14 May 2016

April n May Food Ramblings, Recovery & Resumes

Before we get started....

Yep, a random pic of my awesome bro... well, their band Witt's End is doin' great, two gigs this month alone! I'm so proud of my baby bro who's kept it together at home, including through the passing of our grandfather, heroic WWII vet Ralph Myers. At 91 his mind was clear and his laughter contagious, his body just couldn't keep up. Kyle sang at his funeral, including his favorite Cheers to living life to the fullest gramps!

And now, full disclosure...food madness...

So apparently once a month Asuncion has a food festival that showcases all the tasty goodness that the hipster foodie movement has to offer here in Paraguay...it was delish, will definitely attend in June!

yep, tacos!

Went to see the Jungle Book in 3D...we kept it classy by BYOB our own wine and ordering fajitas in the mall, definitely gotta repeat this pronto!

My Frenchie roommate is an absolute delight and her culinary skills cease to amaze me, a simple apple upside down pie/cake of sorts paired with local ice cream, so incredible!

she's everywhere

Lentil burgers n salad

Pickle time! Spicy dills, rosemary n oregano chips...

Grillin' feast!

After lunch serenade by Purahei Soul (our neighbors Jenny y Miguel) as our landlord, Magda, sings along in Guarani....magical times @ the Casa Jardin

to warm up the fall! Wild mushroom chicken soup with homemade picked beet and watercress salad, gotta make this one again!

Veggie bbq pizza on pita bread!

Concepcion interviews...getting to know the Paraguayan countryside

So for the past couple of months I've headed out to Concepcion, Paraguay to conduct interviews for my Portunhol research with the help of my amazing contact at the Ministry of Education, Dr. Benitez. Our adventure begins on the outskirts of Asuncion to catch a public bus or "colectivo" for a 6 hour ride out into the 'interior' or along the beginnings of "el chaco" the part of Paraguay that remains mostly undeveloped, beautiful and green, with vibrant red clay dirt roads that will either help or hinder you to reach your destination....thankfully I haven't been caught in a down pour yet, but when the road was extremely dry we had to open the windows (and thus sacrifice the AC) in order to vent out the red dust that was slowly covering us in the bus.

We arrive in the middle of the night in a ghost town, mostly dirt roads. The first time I went I stayed at the Concepcion Palace Hotel, which @ $60USD is most definitely the priciest, and is designed to host business negotiators, complete with a lap pool and a tasty breakfast buffet (I still do the buffet). However, I currently use the Gran Hotel del Norte which, at $12 is basic (AC, cable, internet, light breakfast) but much more affordable, as the round trip to Concepcion is about $30.

Anywhoos, when you awake you will first hear the constant hum of dirt bikes and motorcycles, the primary form of transpo here in Concepcion, which is great! So much easier to cross the street as a pedestrian because most moto cyclists get that we can co-exist. The food is tasty, the market is cheap and fresh, and my latest discovery is an organic sheep n goat farm close by....will I score some feta before I depart from this country?!

The best part about Concepcion is the sense of community and tranquility that doesn't exist in Asuncion (like any other nation's capital). People here are open and honest and take the time to lend a hand...I've conducted 11 interviews here with the help of the faculty at Universidad Nacional de Concepcion (the accredited university there) and they've taken me out to dinner, included me in Sunday family lunch, and drove me around the town, showing me what Concepcion has to offer. In the end, it doesn't get much better than sharing thoughts, stories, and future dreams and adventures around a cold thermos of Terere, can't wait to go back for a bittersweet 'hasta luego'!

the market

the 'moto hum' of Concepcion 

Went to interview Maria T in her home, full of chickens, ducks n turkeys, all in different stages of life, from incubator to today's lunch, here's some sustainability and true love for animals :)


Paraguayan River, swollen from "el Nino"

isn't the red lovely?


they're hard to spot but those are goats chillin' in the shadows, the first ones I've seen in Paraguay

enjoying a sunny Sunday

You can take a boat (it's 3 1/5 days) up the Paraguayan River to the Pantanal, which is an insanely diverse part of the Amazon and is shared with Bolivia and Brazil. Hopin' to make this trek before I leave as well!

