So, where do I start... Ive been keeping pretty busy. Weekends tend to get a little slow, I will just have to do more traveling. Ive met an Australian girl, Nikki, who is here just as long as I am teaching English. So we have decided to be weekend travel buddies. I think we are going to go surfing in a beach town a couple hours from here next weekend. This weekend is still up in the air. At worst, I spend my days at the beach and my nights dancing samba in Pelourinho.
With time, Ive learned a little bit more about the family I live with.
Vitoria is absolutely adorable and sweet and curious as ever. Its fun that I can easily impress her with objects such as my ipod or phone. The maid (who is actually 18 but looks 12), is Vitorias sister and sadly, very unhappy with her life. I hear her cry often. I don’t know how Vitoria ended up so loved and Serinha as the maid… but according to Brasileiros, that’s the norm. Serinha has a small quarter of the “area de serviçoes,” which reminds me of a closet turned into a room. Ángela, the mom, tends to wear moo-moos with fabric that’s a little too thin around the house. She is nice and is always forcing food on me. I only eat breakfast with them, which I don’t normally ever eat, so she thinks I don’t like her food. Well, actually I think she thinks its cuz Im worried about getting fat. She is always telling me not to worry that this food wont make me fat and even once told me in whch order to eat things so it doesn’t make me fat.
Praia da Barra (where I spend most of my time)
The furball, whose name I still do not know still occasionally appears, luckily with a shirt on. Paulo, who I believe is Angela’s nephew or cousin hes young and speaks a bunch of languages. I believe he shares a room with the werewolf. He seems nice, however takes over an hour in the bathroom that we share. One time I had to go out to a café to use the bathroom. Oh well, its not much to complain about. I have gotten pretty used to cold showers; I just try to schedule them at certain times of the day. Right after the beach or dance is best.
I went to a concert of Gat Costa this weekend, who is a pretty famous Brasilian singer.
Its more chill, classical music and it was free. This meant that there were so many people there that I could barely breathe. Brazilians have absolutely no concept of personal space and we were all smashed together so tight that there was no way anyone could fall over. When someone shoved their way through, the crowd just swayed like seaweed. It was not the best experience, all I could see was her poofy hair and a bunch of dreadlocks. After that, we went dancing in one of the many open-air free live music places. After a while, Pelourinho begins to feel like a small town with all the same places to frequent, for I have already ran into the few people I know here many times. I have been spending a lot of my time there, especially now that Natalie lives there, and there is a lot more to see and do there. It does not seem as poor as Barra (where I live). However, Barra has the beach and Pelourinho does not (its on top of a big hill).
I have been taking afro-brasileiro dance about 3 times a week which is totally kicking my butt into shape.
It’s a lot of fun. However, I have to come back by bus and hike up my hill after class. By the time I get home, the scavengers are out, digging through the trash for bottles or anything they can salvage to try to sell on the street or beach the next day. It’s a pretty sad sight, but I must say I respect them a little more than the people who simply beg for money. Ive also learned not to give children money, for unfortunately a lot of them are hooked on drugs (and im talking about 8-10 year olds) and drug lords use the kids since they are more likely to get money from people than they are. The best is to give them food, but even then, a lot of them run off to try and sell that for money. People will sell anything here for money. They hop onto the bus with their trays of gum, snacks, knick-knacks and try to sell them that way. Or they push their carts through the streets yelling out their items or blowing whistles to get attention. Despite this, Brasilians are a very happy people. They are filled with a beautiful energy. They take joy in simple things in life.
This elevator goes from the Upper City to the Lower City
They play music on tops of trash cans, use anything as percussion, sing, and dance everywhere. Ive never seen so many smiling faces as I do here. The beach is always crowded with people playing football at the edge of the water, playing music and just enjoying life. Although it is still dangerous here, I also feel a lot of positive energy everywhere.
Praia da Barra (10 min from my appt)
As far as Portuguese goes, well, its going. At the moment I can communicate pretty easily but do not speak Portugês, I speak Portanhol, which is half Portuguese, half Spanish. I understand more and more everyday, however Spanish is definitely a crutch. It helps me to understand but is something that I have to overcome as far as accent goes. It would be so easy to just stay at this level where I am understood and comfortable, but I really have to go out of my way to make an effort to really learn to speak good Bahian, Brasilian Portuguese.
Praia da Barra
Tonight I will go out in Pelourinho, which is one of the major nights of the week. Tons of live music and there is a world tournament going on for Capoeira right now, so theres tons of people in the city, should be fun!