Monday, August 29, 2011

The Farofeiros are Coming

So this weekend has been the first truly warm weekend since all this winter nonsense started. Here in beachtown, that means that this weekend announced the first wave of farofeiros. Farofeiro is a wonderful Portuguese word that's nice and offensive, so don't use it to describe yourself, and don't use it to anyone's face. It refers to poor people who come down to the beach from out of town just for the day, bring all their own food from home (including farofa), and eat it on the beach. They only stay for the day because they don't have money for a hotel, and they bring their ice chests because they don't have money for food or drinks at restaurants or even the cheap beach kiosks. The Americans reading this might be thinking, "what's wrong with that? That's what everyone does here."  There's nothing wrong with a day trip at the beach like that. But the image of farofeiro also carries with it the idea that the people (illegally) pack lots of family members in old cars and that they bring their general bad-mannered way of life with them down to the once-peaceful coast.

I have become such a snob. But I think that, as a beachtown local (albeit a temporary local), I'm allowed to scorn the tourists. Take yesterday (Sunday), for example. I had to pop into the shop (as my grandma would say) to pick up a couple more things for lunch. The grocery store was bedlam!! Aside from the stupidly long lines, here were just a few things I saw: 

*The retired women walking around the store in their bikinis, just lettin' it all hang out. 

*Old men in speedos. No, no, no!

*Men without shoes buying huge bottles of cachaça (perhaps they should reconsider their priorities) 

*A woman walking around the store in a dirty dress drinking 5-real Dom Bosco wine that she'd presumably opened before paying for (I love the stuff, but at least I have the sense of shame to drink it in private)

*Little kids continuing their soccer game, sand and all, in the store's aisles while Mom and Dad stock up on more beer.

That's what I didn't get, either. It was Sunday at 1:00pm, and yet everyone was buying alcohol! Isn't that the time when the drinking needs to start to die down?

These weekend tourists are annoying. They j-walk suddenly and dangerously and unnecessarily. They park their cars ON the beach avenue (like, they just stop where they are and give up searching) when they can't find a parking spot. They cover the beach in trash, which then calls the attention of hundreds of vultures. Alexandre and I went for a run yesterday around sunset, and the beach looked like a freakin' landfill! Gross.

Oh well. I guess I actually like the arrival of the farofeiros. It means that summer's finally here! No more ice cold nights that linger all day! No more using lights in the apartment at 2pm! Weekday mornings at the beach -- today was Day 1!

EDIT: How dare I say bad things about Brazilians, especially ones who don't respect laws or sense of community!!! No no, American. You are not allowed to complain about the city you live in, or the people in it!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gonna!

So there's some nameless boutique downtown that I walk by almost every time I go there. It sells a bunch of random clothes, whatever. One day, I noticed that a lot of the shirts randomly have the word "gonna" printed on them. After passing the store a few times, I realized it was some kind of brand (though I can't find anything online). So the shirts have words like "Trekking" printed really big in the middle, and in the bottom corner, they said "GONNA."  Then some just say "GONNA" alone, usually in all caps like that.

Lots of Brazilian clothes (and restaurants, and billboards, and English schools...) use English incorrectly. This is nothing new. But this "gonna" one took me a while. One day, a new shirt in the store had "GONNA!" with an explanation point.  And then I got it.

Some poor soul thought he was saying "vai!" when he made up his brand name. And I mean, he's not wrong. Except he's totally wrong.

I can't decide whether to take a picture or tell the employee or both or neither.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mormons and the Military

All right folks. So my English career has led me to working with two groups I had planned to avoid eternally: Mormons and the military. Here's the story:

Word got around at Alexandre's base that he's married to an American who's also an English teacher. The base apparently had an English teacher last year who left (perhaps she defected) and the guys liked the prospect of having another one.

Well, because the military base is made up of about 99.5% men, it took a while to get the ball rolling and for things to get organized. I'm in my second week, and it's going pretty well. It's what you'd expect for a job on the military base: lots of restrictions on what I can wear (no shorts or skirts, no open-toed shoes), lots of check-ins and signing of things (sign here because you walked in the gate; sign here because you got a visitor's tag; sign here because you borrowed the key to the classroom), lots of sexist and ignorant comments that must be deflected and questioned politely but sternly.

