When they say “break a leg”..

Today I managed to visit an airport, an old mine turned into an office building, a medical clinic and a sandwich place that offers free food to anyone who could eat its largest food challenge (hint: 6 burger patties, plus 40 something other ingredients). Details to follow..

And no, I didn’t break my leg. attaching a picture of a horse, outside the office building in Belo Horizonte.


Today was an interesting day. One of those that makes me so grateful for not having a routine at work.

It started with a 1 hour, turned into 3, with my boss, the other managers (my teammates) and his executive career coach. It was more of a therapy session geared towards discussing his strengths and weaknesses and how we could help him realize his leadership potential. I felt so torn between being honest and being smart in giving my input while keeping the boss happy. Thank God for biz school management classes and other cheap psychology knowledge which allowed me to come up with the constructive feedback with something along the lines of “I really appreciate your energy and enthusiasm, and since it is contagious to our team dynamics, the flip side is that when you are in a bad mood, it affects our mood as well, so this is a development point”. Argo: “please don’t take your shit out on us…etc”. Thankfully the meeting was in Portuguese, which helped me keep my mouth shut and not say anything I may regret after.
I think I’m going to look into this career coach business. Seems like a good cash cow..

The next activity of my day was a presentation to a group of 50 part-time MBA students from the midwest. I was a bit worried since it was my first time to make an hour long presentation for a large audience. Especially about something I don’t know too well (ie the entire business strategy of my company). But once again, I exceeded my own expectations and delivered the presentation almost flawlessly and even got laughs from the audience. Luckily, the students didn’t ask too many questions and were partially sleepy or hungover (or both). Boss was once again happy.

My third activity involved me mentoring my analyst and empowering him to do his job better and take initiative. That one is still work in progress but have been enjoying this exercise in psychology quite a lot.

Grobby is evolving indeed. Good times!

Sunshine or Rain, we will not stop the party!

I came back home this Sunday evening, all wet and covered with mud, happy to reflect on a great weekend that finished way too quickly!

My birthday was this week, and I like to keep those days sort of low key and with close friends. Apparently, this is not allowed in Brazil. My Brazilian co-workers kept coming up to me every 5 mins and asking me when is the party and what am I doing and how come I am not having a huge party (kind of the same story of Christmas – “awww, you are not going home for Christmas, awwwww….”.. “I’m Jewish!!”, “so, what?? here everyone celebrates xmas”), which was very annoying as I had to explain again and again the same thing..  Actually in this case, I just really didn’t want to spend my birthday, drinking cheap beer with co-workers I am not even that interested in. This sort of spoiled my birthday mood ( I don’t like to be pressured), but I recovered the following day and went out every day afterwards, to celebrate with people I call actual friends..

Things really stepped up on Saturday because the sun was finally shinning and  I headed to Leme beach to watch grown up men jumping on each other and rolling over in sand. Yes – it was a rugby tournament, and only the need to drink my cold beer and watch muscular men running around kept me from not falling asleep under the sun. I don’t get this sport, but the men seemed happy to be beating each other up and showing off their bruises. Oh well..

In the evening, we checked out the super-cool Paxecho bar in Horto, before heading over to Tijuca to watch a samba school show, courtesy of the frenchman, who tipped us about this place. As I was standing in line to buy the entrance ticket, I noticed the really long line of male couples, with hardly any women in sight. It then turned out that Unidos da Tijuca, is a gay samba school. So it was the gay parade meet samba school with tons of drunk transvestites, dressed in slutty miniskirts and high heels. The music sounded like an organized noise and the place was filthy, littered with beer cups and god knows what else. Once we’ve had enough, we went outside, where we were lucky enough to catch a drag queen comedy show, with the main star Xuxa, telling about jokes how carioca men are so much that they beat up gay people.. I didn’t think this one was so funny. The highlight was when Xuxa found a Canadian in the audience and started speaking English to him “I love you”, “This is a table”, “My name is Xuxa”, and other random phrases.. without realizing the guy was actually French Canadian!! 😀 We love Xuxa!

