Giving feedback, American style

As it’s become redundant from my previous posts, this process of landing a job “American style” can take a while – specially for a foreigner like me – and between sending a CV here and writing a cover letter there (#IStillBelieveInHR) I’ve been having a lot of time to go to classes, lectures, conferences, dodge ball tournaments and – my favorite type of event: book presentations.

So for any of you who’re not American and might confuse this with a book cocktail, happy hour, book signing or any other “come buy my book and I’ll feed you some free shrimp cocktail” type of event, that’s not it.

Here’s the deal: you go there, at any given library, sit down with a bunch of people who like you have nothing better to do a Tuesday afternoon, and then the author comes and reads some parts of the book, kind of putting his own tone to the reading, eventually giving out some spoilers and explaining how it took him 8 years and 2 broken marriages to write that book. Ok, so far, no big deal.

And then they open the mike for questions from the audience. What a moment. It gives me the shivers just to think about it.

Before I go on, little side note: as I’ve said in other posts there are some stuff about the American culture that still don’t make a lot of sense to me (like that messing up with the dates thinging). But if there’s something that the US say and it’s completely solid is the fact that they are a free country. It seems to me that people here actually do whatever they feel like doing, in the most beautiful aspect of it, as long as it’s legal. So you’ll see people going out on their pajamas to take their kids to school, having long, deep conversations with crazy drunks on the subway and things of the sort. So what I’m about to describe shouldn’t surprise me. But it always does.

Now, get this: every time, but I mean EVERY time that they open for questions from the audience there will necessarily be some one who’s gonna raise his hand and say something like: “yeah…didn’t like the book. It’s poorly written, I didn’t connect with the main character, hated the end”. Or some more elaborate version of that.

At that point, myself, who’s seeing this “in your face, biiiatch” type of approach publicly for the first time, went ballistic. I started to look at other people in the audience, waiting for someone to react, perhaps a big fan would threaten that crazy folk, maybe even a minor riot would start, who knows?

And then this happens: nothing.

Not one reaction, not even a raised eyebrow. Even the author (did I mention the 2 marriages stuff!?) was like: “didn’t like it? Cool, bro. Way to go man, express yourself, this is a free country. Peace. Next question”.

Mind. Blown. It completely shifted the way I thought feedback should be given, especially in front of an audience.

It made me realize how I had always lived in two cultures (Brazilian and Spanish) where, at least from my experience, you’re supposed to give feedback the “care bear” way: when you want to criticize someone’s work you should spend more time talking about the a-mazing stuff about it and then maybe, mention how, “hum… re-doing the whole thing might be a great opportunity to produce something even better!”

I know. The definition of bullshit.

Well, let me tell you, watching that stranger say something that blunt about someone else’s book opened my mind in the most beautiful way possible!

Being able to say, in front of a whole audience and a guy who dedicated 10 years of his life on a book, that you don’t like it, you don’t agree with it – being honest without being disrespectful, of course- what a wonderful thing! You Americans might find it hard to understand, I guess you’re used to it, but for me, well, that’s just golden.

So I, the biggest chicken currently reported to be living in Massachusetts, marveled at the courage of these free spirit folks, decide to take on the mike, stand up in front of about 40 people – and the author – and give my own version of “meh, didn’t really like it”.

I know, I know, I wasn’t giving feedback to the UN’s general secretary nor was I one of Taylor Swift’s BFFs/über model performing on one of her shows, but I was trembling. But then I just did it, and, who would have thought, it was just fine. No one stared at me or half-coughed/half-called-me-loser when I talked. Everyone’s lives just went one, like nothing happened.

But inside, I was screaming the bejeezus out of my lungs, thinking that this was more liberating than skinny-dipping.

I sat down, triumphantly, thinking that well; actually I could maybe give some feedback to the UN’s general secretary, why not?

 

 

Out of date

Ok, so there are stuff that you have to get used to when you move to a new country, I get it.

And I mean really relevant, important stuff and you just have to adjust to it, cuz you decided to move, so you deal with it, period.

