Cerqueira Leite

For all those wanting to know WHY I love Brazil, check these photos out!

Me and the "Advogads, Associados" of Cerqueira Leite

Here's some photos of the "Go Away!" party they threw me last night:

Founding Partner Ricardo Leite on the Guitar, everyone.

Seriously, this externship has been tremendous. Can't tell you how much fun, how educational, and how eye-opening this has all been. Oh, I think I'm gonna cry...




Here are some photos, etc. of my latest journey. Last weekend (holiday--Corpus Christi. Awesome) we went up the coast of Sao Paulo State and hit some beaches, swam a bit, and generally made ourselves tired. I swear, before I graduate from Law School, I am going to take a cruise and sleep the entire time we're on the ocean.

The morning of the first day. I was tired.

Speaking of oceans, I'm thinking of calling our boy-band "Footsteps" or "Tides of Sao Paulo." If you have good ideas, please share.

From left to right: Daniel, Sergio, Me, Valerio. Gente Boa!

Me and Valerio (my ex-companion who is graciously putting me up while down here) on the ferry. (*embarrasing note: I couldn't remember the word for ferry. "Balsa" was the only thing that would come to mind.)

I think there was a seagull out there, or maybe another ferry, but whatever it was, it was captivating.

The city of Santos. Would make a great postcard, don't you think?



Thanks Liz, for the Tag. Even though it was a hesitant tag(?), it was enough.

So, according to the original Tag, I'm supposed to write eight things that people don't know about me, but Liz wrote 10, so I'll keep to that. Here goes:

1. When I have to go up a dimly lit stairwell, be it at home, at a friend's house, a hotel, or at work, I run. I run fast. I take three steps at a time. Because who knows when someone or something could be sneaking up behind you...?

2. I REALLY like my family. As in, I like to hang out with them. Family vacations, watching the ball game, going out to dinner, chatting, getting together for family parties, barbeques, movies, etc. I love it all. My biggest fear is that they don't like me. But I'm pretty sure I'm everyone's favorite...but just in case, I remind them very frequently just how awesome I am.

3. When my brothers and I were younger, we used to pass time in sacrament meeting playing your usual church games--the "Line-Box-X" game, "M*A*S*H," Hangman, etc. However, one day, Timmy (younger) and I decided to tease my little brother, Mikee (youngest). Now, in those days, Mikee was firmly entrenched in his awkward phase. Acne, big head, big nose, big hair (thanks, East High!), etc. And, unfortunately, he was quite...gaseous. Actually, noxious might be the best word for it. One of his Sunday School teachers dubbed him "The Gas Man." On top of all that, being the youngest, Mikee had four older siblings who took every chance they could to get back at him for being the caboose. Thus, on these dry Sunday afternoons seated on the third bench of the chapel, center section, Timmy and I created our adolescent masterpiece: "The Life and Times of Mikee." The Life and Times was a serial published weekly on the back of the ward program and distributed amongst our family members. It became a weekly tradition, and usually involved Mikee, surrounded by the fumes he...generated, getting into some kind of silly situation which, while outlandish, often hit very close to home (like the time his face practically exploded after getting hit by a baseball--get it? His zits popped). Some of the greater episodes included Mikee's birth--shrouded in mystery, he was found in a stinky shoebox on the front porch; Mikee's dear friendship with a housefly named Travis; Mikee's love of Pokemon, and the creation of his own alter-ego Poke-character: Mikeachu; and the most tender moment of all, Travis' funeral at the age of 89. To his credit, Mikee took it all in stride, and even seemed to enjoy the attention. Thus, for your enjoyment, below are two pages from our 10-page Birthday present to Mikee this last year: "The Mission Years."

Note: Mikee is in Mexico

4. I'm an email/communications addict. If I have to go 2 hours without being able to check my email, my collar grows a little bit tighter, and a thin line of sweat starts to pepper my brow. Don't even get me started on the phantom vibrations I feel when my phone's not in my pocket.

5. I once let fly what Mikee used to call a "pharphignugen" in the middle of a Young Men/Young Women activity. I don't know if the stars aligned, if the fates had conspired against me, or if the very devil himself had a hand in it, but this outburst occurred during an awkward pause in all conversation, and at an impressive decibal level. In one of my proudest moments (also one of my most shameful moments) I turned to my good friend, Curtis Reese, and said, disgustedly, "Dude! Curtis!!!" To my eternal shame, the ruse worked. I often wonder how our lives could have been different had this event never transpired. Curtis, if you're reading this: sorry dude. Really.

