It's been 6 months since we landed in Atlanta and started a new life together. 
You are the absolute best part of it. And home will always be wherever I'm with you!


While Pedro works, I play! 

Grandma writes postcards

My grandmother is back in Portugal and is already planning for a trip to Atlanta next year! But I still have some things to share about her visit. Ana had suggested she write postcards made from photos of her here in Atlanta. And so she did! I printed out photos of my grandma in intriguing situations, glued a postcard back sticker and sat my grandma at Starbucks sipping a cappuccino and writhing to everyone in Portugal. At first she didn't know what to write so I helped her out. By the end of the 6th postcard, she was on a roll! 

If you got one of grandma's postcards, please send me feedback!

Halloween with Roy Lichtenstein

Even though I still have a few things to share about my grandma's last days here in Atlanta, I can't help but talk about Halloween. It's crazy over here: the whole month of October is all about carved pumpkins, cobwebs, haunted houses and the Little Five Points Halloween Parade. I really wanted to dress up as something interesting and after a bit of googling, thrifting and some DIY goodness, we came up with this:

It's polk-a-dot madness! We were characters from Roy Lichenstein's pop art paintings:

Sarah's the sobbing character.

Thomas is the betraying husband.

And I'm too pretty to work! 
We were stopped dozens of times to pose for pictures: some knew instantly who we were, some people thought we had the chickenpox. We looked great! Or as Americans like to say: AWESOME!
A week later Sarah and Thomas hosted a Halloween party and it was Pedro's turn to dress up:

grandma at pride parade

What would be the most unexpected place to take your grandmother? That's right: gay pride parade! I explained to her what the parade was all about and that it would be fun. She didn't quite understand at first mostly because I bought her a pink feather boa for her to wear and she thought it was somewhat of a Carnaval parade. When the parade began, she noticed that there were families, elderly people, children, basically, people of all ages watching the parade and she didn't feel like the weird one. At a certain point, she looked at me and said: "Are all these people gay?" That's when I knew she fully understood.  

Then they started handing out free stuff. That's when the fun began! All she wanted was to collect as many colorful chains as possible!

At the end of the parade, this is what she looked like. 
I had absolutely no responsibility in this. Ok, maybe just the pink feathered boa.

There is one thing that grandma and I do agree on: gay men are interesting to look at!

grandma goes pumpkin shopping

I've got so much to share about this past week, like the surprise visit from my cousins, but I couldn't resist sharing what we did today. I took grandma to a pumpkin farm and she loved being in the country side.

We were in luck because as soon as we got to the farm, there was a hayride about to begin and take us on a tour of the farm.

We brought home 2 small pumpkins (but not as small as the one she is holding!) and a bag of apples so next week I can make more pie!

She found the wagons really helpful and very easy to maneuver: 

grandma before and after

In her 84 years of existence, never has my grandmother put on makeup. She's a simple person with a simple rural life and the whole ordeal of enhancing beauty with makeup wasn't part of her day-to-day worries. But now she´s in Atlanta and she doesn't leave the house without a little touch of hair and makeup. You know what? She likes it!

Grandma before.


A touch of foundation. 

Eye shadow and eye brow pencil. 

Pink colored gloss and mascara.
Grandma after.

And then we went shopping. Notice the bright red nail polish? So nice!

grandma does the random stuff that grandmas do in atlanta

Grandma helps walk Charlotte. 
Grandma plays tennis.

Grandma eats blueberry pancakes for breakfast.
Grandma goes for coffee at Starbucks. 

Grandma goes to a climbing gym and watches really hot men sweat it out!

grandma goes to the high museum

We had free passes to the High Museum and so we took grandma. I managed to cramp my way into the recently created "back seats" of our 2 seat Mercedes so the three of us could drive to Midtown. But only 2 minutes after leaving the house we start to hear a very strange noise: our first flat tire!

Grandma wasn't worried and we got to the museum in time. I was the worried one, because how to you take an 84 year old lady that can only walk for 10 min. at a time to see a museum? Easy: the same way disabled Americans go shopping! There was a wheel chair for elderly people waiting for her at the entrance. So we strolled around the High Museum. The only thing she could really relate to and pointed out several times was that she had an uncle who did "the same works" like the ones she saw in the museum. He was a sculpture....

grandma goes shopping the american way

Need I say more?

grandma at yard sales

This morning we took grandma to a yard sale. She thought it was great to buy things at such a cheap price. We bought a cross stitching piece that's going up on the wall, it says: "a clean house is a sign of a misspent life". Grandma agrees.  

grandama visits a park and a cemetery

I got grandma all dressed up and pretty and took her site seeing. We went to Piedmont park for a short walk and then to Oakland cemetery. She prayed for the dead confederate soldiers because there were so many of their tombstones all lines up. Driving around she points out that everyone here in Atlanta has a dog and that she's never seen so  much traffic in her life.

Grandma keeps her watch to Portuguese time, so every once in a while she'll look at the watch and tell me what time it is in Portugal or that everyone is already asleep back home. She also tells me that if she knew that photos of her were being posted in the internet for everyone back home to see, that she would have put on her black mourning clothes, proper of her recent widow status. I tell her she's in America and people don't do that here. I think she prefers wearing colored clothes.

grandma at a drive-thru

On her second day here I took grandma for a quick, super quick, drive-thru eating experience. Good old, high calorie, greasy McDonald's. She says it's too salty. That's all the fast food she's having!

grandma is in the house

After being awake for 24 hours and a 16 hour flight with everyone treating her like a princess, my 84 year old grandma is here in Atlanta. How cool is that!? I'll be posting our daily "adventures" to share with everyone back home. Here she's skyping with my sister and cousins in Canada. She sends out kisses with her hand when she sees them live on the monitor, it's so sweet. Little does she know that in a about a week my cousins will be surprising her! I really believe that when a person gets to a certain age should be pampered and surrounded by family and love. It's my way of saying thank you for all the amazing things she did for me when I was growing up. Think about it. And if your grandparents live far away, give them a call. I'm sure you'll make their day!

community supported agriculture

CSA is community supported agriculture, a great way to eat healthy, organic and locally grown vegetables and fruit and support local farmers. Today we got our first bundle from Vegetable Husband. Every week, they home deliver what is in season from organic farms around Atlanta. The vegetables look like what my parents grow back home: ugly but delicious! In out bundle is: green beans, tomatoes, sweet peppers, eggplant, kale, butternut squash, lemon grass and delicious muscadine grapes... 

