09 August 2007

brazilian alarm clock

Portuguese Lesson: Birds

passaro (pah-sah-roo) bird

Quantos anos vive um passaro? (kwan-toos ah-noos vee-vee oom pah-sah-roo) How many years does a bird live?

Here is a video of an incident that occurs at my window every morning at 6 a.m. Enjoy...

24 July 2007

this is so brasil

don't get me wrong. i LOVE brasil!! the people are awesome. as long as you have all the time in the world, this is the best place to be. but as soon as you're in a little bit of a hurry, things get difficult. read on.

abridged translation of the conversations i've been having with people regarding my computer:

Location: Mac Bahia Store

Elizabeth: My computer died.
Computer Tech: What happened?
E: I don't know, it keeps going to sleep. It started a week ago.
CT: I think it's the fan. I can repair it, but you need to bring it back tomorrow because I'm leaving now. You need to go the repair office on the fifteenth floor.
(note: the repair place is pretty far from where I live. it's not easy for me to get there.)

Location: Mac Bahia Repair Office on the fifteenth floor

E: I need to drop off my computer to be repaired.
Secretary: What's the problem?
E: I don't know, it keeps going to sleep.
S: When did you buy your computer?
E: January 2006.
S: We can't repair it, you aren't covered by the warranty.
E: Yes I am. I bought the extended care warranty.
S: I need the registration number for your warranty.
E: No you don't.
S: Yes I do.
E: No....you don't. You just need my computer serial number.
E: Don't you think it's funny that you repair Macs but you're using a Dell to input all my information right now?
S: Ok, the tech will repair it. It'll take 72 hours.
(enter computer tech)
CT: Hello, I'm the computer tech, Francisco.
E: Hi, thanks for repairing my computer.
CT: It'll take 72 hours.
E: So I can pick it up on Monday?
CT: Well...tomorrow is Saturday and then it's Sunday, so....
CT: Yes, we'll call you when it's ready.

They didn't call me on Wednesday.

Location: telephone conversation

S: Hello, Mac Bahia. How can I help you?
E: I dropped my computer off about a week ago to get repaired and I'd like to know if it's ready.
S: Let me get the tech.
(really bad hold music)
CT: Hi Elizabeth.
E: Hey Francisco, how's my computer doing?
CT: Well I repaired it and it seems to be fine, but I want to run a few more tests to make sure. I'll call you this afternoon, ok?
E: Great, I look forward to your call.

He didn't call me that afternoon.

Same day, 6:15 p.m.
S: Hello, Mac Bahia. How can I help you?
E: I'm calling to find out if my computer is ready to be picked up.
S: I'm sorry, the tech only works 9-6. You'll have to call back on Monday.
E: I have to write a paper. Is there any way you can find out?
S: No, you have to call on Monday.

Location: telephone conversation

E: Hey Francisco, this is Elizabeth. Remember me?
CT: Yes I do. Your laptop is all ready to do, you can pick it up anytime.
E: When can I pick it up?
CT: Anytime.
E: No but really...when?
CT: Before 6.
E: I have class until 6.
CT: Well then you can come tomorrow after 9.
E: No, I need my laptop to write a paper which I wanted to write over the weekend but couldn't for obvious reasons.
CT: Well, I don't know....
E: Can you leave it at the store and I'll pick it up from there after I get out of class?
CT: Great idea! I'll leave it at the store.
E: Thanks, I'll pick it up tonight.

Location: Mac Bahia Store

E: Hi, I'm here to pick up my laptop. It was being repaired.
Woman working in store: By the computer tech?
E: Yes.
W: He already left, you'll have to come back tomo--
E: No. I talked to him today. He said he'd leave it at the store because I had class until 6.
W: Well, he didn't leave anything here. He forgot his card, but that's it. You'll have to come back tomorrow.
E: No, I'm here to pick up my laptop now.
W: You talked to the computer tech?
E: Yes, I talked to Francisco on the phone today.
W: And he told you he'd leave the laptop here.
E: Yes.
(Woman calls Francisco, talks to him for minute, then hands the phone to me.)
E: Hey Francisco.
CT: Hi Elizabeth, how's it going?
E: Well, I'm here to pick up my laptop, but....
CT: Yeah, about that...I'm reaalllly sorry.
E: You forgot?
CT: I had a lot of things to do today. I was really busy...can you come back tomorrow?
E: Look, this is a big problem, because I have a paper to write for tomorrow but I can't because I don't have a laptop. I wanted to write it over the weekend but I couldn't because I didn't have a laptop. I'm here to pick it up now and I can't come back tomorrow.
CT: Ok let me talk to my colleague.
(I hand the phone back to her. She talks to him, and then hangs up.)
W: Ok Elizabeth, just give me a few minutes and I'm going to get your laptop from the office upstairs.
E: Thanks.
(45 minutes later...)
W: Alright, here's your laptop.
E: Thanks. Have a nice night!

