Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Song I Hate

Generally songs don´t usually have the power to put overwhelming amounts of rage into my heart, but occasionally it does happen. One I think of off the top of my head being Toby Keith´s "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue".

So now there´s another one. It´s been out for a while, but I never heard it terribly often in the US. However, lucky me, it is very popular here. The recipient of this rageful honor is... drum roll... "Don´t Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls. First of all, I am extremely irritated by the title. Let´s not write things like they´re pronounced, and this also goes for a slew of other songs such as "Stickwitu."

The reason I really hate this song is the message. You can google it if you want, but I´ll give you the gist of the lyrics. It´s a slutty woman singing about how she wants to steal some other woman´s boyfriend/husband, using convincing arguments such as "Don´t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me, a freak like me, raw like me, fun like me, etc etc..." I would like to add a verse that says "a disease ridden skank whore like me", but that doesn´t fit the beat.

I think the reason I hate this so much is because one of the basic principles that I have founded whatever relational philosophy I live by on is that I will never, I repeat never, never fight another woman for a man. By fight I mean compete. I´m sure that deep within this is some reason related to insecurity, but the primary reason is because I would never trust the character of a man who let two women compete for his affection. To me that is a sign of a man who wants way too much attention, and if he is willing to put two women he allegedly cares about through that kind of frustration, then who´s to say what he won´t do for attention as the relationship progresses.

And this isn´t just about men. I´ve seen women do it, too... stringing along a couple of guys as she decides who she loves more (or who loves her more) as pretty much everyone else in the world suffers for her selfishness.

So, yes, it´s a source of frustration for me. How do you guys feel about this? Am I over-reacting? Am I right (like always)? :)

Monday, September 25, 2006

I went to São Paulo!

Oi meu povo (my people)!

Since I have been going for the informative, to the point titles, you can see where this is going. I went to São Paulo for the weekend!

I have two good friends who live there, and so I went to visit them. They planned some really cool stuff. For one, I got to go to my SECOND Brazilian national sporting event (remember the volleyball game in Brasília)!!!!! This time it was the FIBA world women´s basketball series. And Brazil was playing the US in the match for the bronze! It was hard to know who to cheer for. So I cheered for both. :)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Soraya (one of my friends who lives in SP) and me at the game

Then we went to Ibirapuera Park, which is really a cool place. Great atmosphere with lots of nature and people having fun and things.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Me and Thiago (my other good friend in SP) at the park with some of the SP skyline behind us

We did lots of great things. I met so many wonderful people, including Felipe and Thauana. Felipe is Thiago´s roommate and Thauana is his girlfriend, and I absoutely fell in love with them. Hanging out with everyone this weekend was like I was with a group of old friends. It´s times like this I believe without a doubt that God is so merciful and kind and grants us just what we need when we need it in our lives.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Phil and Thauana

We did lots of cool things and I saw a lot of the city. I could drone on, but it´d probably be boring. It was a great weekend and I can´t wait to go back and see them all again!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Como se chama???

Last night I had thought of a blog topic, but then this morning couldn´t remember. Now I do!

One interesting thing that I´ve noticed the past three months is that people here have found inventive and imaginative ways to mispronounce my name. Now, my name is really quite simple. Ann Marie White. Simple. Very. Even the Japanese could pronounce my name. Except for the "Ho-whito" part. :)

When I first came to Brazil, my team thought it was funny that people pronounce my name "awhn." In fact, Meredith (who´s name is even funnier in Portuguese) still calls me "Awhnie" at times. But by and large, my name was largely left in tact.

Not this time!

I am called a number of ways. Some people call me Ann. Some people call me Annie, and some people call me "Uhh-nee", for lack of a better what to write it. This one sweet lady found out my name was Ann Marie (Ana Maria here, very Brazilian), but when she tries to say it in English she calls me "Annie Mary". It´s really quite funny. :)

Ali Gonçalves came down here and started the Ana Branca revolution, which is Ann White translated into Portuguese. Lots of people call me Ana now. Generally, I used to be so against when foreigners came to America and changed their names to something super-American like Bob or Susie (I experienced this a lot with the Asian students I worked with at OC), but now I understand. It´s kind of better to be called a different name than to have your name hacked up. But in my defense, Ana is basically Ann.

So I´m Ana Branca a lot. Then this turned into Ana Branca Franga, because my dear friend Jandira started calling me Franga... she says it´s some slang term from the 70s for a girl. Then she dubbed me Ana Branca Franga da Silva, because she says all Brazilians have like, 7 names (which is totally true), and since White is a common name in the US, da Silva is very common in Brazil.

So there you go. I am Ana Maria Branca Franga da Silva.

Also, I found this toy on myspace. I thought it was a cool way to display a lot of pictures. Enjoy! Or don´t, it´s really up to you. ;)

Monday, September 18, 2006

10 Years

10 years ago today I was baptized at Graham St. Church of Christ in Stephenville, Texas by my father. I grew up in the church, I was hyper-involved, and I always knew one day I´d be baptized. As I sat in my Wednesday night Bible class I decided it would be that day. I´m not sure why. See You at the Pole was that day, and maybe that had something to do with it, I´m not sure.

