Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rationalizing

I got a piece of mail from Rogers, my cable and internet provider this week announcing changes to their cable pricing.  Normally I just toss these into my recycling but I've been reading Money Sense so fiscal responsibility is top of mind.  I thought about the TV that I actually watch - none of which lately include the specialty channels I've been paying a premium for so I called and downgraded my package, which saved me $30 a month.

Next on my list was my internet usage. I've been paying for 60GB of usage a month when my history for the last 6 months shows an average of about 5GB per month.  Stupid, right?  I'm actually rather annoyed at myself for throwing my money away but no more! The 20 minutes I just spent on the phone with the customer service rep will save me almost $500 a year!  So, yay for saving money!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday in Sao Paulo

It’s Valentine’s weekend in Brazil and I came back to my room at the Intercontiental to find roses waiting for me. Lovely, right?

The best thing about the Intercon, besides the comfortable bed and pillows is L’Occitane’s Verbena line of toiletries. My favourite scent! I’ve tucked away the little bottles every night before going to bed and when I come back to my room the next evening, there are new bottles waiting for me.

Anyway – this trip to SP has been muito otimo (very awesome), despite the usual intensity of traveling with senior execs because I’ve a colleague, J, from Toronto who’s here part-time that I’ve really bonded with. The execs left yesterday afternoon and I’m now able to get down to the work I was meant to do on this trip. I spent the day in the office and we called it a night around 7pm and spent the next 4 hours at a local pub for “happy hour.” I ordered a caipirhinia followed by a couple caipirsakes which are far smoother then the former. A Caipirsake is apparently unique to Sao Paulo and is a caipirhinia with the cachaca swapped out for sake which results in a drink that taste like limeade. YUM!


We ordered a fantastic carpaccio pizza and stewed beef 2 ways – one flavoured with gorgonzola and the other with mustard – and had a fantastic time. There was a lot of talk about work, but also about life.

J has raved about how generous and open all the Brazilians have been towards her – from our partners here and how open they’ve been in taking care and seeing that she’s felt welcome to the cab drivers who’ve given her a discount on her fare because her ride took longer than it should have because of construction which is clearly beyond their control. After tonight, I can attest to kindness of the cabbies myself. I don’t know any Portuguese so it was a very silent ride but my cabbie was attentive enough to notice my interest in all the furniture and home d├ęcor shops on the street we were driving down so he turned on the light when I pulled out a pen and paper to write down the street name. He said something to me in Portuguese – I didn’t understand precisely, but I know it was a comment on the concentration of shops, so when he wrote out my receipt for me, he turned it over and added something extra, and the something extra was “Gabriel Monteiro da Silva, Lojas,” the street name. How sweet is that? I left the cab smiling.

Meanwhile I’m crazy-itchy. Mosquitoes have feasted on me – my left side in particular since I’ve a bite on my elbow and not one, not two but THREE bites on my the lower half of my leg. Plus I’m allergic so they’re super-swollen. UGH!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Heading back to SP

I've been working much of this weekend in preparation for a business trip back to Sao Paulo. I leave tomorrow night with 4 others but instead of returning before the weekend as I have the 2 other times I've been, I fly home Sunday night! This means I'll finally have my chance to see the city beyond my hotel, the offices and the restaurants our partners take us to for dinner in the evenings.

I will be spending the weekend with another colleague from Toronto who will be staying for an extra week thereafter.  We'll be there for the kick-off to the World Cup so there's bound to be lots of festivities in soccer- (or should I say football?) mad Brazil.  Ooh!  And maybe I'll go shopping!  I don't know what the big tourist attractions are in Sao Paulo.  I know there are football stadiums and a public park comparable to Central Park....and there's a fancy mall with a really cool bookstore that I want to see.  Other than that, I'm just going to go with the flow.

I'm already planning my wardrobe for the week ahead so I don't over-pack!  Now, back to work!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Skinny Minnie

I've been working with a personal trainer now for 9 months and have seen significant results. Pants that used to fit are now saggy in the butt and hang loose off my hips, but on the plus side, I'm shopping my old wardrobe, now able to fit into pants that had grown too tight over the last few years, and shirts that made my muffin top all too apparent.  How thrilling is that?!

You know what's even more awesome?  I'm actually wearing belted skirts with my top tucked in!  I don't think I've EVER done that before in my life - at least not with a measure of confidence!!

Despite how proud I am of my leaner self, I'm rather embarrassed by the attention it's garnering.  It's not that I haven't been transparent about my efforts.  I've talked openly about my workouts and the changes I've made to my diet including the days I go low-carb/high-protein now that I'm in burn, so I should be happy that people are noticing.  But when my manager says, in the middle of a conversation, "Check out the pipes on this girl!" I squirm.  If I was a guy, I'd probably flex my arm in response just to show it off but instead I feel self-conscious.  And when another manager callls me a Skinny Minnie and my colleagues comment on how great I look, I feel uncomfortable because of the attention.

I know I should get over it, turn it around and be proud because I've worked so hard for these results.  But changing one's self-image takes time.  Not to say that my self-image was horrible before.  I know I sound like an ass when I say this but I know I'm pretty, and have even been called beautiful on occasion, though not usually cute, which is fair because I'm far too serious to be considered cute.  (I know, I'm an ass, but please, indulge me here.)  Yet I've never had the stereotypical thin Asian girl body.  I take after my decidedly pear-shaped aunt so have always been self-conscious about that, always comparing myself to other Asian girls. 

I know I will never be a skinny Asian girl - my hips will always be curvier and my bosom will always be, um, shall we say, modest, but I can learn to revel in the strength of my body.  I can do straight leg deadlifts and one arm rows with 65lb dumb bells and 100lb bar squats; I can even do real push-ups - 2 sets of 15, no less! - and I don't look like a butch.  I made it very clear to my trainer that I didn't want to look butchy.  How many skinny Asian girls can say the same? 
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