One thing for instance is adapting to the public transport in the US, which is quite different from the public transport in Spain: it’s smaller and people are used to just drive everywhere. So if you ever try and go away from the Boston urban area you can do it, it’s just gonna take like 3 hours, 2 subways and 4 buses to get somewhere it would take 20min by car. It’s just different. But you get used to it.

Another thing: the cost of living. I mean the overall, general and broad meaning of these 3 little words. Life in the US – sorry – life in Boston is waaay more expensive than in Barcelona, I’d say 3 times more expensive. Just like that. And when you’re not earning a salary that’s 3 times higher (well, in my case, ha-ha not earning any salary AT ALL which, I know, makes “the cost of living” expensive pretty much anywhere) that’s something that completely changes your life.

So ok, no worries, I’m no whiner and I knew where I was headed when I left Barcelona. But there are actually some tiny details of life, these little tricky things that you almost don’t realize but they start to take over your life and slowly mess up with your patience. And they are the least expected ones.

I’m sure every country has its own peculiar way to make a foreigner feel constantly mildly irritated. For me, in the US, is how every freakin’ measure system is freakin’ different from the freakin’ rest of the freakin’ world.

Why, oh why, America?!

Ok, so what are we talking about here: Fahrenheit instead of Celsius, feet instead of meters, ounces instead of something I still haven’t realized what it is yet and it’s constantly screwing up my recipes, a completely random measure for shoes AND clothes and, last but not least, a different measure for take away coffee. Yep, by the way, if you’re a foreigner coming to the US, please note that “small coffee” most likely stands for “family size” in your home country.

But I mean, ok, this is fine, really, it’s a way to set yourself apart, inside joke type of thing I guess. But what really gets to me – and genuinely gets me worried about a possible major global proportion misunderstanding – is the date system. The “month/day/year” date system.

What is that about?

Why? Why would you take a convention that’s adopted like, all over and it’s kind of really practical to be that way and you literally invert it for no particular reason? This for me is just good old fiddling while Rome burns!

I mean I can only imagine the absurd amount of honest mistakes that have happened over the decades because of this inverted date thing. Because when you use a formal measure system, you usually know the scale you’re using – like “I’m 6 feet tall”. “Oh ok, I’m not going to thing you’re 6 meters tall, gotcha”.

Annoying. But clear.

But with the date, it’s totally tricky. Like, let’s say you’re going to do business with a Brazilian company (btw, please do, we’re in bit of a desperate need of foreign investments, thanks, appreciate it.) So you’re writing an email and you say that the product x is going to arrive at the port at, say, 08/07/16. So, the Brazilian guy is thinking “cool, eighth of July”. But you’re thinking “cool, August 7th”.

!??!!? See what just happened there?!

And you would think it would be something easy to adapt to, but when you’re just so used to thinking one way and that way actually makes a lot of sense: (day>month>year = from the smallest to the biggest. It’s logic in its fullness!), it requires an unimaginable effort to think month>day>year (so I start with the kind of medium value, come back to the smallest and then back again to the biggest?) Why would you do that? Like brushing your teeth with the left hand, you just don’t.

Anyway, that’s it, I just wanted to get it out there, because I feel constantly guilty about not being able to adapt to this crazy date system, but I realized it’s not really my fault. It’s you know, people, who make up crazy ways to mess up other people’s lives, and foreigners’ businesses and make you go on to your bikini wax appointment 3 months after you’d scheduled it.

Honestly, you shouldn’t go around messing up with peoples’ bikini wax appointments. That’s just wrong.

No drain, much drama

My thing with drains – or rather the lack of them – doesn’t start in the US.

It’s a battle I’ve been facing for years, ever since I first moved to Spain, over 6 years ago; I’ve been dealing with this nightmare that is cleaning a bathroom with no drains in it.

Before I go any further, quick disclaimer: in Brazil we’re used to using A LOT of water to clean the house, more specifically, the bathroom. Not environmentally-friendly, I know, but it’s a habit and it feels strange and unclean to just superficially mop things around and you kinda get used to that super fresh feeling of watering everything down the drain, it’s almost a spiritual, metaphysical cleaning ritual, really. I mean, for those like me who’re really into cleaning stuff. Anyway, let’s move on.

