1. Eric and I are rarely ever assumed to be American. Eric is called Argentinian quite often and I have been called a little bit of everything else: German, Australian, Swedish. They all know we aren't from here, but we get some weird looks when we tell them we are Americanos.
2. When you rent an apartment, you are responsible for carrying 'homeowners' insurance on it (fire, etc.) The owner of the apartment does not carry insurance on it except for when it is unoccupied. Interestingly, you have to add on coverage for planes crashing into your house. (Okay, I'm not sure who thought up that one, but somebody has to be making a killing off that, because apparently, everyone here adds that to their policy. Eric and I declined. If a plane crashes into our apartment...well, the airline will be hearing from our attorney!)
3. Toilet paper isn't usually flushed here. (I won't get into that again, just see the December 6, 2007 blog entry.)
4. Clothes dryers are a very rare commodity here. :(
5. Maids are very, very common here. (I think the plumbers that came yesterday were confused as to whether I was the occupant or the maid. I was cleaning windows while they were here. We are probably the only people in this neighborhood without a maid. Not complaining though! The trips we will get to take with the money we are saving will be well worth me having to scrub my own toilet.)
6. No one, except Eric and me, looks twice or giggles when a horse and homemade buggy come racing through the streets of downtown Belo Horizonte. (Now remember, the city is very modern and about the same size as Chicago or Atlanta.)
7. Fiat hatchbacks with a 1.0 liter engine are the standard here. Everyone picked on us for wanting a 'grandpa car' (since the Siena has a trunk, instead of the sporty hatchback.) We might be making up for the grandpa-ness of it since we are turning it in to a race car with that 1.8 liter engine. (Oh, and by the way, we haven't actually bought the car yet-it has to come from the factory which will take at least 30 days. We just decided what to order this week. Take a look at http://www.fiat.com.br/ if you are just dying to see the Siena.)
8. In this city of 5 million people in South America, there is only one Mexican restaurant. It isn't that great, it is pretty expensive, and no one goes there. Furthermore, no one here has ever heard of a tortilla or a taco, much less ever eaten one. They don't drink tequila or margaritas. So, no the food here isn't like Mexican or any other Latino country. It is Brasileiro.
9. Antibacterial soap is non-existent here. They don't have hot water in their kitchens. Dishwashers are hard to come by. Now you tell me how a girl is supposed to feel like her dishes are clean with no hot water, no antibacterial dish soap, and no dishwasher to heat and disinfect? Well, this girl bought a big bottle of cleaning alcohol and after I cut up raw chicken everything gets a good wipe down. My kitchen smells like a hospital now, but I haven't food-poisoned my husband either. (I did bring back a supply of Bath and Body Works Antibacterial Soap for the bathrooms at least!)
10. A garbage disposal is called a "tweeny" here. Our tweeny wasn't working when we did the walk-through on the apartment. The tweeny guy (seriously, there is a company in town that only sells and services garbage disposals) came and took it on Monday to see if he could fix it. If not, he is bringing us a new tweeny. Not really important, I just like the word tweeny. It sounds so much nicer than garbage disposal. And I laughed a lot the first time I heard the word. Go ahead, say it out loud, it will make you laugh too.