Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Typical Day

People always want to know what a typical day for me in Brazil looks like. Last Monday was a perfect example. I had planned to take the morning and register at the Federal Police, something I needed to do before my 30 initial days in the country were up. In the evening, I would go to my first class at the business college. It was a simple plan. A good one. And that was my downfall...God likes my life full of surprises...

7:30 am, staggering out of bed I head straight for the bathroom that is a shower and toilet stall all-in-one and take a long, super hot shower! I love electric shower heads...

8:00 am I wash dishes before touching up my nail polish (for looking nice at class in the evening) while doing my daily devotions.

9:30 am Ben arrives for a staff meeting and we talk and settle important, earthshaking matters before lunch.

11:00 am I'm making lunch that I'm not going to get to eat until 11:00 pm (thankfully I have eaten a melted cheese, banana, and cinnamon sugar sandwich as a mid-morning snack...)

12:30 pm, I wait at the bus stop as the 621 passes by four times, the 313 three times, the 680 and the Caxias bus each twice, and my bus, the 312 going downtown to the Federal Police, passes once, at 12:49 pm. This should have been a sign.

1:34 pm, arriving downtown to an empty building, I call Ben from the Federal Police to let him know that they have moved operations to the international airport. Thanks for the warning, non-informative agent who "assisted" me last week when you told me to come back today. Surely you knew they were moving?

1:40 pm, on the wrong side of the road, I see the very necessary expensive air-conditioned bus that goes to the airport barreling by. The driver notices the pained look on my face and graciously stops to wait as I cross the busy street and run a few hundred feet up to where he's stopped.

2:15 pm, I arrive at the airport and begin my waiting in line.
2:15-6:15 pm:
-make copies of pertinent pages of passport
-make more copies when the copy place runs out of ink and screws up the copies but still charges R$1 per sheet
-sit in the huge line next to a girl who turns out to be a member of a cult and spend hours talking with her
-answer her questions: "What's your relationship with God like?" as the rest of the equally bored people around us eavesdrop on our conversation
-make friends with an Argentinian, Bolivian, and a cute Columbian couple
-tease the Federal Police agents
-pretend I'm not hungry (I don't want to lose my place in line)
-find out that I'm missing a document and will have to return tomorrow or pay a fine of R$300

6:45 pm, the other South Americans and I get on a bus heading downtown. I am sure I'm going to miss my class, as this is the height of rush hour. On a Monday. Surprisingly, I am not anxious.

7:23 pm the bus enters Rio Branco, and eight or nine minutes later, I'm entering the building for class: right on time. All I missed were the appetizers. This is impossible. God did something with the traffic. Whoohoo!

7:30-9:30 I sit next to two fun MBA students who giggle with me the entire time as we make bets on who will be the next person to stand up and leave the lecture. The speaker, a super intelligent, super academic economist, is giving an eyelid-dropping boring speech about a scattered collection of Brazilian economic policies from the 1920's onward. I exchange business cards with the MBA ladies, who laugh at me as I attempt to explain the absurdity of my occupation(s):
A B.A. in vocal music who is currently a missionary who works with street kids who is studying business administration and marketing. Go figure.

And then of course, I go home, where my friend who is staying with me this week has dinner waiting for me...the first sustenance I've had since 10:45 that morning...

And that's a typical day. Nothing goes as planned, everything goes well. Beijos to all, as today has been just as "typical" and I'm ready to crash into my bed...

Boa noite!

1 comment:

Karl said...

Your story makes me glad I live in a "podunk" town (Teresina - PI) in Brazil. We just got our daughter's Brazilian passport today, and have dealt with the same two or three people since I got here two years ago.