6. I don't like water skiing much. Don't get me wrong, at the time, it's awesome: speed, control, rush, glassy water, mountains in the distance, good friends, good times. But every time I go, I get a massive headache afterwards. Pounding, light-hurts-my-brain, pulsing, painful headaches. The older I get, the less willing I am to make this trade-off.

7. Looking at everyone else's blogs, their links to my blog often make me feel lonely. While each and every other blog seems to be that of a happily married couple, mine is...just that: mine. Not "ours." ;*( My favorite example--for a long time, the Cotters had their links set up with the last names of the couples, i.e., "The Thorntons," "The Roberts," etc. My link read "The Eric Vogeler."

8. I firmly believe that my watching a sporting event has a significant impact on the outcome of a game. I cite the folllowing examples: whilst on my mission in Brazil, I didn't watch a single BYU football game. They sucked. Now that I'm home, they're playing pretty darn well. Also, I don't think the University of Utah has ever lost a football game that I've attended. Except for last year's BYU game, but that just proves my point. I also blame the Jazz' recent loss in the Western Conference Finals wholly on my inability to catch the games down here in Brazil. (P.S. Try watching a game on Yahoo.com's updated "Game Channel." It's a written play by play of the game. To "watch" a game this way is like reading the sports page as its written. Yep, it's as boring as it sounds). To those heart-broken Jazz fans, I'm sorry. I promise to stay in the states next summer. Or at least in a country where I have easier access to ESPN.

9. I cannot stand cheese popcorn. When I was about six, I watched Back to the Future 2 with my brothers and sisters while eating Orville Redenbacker's Microwave Cheese Flavored Popcorn. I spent a good amount of that night riding the porcelain bus or recovering on the bathroom floor. To this day, the smell of that fake cheddar makes me shudder.

10. My dream is to become an English Professor or write the next Great American Novel. So far, though, the closest I've gotten to either is BYU Law School and this Blog. Hmmmm....


1. David and Kristin

2. Annie and Jeff

Consider yourselves tagged.


I Found a Quiz For the Inner Dude

You scored as Maximus, After his family was murdered by the evil emperor Commodus, the great Roman general Maximus went into hiding to avoid Commodus's assassins. He became a gladiator, hoping to dominate the colosseum in order to one day get the chance of killing Commodus. Maximus is valiant, courageous, and dedicated. He wants nothing more than the chance to avenge his family, but his temper often gets the better of him.



Neo, the "One"


William Wallace


Lara Croft


Indiana Jones


El Zorro


Batman, the Dark Knight


The Amazing Spider-Man


James Bond, Agent 007


The Terminator


Captain Jack Sparrow


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com


What Goddess...am....I...?!

