NOTE: I wrote this post yesterday, but was unable to post it because I lost my internet connection…story of my life in Brazil 🙂
Happy day after Thanksgiving! I can’t even begin to describe how much I hated missing this very special, American holiday. I hope you all enjoyed your delectable feasts of turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, bread, pumpkin pies and whatever else I missed.
Yesterday I went with my tutor and now dear friend, Ana, to talk to her English class about Thanksgiving. I showed them pictures of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and other family pictures. I finally used my history degree in a classroom and taught them about the history of the holiday and then told them a little bit about my life in the states. It was a lot of fun and the students were inquisitive and bright. I enjoyed it a lot. After I finished talking to the class they brought out a delicious chocolate cake (homemade!) in honor of my upcoming 22nd birthday! I couldn’t have been more surprised or happier! It was so sweet of them to help me celebrate my birthday. They really were a delightful bunch. They asked me lots of questions. It’s always a relief when students actually have good questions to ask, it makes my job a whole lot easier. Last semester when I was a TA for Judaism in America, well, let’s just say I felt like I was talking to a wall. It was awful. Anyway, Ana told them at the beginning that certain questions were off limits — like asking me to teach them bad words (they think that it’s hysterical to learn the really bad words), or inquiring about my relationship status (haha), and other things that they were all just dying to ask (why, I don’t know) but would seem inappropriate or intrusive. It cracked me up because Ana knew exactly what they would all ask if she didn’t give the little speech. But they were all so sweet! Afterwards they all wanted me email address so that they could practice writing in English to me. They were great!
Everyone here is so kind and generous. It’s been a great few months. I’ve enjoyed the sights, sounds, smells (for the most part…), foods, colors, it’s all been a great experience. I love watching “Araguaia” with Josefina. The other night, Edir, Josefina, Lucas, Davi and I had our own version of American Idol. Davi won with his popcorn song.
Life here is different from home, but I am trying to appreciate and learn from the differences. Of course, there are some things that I most definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, prefer the American way. But there are things that I love here that we Americans do not have.
Oh, so this week I’ve ben a little wary of using the public transportation, but Cintia (the only person I ever use it with) doesn’t seem to be worried, so I just don’t say anything. Right now there is a sort of war going on between gangs and the police. Buses are being set on fire and thieves are roaming the streets…haha, okay, that might be a little dramatic, but from what I saw on TV and the little that I could understand it’s not far off base. The students yesterday said they’ve just gotten used to the violence and aren’t too afraid. Cintia assured me that all this is going on in a different part of the city from where we are today. It all makes me a little uncomfortable…
Okay, so this is kind of gross, but I’m going to share it anyway. So, last night I was at church and I was greeting everyone (with a kiss) and this woman leaned in to greet me and exhaled and I thought I was going to pass out. Yeah, all I could think of was “Is that your breath, or did you just fart.” Uggh, it was disgusting. This morning there was another incident. I was sitting on the bus on the way to work with Cintia when a woman got on the bus and stood next to me. Fine, no problem. Then she raised her arm to grab the handle to steady herself as there were no seats left. Problem. Her disgustingly hairy armpit was in my face. It was slathered in powdery white deodorant that was quickly sliding down her side with sweat. It was enough to make my instantly start gagging.
On a different note, last night at church a nice woman led us in a Thanksgiving prayer and then immediately after we started singing a hymn. She decided to take the microphone back to her seat and sing at the top of her lungs. She reached notes that no human ear should ever have to endure. I thought the windows might bust out. It took all of the strength in my body to hold it together and not start hysterically laughing. It got so bad at one point that I considered escaping to the ladies room.
This is going to end up being a really long post, I think. I am sitting here at Cintia’s work with almost nothing to do. I was using her friend’s laptop to access the internet and was reading the news and my very favorite blogs. But, everyone here is in the process of moving into a new building and the wireless service was cut off a few minutes ago.
I’m just sitting here rotating my iTunes library back and forth from Adventures in Odyssey, Father Gilbert and my Christmas playlist, yeah I’m kind of a loser. Oh yeah and I’ve won about ten games of solitaire in a row. I am seriously addicted to solitaire. Who knew it could be so fun and entertaining? Oh and my friend Pedro gave me some candy, that was nice of him. But seriously, my favorite friend is the one who always loans me his laptop when I’m here. He’s pretty awesome. It gives me something to do while I sit here in the office for nine hours while Cintia is working.
12 days until I board a plane to go home. I am seriously looking forward to it. Do you know why? Because I can’t wait to see all of your beautiful faces again! I’ve missed you dear family and friends! I am thankful for each and every one of you.
I keep forgetting that it’s now Christmastime. I mean, I know it’s on its way, it’s November after all, but the weather tells me that it’s summer. Okay, so I’m probably not making any sense at all. What I mean is that I associate Christmastime so strongly with cold weather, coats, fireplaces, snow, gingerbread lattes, the colors red and green, and other wintery things that I almost can’t believe the calendar. It’s hot, humid, and bright colors surround me. No hot cocoa or gingerbread lattes here, instead I’m drinking lots of tropical fruit juices. Last night when Cintia said she needed to buy some gifts for the boys, I asked for what? When she said Christmas, I thought, “oh yeah, duh.” I felt dumb.