I went to a surprise birthday party for a friend after that, to which I was an hour late. But, I have my laptop now. Phew!

Here's a picture from our Brazilian culinary class yesterday:

L to R: Casey (goes by João), Elizabeth (pronounced Elizabetchi), Marie (pronouced Mahee)
We were trying to make thug faces, but I don't think mine worked out too well.

20 July 2007

brain in a bag

Earlier this week, my Contemporary Brazil class took a field trip to a market here in Salvador. There are a lot of markets around the city, most of which are pretty tourist-aimed. However, this definitely was not a touristy market. When we first got in, the kinds of things being sold seemed pretty usual to me. Clothes, blenders, spices, kitchenware, flip flops and so on. However, there was immediately a plethora of smells, none of which were pleasant, none of which I could identify, coming from every direction penetrating my pores. I knew at that point that this was going to be an experience I would never forget.

Eventually we got into the live animal area. First we saw chickens, ducks, pigeons and other types of birds in overcrowded cages. Then we saw a live chicken being wrapped up in newspaper. Then we saw goats and pigs. Then we saw a barely-alive-goat in a burlap sack be thrown over a man's shoulder and carried away. Another goat was pulled out of the pen screaming like a child as it's four legs were tied together and it was thrown in a wheel-barrow and carted away.

The fruit section was next, full of flies, cockroaches and dead rats. Yes, I saw dead rats next to baskets of fruit.

The meat section was the most disturbing part for me. I saw mean in every fashion: hung up, laid out, in bags, in nets, in newspaper and more. I saw intestines, eyeballs, tongues, testicles and I also saw brain in a plastic bag. Many of them. I saw every organ of every animal I had seen alive just a few minutes earlier. This is where all the smells were coming from.

I'm glad I went. It gave a much better real-life idea of not only where my food comes from, but also the kind of work some people have to do to survive. I don't think I'll ever go back to that market, but I definitely appreciate the food I eat a lot more now.


Some of my favorite foods/drinks since I have been in Brazil:

1. Pão delícia (paong deh-lee-see-ah) literally means "bread delight" and it is.

2. Açaí (ah-sah-ee) a brazilian berry most often made into a smoothie mixed with other fruit. My favorite is açaí with banana.

3. Suco (soo-koo) juice. Brazilians make juice out of every fruit, only it's not the juice we're used to. They just stick the fruit in a blender and add water. Most brazilians also like to sweeten the juice with sugar. Some of my favorite sucos are melância (watermelon), manga (mango), maracujá (passion fruit) and lime-rind, but I can't remember how to say that one in Portuguese.

Até mais! Till next time!

12 July 2007

south american computer saga

PORTUGUESE LESSON #3: Fixing a computer

Meu computador morreu. (meh-oo com-poo-tah-door moh-heh-oo) My computer died.

Você fala inglês? (voh-seh fah-lah een-glays) Do you speak English?

Pode me conectar com alguém que fala inglês? (poh-djee mee coh-neck-tar cong ahl-game key fah-lah een-glays) Can you connect me with someone who speaks English?

02 July 2007

my blogger menu is in portuguse

instead of "new post" is says "novo postagem." i love brazil. sorry to tell all of you i haven't really taken any pictures. i'm afraid to take my camera anywhere for fear of it getting stolen. one of my friends got robbed in broad daylight on her way back from the beach on saturday. the man just came up to her and grabbed her bag right off her shoulder. soon enough i'll figure out when it's safe to take my camera and when it's not. i do have have one good picture i got on camera phone.
i took this picture from the bus on my way to go visit some Baha'i friends who live about an hour north of salvador. maybe it's immature and juvenile of me to have taken it, but whatever. i thought it was funny.


Onde posso comprar um violão?
(on-jee poh-soo com-prahr oom vee-oh-laong) Where can I buy a guitar?

A música brasileira é muita bonita. (ah moo-zee-kah brah-zee-lay-rah eh muytah boh-nee-tah) Brazilian music is very beautiful.