I tried to organize the two groups based on level (beginners and slightly better than beginners), but they decided to organize themselves based on title (lower positions in the beginners' class, captains and higher-ups in the "intermediate" class). The result is that all of the extra arrogant guys (who are also Alexandre's bosses) are in one class together, feeding off of each other's machismo. I had to lay the smackdown a bit and quickly cut off their comments, but they learned on the first day that I wasn't going to let the comments go just because they're my husfriend's bosses. Now they are respectful. The basic class, of course, are the 18-year-old recruits who were already scared of me, so no problems there.



The crazy book translation work has dropped off a bit (for better or for worse), so these groups make up the majority of my workweek now. I was feeling a bit down and not useful, with too much free time. One of the reasons I've had a hard time finding private students is because there's a Mormon temple relatively close by that offers free English classes with the American boys on their missions. Well, why are poor beachtown folk going to pay for a native speaker teacher when they can have one for free? If someone is a native speaker of a language, they're automatically a good teacher, right?

At first I was annoyed with the Mormons for weakening the already difficult private class market, but then I decided to just go with it. I have free time, and they probably needed help, I imagined. This isn't the focus of my blog, but I'm Atheist. However, I figured I'd be hypocritical if I didn't help them just because we don't share the same beliefs.

So I decided to offer my assistance. (That doesn't mean I can't make fun of them here, right?)

I went over to the church, and was given a phone number for one of the boys. He answered with a nice and gringo-y "boa taRde", so I knew I had the right guy. We talked, he was excited by the idea of collaborating, and he asked if they could come over to meet me and Alexandre and discuss the classes. He asked if they could come over at 8pm -- right at Brazilian dinnertime. This put me in a bit of a quandary. Let's go ahead and blame my grandma for the fact that it's physically impossible for me to have someone at my house at a mealtime and not offer them food. So even though I was a little bit annoyed, I had to ask, "well do you two want to have dinner here then?" to which he responded, "that'd be great, thanks!". Right. I'm the one offering to be a volunteer, but I have to cook for you?

(Alexandre reminded me that I didn't HAVE to cook for them. I reminded him of the grandma-food complex.)

So the boys came over at eight o'clock sharp (so refreshing). They were pink and blonde young lads who refused to tell me their first names and who insisted that I call them "Elder" and their last name. I asked, confused, if "elder" was some kind of title. This should have revealed that I was not Mormon and that I could just call them by their muggle names, but nope. They simply confirmed that yes, "elder" is their missionary title. Fine.

They came upstairs, spoke amazing Portuguese with Alexandre, and we talked about their classes over dinner. I learned that they offer their classes on Saturday mornings, so I insisted that I be more of a behind-the-scenes helper rather than a teacher (NOT committing myself to any Saturday morning unpaid work). They were perfectly happy with that. Their class layouts were decent for 19-year-olds with no teacher training, but we're going to revamp their system a bit. Right now they've got groups of like 60 people that they break up into smaller groups after a few weeks. It's kind of a mess, but we got some good ideas going and it should turn out really nice.

Alexandre asked them about how they chose Brazil as their location for their missions. They explained that they didn't choose, but that God chose. The story the boys told us (and believe) is that they submit their applications to the head of the church, and then the leaders pray over the applications. The leaders then have a big map of the world on a TV screen, and God apparently "inspires" them to place the missionaries in a given country.

OK.

I highly doubt that an institution as lucrative as the Mormon church is going to leave such important and expensive bureaucratic decisions up to a divine game of eenie-meenie-miney-moe, but I can see why it would be necessary for the boys to believe, on a bad day of life in a Brazilian favela, that God chose them to live in that place and that he has a bigger purpose for them, that they just need to figure out what it is.

But in general, the boys were polite and friendly and nice to talk to (as all Mormons I've ever met have been). We share a common goal of wanting to teach English well in our community, however temporary it may be for all of us. They only raised their eyebrows a little bit when we explained that we weren't religious but that they were welcome to say a prayer before we ate dinner. So if they're OK with our differences, then I'm OK with our differences. I doubt we'll all become the best of friends, but we can hopefully do something good together.

So yeah, who knew? I'm going for character building here. I think, after these experiences, I'll be able to teach anyone, anywhere.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Time-Traveling Epiphany

OK guys, I have big news! Do you feel like you're having a hard time adapting to life in Brazil, especially to the class differences and the maid situation?

Well, I've figured out why. I'm watching the movie "The Help" that just came out in the US. It's about these very problems in Mississippi in the 1960s. It's so much like present-day Brazil!!!

