finally developed film that was brought from Portugal.
some are already hanging up on our walls.




atlanta and toronto

sweet auburn

As part of my training to be a volunteer tour guide with the Atlanta Preservation Center, we went on a tour of Sweet Auburn, one of the most interesting historic neighborhoods of Atlanta. After Emancipation it became a strong black community district and during the Jim Crow segregation laws, its was a city within the city, self sufficient and exclusively black. Also, it's the birth place of Martin Luther King Jr. and where he started preaching his nonviolent civil rights activism.

Place of birth of Martin Luther King Jr. 
An old ghost sign for Gold Dust Washing Powder discovered after the neighboring building was demolished.

The Odd Fellows Building

Going back into the past is fundamental to understand how life is lived today.
On this note, while I'm writing this, I'm listening to chapter 6 of the audio book Outliers (by Malcolm Gladwell) on the culture of honor, social and behavioral pattern specific to, among other places, the American South. Interesting. Cultural legacies are powerful forces. They have deep roots and long lines. They persist...

no more empty walls

Slowly I'm going to fill them up with more frames and embroideries. I'm finally finished with this work I started last year and now I'm starting a special embroidery gift, aside from getting some tea bags together for a tea swap with meiadeleite.

have a great weekend!

traffic signs

In Portugal, as in the rest of Europe, traffic signs are intuitive: a series of color codes and pictorial symbols that are very easily interpreted. So, imagine after a 24h flight to Atlanta, having to learn to drive an automatic car at 2am and then encountering a 14 lane highway with this type of traffic signs:

Fun, right?! East, West, North, South, miles, etc, etc. 
Aside from my still very complicated understanding of the imperial metric system, most signs are in writing: sentences that must be read in a split second while driving down a highway. You can imagine my first experience behind the wheel: I either paid attention to traffic or I read the traffic signs. Pick one!

When people ask me what the biggest difference between Portugal and Atlanta, first I say that everything over here comes in extra-large sizes and then I say traffic signs. 
After being here for a couple of months, I still don't understand another thing: traffic sign duplication. Traffic authorities need to make sure that a driver thoroughly understands the signs. A simple pictorial symbol is very often supported by a written reinforcement of it's equivalent meaning: 

It's not enough that a red circle with a white horizontal rectangle universally means "do not enter", they have "do not enter" written right over the sign. I suppose it's to aid the color blind? They do this all the time: imagine a turn right sign and under it the words "turn right".

I'm now collecting traffic sign photos! (Sorry, not the best quality photos, they were taken from inside the car.)

american civil war

This past weekend we went to an american Civil War period (1861-1865) re-enactment of the front-lines. Atlanta commemorated the 148 years of the Battle of Atlanta, a battle that sealed the fate of the Confederates (11 southern slave states) against the Unionists (25 northern states that supported the federal government). The Unionists won the war and slavery was abolished in all of the United States in 1865.

The re-enactment was centered around the CSA's (Confederate States of America) position in the Civil War, the states that had seceded from the United States to uphold the Old South ways, namely slavery. But no one seems to mention this during the event. Immediately I recalled one of the opening scenes from Gone with the Wind when the men are smoking and drinking and debating the upcoming war. One of the main characters, Ashley Wilkes, says "most of the miseries of the world were caused by wars. and when the wars were over, no one ever knew what they were about". So true. 

And now for some real photos. The Civil War was actually the first major conflict to be extensively photographed in a photo-journalistic manner, being widely displayed viewed and sold all around the country. 

all 3 b&w photos from here

friends of a certain age

Joanna Goddard's husband Alex has just written an article for the New York Times, Friends of a Certain Age, that I really relate to:  making friends as an adult. This article really hits a nerve.
Moving to Atlanta and turing 30 made us realize we need friends, local friends. That's why is was wonderful to have Michael and Halef over at my "massive" birthday party. They made us feel at home.
The article says that adults have a hard time making new friends because marriage, work, family, kids, narrows people into a tighter network, very often closed off to new comers. Aside from this, Alex says that "Self-discovery gives way to self-knowledge, so you become pickier about whom you surround yourself with" and easily set someone aside for very selective reasons. 
According to the article, we must return to our 20's where we would met anyone just because! And we have, at least we've been making the effort to do that. I really feel the need to have people over for dinner. Sitting around a table with food is always a perfect way to makes friends. 

