I like it when I get on the bus with my big backpack full of English books, and there is no room to sit, and someone sitting offers to hold my back pack for me. This is a small gesture, but one that I'm thankful for.
Sebastian made a comment today at the McDonalds. There was a HUGE line of people, and everyone was crowding towards the registers. Sebastian said, "People don't care that it's crowded!" And I tried to affirm him for his observation of cultural differences, but I think he got too distracted by thinking about what he wanted in his happy meal. Later in the day I saw him get hugged by all 18 children in his classroom (wishing him happy birthday) and he got a bit overwhelmed by the show of affection, and how natural it was for them to get very close to him.
I got mixed up on my people tonight at the kid's school. I think I hugged and kissed a person that I've never met before, and thoroughly confused them by talking to them as if we'd known each other for a while. Because everything is still so new to me, I have a hard time remembering certain people, and where I know them, and how I know them. I have a VERY hard time remembering names (João? Renan [which sounds like "hey-nan"], and don't even get me started on female names!!). I just hope that my ignorance, forgetfulness and cross-cultural spaciness doesn't come across as being too rude...
I like it when I'm walking downhill outside, and the sky is amazingly blue, and the temperature is perfect. I find myself feeling that way on a regular basis.
I like living without a car, and getting all my exercise for free. They say in Belo Horizonte, if you are not walking uphill or downhill, you are standing still.
I like walking to school with the kids, and playing games, telling stories and just talking with them. It would be nice if the whole way to school wasn't uphill, and if they wouldn't complain so much, but it is still a nice time.
I miss my garden. I miss the convenience of a microwave, and a dishwasher (we have a little tiny dishwasher, but we'd have to turn on the hot water to use it, and from the look of the last tenants electricity bill, we will not be doing that). I miss being able to make a phone call to take care of a problem, and being understood. I miss jalapeños and pho and clipping coupons and our wonderful front loading washing machine.
I love that I have figured out how to take the bus here, and that every time I tell someone from BH, they are amazed that I can go all the way across town successfully.
Matt is on tour this weekend, so you might hear more from me than usual. I only have the internet to vent for a few days. But now I must do the dishes.
Butchers, Nationalism, and Empathy
5 weeks ago