My poor little blog! I am working like crazy, and I've neglected you. I'm buried under a big translation project, but once I'm finished with it, I promise to resurface on the internet again.
Last week was my fourth Braziliversary, and I've been so swamped that I haven't even had time to tell you all about it yet! (Check out the posts on my first, second, and third Braziliversaries using the links, and muse over the changes in our looks.)
There isn't that much to tell about this year's Braziliversary dinner. We went to sushi. We asked the waiter to take a picture. He was less successful than past Braziliversary picture-takers.
the time when Alexandre's family in Salvador decided to be nice and take me to a Mexican restaurant.)
The food was good, Alexandre cringed over taking a picture as always, and it was a nice night to reflect.
This year, I'm happy to say that we live a life that feels "normal" to me (i.e., in a community that is safe and with neighbors and friends who largely share my routine and my values). That means that I don't feel like I'm constantly in a context, ya know? Have you thought about that, if you are a foreigner living abroad? How often are you reminded of the fact that you are you, but how you may not be in the place where the you who you are became that you?
This idea of living in a context reminds me of young Stephan Dedalus in Portrait when he is trying to study geography and is inspired to make an expanding list of who he is relative to where he is: "Stephen Dedalus / Class of Elements / Clongowes Wood College / Sallins / County Kildare / Ireland / Europe / The World / The Universe." (That's also a shout-out to my Irish blog buddy, Pernambucano Gypsy.)
Yes, well. Until moving to this new city (I thought of a nickname for it, by the way, more on that later), I think I was almost daily reminded of the fact that I was me, but out of context. But now the context feels normal. I think it's partly because I've gotten used to things in Brazil, and partly because Brazil has changed my definition of "me," but it's mostly because this city is more "America-like". That means those context-reflecting moments are fewer and farther between.
All this normalcy, as President Hoover would say (I'm being extra snobby with my allusions this evening), meant that Alexandre and I could spend a little more time celebrating the survival of our relationship rather than my survival in Brazil. You may remember my brief comments on our rocky points last year -- some of you got much more detail -- but I'm happy to report that, thanks to our move, my ability to work and use my brain and make friends, and Alexandre's healthier job environment and work schedule, things are all smoothed over and we're back on track.
I really believe that this 5th year is where it's at! I don't think it necessarily takes 5 years to get adjusted to Brazil, but I think this intersection of my time in Brazil and my "road in life" is really a promising one.
Oh, and I came up with a nickname for the new city: I'm going to call it Springfieldjee. Get it? Get it? Har har? I thought of it while watching The Simpsons, dubbed (one thing I'll just never get used to in Brazil). On the Simpsons, there's a running joke that their city is so "normal" and "typically American" that the show never says which state the Simpsons' Springfield is in. (There's one particularly funny episode where I think the whole family is sitting on their roof, or at some kind of vista point or something, and they can see all kinds of random states from where they are.) Anyway, I think "Springfieldjee" is a perfect nickname for where we live now because:
1. I don't want to tell you where it is.
2. The city feels very "normal" and "American".
3. It's still Brazil, which means it has a Brazilian twist, à lá the Portuguese-inflected pronunciation of the word "Springfield" as "Springfieldjee"
4. My friend Nancy loves The Simpsons, and she's one of my few friends from the US who still faithfully reads my blog.
Stay tuned for more! ...Eventually.