frankly, my dear, i don't give a damn

Last night I spent 4 hours watching Gone with the Wind. The movie portraits the Old South during the Civil War and the reconstruction that followed. It takes place in Atlanta and though it's a bias white american's perspective, it helps visualize that historical period. I especially enjoyed the overly romantic dialogues and the way Scarlet raises her eyebrow when she turns on her manipulative character. Very close to the end, when Rhett finally gives up on Scarlet, he says that magnificent phrase: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn". It was worth waiting the whole 4 hours to get to that part. 

mercedes sl380

I almost forgot to post about this!
After much car searching we bought this beauty a couple of weeks ago, through craigslist, a Mercedes SL380. We wanted to buy a meaningful car: it's from 1982, the year we were born and we bought it the year we got married and turned 30! We've been spending the last few weekends putting on a new soft top and tuning it up a bit. But above all, tem muita pinta!

2 months, 3 days

It's been 2 months and 3 days since we moved to Atlanta and we are still slowing finding our way.
We've meet really nice people, been to couchsurfing meetups, visited different neighborhoods and festivals, attended social events, become members at an amazing indoor climbing gym, bought a really cool car that we've been fixing up, and did a whole bunch of other things. 
I'm still waiting for employment authorization to come through, so legally I can't work. But as a good housewife that I am, I've been baking and decorating!
Recently I also applied for a tour guide volunteer position at the Atlanta Preservation Center and so I'm reading up on the whole 160 years of Atlanta history. This way I can feel a bit more connected to this new place we call home. 
Next step: look for more volunteer positions and buy a sewing machine! 

blueberry jam

A few days after we went blueberry picking, I made jam.
Simple recipe with no measurements: blueberries, brown sugar and apples for pectin. 

hero and villain

Have you ever noticed that in super hero movies, the hero, being a the personification of good, never really "kills" his arch enemy, the villain? Even though the hero has this thriving urge to aniquilate the bad guy (and we all do too when we're watching the movie), he'd rather catch him with life. If, by chance, the villain dies, he simply dies in a way that was impossible for the hero to prevent his plunge to death.      
Have you ever thought about it? It´s a matter of principal: if the hero actually killed the villain then he would be nothing different from the villain. 

We don't have television, so we don't watch the news. Which sometimes makes me forget that I'm even living in the United States.  But the other day we were listening to the radio in our car and the local news comes on: this man is going to be executed on July 18th, here in Georgia. An then I'm remembered that I now live in a country were there is no difference between hero and villain. 

blueberry picking

This past weekend, aside from being volunteers at the Youth National Sport Climbing Championships, we managed to go blueberry picking at a local farm. I had this romanticized idea that it would be fun... it would have been lots of fun but not under a 40ºC heat picking teeny-tiny berries one by one from the bush!! We were exhausted and sticky after almost 2 hours of picking. 

We picked about 6kg of berries (around 2 gallons in american metric system - a thing I will never figure out...). It's all going into smoothies, homemade jam, pancakes, bread, salads you name it, it'll have blueberries in it!

welcome back (part three)

To know what we (Sandra, Helena and I) did in Toronto and what Helena did to her hair, you can read all about it here, here, here and here. I don't care what anyone else thinks, her hair looks awesome!

The best part of revisiting Toronto was seeing friends from elementary school again. Though I didn't get the chance to see everyone I initially wanted to see... for which I'm sorry and promise the next time we'll all get together! It was nice remembering the dumb stuff from when we were kids and catching up on life since then.  It turns out that I have a terrible memory and they remembered so much more. 
Loved it! 
Thank you so much for making this a "welcome home" journey! 

PS: I did forget to mention one thing: I crossed off 2 more items on my list, # 16 and #55. I'll be making a new list soon...