Letter from the Vice-president
It is my honour as vice-president to be writing to you here in our CIS President Priya's column for a very happy reason. Baby Jayden was born during the writing of this quarterly newsletter and we hope both mother and beautiful baby-boy are healthy and tranquil! Congratulations!!!
The last time we all saw Priya was at our traditional Day at the Races in August. Baby Jayden was already practicing his dancing moves within her lovely belly, but she was able to help give out prizes and participate in the event. She even won some diaper-money at the horse betting! Read more about our latest Day at the Races event below.
This month we talked to a notable Canadian trying to make a difference in Brazil. Aaron Day is a CIS member and founder of an exciting social-entrepreneurship project: The Wild Orchid Project. Learn more about the project and help the cause by donating to his project. In this newsletter, we also have a profile of one of our newest and coolest members: Camille Miller. Welcome Camille!
As we are coming up to the end of 2014, we'd like to thank everyone who attended our events this year. There were few of them, due to scheduling issues around the World Cup and Election, but they counted even more because of you, our members.
The fun isn't over yet, however: please join us for our last event of the year - the CIS X-mas Party and Annual General Meeting. You will be receiving more information about the event within the next 2 weeks by e-mail. You can also stay tuned to our website and Facebook page to know more.
In the next few weeks, you will also be receiving a call for help to continue funding the Bright Teeth Project at Casa São José. We are planning a crowd-funding project to make sure we can continue to aid the clinic in purchasing supplies and maintaining equipment and facilities. Please donate!
We hope to see you all at the Christmas Party!
Rua Joaquim Antunes, 210, Jardim Paulistano, SP
This is a fabulous little fine dining restaurant located in Jardim Paulista. Mani opened in 2006 and is named after the native indian goddess of manioc (a woody shrub native to South America and a popular food for all Brazilians- tastes similar to squash or sweet potato). Legend has it that the goddess was buried in her native home of Brazil, and it was there that the well-loved Brazilian root first grew.
My husband and I first tried Mani when we were invited to dinner by another couple, some friends of ours who had made reservations well in advance. And you definitely do need to make reservations well in advance before attempting a dinner. I would think that 2-3 weeks should work. They do have some walk-in space but it is limited. Lunch might be less busy- but I doubt it.
I have to admit, I was very curious to try this place. I had heard great things. Great reviews: in 2013 and 2014 Maní secured a place in the ranking of the 50 best restaurants of the world. Chef Helena Rizzo was awarded top female chef in Latin America in 2013, as well as top female chef in the world for 2014.
I was curious and excited to try it out- but also a little concerned. First, about the prices- Sao Paulo fine dining restaurants can be astronomically priced. And second- about the portion size. I mean, would I pay a million dollars for a meal and then need to order a pizza afterwards because I was still hungry? I love food. My husband loves food. We are not opposed to paying good money to eat food. But it better fill us up by the end of the meal.
After eating at Mani all I have to say is GO. We all thoroughly enjoyed our meal and our entire dining experience at Mani. It is a contemporary space that is pleasant and comfortable. The long entrance corridor displays the art of upcoming artists. It is a welcoming space to dine.
The cuisine also leans towards contemporary, and where possible, organically grown. However, many dishes seem to be inspired from everyday Brazilian food. And it is delicious! From the couvert (which you must try!) to the appetizers (moqueca and the guacamole stood out!) to the mains (at this point my husband and I have pretty much covered the beef dishes- deeelish!) to the desserts (mmmm brigadeiro!). Not one of us was disappointed with our orders. And though they were not huge plates- they were definitely NOT tiny plates (or food for ants as I like to say). With a starter, a main and a dessert each we were plenty full. Not to mention the amazing wine list and a must-try specialty caipirinha menu. A real delight.
For two people to each enjoy a starter, main and dessert, along with some wine or cocktails (without going overboard), you would be looking at about $R600, which we thought was a great price for a couple, and fair value for the truly amazing dining experience we all had.
After that dinner, I quickly made another reservation (3 weeks in advance) to go with our Toronto friends visiting for the Copa in June. They are still talking about their amazing dining experience at Mani as well.
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When I was here last, our daughter was three months old. We had just come from Switzerland, in the mid of winter and arrived as three pasty,gleaming white, somewhat clueless expats…Well maybe that was just me. Most likely just me!
My husband has a corporate public relations company called Speyside Corporate Relations, that deals with foreign investment into Latin America (http://www.speysidecr.com).
We initially came here to open up the first office, and stayed for almost a year and a half. In that time Ian opened a few more offices in and around Brazil and our daughter started walking and talking. Her first words were the normal ones, you know : Dada (why always first?), Mama, more milk and funny enough Chegou!!
After living in an apartment with daily trips in the elevator and also being a family who used taxis as main transportation- Chegou! and Chegamos were Hannah’s first words…That was cool.
Whilst being here over the year and a half we made fantastic, lifelong friends and I was involved in local playgroups, which eventually became my clientele for a Kindermusik class…Hannah was now at an age where I could teach some classes in the mornings and also do a small amount of ‘wrawking out’ (imagine a 'guitar-wielding mom out on a night pass’ kind of thing) at night with a band of local Brazilian musicians…Best of all worlds!