Throughout all these years living in Spain, I’ve faced every different psyco-neurotic-agressive LDA (lack-of-drain) symptoms. At first, the surprise, of course. That first time when you wash your bathroom as god would have it, as it has always been done, since ancient Greece: throwing buckets of water at the walls, at the ceiling, the floor, on yourself even, since you’re at it. All over. Only to realize that there was no drain in my bathroom, there was nowhere I can run all that water off. There was no solution but to spend the next 3 hours swiping everything remotely absorbent I can find in my flat, from towels to kitchen cloths to my roommate’s sheet. I used up 3 rolls of kitchen paper. And a few hours of my day that could have been used on something slightly more fruitful.

Then came denial. I thought “It is not possible that there is not a single drain in my bathroom, this must be the crappiest flat in Spain.” But then I started to realize that, even though my flat was actually pretty crappy, bathrooms in Spain do not have drains. Ever. Then came acceptance. I’d just have to deal with it.

But then in Spain, my dear reader, you have a tool to respond to the lack of drains. To make up for this grotesque engineering flaw that has been perpetuated for centuries in that old continent. It’s the fregona. The fregona is this amazing type of mop that allows you to fill up a bucket with water and the cleaning product of your choice but it also has this device, this clever structure that lets you remove the excess water before you clean the floor. It’s a process that takes longer than the good old drain method, but it’s satisfactory. You’re in peace with your -bathroom cleaning- self.

So I’ve adapted. It wasn’t ideal, but it kept the bathroom on a B- cleaning level and I could move on with my life.

And then I came to the US.

And you would think that this no-drain thing would be something European, outcome of the French revolution or imposed by the Bolcheviques or something of the sort. It isn’t. Actually, I’m beginning to think that only in Brazil we have drains in our bathrooms.

Cuz let me tell ya, you ain’t finding one around bathrooms in New England.

But you won’t find a fregona here either.

So how do you do it? I don’t know.

That’s the truth, and the reason why I’m here today, making this plea, this sincere request through this wonderful thing that is the Internet, this network that connects us all with the goal of passing around such useful information as “how to properly clean a bathroom without a drain”.

You could ask me: “have you tried Youtube”? I have.

There are actually some tutorials made by Brazilians on how to clean a bathroom here in the US (hurray! People with even more free time than me!) but I don’t like the idea of just lightly rubbing some cloth all over your bathroom and pretend that that’s done. I don’t think it’s clean. It’s not clean.

“Have you tried different, controversial, advanced techniques?”. Yes. And they kinda work. But it takes too many hours, too much water, to much standing on your knees drying up the flood you created yourself in your bathroom. It can’t be the solution. It just can’t.

So some Brazilians have asked me: “Have you tried asking an American how they do it”? No.

I haven’t, because I don’t have a close personal relationships with any American yet, at least not strong enough to go “hey, what up? So Pine Sun or Fabuloso? Cloth or sponge, bro?” I mean I almost don’t actually get to have deep conversations with Americans and I don’t want to risk this still fragile friendship by asking them if they also stand in all four while trying to dry water off their bathroom’s floor. I actually didn’t even know the word drain before writing this post, I had to look it up! And by the way, what’s the point of having the word when you don’t have drains!?

So here’s my request for a serial, straightforward tutorial on how to clean a bathroom. But really clean it, no having to dry it up for 3 hours, no fregona, no drain. No drama.

Thank you.

 

 

Buying medicine, American Style

Ok, ok, I know sometimes I bitch about the trouble of having to adapt to a new country and stuff about a different culture that I don’t really get (like dudes wearing baseball caps at night. At a bar. My best theory so far: bad hair day cover up). Anyhow, that’s like not cool at all because life in the US is actually pretty nice and I’m being super welcomed here and it’s just not right to talk only about the crazy, weird stuff.