Saudades in Sao Paulo

Fun lil video I spliced together @ the beach 

Ok, I know my updates are waaaaaaaaaay behind, but life has been busy! Any whoo, reunions in Sao Paulo were amazing, literally brought tears to my eyes. I can't believe my time here was 3 years ago! However, after a couple of days staying with Profe Ana Katy and family, I felt my Portuguese coming back, and more important, my love for the insanely diverse city of Sao Paulo. We may not always have been on good terms (metro delays, expensive taxis, cloudy and chilly winter), but was and still is my first home in South America....Tenho saudades de voces! (I miss y'all heaps!)

first night out in SP....feijoada filled bolinhos! (a traditional bean n meat dish put inside a manioc-dough ball that's then deep fried....goes down great with a splash of lime, hot sauce, and of course ice cold beer!

Happy Easter!

So instead of hunting for small, numerous eggs like we do stateside, Brazil and other South American countries do the big egg, and you'll get a couple.....and they are BIG! Normally with smaller eggs or a toy inside, but just like candy on the day after in the US, the 50% discounted eggs are where it's at!

It's like magical eggs you can 'pick' from the sky!

Sofia!!!!!! She was my saving grace when first moving to SP, took this blubbering grad student and whipped her into a Paulistana in no time: Forro dancing, samba exploration, introduced me to catupiry (cream cheese on CRACK), helped me make friends, and most important, how to properly drink a good cachaca (Secredo....if you don't have the Sofia connection it's hard to come by). Now Sofia lives in Chicago getting her MBA @ Northwestern, we've swapped hemispheres one could say!

this gata really likes my bag.....ebony and ivory...

BEST ACAI EVER!!! Fruteria Paulista near my old apartment....hopped off the metro just to grab one with kiwi and granola, SOOO GOOD!

And we're back!

Amarelo line is still my fav!

Finally made it to Adriane's lovely home, mama cooked up a feast! My pen pal paulistana and my forever guide to SP!!! 

CAMI Family Reunion!!!!! 

These are the folks that make me cry....CAMI helps so many immigrants in SP and employs hard working folks that really do care, forever a special place in my heart.

Ana Katy & family! Celebrating keys to their first house, parabens! My Portuguese professor ROCKS with the best of them!

The infamous catupiry cheese n chicken pizza, delish...

March Travel Madness! Montevideo, Uruguay

So March began on such a wonderful note with a long awaited visit to Montevideo, Uruguay to visit my great friend Pati and revisit the food, the wine, the beach, and the beautiful Spanish/Italian vibe that is Montevideo.

I dig this city, even though it was cloudy and chilly most of the time, I couldn't ask for more sitting on the rooftop terrace sippin' mate with Pati or cutting grapes in the arbor or walking along the beach as it begins to rain, feeling the cool smooth sand beneath my feet. After a few months in Asuncion, I needed to feel that sand again! I had a great time Pati, and your family is so welcoming, I've never eaten so many grapes and cheesy bread in one week before.....so gooooood vos!

The flight was only 2 hours but Alas Uruguay has a great snack! The Cakes was a brownie with dulce de leite....OMG

Vanuatu in the Uruguayan paper! #Laefikamfullcircle

Subway's epic fail at a 'burrito'.....eeeeeenserio?!

Grapes! Used to make Rose wine (not my fav) but the grapes were DELICIOUS!

couldn't cut enough!

Sunset at the vineyard

Mom would love to can some grape juice outta these!

Pat grabbin' some squash


so sweet!

apples are on their way!

creme filled churros......siiiii porfa!

rainy day at the beach

Carpinchos!!! I think they're adorable

weathered pup

I appreciate a firm handshake.

We ventured out to visit Pat's friend who lives in a great hippy house, workin' on house #2! 

sunset @ the beach

sea life on land

a Mate gourd in the flesh!