So ladies, we didn't move to a new country. We just went into time machines, and now we're expected to be 1960s housewives, and it's supposed to be logical to have maids, to make them use separate bathrooms and to eat at different times and/or at different tables, to insult them and other black people while they're in the room, and to revolve our whole lives around our husbands.

NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Maid...?

So, I'm sure most of you are aware of my stubborn insistence on cleaning my own apartment and not having a maid. All right. I think I did really well. I lasted 5 months. This is the second time I've gone through this cycle (here's the first). What cycle, you may ask? This one:

1. We move.
2. I rejoice in letting the maid go.
3. I insist that I can keep up the chores in the new place by myself. I make up reasons about how the apartments are different and how this time will, too, be different.
4. I spend all my free time cooking and cleaning.
5. Alexandre does nothing, because he is a Brazilian man who grew up with 2 full-time maids at home (fatal combination).
6. We bicker about how he does nothing.
7. He offers to pay for a maid.
8. I am resentful that he will not embrace this part of my culture.
9. He reminds me that we're not living in my culture, and that, here, a maid once a week would cost us about 4% of our combined monthly income.
10. I give in to hiring a maid to stop the arguing and to (slightly) curb the resentment and insist that he'd better start preparing himself, because as soon as we move to the US, he's gonna be making up for lost time in the world of chores.

All right. So a woman in the building recommended a maid for us. Today was her first and last day. I just remembered why I hate having a maid. I'll admit that I was so relieved when I woke up this morning and realized she was coming and I could use my day for something besides cleaning (you know, something like... working). But then there were some problems:

*Turns out she works at a daycare every weekday morning. Until 1pm. She showed up at 1:15.

*She announced when she walked in the door that this is the only day she's coming -- she's having surgery next week and will be out for two months and will not recommend anyone. Sacanagem! She could've told me that when we talked earlier this week. Imagine if I did that to my students. This irritated me.

*She is a Chatty (as hell) Cathy. My attempts at telling her that I was working on a translation proved futile. I got to hear all about her family, all day. I resorted to just saying "uh huh, uh huh" and then eventually not responding at all until she got the picture.

*SHE IS SO GODAMNED SLOW OMG. My apartment is the size of an egg, as the expression goes in Portuguese. Even when I am totally inspired and decide to clean the entire thing from top to bottom AND iron all the clothes, it takes me a maximum of 6 hours. I had a Skype class at 8pm, so I sent her home, even though she hadn't even touched our bedroom (THE ONLY ROOM) and even though she hadn't finished ironing the clothes. What could she possibly have been doing for 7 freaking hours!? Well, in the time it took me to eat my whole dinner, she didn't even finish ironing ONE shirt. Didn't. Finish.

I ate dinner standing up in the kitchen because she was using our table as the ironing board and because she said she didn't want food and because I was too embarrassed to be eating in front of her without giving her any. And while I was standing there, eating my dinner, I was getting more and more frustrated about how I just don't know how to navigate the social rules of having a maid. What am I supposed to do when she takes that long? Is it her fault or mine? Did I leave her too much to do? Are there rules about that? (But aren't there some limits to just how messy a 300-square-foot apartment can get? Our last apartment was like, 3 times the size, and the maid cleaned it in 4-5 hours.) Was I supposed to wait for her to finish, even if it took all night? Or was I supposed to ask her to come back to finish? Or pay her less? Or pay her more? I HATE THIS.

So now I'm stuck again. I definitely don't want to go back to this woman, mostly because she takes too long but also because she was sneaky and dishonest about the schedule thing, and she thought that, by "conveniently omitting" the important detail about her surgery when we talked the other day, that she'd secure a job with us long-term. But then I don't know if I really want to try to find someone else, either. This shit is annoying. But so is being the only one who cleans. I can't win.

Update on the Neighbors

So I'm sure you're all dying of curiosity about whether the crazy neighbor(s) really left or not. (Oh, you weren't dying of curiosity? Well, I'll tell you anyway.) So here's the latest:

It seems like the woman either came back, or never left at all. BUT. There have been some big changes in the building -- specifically, in her apartment. I gossiped with the de-facto building manager (the guy who used to be the building manager and who still is for all-intensive purposes, because the new one is never here).

He told me that crazy lady had the nerve to try to complain (albeit passive aggressively) about MY requests that she turn down her music and stop blowing smoke onto my clothesline. She apparently passed the building manager in the hall and started mumbling hostilely, something like, "People in this building sure are folgados. They seem to think I can't even smoke or enjoy my music, even in my own apartment!"