So let’s change this, TO-DAY! Hurray…

So there is some not so cool stuff about the US. Like there is some not so cool stuff about any country in the planet (except maybe Australia. That country is pretty cool). Like in Brazil: we have hot people in bikinis wrestling on a hot tub as part of our Sunday family entertainment. And people whose job is to go around on the streets, screaming if you want to get your knife sharpened (God, this sounds even weirder when written in English… we DO actually have that!).

Stuff like that.

But in the US you also have some really freaking amazing stuff. And you discover them kind of by accident, and it makes you ignore -most of- the weird stuff and think, “goddammit, this country really is something”.

One of the most impressive experiences I’ve lived so far involves the American system for buying medicine. Come on, let’s do a little bit o a role playing here:

How would you buy medicine in Brazil:

(Warning: The following description might be shocking, traumatizing and disturbing to some Americans)

You set an appointment at the doctor, get there, and wait. Wait. Wait. Read the equivalent of a 2010 US Weekly. Wait. See the doctor, get an exam done. Set another appointment to come back for the results. Come back. Wait. Pick up a magazine; realize it’s the same US Weekly from last time. Read it again anyway. See the doctor for 5 minutes, just to hear the results of the exam, get a prescription. Get into the car. Find a drugstore on the way home. No parking spot. Park kind of in the middle of the street not really caring about messing up with other people’s business (yep! Another not so cool Brazilian habit…). Handle the prescription to the guy over the counter. He can’t read the Doctor’s writing. He calls up another guy. Then a lady. Then a random person from the street. Together they figure it most likely says “Ibuprofen”. You think ‘Jezz…” but ask for the drug anyway. You need 12 capsules, but the guy over the counter informs you he would have to order it, it would take 5 days, but he does have the pack with 34 capsules. “Just give me the 34 capsules one”. You get back to the car, get home. Forget how often you’re supposed to take the pills. Call the doctor. Talk to the secretary. He calls back. “Ok, one capsule every 12 hours, got it”. You start to take the medicine.

Yep, that’s it. That’s just plain, standard procedure to buy medicine in Brazil. It doesn’t even occur to you that any other way of getting medicine could even exist anywhere else.

And then you get to the US.

How would you buy medicine in the US:

(For all the Brazilians reading this, I share your pain)

You set an appointment at the doctor and are reminded about it by a call and a letter a week previous to the appointment. Get there. Almost immediately see the doctor (?!!??!). Make an exam. After 3 days, the doctor CALLS YOU saying: “I have the results, what’s the most convenient drugstore for you to pick up the medicine?” Half speechless, you say “the CVS kind of close to Central Square, Cambridge?”. The doctor accesses a freaking-kick-ass database and says “Sure, the one on Mass ave. 567”.You have divided thoughts about the doctor, half thinking “I want to make sweet love to this person this very second” and ”this guy has got to be on some kind of cult or high up on the Scientology hierarchy to know this and I’m scared”. Your thoughts are interrupted by your doctor saying your medicine will be ready to pick up in 30min. Trembling with emotion, you walk into the pharmacy, still not knowing what’s the deal and randomly say, with a “Me Jane – You Tarzan” tone of voice: “Camila here. You got my medicine?”HELL YEAH!! They do. They give you a small container with the exact amount of capsules you need for your treatment (tears of joy dropping off your eyes at this point) and with a label with your name, your doctor’s name and instructions on how to take the medicine. You start to take the medicine.

Now exactly what just happened here?

I honestly don’t know, till this day, how this happens. How does my doctor manages to tell my pharmacy exactly what to do, in such an incredibly smooth, efficient, fluid and perfect way?

It’s the absolute culmination of human evolution. We made it. We could just rest now.

Now, talking about accepting that some countries just do some stuff better then others: World, let’s adopt the American system of getting medicine. Like, right now.

Goddammit… is this country something or what?!

 

 

The tipping trap

A few months ago my dad came to visit. Now, my dad is a cool guy, tolerant, chilled, a decent citizen. There are few things in life that can make him loose it.

Turns out that the American tipping system is one of them.

