Lots of things have been reminding me of Danette these last couple of days, partly because this is going to be our first birthday apart. I saw the infamous Danette yogurt that is in like, every country except for the US:
Then I've been buying these napkins because they're cheap and they have the cutest elephant logo:
And I also have a really funny student who enjoys creating English words the way Danette creates Spanish words like “relaxate.” They learned the word “homework” last week, and he says he's going to call it “carwork” because he always does it in the car on the way to school with his brother. Har har. We were studying the possessive ['s] today, and the example in the book was “Alex's Personal Profile.” This is confusing when you see it for the first time in English, since the word order is so different from Portuguese. I translated it for them as “O perfil personal de Alexandre.” And then I said, “here, Alexandre, or “Alex,” in English, is possessive.” And the student asked in Portuguese, “and your Alexandre? Is he possessive?” I had to laugh-- it was so clever, especially for someone so new to the language. That group is a bunch of jokesters... they're all close to my age or older, and yet I spend more than half of the class telling them to focus and stop giggling. Ridiculous, but at least it's never boring.
I've been picking up classes here and there at the primary job, but I'm still not sure which ones were just subbing and which ones are going to be permanent. My boss has the attention span of a gnat. A lot of this trip, the job included, has gone really against the grain for me. Everything is planned in the very short-term. Things happen in BrazilTime, which is often late and non-committal, but understandably so. I realize how American I am in such situations. I always expect long-term talks, introductions, overviews, objectives....the “so, now what?” I rarely get it-- not because people are at fault in any way-- but just because that's the standard here, and also because I simply don't know how long I'm staying here yet, and therefore can only plan so far. It's just that the short-sightedness can be stressful, sometimes.
On Thursday night, Alexandre and I went to a sushi dinner with some of his friends from a different medical clique whose distinction I'm still a bit unclear about. The sushi was delicious. I'm not a fan of fish, and I only enjoy sushi because the rice and soy sauce hide the uncomfortable fish texture, but this stuff was amazing. Even better, it was an all-you-can eat setup. So we ate... a lot. This group was very different from the friends that Alexandre runs with most of the time. The girls were kind of...exclusive. But I do appreciate Alexandre's friend Lander, who I had already met. He always makes a point to talk to me, and to translate things into English when he knows a good equivalent phrase. He's hilarious, and he learned the etymology “ebonics” and thinks it's the most ridiculous word in English. This is mostly true. (After hearing (one too) many a drunken rant from me about language stereotypes in America, Alexandre heard Lander's comment and had to intervene to protect Lander from... me. Haha.)
I'll admit that this week was a bit taxing for me. I hit the one-month mark yesterday, and I'll say it: Although I'm really enjoying myself here overall... I'm lonely. I am a social person. I'm never the quiet one in the group when it's in my native language, or hell, even in Spanish. I'm used to being constantly busy, with a purpose and with a plethora of friends to choose to hang out with, and often to combine them so my friends can be friends with each other (yay!). I'm used to having more control over my day-to-day life, but even simple things, like buying batteries for my camera, become an ordeal here. I don't do well with so much alone time. I mope. I dwell. I feel useless. I talked about it with Alexandre, who reminded me that it's a process, and who promised to set up more nights out between me and his female friends. I expected this, but that awareness doesn't make it much easier.
I promise that the next entry will be less wallow-y and more country-reflective. I'm gonna go around tomorrow and take pictures of some stuff in the city, and tell you about some interesting economy things.