Thursday, October 24, 2013

One Month in and None the Wiser

Monday was a big day for me.  It marked not only an increase in a digit (one's digit thankyouverymuch!) on my age, but it also marked one of month of living in Brazil.  One month.  I've never been outside of the United States for this long.  Ten days I believe, was my longest stretch in the past.  And in one month I've learned a few peculiarities about this place in which I am learning to call home (for the time being). 

Drum roll please.... cause here are the top 5 things I've learned in one month!

1.  Parallel parking is all the rage.  Last time I parallel parked in the U.S. was....let's see....um....never!  I always found a different space!

2.  Rainy season is my friend.  Without rain, it gets warm. And there isn't A.C. here.  So bring on the rain!!!!  Oh man, now I'm singing "It's raining men" which has nothing to do with any of my top 5 things because well, I just don't see what others see in Brazilian men.  Meh.  Give me a good ole, hard working man from the U.S. who loves Jesus, and I'm good. 

3.  Bugs.  Are.  Everywhere!  Even in my home.  Case in point:  this morning.  I went to pour my first cup of coffee and noticed what looked like a piece of shredded cheese on the counter.  So I naturally did what any lazy person would do before their cup of coffee and tried to flick the speck off the counter.  But when I touched it....it began to move ON ITS OWN!  It was not cheese but a worm-bug (aka...maggot).  If I had been more awake, I would have remembered that shredded cheese does not exist here.  But apparently maggots do.  And how it got on our counter....yea...I don't even want to begin thinking about that!  And you can't tell me it's because we live in a messy place because they whole apartment had just been cleaned the day before!

4.  Language is tough.  I really struggle with it.  But there are funny things that happen because of the difficulties.  Couple of examples for you:
  • My roommate went to tell our guard that we were going to have workers at our apartment the following morning.  However, with the limited Portuguese what she said was "the men are coming to see us in the morning"  Yea....that doesn't quite sound right.  Maybe that's where the "it's raining men" song came from!
  • I learned this hilarious (maybe only to me) translation fail.  Tubetop...you know those shirts women wear...well, in Portuguese it is called "tomara que cai" and literally translated says "hope it falls down".  Yep.  Had a great laugh at that one!
5.  Taxes.  When receiving a package from the States, if the amount declared on it is more than $50, then they will tax you 60% on the amount declared.  For example, if you send a package that is labeled to have a value of $140, in order to pick up said package from the post office here, you have to pay R$240 (Brazilian:  reis) which comes out to about $130 American.  You do the math.  Basically you are paying for your items TWICE.  Yeah.  I did it.  But receiving something from the states was like manna for me.  I was longing for home and to have anything that was sent with love, was worth the cost.  What I've learned from this little experience, no matter what is in the box, you simply write the value at under $50 and don't write specifically what is in the box.  Instead, you write things like "teaching supplies", or "nerds" "Twizzlers" instead of candy.  It's how Brazil works and it even makes Brazilians mad....but it's life out here.

So there's the top five things I've learned in one month of living here.  I wish I could tell you that I've got the language down but I'm letting the little preschoolers teach me words.  Today I had the 3 year-olds trying to teach me the word for chair....which I cannot remember.  But I do remember that they laughed at my lack of rolling my r's.  Guess it's back to preschool for me until I can put together a complete sentence and order my own soda!

Hopefully by next month I can offer more insight into the culture here, but for now...this is what ya get!

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