Scott and I had a lot to celebrate this weekend, and I, in fact had the best birthday I’ve had in as long as I can remember. Saturday morning (my birthday) we woke up and went for a run, had some breakfast and ran errands to get ready for our HouseWarmingEngagementBirthday Party on Saturday night. I made frosting and frosted cupcakes (using my friend Noah’s mom’s recipe), I made skewers with mozzerella and tomatoes, and others with watermelon, feta, and mint. We hung out and relaxed a little in our air-conditioned apartment since it was 100 degrees outside. We went to pick up a picture that we bought at Choque Cultural in Sao Paulo that Scott had dropped off on Atlantic Avenue to get framed last week. With pretty much everything ready to go, we dashed up to Franny’s for a quick, delicious pizza dinner and then back to Brooklyn Heights. Our friends started arriving and I dare say that the first party that Scott and I threw together was a success. People came, they mingled, ate and drank, stayed until 4am and I think generally had a good time. Guests, if you’re reading, and you didn’t have a good time, I take comments and suggestions for next time.

It’s nice to know that our apartment comfortably holds a lot of people, our neighbors haven’t come to yell and shout (although we did bring a preemptive bottle of wine to the couple who live downstairs). Perhaps we’ll have another gathering soon…

Brooklyn Flea

June 19, 2010

Scott and I had a really great Saturday. It’s the first time we’ve been in New York for a weekend in a long time and it was nice to be here, to be in our apartment, in this new neighborhood. I went for a run and while dodging strollers was pretty proud to live in a place that has so many cool restaurants I want to explore. It was a gorgeous, breezy, sunny day and it was just awesome to be outside.

We walked to the Brooklyn Flea Market in Fort Greene next. It’s half artisanal food–cheese, tacos, pastries, pork, bagels with lox. There was an article written about people who make treats for the flea markets out of their homes. I was impressed, and wished I could eat a little more than the hibiscus iced tea. The other half is jewelry, tee shirts, antiques, some junk, but mostly really cool stuff, well curated. Then the walk home, and a stop at the Cadman Plaza farmer’s market for more delicious, cheap blueberries and now out to dinner with Andrew and Amy.  Oh, and our apartment is now free of any stray boxes full of stuff.  Wahoo!

Paint-A-Thon

May 18, 2010

We put our apartment together extremely fast when we moved in, only to dismantle it yesterday.  We’re in the throes of painting, started at 9am this morning.  While it’s sort of a disaster right now, it’s going to look gorgeous.  White Dove everywhere and Graphite in the bathroom.  Super cool.  As soon as their done and everything is put back in place I’ll get around to taking photos and posting them here.

Solitude

May 12, 2010

Today was the first day I spent a considerable amount of time alone in what feels like a long, long time.  Since we’ve gotten back from Brazil, Scott and I have spent pretty much every day together.  Even when we’ve done different things, we’ve been staying in houses where other people live, and have had to converse and interact, and in so many ways, at this point, we’re extensions of each other.  For months now, there’s been someone to say something to when I’ve had something to say. In Brazil, we were also constantly together, and when he left a few weeks before me, I was staying with Edite and Karen, who’s houses are full of people and conversation.  The days all had activities, planned by and including the sisters.  Then Lindsay came, and we were together for over a week. Language and talking poured out of both of us as we went to Juquehy and to Rio.  As close friends who hadn’t seen each other for a year, there was so much to say.

Scott had his first day of work today and it’s quiet here.  It’s been pleasant, lovely almost, the quiet, but it’s something to get used to again.  It’s the first time I’ve lived in New York without a job to go to every day.  I’m planning on spending the summer freelance writing and taking some pre-req classes for SIPA.  I think I have to get used to being alone again.  It’s been quite a long time.  It’s sort of shocking to me how foreign it feels.  I had always prided myself on being extremely independent, spending so much time by myself before I met Scott, in Vietnam and in New York.  I hadn’t realized that I was out of practice.  I never thought of it as a thing I would have to relearn.  But here I am, in a very quiet apartment, after spending much of the day by myself, readjusting.

After moving into our new apartment, Scott and I spent the weekend celebrating the marriage of Michael and Jenna–two of my favorite people in the world.  It was a warm, beautiful rehearsal dinner and wedding.  We danced.  We sang and laughed and mostly we danced.  And Jenna had the most incredibly beautiful, ethereal wedding dress I have ever seen.  More selfishly, it was extremely fun for me to be back with some of my closest friends in the world and Michael’s family, who I grew up with.

Today for Mother’s Day, the Behars and my parents came to Brooklyn.  We hung out at the apartment and then went to a store that Scott and I have been meaning to visit to buy a large dining room table for our new space. I would write the name here, but I want it to be my secret (another selfish indulgence).  There were graceful, heavy wooden planks with so much character, each with its own ancient story.  We didn’t find the perfect thing yet, but we got a good idea of what’s possible in the fluid world of hardwoods and tropical trees.

