round to big and brawny. The butt is the most coveted part of the body in Brazil and they name surgeries after lifting it. It is that important!

But I am no longer under those sunny skies. I am in cold, wet London. I don’t have to ever reveal my backside since no one wears bikinis. The Brits go on vacation to various islands like Mallorca for that but they are not known for parading in public with little on. In England, it is not a culture of the body beautiful. I didn’t need much motivation in Rio. You exercise for fitness and healthy, but mostly for appearance. You can do it on the beach right there in broad daylight. The confines of the gym are eschewed. I loved working out by swimming in the sea or a pool, lifting weights, doing crunches, and the infamous plank. (That one is tough). I loved Brazil right down to my rippled core.

Now I have a dilemma. Do I want to stay fit or do I lose the look and succumb to laziness. Not one to automatically veer to the latter, I will make an effort in this foggy town. I will keep to a regular exercise routine that does not dwell on just one body part. It will be a kind of circuit program to tone the entire physique. That way I won’t care about the thong exclusively.

I plan walking in the rain, and there is a lot of it, to supplement the indoor stuff I do with weights, that big inflated ball, and a yoga mat. I also stretch with a set of the best resistance bands that I found here. I don’t have room for a treadmill and I wish I did because it is one of the fastest ways to burn calories and gain strength. I am doing this for energy and for the endorphins that wash over you as you flex and bend. Being in a good mood is hard when there is no sun!

Just so you know, my routine is as follows three times a week:

  • 100 sit-ups with legs flat or knees bent (arms behind head)
  • 30 push-ups with straight legs
  • One minute plank or more each session
  • 30 squats alternating days with lunges
  • Stretching inner thigh after routine
  • Stretching hamstrings after routine
  • 20 knee bends
  • Arm lifts and curls with weights (8 pounds)
  • Head rolls and shoulder rotation to reduce stress
  • Leg lifts to the side to tone upper thighs with pointed or flexed foot
  • Leg lifts to the back to tone the butt (lots and lots of these)

It might seem like a lot but it takes less than an hour and with the walking days it is enough to keep me hale and hearty, without added weight, not even one stone.

England is Bad for my Weight

The food is far better in Brazil, so why have I put on a few stones since moving to merry old England? I would trade pasteis for mutton chops any day of the week. The meat is better in South America (they actually boil it in the UK), spices at least exist, and the array of colors in a dish is so delightful. Bangers and mash are bland, bland, and more bland. Give me a bauru sandwich any day filled with roast beef, mozzarella cheese, tomato and pickled cucumber and I am in heaven.

So I ask once again, why have I gained? I conclude that in spite of food that I almost disdain, England is bad for my weight. It must be the climate, or maybe I have misread the bathroom scale. Maybe I need a more accurate bathroom scale. They say that these digital scale devices don’t lie, and are more accurate than ever, but mine must be fibbing for sure. It is downright mean.

Now what? I can’t east less of what I already don’t like to consume. It could be a lack of exercise. It is too rainy and foggy sometimes to take a jog or even a nice walk. Give me the beaches of Rio just one more time! Let me bask in the warmth of the sun, get a tan, and look healthy year round. Let me hear a samba that sizzles my soul. Oh, to sip a Cachaca rum on ice.

England is a lovely country. Don’t get me wrong. The countryside is charming and quaint populated with villages and rural lanes. London is bustling and exciting. There are shops, restaurants, pubs, parks, and numerous historical sights. You can’t get bored—ever. So why the complaints today?

My bathroom scale is giving me a meaningful warning—flashing its hostile red lights. So I am going to keep a log of what I eat for two weeks, weighing myself at the end of each day. We’ll see.

Two weeks later: I have a report! I have news. I am overeating as the scales have indicted. I wasn’t facing facts. One ice cream a day can do it—two hundred calories for two scoops. It had become my favorite indulgence and it took its toll. I can either alternate days, give it up entirely, or buy the sugar-free stuff. Big decision. I will go for one serving a week until I shed the unwanted pounds and then assess. England should not be bad for my weight. No place of residence should. I must have better habits and a bit of self-control or I will balloon up in no time flat.

Now that I am thinking about it, I always eat a few digestive biscuits with each serving of my cold treat. That’s going to have to go. Most people eat them at tea time, and fortunately that’s not my practice. The tea thing has not taken me over as yet. Perhaps in due time as a kind of oral gratification substitute for tastier things.