Well, Mr. Building Manager put her in her place. He reminded her that she lives in a BUILDING, not in the middle of the mato, and that if she wants to blast music at all hours and smoke in confined spaces, she should move out of the city, or at least into her own house. As we can imagine, she was not happy with that response, and started going off on him about how SHE has problems and how HE doesn't understand and all kinds of other nonsensical things.

Then, the next day, there was a sign up on the door from the building management office (the condomínio). Mr. Building Manager was as pleasantly surprised by it as I was. We assumed that other people must have been calling and complaining, too, because the sign was basically a list of "new building rules" that all referred to things the evil crazy couple does. No more smoking in the hallways; no more throwing things out the windows (feces included); no more music that's loud enough to be heard in other apartments, etc. "Someone" used their key to rip a hole through the paper sign. Classy.

But the best news is that, for some wonderful and unknown reason, Crazy Neighbor Woman has stopped smoking in her apartment. I've mused over the reasons why and come up with the following possibilities, in ascending order of likelihood:

*She had a moral awakening and realized how much of a negative effect she was having on those around her, and decided to give up chain smoking (and become a born-again Christian while she was at it).

*Her husband/son/dogs/cat started complaining about her smoking.

*One of her dogs was diagnosed with lung cancer as a result of all the second-hand smoke.

*She switched to chewing tobacco.

*She lost her monthly welfare check and no longer has money for cigarettes.

*The owner of her apartment had originally told her she couldn't smoke inside, and she was ignoring the rule. All of the complaints made their way back to the owner, who called her and told her not to smoke inside anymore.

I'm a little curious as to why (mostly because I'd like to know the extent to which justice or karma is being served), but at the end of the day, I'm just happy she stopped. I did see her one day, OUT WALKING HER DOG and smoking!! Fixing 2 problems at the same time!! It was a miracle!!!

So the dogs are still barking, but the music and the cigarettes have ceased. Let's hope it stays that way.


Monday, August 15, 2011

My Heart is Yellow as an Ear of Corn

An entry in which I regret my haste and judgment

So I went back to Caipirópolis this weekend for a visit. I saw all of my old friends, winged and otherwise. I basked in the sun and the slow pace for a while. I feasted on fresh meat. I took in the season and the fresh breaths of the familiar.

I complained about that place a lot – maybe too much. Now that I've left the interior and I'm living in another Brazilian subculture – a poor beach town – I've realized something. That city had its problems, but there's something to be said for traditions, for a strong middle class, for space to think, for pockets of quiet, and for the endless symmetry of sugar cane crops. There's something to be said for local universities, for living close to where your food comes from, and for a sky bursting with stars, unburdened by soot or city lights or fog. There's something to be said for friends. They're important. They help absorb the shocks of life.

Of course, I've gone from complaining about where we used to live to idealizing it and switching my complains to our current locale. What's up with this retroactive optimism of mine? Am I the real problem? Is the grass always going to be greener on the other side? What am I going to miss about the beach town that I should be enjoying now? 

Or was it just that I was so burnt out on the bad parts of our old town that I built up the beach town in my head, that I convinced myself it'd be better, even though I didn't know much about it?

Maybe the real problem is just the constant starting over. When we decided to move from Caipirópolis, I was just beginning to get a grasp on the city's collective consciousness. I was just starting to understand how people there thought, what their common values were, and how to successfully interact with them. Then we left.  

Long bus rides give me lots to think about. I guess it'll just be nice when I can be somewhere permanent.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead

So I may be wrong and horribly disappointed, but evidence strongly suggests that the evil crazy wench of a neighbor, the farofeira who got lost on her way back up the serra, seems to have separated from her common-law husband and left the building!!!!!

The back story is that these two people (and practically a third guy, who may be their son and who was here all the time) moved in about 6 weeks after we did and have been wreaking havoc on our building and the surrounding buildings ever since. It's hard to say what the biggest offense has been, but I think I'm going to go with the woman's constant chain smoking, which, until last week, had basically turned our apartment into her ashtray. (When I say chain smoking, I mean that in the most serious sense, as in like, practically 24 hours a day, as in seeming to wake up in the middle of the night to have a cigarette in her bed, which seems to be directly under our bed, a mere 10 feet or so below us.) I couldn't even dry my clothes on the line under the window because they'd smell like cigarettes and I'd just have to wash them again.