I have about 5 minutes left on this computer, so that's it for today folks. Till next time!

28 June 2007

a praia bahiana

estou no brasil, na bahia, em salvador, na praia. here is the view i've had from my hotel window for the past few days.

from here on out my blog will serve as a mini-portuguese lesson as well.


Olá. Tudo bem? (Oh-lah. too-doo bay) 1. Hey, what's up 2. Hi, everything ok? 3. Yo, how's it going?

Onde é a praia?
(On-djee eh ah pry-ah) Where is the beach?

today i will move in with my host family. i got to meet my host mother last night. her name is conceição. she has been hosting students with this program for six years! so even though i'm just one on a list, she took my right in as a member of the family. i love the brazilians. also, she lives right across the street from the hotel, so i'll still be right on the sea! yes, life is good. tá boa.

20 June 2007

they're growing up!

yesterday was graduation at the preschool where i work. the kids were all dressed up and so excited to graduate. we saw a slide show with baby pictures and recent pictures of each of them, pictures of the classes, and shots of them doing different kinds of activities.

then they each went up with their families and received their diplomas. for every child, a teacher read a few sentences of some nice things their friends had to say about them. for example, "i love her because she has a beautiful dress and beautiful shoes. she has beautiful all over her!" or, "i like to play with him because he likes to catch girls too." it was very sweet, touching and very funny.

last on the program was a little concert to be given by yours truly. when i first got on stage, i knew these kids were not going to be able to listen to thirty-minute set i had planned, so i decided to cut it down dramatically. the first song was a sing-along called "the great big moose." the kids were into it, but by my fourth song, i knew i was losing them. the last song i sang was a duet with my coworker rachel. another coworker shareen actually managed to record it. annoying as it was at the time, the video actually turned out to be pretty funny.

19 June 2007

flight of the conchords

i can't remember who first introduced me to them, but i started watching flight of the conchords clips on youtube a few years ago. they're a comedic folk music duo from new zealand. i just can't enough of their stuff. i was flipping channels last night and noticed they were on hbo, and apparently they have their own tv show now. i was lucky enough to have happened upon the series premier. i recommend you check it out. you can watch it here. in the meantime, here is a little teaser:

07 June 2007

jake shimabukuro is my new hero

back last june, when i bought my first ukulele, i posted a video of a famous ukulele player named jake shimabukuro. here is a video of him performing the same song, "while my guitar gently weeps," live in concert with an uber cool extended intro. this guy is incredible. the bridge gets me every time. it's about five and a half minutes in so you have to wait for it!

03 June 2007

it's always better when we're together

amelia and i are finally roommates! but only for three weeks...

25 May 2007


i'm going to a feist concert on june 13th. as i was perusing their myspace page, i came across this music video....and after watching about ten seconds of it i realized it was filmed in prague! :)

13 May 2007

i did not turn into a giraffe

the saga continues...

surgery was monday. i was released from the hospital tuesday. wednesday and thursday i started eating real food, as opposed to the clear liquid diet i was on for monday and tuesday. thursday afternoon i started getting stomach cramps. you see, nothing in my digestive system had been moving since my surgery if you know what i mean. friday the cramps were worse, and my tongue was black. i went back on the clear liquid diet, plus ginger ale.

(this picture really doesn't do justice to the blackness of my tongue. also notice the tape on my neck. that is the location of my to-be battle scar.)

saturday i was half-half on the diet. i had some bread and chicken soup. my tongue went from kind of black to purple and back to normal by nighttime. today i'm not so sure what i want to do. my digestive system finally showed some movement today, but i think i'm going to keep my diet simple. i had some high-fiber cereal for breakfast. that should help things.

on a lighter note, i know how to solve a rubik's cube!

08 May 2007

the definition of irony

you are in the hospital recovering from a left thyroid lobectomy, a surgical procedure in which the left half of your thyroid is removed, and your cousin brings you a butterfly-shaped balloon.

22 April 2007

NOT a hickey

contrary to popular belief, this is actually my battle wound from the biopsy.

19 April 2007

Advanced Driving Strategies

Here is an excerpt from an online course i took this evening...

In case you can't read, it says, "Perhaps the most embarrassing fixed object collission is when you run over a fire hydrant. The fire hydrant is just one example of a fixed object that is often struck and damaged."

14 April 2007

WRA: Washington Radiology Associates, P.C.

DOB: 02/10/1986
AGE: 21


Thyroid Sonogram

Clinical History: Thyroid nodule

There is a circumscribed nodule in the left lobe of the thyroid which measures 2.1 x 1.3 x 1.5 cm. This contains a small linear calcification. There may be a second small nodule in the left isthmus measuring 5 mm. The right lobe is essentially normal.

Impression: 2.1 cm left thyroid nodule as noted above. Fine needle aspiration is recommended.

The findings and recommendation were discussed with the patient and telephoned ot George Washington student health.

Mark E. Klein, M.D.

11 April 2007

the neverending adventures in elizabeth's health

2004 - bronchitis with a fever so high i fainted and started hallucinating

2005 - the doctors gave me a pregnancy test without asking me if there was a chance i was pregnant. had they asked me, they wouldn't have given me the test unless they thought i was actually the next virgin mary.

2006 - the meningitis fiasco resulting in a CT-scan, two spinal taps and eventually a colonoscopy. that was fun.

and what would 2007 be without a good case of a growth in my thyroid? biopsy next week, i'll keep y'all posted.

03 April 2007

my 50th post

this calls for a celebration! how about a virtual trip to flea market montgomery? "livin' rooms, bedrooms, dinettes, oh yeah. you can find 'em at the market, we talkin' bout flea market...montgomery."

and now with facebook's fairly recent gift feature (ok, so i'm blogging about facebook a lot, big deal), you can even give someone a little miniature sammy stephens! "it's just like, it's just like, a mini-mall!"

01 April 2007

thanks for keeping me informed, facebook

they have taken it to a new level.

a few months ago, the people at facebook decided to implement a new feature called "News Feed" in which you are informed of all your friends' actions. For example, if my friend 'Bobby' starts dating someone and decides to change his relationship status on facebook, i will have a note in my news feed that says, "Bobby is now listed as In a Relationship with Ashley." i also find out when friends add new photos, when they update their profiles and when they join or leave groups among other things. there was a big revolt against it. a lot of facebookers were angry because it made facebook-stalking a little bit too easy. millions of people signed online petitions, wrote articles and formed groups (on facebook, ironically) protesting it. it was the
biggest and most organized protest of this generation. am i proud of that? well, that's a rant for another post.

what's this new level? facebook has decided to inform me of MY OWN ACTIONS. ?!?!? tonight when i logged in I had a little note telling me that i was on facebook, reading my news feed. thanks, facebook....you're always looking out for me.

strangest part about it all? i was out at 11:19 pm, not on facebook.

25 March 2007

no, my blog hasn't died

in case any of you were wondering, which i'm sure you weren't.

bugs aren't incredibly intelligent creatures. for the past few minutes, i have been watching a small fly. first it was attracted to the light of my computer screen. i like to pretend i'm a vampire sometimes so i sit in the dark with only my computer on. anyway, i think this fly was trying to find a way INSIDE the computer. poor thing. i turned on a lamp to give it somewhere else to go. then it was flying around the light of the lamp for a little while trying to figure out how to get through the lampshade to the lightbulb. it didn't fly up or down to the openings, just kept trying to go through it. finally it got stuck on a piece of tape on the wall. sad. i guess it was either that or get burned by the lightbulb. he certainly wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed, poor guy.

camera phones are a great luxury, aren't they? i LOVE being able to have a phone AND a camera all in one! so much versatility and mobility. PLUS my phone is super skinny, so i can just stick it in my pocket and i dont even need to carry a purse anymore. here are some pictures i have taken with my 1.3 megapixel camera phone:

one fun activity native to dc is jumbo slice. and when i say jumbo slice, i mean jumbo slice.

here is abdul pretending to drink from the coffee/tea pot i got him in israel.

this boy has amazing fine motor skills when it comes to manipulating wire. we like to build wire sculptures together.

here is ferraby lionheart playing at the rock and roll hotel in dc. awesome venue, awesomer musician.

i even have some videos of the some of the kids i work with on the playground. for their privacy, i don't think it would be a good idea for me to upload them to youtube and then post them here. the point is - my camera phone rocks.

12 February 2007

quick pic review

wow, i have way more things to do than i ever want to, yet i still find myself blogging to procrastinate. oh, well...this won't take long. (or so i like to tell myself). it's been a while since i've updated this virtual world, so i just want to give you a short photographic overview of what's been going on in my life the past few weeks.

i sent away my laptop to get my problems fixed a few weeks ago. it was sad to part but it came back in very good timing with all the problems fixed. :)

my roommates hosted a party entitled "anything but cups" in our room two weekends ago. here are some of the creative non-cups people used....a fishbowl and a coffee pot.

a pringles can... (sorry i can't figure out how to rotate the pic)

i got trained and certified in wilderness first aid. so basically if i'm ever out hiking in the backcountry and someone breaks a leg, i know how to make them a splint out of tree bark. here is the group i was trained with:

mona came to visit!!!! this is IN the reflecting pool at the lincoln memorial. i guess they drain it during winter...

and this is us with poo on our faces. (not really...it's a face mask, just in case you didn't sense the joking tone.)

i turned 21! this a picture from my pomegranate party! pomegranates were out of season, so we didn't actually have any, but there was pomegranate juice or syrup in everything else i made. i didn't make a cake, so here is me blowing out candles that we stuck in the leftover pomegranate-glazed eggplant.
and here are my roommates dressed in pomegranate-y colors. that's sarah, erica, erin, and jon. ok jon's not technically my roommate, but he kind of lives with us.

here is the pomegranate punch fountain. once again, i can't figure out how to rotate it..

alex came for my birthday weekend! this is us being tourists in front of the white house. (or is it the light house? hehe)

now i have a tooonn of homework to do, but i wanted to give a brief update before continuing with that.

17 January 2007

south park studio

this is my sister, roxanne. excuse me, i should say...this is my interpretation of roxanne as a south park character. care to create your own?

Added a few hours later:
To appease Soraya, here is a variation on my "South Park Roxanne":

12 January 2007


first of all, please get advice about how to get along with our global community from a wombat.

okay now onto my real subject. a few days ago, i turned on my computer to find that my speakers are no longer working. and it's completely random. i didn't install any new programs or download anything..i haven't done anything that i can imagine would have caused this. so i have no sound coming from my speakers. and not only that, but there is a little red light coming out from my headphone port. strange, i thought. so then when i try changing the volume, my computer starts saying, "No, no! Don't do that! Not allowed!!!!" You don't believe me? Here, i'll prove it:

I actually have my computer telling me not to change the volume. What a moody piece of technology.

Okay so then when I open system preferences I find out that my computer thinks I am somehow connected to digital speakers. I don't even have the option to switch to internal speakers. However, when I plug in my headphones, the sound works perfectly fine! like i said...moody.

So roxanne and i searched and searched all over the apple support site (p.s. i really want the iphone) and couldn't find a solution. we searched google, and i found a couple message board threads with some people who had the same problem, but none of them figured out how to fix it. oh well, who needs sound anyway, right?

luis helped me out a lot yesterday. but he still couldn't figure out what the problem was, so he suggested that i call apple. i'm in israel, so that's not the most convenient thing to do. but luis was very helpful in letting me use his computer to use skype to call while i could talk through the problem and do some troubleshooting on my own computer. the guy i talked to had me do all these complicated things i was sure would help. for example, i had to turn off my computer, disconnect the power, take out the battery, and then hold down the power button for seven seconds. okay.....that didn't help. various other tactics of this sort proved to be useless.

luis and i did one last google search and found a guy with the same problem who did actually fix it! hooray! i guess somehow he stuck a matchstick in his headphone port and tickled the inside and it fixed his problem. here, read what he said:


meanwhile my speakers still don't work. i'm going to have to send it in for repair. great.

06 January 2007

i am literally speechless

wow i'm not even sure where to begin. i've been in haifa, israel for two weeks, visiting my sister roxanne. so much has happened...

i arrived on december 26th, and a bunch of my extended family members were already here. if you'd like a detailed description on each one of them, visit soraya's blog. she somehow forgot to include my uncle in her description. he's not in her picture. he was probably checking to see if the restaurant we were in had wifi.

we spent a good bit of time with my family here, as well as with a bunch of groupies. i have a cousin who looks like bono, so he developed quite a fanbase here. it was great.

both my sisters, my mom, and 8 of my extended family members were all here for the new year. we had a fun little celebration at a place on the top of mount carmel called arcaffe.

the family left on january 2nd. it was a sad night for all of us. then solange left on the 4th. my mom left tonight, the 6th. so now it's just me here. i'm the last of the clan, and i get to stay until january 14th! and seriously who wouldn't want to with a view like this:

oh, and i also performed at the open mic friday night. you can watch the video here.