Learning to Sew

If you are looking at a giant, and very heavy, box, you probably can’t imagine what is in it. It could be wrapped to hide the contents written outside, and that would keep you guessing a bit more. Once torn open, you finally know what a real sewing machine looks life, even though you can’t fathom what to do with it.

This was my experience. A great birthday gift, the machine sat there all sleek and modern in its plastic and metal wonderfulness. It looked a little scary, too. (There are metal knobs and things called bobbins and feet. A manual comes with it but it is daunting and not terse.)

I made a resolution to learn to sew. Maybe stuff for the house, maybe me, maybe my husband Gus. I could make gifts, costumes, accessories, and all sorts of this and that. I may be getting ambitious, but this is how you motivate yourself to begin something new. You sit down, turn it on, stick in some fabric, and hit the foot pedal. You hope you don’t go over your finger and burst a blood vessel.

I envision some nice cotton fabric, no doubt Liberty of London. It’s the best. It’s great for floral prints, its signature style. Blouses and shirts are suited to it, or sundresses. Kids’ clothes look so fine made of this fabulous finery. I buy thread, scissors, patterns, seam binding, a self-belt kit, and some piping. I read and read as I unfold endless tissue-thin pages of notes and lines. It’s a maze of instructions.

I start to cut and pin. The beginner’s sewing machine sits patiently waiting for me to finish the hand work. It will be humming along in no time, and for hours. It has a nice little light so I can work after hours when the sun is down. I presume after dinner and a TV show or two, I will indulge. I do a seam or two and cringe. There is puckering. I pull out the work and redo it. Now I caught an edge. Help! I cried and called a friend.

The next day I had a few timely lessons in the basics. It went a lot better after that. I wasn’t ready for Vogue patterns or buttonholes, but I was going in full elementary level gear. I look forward to the day when I can make coats and jackets—something really challenging. It is a wondrous machine, so well-crafted and full of opportunity. It is programmed like a computer to do zigzagging, embroidery designs, appliqué, and top stitching. It can make pleats, smocking, and gathering like a breeze in seconds. Pockets are no problem and a belt is a snatch.

I love my new sewing machine, its great for beginners. What took me so long? After all, it is a kind of computer in principle. It has endless capability with software updates. Someone knew me inside and out by selecting this wizard. They saw some kind of creative itch that needed to be fulfilled. I, for one, am happy they did.

Fixing a Leaky Faucet

London is a known major urban metropolis, so you shouldn’t have to do anything yourself such as fixing a car, tweaking household appliances or repairing faulty plumbing and risking failure. You call on the professionals for that. I am not talking about myself, mind you, but my husband. In this day and age of absolute gender equality, you expect women to do anything; but in some areas we are still quite traditional and don’t venture forth. This includes addressing a dripping kitchen faucet.

I love my telly time and really don’t want to be interrupted when certain shows are on. Everyone knows this. I won’t look at email, post on social media, or answer the phone. Having to constantly check on the faucet is not high on my list either when I am settled in for an evening of guilty pleasure—popcorn by my side. I don’t have kids to intrude on my space. I expect my husband, Gus, to deal with it and call a good service. He laid down the law, however, at more and more household expenses and said, surprisingly, “no.” After some debate and heated argument, I had to acquiesce. I can’t argue with logic.

Now there was the issue of who would do the dirty work. I waited a week and Gus was just not looking into it at all. I know he doesn’t have much talent in the household sector and frankly I was relieved. I really did not expect good work and maybe the faucet would get worse and start gushing. There was a dreaded thought. I had to take matters into my own hands. I went online and looked up dripping faucets—how to fix. I got a list of tools (not many) and made a bee line to the hardware store where I picked up a simple all-purpose wrench and a new fancy faucet.

Back at home, I stood staring at the old faucet and then the fancy new faucet. I was intimidated by the feel of the large, heavy device in my hand. I slowly lifted it up and started to grasp the neck of the faucet just below the open end. It was a breeze. It came off in a flash with no injuries to me or scars on the shiny metal. I replaced the faucet with a new one as instructed and restored the cap. Now the true test: I turned on the faucet and grimaced. But it came out in a nice, even flow. When off, there was no leak, not a drop.

I was pretty proud of my handy work. This was a mind opener. When Gus came home he didn’t notice. “Gus,” I whispered. “Gus.” Finally I caught his attention and took his hand. I led him to the kitchen sink and stood still. He got the message. Kissing me on the check he said, “I’m proud of you.” I beamed. The problem was that now I was expected to do all the work around the house due to my less than skilled mate.