Thursday, August 07, 2008

Also, I Need a Haircut

My mind these days is filled with these thoughts:

1. Photos. I want to get our professional wedding photos and our photo books. I want to be able to share these photos online. I want to create Flickr albums of our honeymoon photos from Vietnam with informative captions. I want to understand why Facebook will let me upload photos from my point-and-shoot Canon but not from my badass Nikon. I want to share images with friends and family, and I am frustrated by distance, technology and the general overwhelming nature of the task of photo organizing.

2. Must clean our house. It is a disorganized, cluttery mess at the moment. I admit I left the house in disarray when I went to Brasil in June, but it's been made worse by the fact that we've only managed to half unpack our suitcases and we don't have appropriate storage space. My desk is full of crap, my jewelry supplies are all over the place, clothes are piled on the floor. It's terrible, and I feel 100% incapable of doing anything else properly while my environment is in such a state of chaos. This weekend is all about cleaning. Organizing. Donating excess. Making it manageable again.

3. Interior decorating. Yes, I will accept calling it nesting as well. Since arriving home from the wedding, we've bought 2 bright red sofas (to replace our old wicker living room set that was the only furniture we could afford when we moved to Maputo 2.5 years ago), a beautiful wool rug, and a wooden armoire for the kitchen (to replace the grotty old metal cabinet that previously served as a pantry), and - my favorite - an antique chandelier for the living room! It's funny, you'd think a place with a rich history like Maputo would be bursting with antiques, but that's not been my experience. Perhaps there are antiques here, but they're certainly not prominently displayed in shops, or homes, nor are they easy to track down. I have a friend who managed to buy a gorgeous old wooden bed - at a dirty little shop that usually sells car parts, but every once in a while dabbles in antiques. Our porcelain chandelier came from the giant furniture warehouse where we purchased the armoire for the kitchen. It is in perfect condition, and the price was ridiculously low. This chandelier has given me antiques fever - I want to find more!!

4. My name. Now, officially, I have a new last name. I love it. Amaro. It just rolls off the Portuguese-speaking tongue, unlike my previous surname which I constantly had to spell out using the "B de bola" alphabet and yet, despite my efforts, was frequently butchered and confused with the word Burra. So glad to have a new name, although I've really just tacked it on the end of the old sequence as to preserve my family name for historic reasons. Now all I have to do is the endless paperwork to officially do the change at Social Security, and get a new driver's license, and new credit cards, and new freaking everything with my name on it...easy, considering we're in a place where the mail doesn't reliably arrive.

5. Work. Changes are afoot. Big ones. Exciting ones. However, changes I am not quite ready to talk about because I want to be 100,000% certain they are really going to happen before I open my big mouth.

6. Water. We've been having water issues at our flat again, for the zillionth time in the past year. Let me preface this by acknowledging that I know we are lucky to have piped, clean water with any regularity. I am grateful, and eposides without reliable water in our house make me even more so. Still, it is not fun to take bucket showers day after day while the plumber desperately tries to find the solution - thus far with no luck. I've mastered the technique, though, to have a decently nice bucket shower. I use exactly 5 liters of water (we always keep an assortment of 5 and 20-liter bottles full of water in the cabinet, ready for the times when our piped water decides to disappear), of which 2 liters I heat in the electric kettle and pour back in with the cold water in the container. It works quite well, and avoids the gasping and cursing that come when cold water is poured over a sleepy, still-warm-from-the-covers body.

7. Ticket prices. We were planning on going to Brazil for my friend Rafaela's wedding at the end of next month. For the last 3 years, a round-trip ticket from Maputo to Rio de Janeiro cost between US$600 and US$800 - by far the cheapest inter-continental ticket available from this part of the world. However, it looks like the good times are over. Ticket prices have shot up, and are now over US$1,200 per person for the period we wanted to travel. Rico and I are holding out hope that perhaps prices will go down again - or at least be a bit more reasonable - in the future. So we've changed our plans and are going to go to Europe to visit my Grammy in Italy and his sister and her family in Austria (now my sister-in-law!). I am really excited. I talked to my Grammy on the phone last night about our plans, and I can't wait to show Rico our family's home and take him around what were essentially my summer stomping grounds as a child.

8. Jewelry. I need to make a lot during the next few weeks. I've been accepted to the Mozambican National Crafts Fair, and I need to prepare my stock for the 6-day event. This will be my second year as a participant, and I hope to put some of my lessons learned and creative inspiration from last year to good use.

9. Food. We got a cook. I feel so decadent even writing that. It's a bit of a long story how we came to employ someone to cook 3 times a week when I love cooking and tend to do a lot of it myself, but I'm very happy we made the decision to hire him. Américo is a fabulous cook, and he will make any recipe I request. I think this will help me and Rico eat healthier and save money, as one of the main traps we fall into is eating lunch at restaurants during the week because we are tired and starving. Now we just go home, and lunch is ready and waiting on the table. Yum!

10. Family. I wish they were closer. I miss everyone, especially after the special treat of being all together for the wedding. I wish it were easier.


Stacie said...

You looked absolutely gorgeous at your wedding..stunning gown! And I know what you mean about feeling different after you are married...the night of our wedding I remember feeling very different...knowing that I would be with this person for the rest of either one of our lives...heady stuff....glad you all had a fabulous honeymoon and nest away...and glad you are back...I am getting ready for Sept. shows and don't have near enough jewelry...sigh....

laundrygirl said...

You sounds so great- so refreshed, even in the midst of a messy house! I think you and Rico have a great future ahead of you!

White Hot Magik said...

Wow your life sounds so exciting. I came by because I noticed you said you missed green chile on another blog and not that many people really know about green chile. I am in New Mexcio. I am also trying to make jewelry, but have a ton to learn.

Safiya Outlines said...

Just catching up on all your wonderful news.

Being married does make you feel different and it's hard to explain exactly how, so I understand your feelings there. Also I agree that new surname=cool, having to change numerous pieces of paperwork=far less cool.

Best wishes with all your up and coming news.

P.S I am very jealous of you having a cook, but not so much of the bucket showers! I guess that pretty much encapsulates the good and the bad of living in Maputo.

Ali la Loca said...

~Stacie - Thank you so much! I agree, the realization that things felt different (in a very good way) hit me almost immediately after we left the reception. I am also scrambling for the national fair next month. I'd love to see some of your new designs, but I failed to save the address of your new webpage! Please send if you have a chance, or I will search Google to find you.

~Laundrygirl - I *feel* refreshed despite the overwhelming nature of unpacking and getting back to "real life".

~White hot magik - I miss green chile all the time! Actually I have a small stock here that I bring out on special occasions. Last night I even made some green chile stew! (I am originally from NM, by the way).

Ali la Loca said...

~Safiya - I've yet to really get into the paperwork of changing my name. I'm hoping that the embassy will have good news, that they can actually sort it all out on my behalf if I just fill in one simple form. Hahahah!! Just dreaming... Anyhow, yes - the cook vs. the lack of water is a good way to sum up the daily pro's and con's of life in Moz. But I have to say the cook is such a luxury, it's far outweighing the nuisance of the bucket showers. :)

eva_johnsen said...

When and where is the national crafts fair? Is it in connection with the international trade fair?

Ali la Loca said...

~eva_johnsen - the crafts fair is at the same time as FACIM, but they are not related events. The crafts fair is put on my an organization called CEDARTE, with support from Aid to Artisans. They should have a flyer out soon - I'll be sure to post it on here when it's available.