So here’s the deal: to start, my dad gets to Boston and due to the crappy Brazilian Real to American Dollar conversion he has to multiply the price of everything by 4. Four! A coffee on Starbucks (here he is again!), which is already pretty expensive for any average working American costs about the same as a bottle of Martini in Brazil: needless to say that my dad barely drank coffee during his visit.

So the guy is already freaking out about the fact that a bottle of Budweiser will cost him about 8 dollars (about 32 Brazilian Reais) and when he’s about to pay the bill, surprise, surprise!! It’s actually kindda $9,50, sir. Now, come on, just imagine you’ve had the most expensive beer of your life (you’re probably at the LA international airport right now) and on top of that, they charge you 6$ with no apparent reason.

What?!

I have to say, my dad is… assertive when it comes to money, so if he feels he’s being fooled, trapped or tricked he’ll go ballistic on you. And in this case, oh dear, he wasn’t’ happy. Not only about the absurdly expensive beer, but also about the fact that he felt the restaurant (hum… doubting if I should call the bar/all you can eat Peking duck buffet/ rooster fight joint on the corner of my street a restaurant) wasn’t being honest with him. Why say “Budweiser – $8”, why lie about it if they’re gonna charge you $9,50”

Seriously – what’s with that?

Ok, so let’s explain daddy one of the first lessons I learned when I first got to the US: the deal is that most times the price you see in restaurants, stores, rooster fight joints and any shop in general does not include taxes. So, for that Budweiser, taxes would be around 6%, which is about 50 cents. I don’t know why taxes are not included in the price, but they just aren’t. So you slowly get used to calculating an extra 5-10% on top of the price on the price tag. Ok. I can deal with that.

But then, besides that, when you go to any – and I mean ANY – bar, restaurant, café, diner, food-truck and any hipster food related establishment of the sort, automatically you’re going to include a 15% tip. It’s not you being super nice, it’s not to impress your date, it’s not because the waiter is a younger, hotter version of Colin Firth. Unless the service was complete crap, and I mean someone spitting on your burger, you having to wait for 2 hours to get seated or the sommelier offending your mom, this 15% is just standard.

And there’s more: even if you sit directly at the bar to ask for that bottle of Budweiser, you’ll have to pay an extra dollar for the immeasurable service of having someone opening the bottle for ya. A dollar. For EACH beer. Ouch.

So imagine how mesmerized my dad was when he realized that tipping IS expected 100% of the times but it’s included in the price of the food on… 0% of the menus. “Jesus Mary and Joseph!” (or something in Portuguese slightly less polite than that).

And you know what? I agree. I’ve tried to play devil’s advocate and explain how a waiter’s salary in the US is less then my 7 year old cousin’s weekly allowance, that these guys work super hard and they’re working to pay their school debt, that they could be stealing, they could be killing, they could be playing that peruvian flout on your 50min subway ride to the airport, but they’re not, they’re trying to build something with their lives, working to pay the rent.

But my dad’s argument is simple and pretty straightforward: the problem is, obviously, not paying so that waiters earn a decent salary but to leave out taxes and tips from the price at the menu. Why misleading the consumer this way, making people think something is gonna cost $8 and them stabbing them in the back (ok, we’re getting a bit emotional here) with a $9,50 bill? It’s just frustrating to always have to pay more than you had mentally prepared yourself to pay. Yeah dad, you got me there.

I’m spending some days in Australia and I have to say, I’ve recovered the joy of buying food. I see “Sandwich for $9” and I – wait for it… – pay $9. Coffee: $3,50. Here’s three-fifty. Hurray, the (eating out) Universe makes sense again!!!

“Glad to hear it, sweetheart, enjoy. Because you know, Boston is waiting for you. With tips, taxes… and, oh, a few months of cold, cold winter…”

 

On panties and acceptancy

Ok, let me try and explain myself here: there are some stuff in this world that some countries just do better than others. They just do. The drill is usually one country starts doing something really well, basically better than anyone else. And with time, every other country just acknowledge it and start taking that other country’s good job as a benchmark and kind of start copying it.

