Friday, December 30, 2011

Let us welcome 2012!

This year was not an easy one. Lots of obstacles, losses, sadness along the way. Dreams and wishes that did not come true…

But I guess what matters is to be able to be here today, still standing, filled with hope, strength and energy, ready to start a new cycle.
And although I am more than glad to see this year come to an end, I must admit it wasn’t all that bad. I also had many blessings and I am very thankful for each one of them!
In 2011…
I made important changes to my career.

I celebrated the achievements of BurCArioca: over 26500 pageviews and more than 1300 fans on its Facebook page.
I learned that things will happen when they happen and as they happen for a specific reason and that I cannot control every single aspect of my life.
I exercised patience, tolerance and acceptance.
I rediscovered simple pleasures in life like waking up late, having a cup of coffee with a slice of cake in the middle of the afternoon, following and enjoying the lamest series and soap operas, singing in the shower, having a glass of bubbly or wine for no reason at all.
I travelled to the most wonderful places.

I made new friends.

I got to spend time with my family and very dear friends.
I became the proud aunt of Giovana and Nuno, two little creatures who gave me the most precious and happiest moments of the year and who are the proof that life is grand and beautiful and magic.
So let us open our minds and hearts and welcome 2012! May the next 365 days be filled with all that is good in this world!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year's Eve in Abu Dhabi

If your plan is to be in Abu Dhabi on December 31st, it is safe to say you are in for a great last day of the year!
For starters, at 3pm, you can catch the final match of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, which will be decided between two of the following players: Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Monfils, Ferrer and Tsonga.
Then, at 8pm, you can enjoy an amazing concert by the one and only Coldplay, who will be performing at the Volvo Ocean Race Village.
Finally, to close 2011 beautifully, a firework display at Abu Dhabi Corniche.
Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

‘Pastel’ pastry – finally!

This year I got my Christmas present a couple of days early! A dear friend of mine was finally able to find what I’ve been searching for ever since I moved to Abu Dhabi: ‘massa de pastel’ (‘pastel’ pastry)!
For those of you not familiar with this Brazilian delicacy, let me explain…
The ‘pastel’ is a thin pastry wrap deep fried in vegetable oil. It is usually filled with cheese and meat, but you can personalize it according to your taste and preference, alternating between savory and sweet options. Delish!
In Brazil, they can be found just about anywhere. You can get them ready to eat, at bars, restaurants and popular street markets, or simply buy the pastry at supermarket shelves and add your favorite fillings at home.
Since the UAE is also famous for its pastries, I thought it would be easy to satisfy my ‘pastel’ cravings, but I was never able to find that exact, perfect, wonderful ‘pastel’ pastry around here.
Thankfully, all this has changed. Yesterday, I was finally able to sink my teeth into several yummy ‘pastéis’ – soooooo good!
Thanks Carla for my mouth-watering Christmas present! Sorry I did not invite you over to try some, but Eric and I were so excited we ate everything in a matter of seconds and were left licking our fingers! See how beautiful they turned out:

In case you are wondering where to find the ‘pastel’ pastry in Abu Dhabi, just look for Egg Roll Wraps at Lulu Hypermarket (apparently they are stored in the refrigerators and not in the freezers, where I have been looking for all these years).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

With only ten days to go, Christmas has finally arrived in the UAE.
No, you don’t get a white Christmas with snow falling outside, but then again, Christmas was never white in Brazil, so I don’t really mind…
No, you don’t get to see a glimpse of Christmas trees lighted in every single house or apartment as you pass by and look through the windows, but they are still around in hotels and malls. Nothing too extravagant this year, since the US 11 million tree put up by Emirates Palace last year seems to have caused more controversy than admiration…
No, you don’t get to see innumerous TV commercials with the popular season characters like Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman or Rudolph the red nose reindeer, but you can always count on classic movies like Love Actually, Home Alone and White Christmas to set the mood for you…
No, you don’t get to hear Christmas songs over and over and over again everywhere you go, but this only means you get to enjoy and appreciate them even more once you randomly listen to them on the radio or when you do play your favorite Christmas CD – I just bought Michael Buble’s Christmas album and I love it…
No, you don’t get to be with your entire family and friends back home, but you do get to celebrate with a very special group of people who have become very close to you and are now part of your new life far, far away…
This may sound cheesy, but I guess Christmas will always be Christmas as long as we understand its true spirit and meaning, no matter where we are and regardless of lights, trees, presents and songs… Although I must say I do feel closer to God when I hear this super talented 11 year old girl singing – truly amazing!

