Between the memoir-writing and new product development (more to come on that soon), not to mention generating an income, my travel bug lust has been left in the drawer. Antsy and neglected, she’s rearing her noisy head and begging for some out-of-town adventure. Preferably to destinations exotic and requiring language skills other than English. But alas, for now, photos must do the trick. … Care to join me for a trip down Memory Lane?
That’s me, in the yellow hat. Standing next to the coral on a dairy farm owned by the gentleman in the white shirt. This was in the Minas Gerais region of Brazil. The story of how I happened to arrive there is fodder for another memoir, which will have to stay on hold, for now. (Although I’m happy to answer any questions you may think of — so feel free to comment!) I spent a month with this family, and during that time acquired enough Portuguese to carry on a brief conversation at the vegetable stand or with a neighbor. Much of the language I learned while hanging out with the women in the family, as we did housekeeping chores: mopping floors, dusting, and the weekly laundry (without a machine!). And cooking. Lots of cooking. I think this would be called learning by immersion. Sometimes scary, but definitely effective!
One of my favorite things about the lifestyle below the Equator was the integration of the outdoors into everyday life. Typically, the kitchens were located at the back of the house. Provided a patio or yard adjoined, the windows were without glass. In the countryside, windows simply had shutters — often painted in Mediterranean blue — that could be closed at night. But my very favorite kitchens were al fresco, like this one in the photo at the right. This is the kitchen in the farm house owned by my mister-at-the-time. No one had lived here in years. Being a romantic and never short on imagination, the rust and rot inspired fantasies of a rural artist’s studio with meals taken outdoors under the trees.