Confusing? Ok, take France, with wine. Ta-da! Success!! So France started to make wine, like, ages ago. And it kind of turned out good. And then great. And then awesome. And so today when you think about what should be the world’s best wine (ohhh those thoughts that haunt us just before we fall asleep), you probably think it’s a French wine. And because of that every other country tries to emulate the French way to do wine, which makes sense. And basically this model works for a bunch of stuff, like Russian vodka, Spanish ham, Greek yogurt and German husbands (aaaww…). Just good old resource optimization, survivor of the strongest or whatever Darwin/Beakman would like to call it.

It’s stuff that, with time, the world somehow knows that THAT way in which THAT country does something is just better. Period. And that’s fine, I mean, there’s no reason to feel defeated here, get jealous and awkwardly insist on your local crappy version (sushi restaurants who think that cream-cheese filled Temakis are a thing, I’m talking to you!). Let’s just embrace the superior version created by another country, no hard feelings, and move on.

And here I am thinking that this model was pretty much established with Brazilian panties.

Not really.

Everybody knows that, for decades, European and American women (I say survivors!) lived in the shadows of duality between the “old-granny’s panties” and the “I’m-a-Victoria’s-Secret-model-and-my-perfectly- worked-out- ass-can-open-a-beer-bottle thread thongs”

I know, sad story.

On one hand, old-granny panties, pinnacle of the anti-aesthetic, worst enemy of one’s leggings and pencil skirts. That panty that yep, was pretty comfortable, but would make even Gigi Hadid unappealing.

On the other, the thong. A panty that could be considered sexy (meh) but that insists to crawl itself into unknown depths of one’s body in a way that it is impossible to remain remotely elegant. Or in a good mood.

And meanwhile, in tropical lands: shazam!! A panty designed to perfection! A beautiful balance between comfort and aesthetics, simple, efficient, beautiful. An ode to the profound comprehension of what it is to be a woman, a wonder of modern engineering. State of the art design.

The Brazilian panty.

So in the past few years globalization, the Internet of things, millenials with too much free time and gym’s dressing room selfies spread the word about the Brazilian panty to the world. And what would you expect? The obvious extinction of any other failed and obviously inappropriate panty shape. One was never to grin over a granny-panty on a strangers’ laundry basket again or witness the oh-so-embarrassing tucking-off of a thong in one’s life. Amen!

Right?

Well, from my experience, I know that Spain has pretty much caught up with the trend – you would still eventually find a granny-panty on a clearance of a $4,99 shop and the thong does still have some popularity (guess Spaniards just have a fuckin’ a-mazing bottle-opener ass…) but what’s really hot right now is the “brasileña” model. Naturally.

So last week here I am, in beautiful Boston, in this boring old task of shopping for underwear (yep, glad to share this moment with you here), to replace old “what ARE all these stains!?” panties and what do I find, ladies and gentlemen???!

Dozens of granny panties!

Piles of thongs!

?!?!?!

Let me tell you, I’ve tried. Oh, god knows I have. I’ve looked around, tried some outlets, fancy lingerie shops (only to find EXPENSIVE granny panties!. !!!. ), even tried Victoria’s Secrets, which I would assume it would be more edgy panty-wise.

Nope, nada!! Got home empty-f*-handed.

Why? Why, America? Why my dear people of Massachusetts? Obama, please help me out here – is there still time to do something about it?

I mean, come on you’re like world reference for so much stuff! You’ve got freakin’ Hollywood, you guys! NASA! You’ve invented the George Foreman grill! You have Las Vegas! Jay-Z!

Seriously. Why don’t you just drop the act and face it that in this very VERY small aspect of life, which is the panty, America has just failed. Is it so hard to ask you folks to accept the fact the Brazilian panty design is just plain superior? I think it’s time. It’s time to let go and let the Brazilian panty conquer the (shelf/…groin?)-space it deserves, once and for all.

So here’s my plead. In case Obama ever reads this post.

 

Procura-se tutorial sobre como limpar banheiro sem ralo

A minha sina do ralo, ou no caso da falta de ralo, não começa nos Estados Unidos.