The last thing that’s been amusing over the last couple of days was that Scott was putting our books on the Ikea bookshelf that we tiredly put together on Wednesday night.  He thought he saw some sawdust and that we didn’t do a very good job.  Turns out our books from Brazil had some sand lingering between the pages.  The detail made me smile. A little bit of Jericoacoara in Brooklyn.

Our Apartment

May 7, 2010

We’re in.  We made it.

After being vaguely nomadic since December (see previous post), we have an apartment again that’s ours, with all of our stuff.  It’s big, and bright, and we’ve almost put all of it together.  I can’t wait for people to come over and more importantly to really be around. We’ve sort of been here, but it’s been really difficult to make plans and see friends, so now, friends, we’re around.

There were some challenges moving in, but I think it’s wiser not to put those in writing.

As for living in Brooklyn, I couldn’t be more excited.  I’ve said this to Scott, but living in Brooklyn to me feels like moving to a new city that I can explore and discover, while living where all of my friends are. I only know it from when Marshall lived here and from visiting friends down here, but so far every restaurant we’ve tried has been great (and cheaper) and there are so many beautiful streets to run on, and cute shops to check out.  I think it’s going to be great.

Again, with pictures

July 3, 2009

Here’s the outside of our building (taken from the balcony of our hotel where we stayed all last week).

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And here’s our living room!  Notice the big table, perfect for dinner parties, the flat screen tv, which makes Scott very happy, the balcony…

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Apartamentoooooooo

July 2, 2009

We found an apartment and moved in today.  It’s even better than we could have hoped for.  I’ll post pictures tomorrow in daylight.  The story itself feels very Brasileiro–the broker I had been in touch with didn’t have access to our apartment, but her friend did and her friend could track down the owner to get the keys, but alas, the friend was out of town, in Europe on vacation.  Oh, but wait!  The friend’s son could make this happen for us (as soon as possible, we said, please, we have to check out of our hotel, it’s getting expensive.).  So at 1.30 I’m supposed to meet the son to let us in, and the owner (oops!) forgot to leave the keys with the doorman.  We go back to our hotel.  We wait.  We have a sandwich.  And finally at 2.30 we see the apartment.  We get in, and it’s perfect.  And as we walk out to get our bags from our hotel some statuesque Brazilian model walks in.  When we get back in the elevator with our bags, so does a dapper middle-aged gentlemen who lives on the same floor.  He splits his time between Miami and Rio.  Not so shabby.  We’re ecstatic.  Oh, and it has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, so come visit.

Vagabond and food

July 2, 2009

Yesterday was spent apartment hunting.  Finally we have found a few that we like, and there is one more that we think will be great, we just have to go see it.  At this point, it would be quite nice to unpack and get a little more settled.

Also, more on the food… I think Brazilian street food is incredible–the popcorn, the churros filled with chocolate or dulce de leche, coconuts, corn on the cob.  The most common Brazilian dish is steak with rice, black beans, and farofa–sort of a toasted, really salty manioc flour that makes everything taste really delicious.  It’s good, but a little heavy to eat every day.  Other traditional sort of bar foods–shrimp with garlic and oil, fried cassava with parmesan cheese, are great. Also, the fruit here is really amazing–there are fruits I’ve never seen, varieties of mangoes and bananas, passion fruits.  Fruit and vegetable markets are so brimming with green leaves and juicy things that I can’t wait to start cooking.

We’ve been staying on Rio’s ‘Restaurant Row’ and have made our way to many of the places along the street.  Sushi Leblon is very fashionable, and has pretty good sushi, but if it were in New York, it would be pretty average.  The other restaurants are  good, but there’s sort of a standard Rio handicap.  It’s like when my brother lived in Brooklyn before Brooklyn became the culinary destination it is now, and restaurants that would be a five or six out of ten in Manhattan were elevated to eights across the river.  In Rio, the food is usually good, but they’re still working on a few things.

Although this was my breakfast

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Today had good news and bad news.  I’m starting with the bad and putting the good in the next post.  Looking for an apartment in Rio is hard.  It’s not like at home where brokers clamor for you to come see their listings, where they get a sense of what you want and then show you everything that might be even sort of close.  In Rio, you see two apartments at a time.  Yesterday a wealthy woman’s driver came in her SUV to pick us up to drive us to a teeny tiny apartment that wasn’t going to work.  Today I met a German man from the Black Forest area who moved to Rio in January and swears he’s never going back.  He lives in the morro (really the favela, he says, but they don’t like to use that word anymore, so it’s just the hills) in a nice house with a backyard.

“Is it dangerous?” I ask him, as we drive from a tiny bright white studio in Leblon to a crappy disheveled apartment in an office tower in Ipanema.

“Eh, not really.  Sometimes I hear the machine guns, but they’re really only interested in the cops, they don’t care about people like me.”

“Really?” I say wide-eyed.

“Yeah.  You know, I felt more unsafe in Miami.  There, you had no idea who was carrying a gun, at least here it’s in your face.”

Hmmm.  That has not at all been my experience (parents: it feels totally safe!)

So the quest continues to find a place to live.