Today I ended up in the rain, dancing to the drum and sax music, next to the modern museum of art, at a mini bloco of Orquestra Voadora. What an incredible energy! I cannot wait to see them at the carnaval.


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The Brazilian Gym

In Rio (and perhaps in the rest of Brazil), there is a really crazy gym fashion. Women wear super tight and super bright tights to the gym (think 80’s leopard, zebra and fluorescent), accompanied with knee-high soccer socks. Ridiculous. The streets of my neighborhoods are swarming with the jungle animals.
Today I went to the source of the problem, the gym.

To my greatest shame I must admit that the last time I’ve visited such an establishment was about 3 years ago, so just the mere thought of returning put shivers down my spine. However, thanks to a motivated colleague of mine, I made the leap of faith and decided to find out the rates at the local “academia” (this is how they call gym here..).
We were greeted by a local gym beauty (ok, she was not so beautiful but I was very intimidated by the overload of exercise conscience people), who took us around the facilities. The rooms were CROWDED by young and fit people, looking all tanned and motivated. It felt like an episode of Fame or Beverly Hills. They were just too perfect.
Passing by the spinning room, I became oh-so-nostalgic, missing my amazing super-fun-and-super-gay spinning instructor Carl at Crunch in NYC, who made every painful class seem like a disco party. Those were the days..

Drifting between inspiration and anxiety, I got home and stuffed myself with food (cooked by my super-maid) and set myself to make an important decision.

To be continued…

New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro

Everyone I know booked tickets for exclusive New Year’s parties way in advance (R400 on average pp), except for me, with  my constant and worsening fear of commitments, paired with my cheapness.  And so, 10 hours before New Year’s eve I still had no idea what I will be doing in the city considered to be among the world’s  luxury destinations for New Year’s. My strategic plan was to rely on my crazy adventurous french friend (they are known for this), and he did not disappoint. And so, at 7pm, while my counterparts were going to the hair salon, planing to wear their newly purchased beautiful dresses,  I washed my hair, put on a random dress from my closet, smudged something on my face (I was going for the sexy rocker girl look), and headed to meet the Frenchman. He still didn’t know what’s the plan, except for going to Copacabana beach, and as it started to rain, I began regretting my plan of not to plan..

But of course, as it always happens in Brazil, things worked out for the best. Of course, I looked like a chicken that was pulled out of a washing machine, by the time we arrived to our destination, but thankfully, it turned out to be  a house party at some rock music fans (you can imagine the dress code) place in Copacabana, one block from the beach. Many rock songs (sprinkled with semi-pop ones courtesy to your truly) and beers later, it was time for midnight countdown. It was still raining but people kept pouring into the Copa beach with or without umbrellas. It was something magical.. fireworks in the rain among thousands and thousands happy people. I now understand the hype about this event!

I was planning to see David Guetta live on the beach and kept thinking he will come up after the never ending cheesy samba music performance but of course, I then found out that I went to the wrong stage and missed him! Klutz.

Trying to get out of Copa was then an adventure within itself. The streets were blocked for traffic and were completely packed with people. I got stranded in a middle of a human river but thankfully I managed to stay on my feet and not get squashed into pulp. I had never seen anything like this. It was when a drunk guy pulled out his willy and started peeing in my direction, I knew I had to get out of there ASAP (no worries, I took a bath in Agua Sanitaria – the local bleach disinfectant  as soon as I got home..)

Public transport was not really functioning and so I had to walk home, which was kind of interesting since I got to go by foot through some tunnels that are considered normally super dangerous for people to walk through (unless they are drug deals or prostitutes), but of course, with the crowds at that time, they were perfectly safe.

This morning, I discovered some pictures on my phone. Evidence to prove that everything did actually happen…

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