É uma luta que vem me acompanhando já há anos, desde que eu me mudei pra Espanha há 6 anos atrás eu venho sofrendo com esse grande desafio, esse calvário que é limpar um banheiro sem ralo.

E ao longo de todos esses anos todos, eu passei por muitas fases psico-neuróticas-somáticas diferentes. Teve primeiramente a surpresa, é claro. Aquela primeira vez que você lava o banheiro como deus manda, como você acha que tem que ser feito, como sempre se fez desde sempre, desde a Grécia antiga, ou seja, jogando baldes de agua na parede, no teto, no chão, em você mesma, porque faz parte, em tudo.

E aí você descobre que não tem ralo e que aquele riozinho que você mesmo criou no seu próprio banheiro, ele não tem pra onde escoar. E então não tem outra solução a não ser passar as próximas 3 horas e meia passando pano e mais pano e mais pano até que  se acabam os panos secos que você tinha, você pega sua toalha, você pega o lençol da pessoa que divide o apartamento com você ate chegar num nível digno de secagem e ainda tem que fazer um acabamento com o papel toalha. São horas.

Ai vem a negação. Tipo não pode ser que não tem ralo. Que banheiro falho é esse sem ralo. E você começa a observar que não existe ralo nunca. Em nenhum lugar. Jamais. Vem a aceitação. Você tem que lidar com isso.

Mas aí na Espanha meu amigo, você tem uma ferramenta pra responder a essa falta de ralo. Pra compensar esse erro grotesco de engenharia que vem se perpetuando ha séculos naquele continente. É a fregona. A fregona é incrível porque ela te permite encher um balde de agua com o produto de limpeza mas ela tem um device, uma estrutura tal que da pra tirar o excesso de água antes de esfregar o chão. Então é um processo mais longo que o do ralo , mas satisfatório. Você esta em paz com você mesmo no ato de lavar o banheiro.

Então eu me adaptei. Não era o ideal, mas dava pra deixar o banheiro bem limpinho e viver feliz.

Daí eu vim pros Estados Unidos.

E você acha que essa coisa de não ter ralo é uma coisa europeia, da revolução francesa, dos bolcheviques, sei lá. Mas não. Eu tô começando a achar na verdade que só no Brasil tem ralo. Porque aqui não tem também não.

Só que aqui não tem fregona.

Então como faz? Não sei.

É a verdade e a razão pela qual eu estou aqui, fazendo esse apelo, esse pedido sincero através da internet que é essa rede maravilhosa que liga todos nós com o objetivo último e final de transmitir conhecimentos e conselhos sobre fatores tão essenciais da vida como limpar dignamente o banheiro sem ralo.

Vocês podem perguntar: tentou youtube? Tentei.

Tem tutorial de limpeza nos Estados Unidos, mas eu não gosto da ideia de passar só um paninho no banheiro. Não acho que tá limpo. Não tá limpo.

Tentou você mesma usar técnicas diferentes, vanguardistas controversas? Sim.

Dá pra limpar. Mas leva muitas horas, muita água, muito ficar ajoelhado secando o riozinho que se forma no chão com  muito pano. Não pode ser a solução. Não pode ser.

Tentou perguntar pra um Americano como eles fazem? Não.

Não tentei porque eu não tenho intimidade com nenhum Americano suficiente pra perguntar: e aí, windex ou ajax? Esponjinha ou pano? Você também se ajoelha e fica secando o riozinho do seu banheiro cada semana? Não tenho intimidade pra isso, na verdade eu mal conheço Americanos, eu acabei de chegar e eu não quero arriscar essa amizade que tá ainda numa linha tênue trocando informações sobre limpeza de banheiro sem ralo. Eu nem sei como fala ralo em inglês, pra começar (diz google translate que é drain. Tem a palavra pra quê, se num tem o ralo?)

Então fica aqui o pedido de um tutorial sério, comprometido, real sobre como se lava um banheiro lavando mesmo, sem ser só paninho. E sem ralo.

Grata.

