Wednesday, March 10, 2010

First Impressions

It’s been five days since we’ve arrived in Brazil! What are my first impressions?
1. It’s beautiful—the city, the trees, and the people. It is so nice to see green, to have streets lined with tall trees, to see mountains, and enjoy blue sky with big white fluffy clouds. The people are so diverse, and are warm, hospitable, helpful and talkative. I’ve had several people strike up conversations with me, and all I can do is nod and smile.
2. It’s hot! Humidity does a lot for 80 degrees, and anytime we’re walking around (which is frequently) I’m sweating like crazy. Now it doesn’t help that I’m usually carrying a backpack and a 2 year old while I’m out of doors, but it is pretty warm here.
3. Portuguese is very, VERY different from Spanish. I do understand some words, and it will help me, but when I’m trying to buy a bed, it doesn’t help me. Nor does it help me when I’m lost and asking for directions. Or trying to understand our friend’s nanny. Today I thought she was telling me that I could go upstairs and leave the kids with her, when she was actually suggesting that we all go upstairs together. Oops!
4. It’s hard to say if the kids are reacting to the fact that we moved, or being in a foreign country, but it’s probably a bit of both. Sebastian is having a hard time with the food, and we really have only had one traditional Brazilian meal. Dora is more sensitive than usual to the silly things her siblings say. Bea saying, “I don’t want to share a room with you,” in jest reduces Dora to tears. She’s also anxious about school, and I wish I could comfort her by saying where she will be going, but we just haven’t had the opportunity to make any headway on that matter yet. Bea is having a hard time sleeping, and wants to be carried when we walk. And none of them like walking, which we do multiple times a day. Walk 15 minutes uphill to Marcio’s house. Walk 10 minutes back to the hotel for swimming. Walk to the fruit store. It’s good for us, but pretty tiring. But overall, I’m really proud of them and how well they are handling it. It helps that we are watching lots and lots and lots of TV.
5. I’m truly humbled by the hospitality of our hosts, Marcio and Luiza. They have opened up their home to us, fed us, bought cleaning supplies for us, chauffeured us around town, bargained a few hundred reals off mattresses, a fridge and washing machine for us, interrupted their work schedule, and made us feel very, very welcome. Even though I just met them on Friday, I feel like they are friends that we have had for a very long time. They are wonderful people, and I’m so thankful that we have met them, and they are welcoming us. I hope that we can become more like them, in their generosity and kindness.
Hopefully by the next time I write we will be in our apartment—we have the basics, we just need to get our 600 lb of stuff over there! Ciao!

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