She was arguably one of the worst neighbors I've ever had. I mean, the transvestite with the drum set and the meth lab in Oakland takes the cake, but she comes in at a close second.

Anyway, on this couple's list of inconsiderate behavior was their frequent screaming matches, which revealed, amid a plethora of profanities, that neither of them worked but that both wanted the other one to work and accused the other of being lazy. These matches also revealed that it was, at the end of the day, technically the man's apartment, and he wanted her out. There was lots of "vai embora!" (get out of here!) and "não vou!" (I'm not going anywhere!) repeated in circles like toddlers. 

But, apparently, the man got his way, and the woman left. It's a miracle! Now we live in a regular building on a regular street again! We still seem to hear the man putzing around a bit, but just the normal noise you'd expect when you have a tiny apartment and share walls with someone, not the ridiculousness of three people (one of them crazy) and three untrained animals in a compact one-bedroom place.

I'm thinking about throwing a silent celebration with the other neighbors, including those in the buildings on each side of ours. I'll shoot paper airplanes into their windows, inviting them down to the parking area at a specific time. We'll all smile at each other quietly and sip tea from tiny cups, basking in the silence of a street without two dogs barking incessantly, a cat that always seems to be in heat and meows woefully at midnight, the laugh track of Two and a Half Men at full blast, blaring Brazilian pop and American oldies that makes the walls vibrate, and endless domestic disputes. Maybe we'll make up some kind of whispered song to say good riddance to the cigarettes, the ashes and butts in the building's hallway, the mysterious smells, and the dog poop that she threw out the window into the walkway and the parking area. Then we'll all toss our ear plugs into the air like graduation caps.

I wish I had a picture to show you. Alexandre and I enjoyed referring to her as "Brazilian white trash." She was greasy, aging, slovenly, missing teeth, and so overweight that her calves and ankles were black from blood that couldn't find the strength to circulate back up to the rest of her body. (Alexandre told me the name of this condition, but I have since forgotten.) But, by some amazing stroke of luck on my part, she's gone, and hopefully for good. Everyone else in the building is totally normal, so we're still not sure how these two characters managed to squeeze their way in (and to rent an apartment without jobs!).

It's overrrrr!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Birding Hobby to the Rescue!

So it turns out my birdwatching hobby is good for something!

Today Alexandre and I went out to lunch. We parked and were walking through a neighborhood to get to the restaurant. We passed a two-story apartment building, and on the second floor balcony of one of the apartments was a poor little golden-capped parakeet! You may remember last year when I saw these flying around in Caipirópolis and I was super excited because they're an endangered species. They're easy to identify because of their bright red heads (they also have a distinct call-- well, distinct to me, because I'm a nerd).

But the poor little guy! Some bastard was keeping it as a pet!! It needs to be somewhere reproducing to save the species! They're also birds that mate for life and get depressed if they're alone. :( :(

So you can take the girl out of America...

As soon as we got home from lunch, I looked up the information on how to report people that have wild animals as pets. I found two email addresses, one from IBAMA (like EPA) and one from RENCTAS, which is the national animal trafficking watchdog group. I also found the local phone number for the "environment police". Ha. I just love that translation. Anyway,  just for good measure, I sent emails to both and also called the local department and made a report. The guy didn't sound very promising, but maybe he's just sad he has to work on Sunday afternoon when the game is on. In any case, if he flakes out, hopefully one of the emails will make something happen.

So take that, endangered animal owner!

I'm gonna drive by there again in a couple of weeks and see if it's still there. I hope the little guy is saved!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Lindsey's Visit

I am so behind on this post! Dearest Lindsey came to visit last weekend, and it took me the whole week to get this written.

Anyway. She got into town late Thursday night. She spent so many hours on buses! What a strong girl. (Alexandre was still out of town for work things at this point, so Gatinha and I were the only ones to greet her.)

We had to wake up at 5:30am to get to Cambridge Day on time, which we didn't -- get there on time, that is. We somehow managed to get ourselves out of bed after 3 hours of sleep, but we didn't give ourselves enough time to get to the conference when it started. (One of the reasons we were late was because it was opening day of the new yellow line of the metro in Sao Paulo! Exciting news! It's so cool and futuristic and clean! But...we got off at the stop on the green line that merges with the yellow line, and we got I got us totally lost in the new underground maze of the transfer area. At least, ya know, 50 years from now, I can tell my grandkids that I was there the day the yellow line opened!)

