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Friday, March 28, 2008

In search of a new perspective

WOW those stars without makeup - takes me back to being 12 again, (way-way back) hoping that someday someone would 'discover' me, my real beauty shining through! Many of these women are more beautiful before the magic wand of the make-up artist was applied but the demanding standards of the public must be met.
I keep hearing, 'been here five years' running through my head. I am finishing up my class, Lingua Inglese, at PUC and the new crop of hopefuls have been asking me about myself. Curiosity about the estrangeira. When I say I have been here 5 years, there is a barely discernable (polite) lifting of the eyebrow. Their thought, ' why then don't you speak Portuguese?' can be heard floating in the air between us.
I no longer try to explain that for the first 3 years I made no effort to learn the language; I was convinced that what I wanted was to go HOME; I wanted my old life back; I wanted to feel comfort again from my world. These are not sentiments that you try to explain to strangers passing through - it is barely understandable by me let alone those that only want to hear that life is 'a polite great'. There are days and sometimes only hours, that these feeling still surface but this class, that is about language acquisition, the understanding of the structure and the purpose of language, has helped me in a surprising way. Did you know that our culture is a very big portion of who we are (of our ego or the I, as Freud called it), and that Language is the most important component of culture - therefore - an important part of how we define ourselves. Oh, the class has talked about many theories about language but this one fit into my particular situation with ease. If the house where you live is different, and the government, money system, music, and noise of the city are different and you give up your language too, who are you? [Like being a two-year-old again and resiting potty training, you don't really understand why, but you know it has to be fought in order to save yourself] How do you resist the impulse to fight this major change in who you are? And now with five years of subtle changes that happen despite my fight to maintain the 'who I am' portion of my life, I woke-up and found myself CHANGED. Now the battle to accept and to understand this newest me begins.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Colors - streets of Madrid

Old and new, classical and modern from the city under lights, to walks in bright sunlight
Gardens and sidewalk cafes. Madrid GingerV

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Should my title be perspectives or perceptions?
I am in Rio, on my computer in the apartment, which is in Ipanema off Rua Prudente de Moraes. The Apartment is on the 4th floor and faces the building next door to us. It is relatively back from the road, but none of this makes any difference, there is noise from 5am until about 1 am. Right now and through out the day my window is open to the sounds of the city; there is a very young baby crying, a baba talking loudly to a young boy in the apartment below us, sounds and smells of lunches being prepared, a car with a loud speaker selling something - I can never make out what they say it is just more noise - and finally the sounds of the ubiquitous traffic.
Even with most of the building not exceeding 5 stories and the trees lining the streets the noise is deafening - all day long.
I once read a novel where the heroine was up in the penthouse above central park in NYC, and she 'woke to the sound of the city coming alive', or some such literary phrase. This phrase leaves me feeling confused when combined with the noise I hear outside my window and the resent memories of walking the streets of Manhattan - I had to look carefully through my photos to find signs of heavy traffic in NYC - I don't remember any particular noise.
Maybe there is more noise up in the 'penthouse' then down on the sidewalks, but compared to our diesel driven, gear grinding buses here, the streets of New York where tranquil - the buses there are gasoline driven, and even with the taxi and buses using their horns with aggression, the sounds were non intrusive in the way I find the noise here. Maybe after 5 years in Rio no noise is like our noise! GingerV

Friday, March 14, 2008


Last month Camillo and I spent 3 days in New York City (see prior blogs - travel outside Brasil) and one of the Museums shows that we saw is featured in the March 17 TIME Magazine. I scanned the photo they used in the article to use as a comparison with mine. Cool huh! of course you can tell that the photo on the right is mine and the left is theirs. I don't know if this is the reason for this photo shot being used, but it was only allowed for the 'public' to take photos in the rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum. I would have thought that a photographer from TIME could have taken his camera all the way through the show and that they would have feature the extraordinary 'mud men' sculptures - for me this was the best of the show. My photo was taken because I found the structure interesting not the art - cars with poles of flashing lights stuck through them did not do much for me. To tell the truth I didn't get it. It is not clear but possible the artist CAI GUO-QIANG planned the section of 'mud men' but it is not actually his work because the TIME says, "...Its a replica of more than 100 life-size clay statues that were originally crafted in Shanghai in 1965 as pure Maoist agitprop, ... In 1999 Cai had a team of artisans reproduce the ensemble...." The beauty of these statues and they struggle represented between good and evil, rich and poor, power and powerlessness I could understand. GingerV

Friday, March 07, 2008

Colors of Cinque Terra, Italy

winding along the coast - high above the sea there are five medieval villages - During the fall of 2006 we spent one week in this area on the northern coast of Italy. Cinque = five: taking the train and taking hikes in the rain, eating good food - letting the soft colors of Italy sooth us.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

more New York New York

The best dinner - Maria Pia (Italian) 319 West 51st Street The worst meal (this is hard) - Breakfast at the NY deli across from the hotel - ordered a ham and cheese croissant - it was open faced, the size of a 10 inch plate, the cheese was coagulated, and the ham non existent. two breakfast $46.00 Most impressive - The Met - needs about 6 half days to see it all. The most Moving - the mud men created by Cai Guo-Qiang "I want to Believe" at the Guggenheim. I was brought to tears - the faces of the Chinese revolution carved in mud - when the exhibition is over they will be broken down and re-created for the next show. A must see. The most 'different' - the feel of the cold air blowing off the river - no matter how many layers I wore I was cold. The streets were full of cars and buses and taxis and there was no noise, How is that possible? Rio streets 10 times as noisy maybe the noise was frozen too.