In between leaving and returning to Sao Paulo, Ian and his team opened a few more offices in different parts of Latin America, and we got to experience living in Colombia (where our son Samuel was born) and lastly in the heart of Mexico City. We have loved everywhere we have been, and are thrilled to be back in Sao Paulo for another kick at ‘partially learning another language’In my experience, I learn my own version of languages…I call it the‘Taxi- conversational’ level. As I mentioned earlier, we have not really lived anywhere for too long of a time, where we thought we needed to buy a car, and up until now, travelling by taxi has been the easiest form of transport for us…it also happens to be where I learn languages the best…You know how it is, you can only see the back of the driver’s head and their eyes…You never get to see their mouth, and often play a great game of guessing what they are saying…You get to pick up the patterns of what they most likely will say, and you learn the correct responses….After a few months of this similar banter, inside the privacy of a taxi, YOU WILL SOUND fluent!- it works really well, unless you get lost, and the driver asks you a different question, or if you don’t have enough money to pay for your ride, and try to sound indignant whilst speaking the little bit of the language you have picked up…Inevitably, you will start swearing in English, and the game is over.
A couple of things I have noticed that have changed is firstly, the invention of the TAXI 99 app…This HAS revolutionized taxi travel in this city…Mostly for the better I think… There is a negative side though, which I have discovered…I used to LOVE how you could always go out on your street, over to your neighbourhood Ponto De Taxi, and chat with your regular guys (in your 5 practiced phrases) and get a taxi…NOW you pretty much HAVE to have this APP on your phone (which also means you have to have a smart phone, which leads to my 2nd change that I have noticed) in order to get a taxi…Gone are the days where you can flag a car, because they ALL have this app on their phones on and that little voice is calling out every two minutes “ Taaaaaaxi! Taaaaaaaxi” even my kids sing along…I have heard nothing but rave reviews from all of the drivers I have asked btw!
Second thing, is the increase of phone usage here on the streets…Maybe it’s everywhere in the world, and maybe I just haven’t noticed…These past few weeks are also the first time in a few years where I have been walking around ‘noticing things’ as my two children now have started school…In fact, both of the things I have noticed as different since coming back, may have been here the whole time…It could just be me that has changed…lol
I am thrilled to be a part of the CIS this time around and look forward to helping out where I can with some of the fantastic charity work that is being done here... I may even make it out to an event or something…I don’t want to make any big promises or anything, but I do believe in baby steps!
As far as improving my Portuguese, I am afraid my Taxi days are almost over as I now have two toddlers who tire of floating in the back of a cab with Mother clenched tightly and can clearly say “Aqui e bom, O Señor !” when they want out…This as you can imagine has led the driver to stopping in strange places a couple of times already….We will be buying a car this week and I have faith that I will be spending a lot of time with car mechanics now…I look forward to the DIFFERENT types of conversation I will now be having!! Never a dull moment!
Vila Madalena is one of São Paulo's bohemian neighbourhoods and made the news during the World Cup as thousands of football fans decided to watch and celebrate at Vila Madalena's bars. The area has been edgy and alive at night since the 1970's, when students from the nearby University of São Paulo Campus discovered it's charms and inexpensive rents. Since then, certain corners, like that of Rua Aspicuelta and Rua Morato Coelho are rarely quiet after 6 pm. Several of São Paulo's best bars, restaurants and art galleries are within the neighbourhood. Although some of the streets are a little steep, it's well worth walking around and visiting venues like Grazie a Dio , for live music, Lá da Venda for pão de queijo, Madeleine for some pizza and jazz, as well as Jacaré Grill for some sizzling picanha. The Vila Madalena Fair, an event which closes off streets with stands selling food, crafts and live music usually happens on the last weekend of August.
Dear Members: As you all know, the CIS is a organisation run on the support, and generosity of its members.
Without you, we cannot build the community we believe is possible.
With that in mind, please see below our new tiered membership fees.
Please contact email@example.com, to pay or renew your membership or receive additional information about the membership categories:
- Individual Membership: R$100
- Couple/Family Membership: R$150
- Seniors (over 65)/Student Membership: R$ 50
- Patron's Circle: R$ 500 and up
Day at the Races
It was such a beautiful day and we had lot's of excitement and great winning energy at our 2014 Day at the Races. The feijoada and caiprinhas didn't weigh anyone down and by the end of the afternoon we had quite a few winners.
Raffle prizes included a box of wonderful Sophie&Theo's Cupcakes, which didn't even last until the end of the event. Thank you Jamie! The children had fun watching the horses and doing pony-rides, while the adults enjoyed great company and cheering at the finish line.
A huge thank you to everyone who participated. We raised over R$ 900,00 at the event, which will help us continue funding the Casa São José Bright Teeth Project.
Ah, November... reminds us of spring showers (hopefully!), Christmas Shopping and.... electing a new board!
Yes, we need to elect our 2015 board of directors and we need your participation!
The election itself will occur, as usual, at our X-mas Paty / Annual General Meeting.
We are honoured that our current President, Priya Guyadeen is available to stay on another year, but we need other positions filled. If you have a few hours per month to help us and you would like to get involved with events, membership, sponsorship, or charities, get in touch with Sandy, our VP : firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please save the date for our X-mas Party/AGM - 28/11/2014.
Mark it in your calendars: Friday, 28th of November is the date of our CIS X-mas Party and Annual General Meeting.
If you have some time to help us decorate and organize the party, please get in touch: email@example.com
We can't do it without you!