Sobre calcinhas e aceitação

Deixa eu ver seu eu me explico: tem algumas coisas no mundo que alguns países simplesmente fazem melhor do que outros. Então assim, um país começa a fazer uma coisa, e começa a fazer essa coisa muito bem. E os outros países reconhecem isso, tomam aquele pais como referência e começam a fazer mais ou menos igual. Tipo: a Franca com o vinho. Opa! Sucesso. Eles começaram a fazer vinho, há muito tempo atrás, o negócio foi dando certo, dando certo, dando certo e hoje em dia se você pensa em qual deve ser o melhor vinho do mundo, te vem um vinho francês na cabeça. E como isso tem vários exemplos pelo mundo, tipo vodka é a da Russia, o jamón tem que ser ibérico, o melhor iogurte é grego e o melhor marido, alemão. Boa e velha otimização de recursos, sobrevivência do mais forte ou o que quer que seja.

São coisas que com o passar do tempo, o resto do mundo foi vendo que AQUELA maneira que AQUELE país tinha de fazer AQUELA coisa era A melhor maneira. E ponto. Então ótimo, não tem razão pela qual achar isso ruim, ficar com inveja do outro país, insistir na sua versão local que é pior, mas só porque é a sua versão, onde já se viu? Vamos abraçar essa versão melhor que o outro país criou sem drama, bola pra frente.

E eu sempre achei que isso já estava muito estabelecido com a calcinha brasileira.

Todo mundo sabe que por décadas as mulheres Europeias e Americanas viveram nas treeeevas da dualidade entre calçolão e fio dental.

Uma história triste.

De um lado, aquele calçolão de vó, que marcava da maneira mais antiestética qualquer calça ligeiramente mais justa que você botava. Aquela calcinha que sim, era confortável, era acolhedora mas deixava até a Adriana Lima meio brochante.

Do outro, a calcinha fio dental. Uma calcinha que talvez possa ser vista como sexy (nhem.) mas que inevitavelmente ficava entrando dentro do seu ser em tamanha profundidade e com tamanho desconforto que era simplesmente impossível manter o bom humor – e a elegância. Impraticável.

E, enquanto isso, em terras tupiniquins, olhe veja: uma calcinha desenhada à perfeição! Um equilíbrio lindo entre conforto e estética, de uma simplicidade e eficiência surpreendentes, uma ode a compreensão plena do que é o ser feminino no seu âmago mais profundo!!! A calcinha brasileira.

Daí nos últimos anos, globalização, internet, e essa coisa toda divulgou a calcinha brasileira pelo mundo. E o que você esperava? Obviamente a extinção de qualquer outro modelo meia-boca e redondamente inadequado de calcinha. Nunca mais veríamos um calçolão ou alguém vergonhosamente desenterrando uma calcinha fio dental na vida. Certo?

Bom, na Espanha eu te digo que a tendência é bem assim – você ainda encontra alguns modelos calçolões, e algum resquício de fio dental mas o que bomba mesmo é o modelo “brasileñas”. Óbvio.

Pois então essa semana lá vou eu aqui em Boston fazer o que é essa tarefa banal de comprar simples “calcinhas de algodão para repor calcinhas  velhas” e o que eu encontro???

Dúzias e dúzias de calçolões de vovó.

Pilhas de calcinhas fio dental.

Gente, juro eu tentei. Eu rodei muita loja, tentei outlet, loja de lingerie, pensei que talvez na Victoria’s Secrets, que é mais pra frentex eu encontraria alguma versão mais abrasileirada, um modelo experimental… em vão.

E então eu me pergunto, por quê, EUA? Meu povo Americano! Obama!

Vocês são referencia mundial pra tanta coisa! Vocês tem Hollywood! Nasa! A George Foreman grill! Las Vegas!

Por quê não deixar de lado essa bobagem, encarar que nesse quesitozinho tão ínfimo o modelo Americano falhou e assumir de uma vez por todas a superioridade brasileira no design de calcinhas? É hora de deixar pra trás o que não deu certo, o que foi superado, deixar a calcinha brasileira conquistar o espaço que merece nesse país!

Eu deixo aqui o meu apelo. Vai que o Obama lê o post.