Because Barbara asked everyone to try this Greek Goddess test out, I thought I'd give it a try. Quickly realizing that there was no Greek God equivalent, I went ahead and tried it out. I am proudly:
Artemis – 33.3%
According to the site I "feel complete without a man in (my) life" and "would never compromise (my) essential nature for a romantic partner." Both of these are very true and thus skewed the quiz. Although I would very much miss my little brothers, my Dad, all my cousins and buddies with whom I grew up. And, being as sports are a very essential part of my nature, I don't know how long I'd last if my romantic partner asked me to give them up. However, because I'm certain that the future Mrs. Vogeler is a complete and utter babe, I'd do it for her. I would. But that kind of attitude would be coming more from... Aphrodite—25% The goddess of love and sexuality. If those two adjectives don't sum me up in as many words, I don't know what other two words would. Maybe "steel" and "sass," perhaps "Jazz" and "fan," or maybe even "German" and "Blondie" (the adjectives I hear thrown my way most in Brazil). Furthermore, according to the site, I "tend to be charismatic and self-assured, comfortable with (my) body and unrestrained sexually." Yes, indeed, I find I can be both charismatic and self-assured, even comfortable with my sculpted build. But after a year of law school, my build seems less like Michaelangelo's David and more like Richard Dreyfuss' mashed potatoes from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Yes, !Surprise!, sitting around all day studying, eating, studying, working, going to class, eating, going out, and eating (in that order) tend to add up rather quickly. But I take heart in the fact that my Aphrodite-esque characteristics will make me irresistable to the opposite sex.
Underneath my sexy exterior, however, a lingering set of insecurities gnaws at my self-esteem (or so says the quiz): Apparently I "tend not to form permanent attachments with lovers because (I) value (my) sexual freedom, which may leave (me) feeling lonely and even depleted once a relationship ends." Well, I know Mom's probably worried that I'm not married yet. (Mom--when you read this, I promise, I'll get to work on Grandkids as soon as I can. But first, I need to find a wife. Which requires a girlfriend. Which requires dates. It's a whole process thing...) So maybe this is the reason I haven't settled down with anyone yet--I value my "sexual freedom" too much. Whatever that means to a single white Mormon. Also, after ending any relationship, I think most of us feel lonely and depleted, at least for a little while. That must mean *cue nice, warm, violin solo* there's a bit of Aphrodite in all of us. (Ahhhh.....). But within my psyche, a third presence often makes herself known-- Hera—16.7% "(I am) confident and have no trouble asserting (my) authority in and out of the relationships." Couldn't agree more...or less. I feel like I'm pretty confident. I once walked up to a lovely young lady I didn't know, gave her some flowers and asked for her phone number. Pretty confident, no? Does it really matter that I was delivering the flowers her boyfriend had ordered for her from the Rose Shop, or that I needed her phone number to confirm the delivery? No. It doesn't. I'm also glad that Hera, as queen of the gods, has a little influence on me. Eric means princely or royal in my Father's native Norwegian. However, the authority part leaves room for concern. I therefore promise that, from this day forward, I will not put venemous snakes in my young child's bed, even if he happens to be a demi-god of supernatural strength.
Finally, there is a hard fought battle within my Ego and Id for the fourth place spot. I don't know if this signifies a healthy, well-rounded approach, or paranoid schizophrenia. You can decide for yourself. 8.3% Hestia
Don't think I remember Hestia. Maybe she was the goddess of "awesome." That would be spot on.
8.3% Athena
She's a smarty. I like to think I can be smart sometimes.
8.3% Persephone
Wasn't she the one dragged down to hell because she ate a pomegranate, and only allowed to visit the earth for the warm months of the year? Ahh, yes, I see the correlation. Law School=Hell.
Thanks, Barb, for the invite. However, next time, I'd prefer something less gender-specific, or perhaps a "Man Quiz" with guy-movie stars. I think I've got a good mix of Harrison Ford, Russel Crowe, Mel Gibson, and Simon Pegg (please go see Hot Fuzz!). Only, without any of their manic, inane tantrums and mid-life crises.
That, my friends, is all for the moment. Expect more on the morrow...

What Kind of Pirate AM I.... yo-ho?!

Found this online this morning. Let's see how it goes: p>What kind of pirate am I?'>http://rumandmonkey.com/widgets/toys/pirate/define.php?id=316842">What kind of pirate am I? You decide! You can also view a breakdown of results or put one of these on your own page! Brought to you by Rum and Monkey


São Pau-LIST-a

In honor of some of my more recent jurisprudential shenanigans and tomfooleries in Brazil, I’ve created a “Top Ten” list, combined with a sort of “Deep Thoughts” ethos. Hope you enjoy:
10) How’s this for ironic: Yesterday, I had to run a deposit over to a building called the World Trade Center on United Nations Avenue. A week ago, I ate at one of Brazil’s finer eateries: McDonald’s. My law firm lies in a neighborhood called “Brooklin,” where each of the streets carries the name of one our fine states. On top of it all, I currently reside in the “Americanópolis” neighborhood. Even after all of this, I have yet to meet an American in Brazil.
9) If you ever have the chance to teach English to a Brazilian, or any other foreigner, please take the time to pronounce carefully the words “Sheet” and “Beach.” Beyond that, take care to explain that there exists two not-so-nice words that can easily be confused with these, which have nothing to do with laundry or vacations. If you fail to do this, many innocent trips to a California Laundromat may end very tragically.
8) If your supervisor or even a colleague ever offers you “interesting” work, it’s probably not interesting. Really. If it were so engrossing, don’t you think your co-worker would be doing it? Instead, you are left to copy and paste information into excel documents. Interesting...
7) I have found that the most random events in the Universe can converge on my life like Brazilians onto High School Musical (true story—the juggernaut Disney movie, filmed at good ol’ East High school, recently sold out its touring show at TWICE the price of last year’s U2 concert in São Paulo) within a few days. Super-Happy example: Being with my Mission President, surrounded by old companions, in a country I love, when the Manaus Temple is announced. Irony-Sad example: Not having enough change to cover bus fare yesterday, and being forced to ask some of my fellow passengers for the five cents that I needed. Worse—it took a while to find someone willing to donate.
6) For those looking for adventure and adrenaline, all you need to do is get yourself dropped off in the middle of Downtown São Paulo and try and find your way back to the office. Alone. Without a sense of where you are. Did I mention alone? It sounds like a game I used to play with my little brother, only it was at the park, across the street from the house, not in one of the biggest cities in the world. (PS—I made it back)
5) Toilet paper cannot, under any circumstances, EVER be flushed down the toilet in Latin America. Enough said.
4) Office Work is Office Work, no matter where you are. Only, in Portuguese, it’s called “Trabalho do Escritório.” But, for some reason, that doesn’t give it the kind of latinny zip you’d expect. It’s still grindingly eye-weary at times.
3) Rice and Beans are addicting. For breakfast: Frosted Flakes, some fruit juice, and a banana. Dreaming about the Feijoada (black bean stew) I’ll be having with Arroz Mixto (kind of like rice-a-roni, only better) and farofa (I have tried for many years to describe farofa to people who have never had it. I think my father said it best when he called it “Salted texture”) at Lunch. For Lunch: Feijoada com Arroz Mixto e Farofa. Dreaming about the rice and beans I’ll be having at dinner. For Dinner: Rice and beans with some chicken and a pear on the side, with pineapple juice. Thinking about tomorrow’s rice and beans. It’s a cycle. It’s vicious. I try and convince myself that I can stop whenever I want, but I know I’m only spiraling downward. At least it’s a tasty, fairly healthy addiction. Much better than my longtime love affair with Thin Mint Icecream…
2) When Brazilians call you “fat,” they mean it in a good way. Not like “phat” in the states, but more like when you’re Mom lovingly called you “husky” or “thin” instead of “chunky” or “skinny.” Even then, that doesn’t do justice to the meaning. For example, most people would be offended if I went up to them and said Está parecendo gordo! –or– “You’re looking fat!” The reaction that would engender is something akin to what the neighbor’s cats do at 2:34 am every morning until someone throws a sandal. Actually, está parecendo gordo is like telling someone “Hey, you’re looking healthy,” only without any of the mean-spirited Ameri-Anglo-Saxon sarcasm attached. I just realized that this entry does not make any sense whatsoever. I apologize. You’re fat.
1) Laws are laws, lawyers are lawyers, people are people, and life is life, no matter where, what, or who you are. Of course, some members of those groups are more retarded than others. And isn't that what Forrest Gump was all about?


