Monday, March 20, 2006

Sex slavery, organ stealing, and the dangers of waiting in line...

So a few weeks ago, I was at the Federal Police Building, waiting in line with all the other foreigners to renew my tourist visa. And there was this one couple that needed help with their paperwork, and we started talking, and she was an American...and well, in Rio, you only need the slightest connection to exchange cell phone numbers. So a few days ago, we called each other and set up a lunch date. It’s been a while since I spent time in English with anyone other than Rich and Rebecca.

Yesterday, I mentioned this to Junior’s mom, Marizete, as we were eating lunch together after choir practice. Small talk, interesting tidbits, just keeping the conversation going. Now I should explain, I guess, that Brazilians have a flair for the dramatic. And novellas don’t really help with a realistic perspective: my current favorite, BelĂ­ssima, includes a man who married both Erica and her mother, several love triangles, a teenager dating his ex-girlfriend’s aunt, and falsified photos to break up a marriage so the father of the bride’s son can have a second chance to prove his love for her. Oh, and a sex-slavery ring involving fake modeling jobs and some stupid girls. Got all that? Anyhow, back to the story.

Marizete is horrified that I would go to lunch with “a complete and utter stranger! You met her in line at the Federal Police? Who knows what kind of person she is? Don’t you watch BelĂ­ssima? Jenna, you’re so innocent. Let me tell you about sex slavery and organ stealing...this kind of stuff happens all the time. They kidnap you and blahblahblahblahblah...” Ooh, are you still talking? I’m sitting here with an amused grin on my face, listening to her take a casual get-to-know-you lunch date and turn it into a modeling offer that will inevitably lead to my being kidnapped to offer “services” to Japanese executives on holiday in Brazil...I’m astounded by the scope of her imagination. It might actually exceed my own! At the same time, you can’t help but feel sorry for people that think like this: how do they ever meet new friends?

If I based my perceptions of reality on novellas and Brazilian news reports, I’m not sure that I’d ever leave my house...

Perhaps I should call Marizete and let her know that it went fine. And we ate Chinese food, so there’s the Oriental connection...which was, by the way, some of the tastiest, most American Chinese food I’ve had here. No small accomplishment there.

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