Grandma in ATL

My grandma is 84 years old and loves to travel. Convincing her to come to Atlanta for 3 weeks was easy. Too easy. She immediately went to her doctor and then got her passport. It's going to be interesting for many reasons, mostly because she's 84... and we want her to be a part of our daily life. 
Here's a list of things we plan to do with her:
- knit, knit, knit
- take her to Stone Summit, our climbing gym (but just to watch!)
- eat sushi and other "exotic" foods she never tried before
- bake bread
- have her make tons of her delicious soup
- ride around in our Mercedes with the top down
- go grocery shopping so she can ride one of those carts they have for people with reduced mobility
- take her on a picnic to Piedmont park 
- surprise her with the visit of Sandra, Nelson and Helena (my cousins and sister who live in Canada)

any other suggestions?


A follow up post: after much wait and despair these past weeks I received in the mail 2 beautiful pieces of plastic: my Social Security Card and my Employment Authorization Card. This means I can have a driver's license and legally find a job. No more loafing as an Atlanta housewife... 
But not all is peachy: on the down side, we found out we don't have health insurance. This means we'll get on the first plane out of here if anything happens! Don't you just love "first world" countries!? 

the computer says no....

Who´s familiar with this Little Britain sketch? You cross your fingers and hope this is only fiction and that in real life civil servants are nice and helpful people. Well not with the Social Security Administration (SSA) here in Atlanta. My adventures with them have been surreal! So for those who complain about Portuguese civil servants, trust me they are truly nice compared to the ones over here. 

I'm sorry this is such a long post but if you have the patience keep reading!
NOTE: Pedro received his SS card 2 weeks after our arrival. I'm still waiting for mine. 


1. The day after our arrival in Atlanta we went to a local SSA office to fill out the application for a Social Security Number. This was my first application. 
NOTE: the documents riquired are: passport with I-94 (Alien number) and because I have an L2 Visa, a copy of my marrigae certificate, which is written in portuguese (this will be interesting latter on!). 

2. In my first application they got my address wrong. So after waiting 2-3 weeks I went back, only to be told that they didn't know where the application was and how I applied so quickly for a SS number (because you have to wait at least 2 weeks before applying). To sum it up I had to fill out a second application.

3. I waited one month after which I returned to the SSA office. The nice man here told me that I had been attributed a SS number and wondered why I didn't receive a letter of notification. After a couple of minutes of searching his computer, he tells me he doesn't understand what was going on with my application and goes talk to his manager. He returns and tells me that something was wrong with the verification with Homeland Security (because I'm an "alien" the process goes through Homeland Security). Anyways, I would need to fill out my third application!

4. If you managed to read it up to this point, this is when it gets nasty. After one month I finally receive a letter saying that they weren't able to give me a number because Homeland Security was unable to verify my "legal alien status" but this did not mean I was ineligible for a SS card. The letter also stated that if I wanted someone at SSA could review my application. 

5. So I went to the SSA office once again to better understand what was going on. I had the most surreal treatment! The lady basically says: NO! No to all my questions. Refusing to review my application because she needed my marriage certificate (which I didn't have on me that day because they have 3 copies of it on file!) She says, and I quote "I am the one that works here!"; "I can't do nothing!"; "I can't search for your application!". I kept telling her that my application is on file, look for it! She says NO. Simply no. Come back tomorrow! 

6. I was furious! I exited the building, waited a couple of minutes, talked to Pedro on the phone and went back into the building, got another number and waited for my turn. This time I was attended by another "nice lady" that sat right beside the bitch that had served me just 15 minutes before. I asked her the same questions: can you review my application? can you tell me what was wrong? Not as bitchy as the first one, but without ever being nice, she gets up, goes to a file cabinet and gets out my application, reviews it and says: Homeland Security stamped your passport wrong with my first entry, instead of stamping L2 visa, they stamped L1 visa. Since I went to Toronto I got the proper L2 visa stamp but they still hadn't updated my status in the system. I would have to do a fourth application

7. The next day I go back to SSA office, with my passport and Portuguese marriage certificate (that had been accepted the other 3 times). I'm served by the same "nice" lady that had accepted my second application. She looks at my marriage certificate and hands it back to me saying she "can't read it"! I couldn't believe it! When I tried to explain, she interrupts me and says "DON'T TALK!"! Can you believe it! Don't talk! I laughed and ignored her and said that a couple of months ago I was sitting in the same chair and she accepted that same document, so she would have to accept! She literally snarls, gets up and goes check other applications with foreign documents. To her surprise and my pleasure, it's SSA responsibility to accept and translate foreign documents because there is no federal law that says English is the official language in the US! She snarls the whole way through the application and I sit there and smile in her face. 

8. Now I'm waiting for my SS card to come. If it'll ever come. And when it does, I will write a personal letter to the general manager of SSA in Georgia and to the office manager in Atlanta complaining about unprofessional behavior and explaining why courtesy and kindness should be universal principles in civil servants. They often forget that their paycheck comes from the people they serve. 
This post will serve as a draft. 

Thanks for reading.