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Brazilians are cool!

Brazilians are cool. There is no denying that. Sure, Brazil is certainly far away from being perfect – especially for us Brazilians – but the truth of the matter is everyone is attracted to this beautiful South American country and its people. Even CNN has placed us at #1 (see video below)!

I have travelled a lot and I can tell you that every time the words ‘I am Brazilian’ came out of my mouth, they had the power to break the ice, produce big smiles and establish many friendships along the way.
I guess not even all the terrible violence, corruption and so many negative things that are currently happening in Brazil have managed to stain its natural beauties. Starting by its people, who continue to work hard and strive through all the adversities and difficulties…
Nice. Good to know. Ok. But why I am going on and on about this on a blog that should be about the UAE and not about Brazil? Well, because I often run across people or businesses that always seem to find a way to link their names to Brazil.
Sure, I guess this is a wise move, after all we are cool (sorry, I can’t stop saying this!), but then again, it does raise expectations that can’t always be met.
For example, today I went for a walk at the Corniche. Suddenly, a cute little green and yellow kiosk called ‘Cafes Brasileira’ materialized itself in front of me. Immediately, of course, I started salivating. Água de côco (coconut water), açaí, guaraná, biscoito polvilho, pão de queijo... Could it be that, finally, I would be able to enjoy some of the Brazilian delicacies I miss so much?
Apparently not… The only things Brazilian about this kiosk are its colors, its name, and the titles given to some items on the menu.
Nice touch, nice tribute, but what am I supposed to do now with all my cravings? NOT COOL!!!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Djokovic in Abu Dhabi

#1 Novak Djokovic will make his debut in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship to be held from Thursday, December 29, through Saturday, December 31, at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex (Zayed Sports City).
Djokovic will face some fierce competition for the title and US 250,000 prize: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils.
Tickets, as expected, are selling out fast! After all, this is one of the most anticipated events of the season…
I already bought mine! To get yours, go to www.eticketing.co.uk/thinkflash/default.aspx.
For more information: www.mubadalawtc.com/Home.aspx

Friday, December 2, 2011

40 and counting

Just a couple of days ago I was walking along the cobblestone streets of Boston, one of the oldest and most charming cities in the United States of America, founded by English Puritans back in 1630.
For an entire week I was immersed in US history. After all, in every corner there seems to be a story, linked to the many events that took place in the city and surrounding areas, especially during the American Revolution, the first successful colonial war leading to the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
I remembered the 4th of July I spent back there in 2006. Thousands of people out on the streets dressed in red, white and blue, family barbecues, parades, fireworks, the famous Pops Orchestra playing at the Charles River Esplanade… I thought I’d never see a more patriotic celebration in my life.
And then I moved to the United Arab Emirates
I was seriously taken back when I first experienced National Day (December 2) in Abu Dhabi. I guess I simply did not expect to see so much devotion in a country so young.
But then again, if you think about it, there actually is a lot to celebrate. What this country achieved in so little time is just amazing!
Back in 1971, when this union was created, pretty much all you saw around here were sand dunes and almost no paved roads, water came from wells and people traveled on camels and donkeys.
All this in a time where Apollo 14 had already landed on the moon, the Concorde had already done its first transatlantic flight and the email, although not yet so popular, had already been created by an MIT graduate. Crazy, huh?
Now, only four decades later, the UAE is one of the most important countries in the Middle East. It has placed itself in the center of all worldwide action, has diversified its economy and, with zero taxes, has become one of the best places for people to do business.
The most luxurious and desired brands are here, the tallest building in the world is here, one of the most exquisite Mosques ever built is here, renowned educational institutions, such as Sorbonne, INSEAD and NYU are here. 
Not too shabby for a country that is only 40 years old, right? So I guess its people are more than entitled to an awesome celebration!
This year, the festivities will last not only one, but several days. When I landed, Wednesday night, the city was already filled with lights, cars were decorated with national colors (red, green, white and black) and special events were happening everywhere.
Since my building faces the Abu Dhabi Corniche, I have front row seats to all the action. In the last 24 hours I have seen amazing fireworks and waterworks displays, helicopters carrying flags, jet planes doing crazy stunts and pirouettes and thousands of happy, loyal and proud people roaming the streets, honking their horns and celebrating the enormous success of this amazing country.
Here are some images for you:




















Happy 40th Birthday UAE!!!!!!