In our youth group Bible class here, we have been having an ongoing discussion on when salvation occurs. Goodness knows this has been talked about for pretty much forever, and I´m pretty sure no one knows the answer, but it´s an interesting conversation.

Here´s my opinion. Our salvation comes through God´s unfailing, unflinching, unconditional love for us. That is a relationship. The Bible compares our relationship with God to that of a husband and wife or father and child. Relationships don´t just happen at one moment. With a marriage, you could say that the relationship started when they first met, their first date, first kiss, marriage ceremony, and I´m not married, but I would think that there are couples who are together 10, 20, 50 years and still feel like everyday is a new beginning because they learn more and share more.

Or a parent and child. When does that relationship start? When the child is born? At conception? Or when two people decide to commit to starting a family together?

Baptism is important. I believe it is a holy and sacred event, the depths of which we can´t understand this side of heaven. But I will say that although incredibly important, my baptism didn´t mark the beginning or the culmination of my Christian walk.

So today I look back and thank God for where I´ve been, where I am, and where I´m going. And I thank all of you for walking down this road with me.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Say no to speedo

I´ve been planning a trip to the beach with my friends in a couple of months, and today the thought struck me that some of the men might wear speedos. I can´t tell you how disturbing this is to me. I really think I´ll never recover if I see my male friends in speedos. Not that they´re ugly by any means, if you´ve noticed in my pictures on here Brazilians are exceptionally beautiful. But a speedo? Dude, please. I know this is a cultural issue that I have to get over... but it will take an act of God, I´m pretty sure. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me... even exposure to speedos.

For those Simpsons fans out there, I would like to recall the episode where the Simpsons go to Brazil and Homer wears a speedo. He actually wears like, 4. Great moment. :)

Friday, September 15, 2006


Right now I´d like to take some time to make you all wish that you were here in Brazil, not only to bask in my fine company, but also to eat the amazing food.

If you don´t know Brazilian stroganoff, you have not lived. :) Haha, kind of a dramatic statement, huh? I always considered stroganoff to be of the Hamburger helper variety and a German food, but like many things, the Brazilians have taken it and made something beautiful from it.

A few of my friends and I have been doing these dinner night things where we get together and I cook and we have a nice meal together. Last week my friend Jandira taught me how to make stroganoff! It´s really surprisingly simple. You kind of pan grill strips of chicken, then add cream, mustard, ketchup, worschsershire sauce (I don´t know how to spell or say that), and garlic of course. I think Americans generally eat stroganoff with noodles, but Brazilians eat it with rice and shoe string potatos. Oh my heavens, it is so good.

Here is a video of Jandira making it and Ivan begging for tastes.

I don´t think I´ve done a sufficient job of making it sound as good as it is, but trust me, it is. I will start taking requests for me to make it for you when I go back to the States.

Anyone else know Brazilian stroganoff? Want to give a testimony? :)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Asian Invasion

You won´t even believe what I did today. Honestly, I still can´t believe it myself. Here´s a hint:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Yes, people, I ate Japanese food.

Okay, here´s a moment of brutal honesty, because it´s my blog and I should be honest. I don´t like Japanese food. The Japanese food I like is mostly actually Chinese (yakisoba, gyosa). I do like tempura, and I think that´s actually Japanese. But generally, no I don´t like Japanese food. I don´t like seaweed, I don´t like fishy fish, I don´t like soy sauce, I don´t like misso. And let´s not even talk about natto. Just being honest, people. :)

But today after church I was invited to go to a pretty authentic Japanese restaurant in the next city called "Yoshi´s Japanese Restaurant." That´s really what it was called. Japanese restaurant in Brazil with an English name. Go fig. Anyhoo, I have a short antedote and I´ll post some pictures.

First, we were eating a buffet style meal where they bring things by your table for you to eat (rodizio). The first big plate that was brought were these sushi rolls like I´d never seen before. They were about the size and shape of a conical ice cream cone (made of seaweed of course), filled with rice and then with a lot of this red stuff on top. Now, I could have SWORN that the waitress said it was tomato. Yes, that´s weird, but it´s Brazilian sushi after all. So I take one and take a big bite. Then a few minutes later as I´m looking at the remainder of this HUMONGOUS sushi roll, I realize it is not tomato, but in fact raw salmon. As if that´s not bad enough, about halfway through our meal my friend leans over to me and says, "You´re going to finish that, right? You know you have to pay extra for what you don´t eat." I wish I could have seen my face at that moment, because I had a pile of raw salmon on my place about the size of a very generous scoop of ice cream. I tried, I tried valiantly, but I couldn´t do it. Some things are worth paying extra for. Mental peace is one. But really, I´m still not convinced that my friend wasn´t kidding. He swears he wasn´t, but it would have been a pretty funny joke, huh? :)

Here are some pictures!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Uma barca de sushi! A boat of sushi!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Phyllis and Ako, our wonderful hostess. Yes, her family is Japanese. :)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Ivan (happy with sushi) and Ann (happy without sushi)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Jorge and Antenor

Really, the food was actually really good and the company was wonderful. It brought back lots of memories! :) Itadakimasu! Gotsosamadeshita!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Curitiba-- Congresso 3 em 1

Part II of Curitiba!

