Today I am flustered. We have a repair issue that needs attending to. Matt tried to talk to Miguel yesterday to ask him to come and look at it. Of course, Miguel didn't come, and didn't seem to care. Yesterday, I spoke to a neighbor (in Portuguese) and she said that Miguel should come, and if he can't fix it, he can refer us to someone else. But we will probably have to pay. I have spent at least an hour today trying to track down Miguel. No avail. But I've been told he will come! And many people have told me that they will help me when I talk to them (if only they could be present when he is here). I've been trying to call to some of my bilingual friends for some help, and even some advice on the in-and-outs of living in an apartment in Brazil. We pay a "condominium fee" which pays Miguel's salary. We also pay rent, and signed the contract for a functional apartment. When the oven doesn't work, it doesn't seem like a functional apartment, right? So from my American perspective, this seems like something that Miguel/the owner/the broker should deal with and help fix. So I'm trying to figure out if that is the case in Brazil. However, I neglected to pay the Skype bill (oops), and so I can't make local phone calls. Of course I could use my cell phone, but I'm not sure how many minutes I've used for the month. And of course, I can't manage the Vivo.com website to figure out how to check. So I try to go online to pay the Skype bill. For some reason my Brasilian card doesn't work, so I go with the Boleto Bancario option. Only to find out it takes 7 to 10 days for that payment to go through. No good. But what do you know? My Brazilian credit card arrives today! So I can pay with the Brazilian credit card, right? Well, I don't know how to activate it, because all the phone prompts are in Portuguese and come very quick. Ugh. I could just break down and pay the phone bill with a US card, but we're trying to use our Brazil money instead of US money (makes sense, right?) So I finally decided to use the cell phone to call a friend who might be able to help, but she's not available. So, here I sit. Waiting for Miguel to come. And when/if he comes, I will attempt to communicate, but I'm not too hopeful.
The positive thing in all this is that I learned that there is a thing called a "sindicato". This is a person elected or chosen from the building to collect payment and help with problems. I didn't know anything about this until today, and I found out that are sindicato (sindicata?) is named Denise. Of course I went to go try to talk to her, and she isn't home. But I look forward to trying to have some semblance of communication with her when she is home!
Butchers, Nationalism, and Empathy
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