Anyway, turns out we didn't miss much by being late to the conference. If you didn't make it to Cambridge Day, don't worry. You're not losing out on anything. I mean, one of the speakers did have some helpful general tips, like that it's important to reflect on yourself as a teacher, to take a step back once in a while and make sure you're teaching to your own philosophies (and developing those philosophies if you don't have them, which I don't). But most of the conference was just the speakers saying ridiculous and generic things ("train your students for success!") and peddling the company's books, which I guess was to be expected from a free conference put on by a publishing company.

The other problem was that it was totally geared for teachers who are not native English speakers. (The guy gave advice like "don't let your English fossilize! Make sure you keep studying English yourself! Don't teach only basic levels because you'll forget advanced English!")

But enough about the problems. The awesome part about the conference was that Lindsey and I got to meet up with Marc and Samia! Lindsey and Marc were kindred Canadian spirits, and Samia was super great to talk to, too. We went to lunch during the break in the conference, and we decided to try to brave the afternoon session. But Lindsey and I were both drifting off. The guy was from New Zealand but had a really British accent, and it was sooooo sooooooothing.... at one point Lindsey started snoring ever so softly, and then we knew it was time to go.

Of course, once the four of us got out of the lecture hall and back to chatting on the busy Sao Paulo street, we got our second wind. We went over to explore the giant bookstore on Avenida Paulista (I've written about it before here) at which point Samia and I convinced Lindsey and Marc to buy Kindles (the price of books at the store helped greatly to strengthen our arguments, along with the fact that Samia had hers in her purse, so we could display it).

After browsing through the bookstore, we went over to the adorable bar behind MASP (the art museum) for some afternoon pick-me-ups. I had a caipirinha with acerola, which was so amazinglydelicousomg. Samia's was some tropical fruit blend that I took it upon myself to sample -- also yummy! The fatigue combined with the alcohol made me practically delirious. We all reluctantly said our good-byes (we were having such a good time! We were laughing so much!), and Lindsey and I got a bus back down to the coast. We were passed out, dead asleep, by 10pm.

Saturday morning, we awoke to my crazy neighbor and her music blaring and some drama with her, which we mentioned in my and Lindsey's drunken joint post. Blah. Once I got over that, we went out to a farmer's market (not the crazy big one in my neighborhood, but one that's in the next neighborhood over on Saturdays). Our goal? To make chicken tikka masala! Result? Success!!!


We managed to find all the spices we needed at the farmer's market and the grocery store except for cardamon. I was talking about it with an older gentleman at the gym who also enjoys cooking, and he informed me that he has some because he also likes making Indian food, but he had to buy it in Sao Paulo (he did offer to give me some -- yay!). OK focus, Danielle. Here's the link to the recipe Lindsey and I used. A little time-consuming, but not difficult. Doable in Brazil, and totally worth it! 

After lunch, Lindsey and I drove around the coast cities to explore a bit. We went up a mountain, saw some pretty views: 






We went over to that big red statue in Santos, where we saw a surfing competition taking place:

it was actually some kind of paddle surfing thing. 

I was also very excited to FINALLY get some of my own pictures of the guira cuckoo bird, which has eluded me for almost a year. They were just hanging out by the beach, and totally not caring about all the people around at all: 




While I was at it, I got some newer and better pictures of a cattle tyrant (bem-te-vi-do-galo) and what I think was a double-collared seedeater (coleirinho): 



After the bird-watching (me) and sight-seeing (Lindsey), we went back to my apartment for the evening. We ingested copious amounts of wine, wrote that blog post, ate the leftovers of our tikka masala, and eventually went out for a late-night food run for Ruffles (Lindsey) and a street-corner pastel (me).

The night (well, the whole weekend) consisted of more non-stop talking, from which I learned fantastic things, like the fact that Lindsey worked at a bingo parlor when she was a teenager. What a great story.

Alexandre came back late Saturday night / early Sunday morning (whatever you think 4am is). Yay! Lindsey and Alexandre got to meet! But we went back to sleep and she left a few hours later, and just like that, her trip had come to an end. :( :(

But it was so refreshing to have a visitor, to speak lots of English, to meet more people through the blog, to make Indian food, to relate, and to spend time with a new and dear friend. :) I think Lindsey and I will have to act like college students in a relationship, going back and forth to see each other on the weekends. I can't get enough of her!

OK. I'll stop sounding creepy now. Yay Lindsey! OK, I'm done, for real.
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