The purpose of this trip was to go to the church conference, Congresso 3 em 1. It was really, really wonderful. I got to see a lot of people I didn´t expect to see, because a lot of the leaders of the church in the southern half of Brazil were there.

The theme was basically about the Shepherd and His Flock. I was so tickled because my Portuguese is to a point where I could easily follow the classes and lectures (although I did have to learn quickly some sheep vocabulary). It was so gratifying to not only be able to understand the classes, but to also really take spiritual nourishment from them.

This is the praise team from the Igreja de Vitoria in Rio de Janeiro. They´re praise ministry has done so much and I am sure will continue to do so much for the Churches of Christ in Brazil. They lead the praise all weekend.

I took a whole lot of pictures, which can be viewed in my webshots album, but here are a few.

This is Antenor Gonçalves speaking on the subject "I am the door" from John 10. Really excellent lesson.

This is Allen Dutton Jr. speaking on the importance of being aware of the lost sheep of our flock.

This is our beautiful group! We were really a combination of the churches in Itu and Salto. Salto is a new church plant in the city right next to Itu (really, only about 10 minutes away). We had 5 families from Salto go! That really touches me because it shows such powerful dedication and leadership of the families working there.

This is a video of the entire audience singing this beautiful Brazilian hymn. I am so frustrated because I don´t know the name! But I will find it and tell you. The message is about the family of Christ standing firm together as we look to Jesus to lead us, and being able to withstand attacks from Satan through our unity. It was a really powerful moment for me to hear a group of 200+ Brazilians singing this.

I was so blessed through this opportunity. And I ask you to continue to pray for your brothers and sisters in Brazil as they work for the kingdom with you, wherever you might be.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Book Thing and Video

1. One book that changed your life: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck made me see the true power of words and helped me fall in love with literature.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: Leaving Ruin by Jeff Berryman. I don´t even know how many times I´ve read it, but I fall in love with the characters every time.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: Fighting the temptation to say something smart alecky like, "how to survive on a desserted island," I will instead say Life of Pi by Yann something or other. Little Pi had some great ideas about how to stay alive.

4. One book that made you laugh: Hitchhiker´s Guide to the Galaxy. Holy moly, this book is hilarious. Blake gave it to me for my college graduation and I took it to Brazil to read, and I was laughing out loud with every page. I would read passages outloud (through fits of laughter) to my friend Taylor who appreciated the humor. Seriously, this probably one of the funniest books ever.

5. One book that made you cry: Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein (I mean the triology in general, but really the last book-- Return of the King-- had me very teary).

6. One book you wish had been written: I have no idea.

7. One book you wish had never been written: Anything that was written by any political hack, either side of the spectrum. Oh, or any book that tries to sell a feel good or a health and wealth theology.

8. One book you’re currently reading: I have a terrible habit of reading more than one book at a time, so let me choose since now I have about 5. I am re-reading A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm. Old book, but great book. Classic.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: Gee, there are lots. I guess if I have to choose one I´ll go with the next Harry Potter.

10. Tag five others: Homey don´t play ´dat. ;) But if you do choose to post it, please leave a comment so I can go check out your answers.

Next installment of the Curitiba series is coming! Please be patient! But in the meantime, here is a video I took at the Botanical Gardens that I forgot to include last time.

Monday, September 04, 2006

I went to Curitiba!

Hello loyal followers!

I think the subject sums it up. :) Last Thursday through Sunday I went to Curitiba (pronounced kur-a-chee-bah), a city father south in Brazil, for a church conference. It was really fun and I am so thankful I got to go. Like for my Brasília trip, I will break this trip down into parts. Just 2 parts this time, though. :) One for our sightseeing and one for the church stuff.

All Brazilians say Curitiba is a city very different from the rest of Brazil, and very representative of the southern part of the country. The south has been very heavily influenced by European settlers from Italy, Germany, and Portugal while the north has more African and indigienous influence. I guess we in the middle are somewhere inbetween. :)

Our sightseeing day was Friday, and as my luck would have it, it rained nearly all day. Much like my trip to Rio 4 years ago. But the rains did stop and we did get to sightsee 2 beautiful locations, the Jardim Botânico (Botanical Gardens) and the opera house, Casa de Arema. Here are some photos. Yes they´re mostly of me. I am vain. :)

The first three are from the Botanical Gardens and the last two are from the Opera House.

While it rained we went to a mall. A very chic mall! They offered all kinds of services in the bathroom, including free dental floss!!! If you know my love of dental hygiene, you know how happy this made me!!!!!!!!!! :)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting