Okay, so the title is a little over-dramatic, yes. We’re fast approaching the one week mark, and those things that you can ignore for a while are starting to get to us as we realize we will be living here for the next 5+ months. There are no chips and salsa (or really very good, affordable food outside beans and rice), toilet paper is supposed to go in the trashcan, the rules of the pousada are strict (compared to the independence we had at college), strange things are expensive (sunscreen), debit card fraud is hard to deal with no matter where you are in the world, it rained for the first time, and communication is exhausting. I don’t want to sound too negative, these are just things that come with being so far away from home. I know it will pass.
Barra is going to have to wait until the weekend, because the wind and the rain yesterday lasted through the night. Instead, I got to sleep until noon, and now I think I’ve finally recovered from the traveling. We decided it was a good day to learn a thing or two about cooking in Brazil (now that we’d done some shopping and had some food to eat). There is lots of space in the kitchen downstairs to cook whatever we please, but there are lots of things in the house we are not allowed to use- they are only for the family (this includes the washing machine, the living room, and random other things we keep getting in trouble for using). Learning the ropes took some time, but Ribamar helped us locate the necessities and work the gas stove and oven. The family really does not speak hardly any English at all. Our first whole meal was baked chicken with brown rice and broccolini, and it took about two and half hours to make, eat and cleanup. If anyone has suggestions for ways to spice up beans, rice and meat- do please send them my way! By dinner time we were desperate for something easy to make and discovered a closer, less crazy grocery store, albeit more expensive. Fun fact: The main (and really only) cheese here is mozarella which Brazilians write and spell mussarella!
Since it was a rainy night we took a cab to the cinema with two other guys from the pousada, Alan and Fabrizio. We saw “From Rome, With Love,” a Woody Allen movie with dialogue mostly in English and Italian plus subtitles in Portuguese. I think the familiar environment of a movie theater put us all at ease a little bit, and I was glad for it. It was a strange experience, Portuguese subtitles acting as the only way we could understand Italian dialogue- a real test of our reading skills so far, and a lot of fun. I enjoyed the film very much over all.
This morning was our first Portuguese language class at Carioca Languages school, about 6-7 blocks from our pousada. Viviane (Vivi, for short) is my teacher in the 3rd level, Keia and Joe are in the second. Vivi is a thin, lively and very friendly carioca who studied at UFRJ herself. I really like her a lot. There are only three of us in the class right now- a Frenchman who needs to speak Portuguese for work here, and a Spanish female engineer who is moving here with her boyfriend. A fourth (also French) student may join us tomorrow. At the beginning of class we do work on grammar and have lecture, a break nearly two hours in, and then about an hour for reading comprehension and conversation. The other students understand what is going on more easily than I do, which makes the class a challenge, which is exactly what I need.
I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures today. This afternoon, our mission is to get SIM cards and cell phone plans. Wish me boa sorte!
From Rio With Love, Molly