Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Week 7 in Brazil

First, I have to express my thanks to each and every one of you, for providing so much compassion and support in response to my latest email re Kitty.  He is holding his own at the vet’s office, charming them all I am certain with his feisty attitude and will to live.  He is not out of the woods by any means and may still not make it, but I am taking comfort in knowing that he is in very good hands and is being treated very well.

As for my experiences here in Brazil, I am trying to take to heart the advice I have received from so many different sources:  to continue enjoying my time here as best I can, and to trust all will be well.  It’s hard at times to stay focused and to not wish the hours away, which is the worst way of wasting precious hours of life, but I am doing my best.

It helps that I am living in a house filled with crazy people.  They allow me very little time to wallow and to pout.  The house has a total of 8 people living in it (that includes me) and it is, quite literally, a mad house.  Four of the people are children ranging from ages 5 to 14 and the other four are adults.

Conversations in this mad house are impossible.  You should just give up.  That’s what I’ve learned.  They should have a sign on the door that says “Communication within these walls is currently impossible.”  Although it should be in Portuguese obviously.  It really is an exercise in futility.  Because they all share their thoughts at the same time.  And the youngest child, poor thing, I don’t think she has a hope in hell of ever being heard, which is probably why every word I've heard her speak has been screamed at the top of her lungs. 

I just sit there listening to the chaos until I feel like my head is going to explode.  Then I quietly retire to my room, where I am able to listen to their entire conversation and repeat it verbatum from one floor up and three rooms over because they really are that loud.

In any case, despite the chaos and the noise, the kids are adorable and they’re all currently indulging in a race to see who can read Amy’s entire Harry Potter collection in Portuguese before she leaves.  I really love my HP books, but I am considering leaving them as a gift to the kids.  After all, kids’ books should really be enjoyed by kids, right?  And what’s the likelihood of some young Portuguese-speaking student in my class one day deciding to read them?  Not too great, I would say…

So, my host family’s great.  Capoeira, on the other hand, is killing me.  All I have to say is never ever take an exercise class in a foreign country.  It’s just not a good idea.  They believe that everyone is capable of everything, including crazy-ass cartwheels across a giant gymnasium and one-handed hand stands where your entire body moves in some weird-ass arc that defies gravity and the space-time continuum, but hey… it’s entirely possible if you just put your mind to it, right?  Right… I’ve never really felt my age until now, but I’m telling you, I now feel my age times 10.  I get home every night and I’m walking like a little old lady who just fell down a flight of stairs.

The students in my class can pretty much be divided into three groups:  the athletes, who attack Capoeira like it’s a game to be won (and thus somehow, end up accomplishing all manner of things that defy gravity), the dancers, who flow seemlessly through all the steps like they were born doing Capoeira, and me.  Yep, that would be me, the group of 1.  The non-athlete, non-dancer, ten years older than everyone else in the group me.  It’s really not a pretty sight…. Amy doing Capoeira.  I have a terrible fear that I resemble a giant lumbering gorilla trying to do the cancan.  Every time someone pulls out a camera, I try to hide, but I’m afraid I was unable to avoid being captured by some hidden, stealth-like spy cameras.  It’s unfortunate, but true.  Somewhere out there the sight of Amy lumbering through the steps of Capoeira is captured for posterity’s sake.  Coitadinho de posterity.  (How sad for posterity.)

Well, I do believe they want to close this internet cafe down.  I’m getting the evil eye, so I should go now.  Thanks to all of you for your support and don’t forget to say a prayer that Amy survives four more classes of Capoeira with the insane Brazilian instructors (who also happen to be truly hot, so you might also ad lib a couple prayers – I think you know the kind that I mean!)

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