A Quick Follow-Up

Today, I got my revenge against Deficiency Woman. Well, really, revenge implies that I actively participated in this, so maybe Karma would be a better word. Yes...Karma caught up with her. Early this morning, while riding our usual bus--the 5930 to Brooklin Novo--the extreme cold (read: 50 degrees Fahrenheit) caused everyone in the city to get up a little bit later and get to work a little slower, kiss a little longer...sorry, dropped into a Wrigley's ad there. Thus, each and every bus that is usually pretty roomy by the time I grab it was FULL to the brim. In order to give you an idea of how "full to the brim" your typical metropolitan Brazilian bus can get, I propose to you the following metaphor: Imagine your freshmen year of highschool, and you trying to find a ride with some of your friends. Because you're a freshman in highschool, you haven't formed up into tightly exclusive cliques yet, so everyone's your friend still. Thus, when you walk with your friends, you really walk in packs of 20-30 people at any given time, usually according to where you went to Jr. High, how pretty you are (boys or girls) and whether or not acne has ravaged your face or your braces are still on. One of the friends in your pack has an older sibling who has their own VW Jetta, and is willing to give you a ride. In fact, this sibiling is so kind as to offer a ride to your cute friends as well. You know what happened next: you packed those 30 friends into the car tight like sardines, one on top of the other, a couple riding on top of the car, three others sitting on the bumper, and about five people crammed into the passenger seat. There are arms flailing everywhere, squeals of pain and giggles in between the horrid scrapes being made by the car as it makes its way slowly up the hill towards the first house. By analogy, the level of discomfort and agitation experienced by you and your highschool friends is about equal to a roomy bus in Brazil. Now double the amount of people in that little VW, and you have a "FULL to the brim" bus. Anyway, back to my story. Today, we passed by a lot of busstops without stopping to pick anyone up, as the bus was too full. We already had people hanging on to the bus doors, sitting on laps, and generally moving as one big mass when necessary. Peering out of the window in the midst of this personal space attack, I chanced to glimpse "deficiency woman." Looking extremely agitated and wanting to get onto a bus at some time soon to get out of the cold, she realized that this bus was not going to allow her on. She was not going to be able to bully, elbow, or make dreary. She was NOT going to have the satisfaction of making THIS American move on THIS day. When my eyes met hers, her brows furrowed in a look of frustration, and I smiled with all of the sunshine of my soul. Never has a look of death seemed so sweet. Though, I'm pretty sure she cursed me, and that by this time tomorrow I'll have my own voodoo doll with pins through it, it was worth it. It was so worth it. Bless Karma.