Thursday, December 06, 2007


Well, it stopped raining.

I've found a flaw in the pink house. Fans don't do much at all to ameliorate the heat that gets trapped in this building with no shade. It is so hot here, even at nine o'clock at night, that there is no relief even in front of the fan. O gloria! Here goes another couple of months of wishing that we all lived in a nudist colony. In Alaska.

I've been really absent from the blog for a good three weeks. It's not because I haven't had internet access. I have. Most nights are spent on instant messenger with friends...Mostly, I just haven't had much energy to write. Today, even in the heat, I'm going to overcome my lethargy.

Here are the highlights from those lost weeks:

1. We had visitors. And they had a pretty wet time of it here, but were able to see most everything that we do here in Rio. I love having visitors and it was brilliant to have D and M here for a week! It was fun to have them in my house, and to stay up late and chat, and even to make breakfast for them in the morning. However, after more than a month of sharing my home with other women, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I enjoy living alone. Hospitality is wonderful and I adore offering it to people. But after hand-washing more loads of lice-infested sheets and towels than my arthritis can handle, tying pillows into plastic bags and throwing them outside to wait out the louse's hatching period, having to share my shower time and my refrigerator and my food with other people, and their funky ways of doing things...I can say that I am extremely pleased to be home alone on a Thursday night. Just me and my computer and a glass of cold chocolate milk. Yum. Will there be a roommate in my future? Only if he's a guy. A good-looking, Portuguese-speaking gentlemen with a gold ring on his left hand that has my name on it.

2. The Servant Team and I have had quite the social life recently. A good friend just graduated from the Brazilian military's engineering school, and invited us to his graduation ceremony. Excellent. Except that, in his words, "not everyone there will be in floor-length formals." Our Servant Team members pretty much come down here with capri pants and flipflops. Nothing even resembling heels, let alone a non-floor-length formal. There was a bit of freaking out on my part, naturally, but we managed. The boys bought swanky button-downs from a local store, and the ladies went all decked out in my clothes: dresses and grandmother's hand-me-down jewelry, a sexy/weird top with buckles and straps like a straitjacket, and heels borrowed from neighbors in almost right sizes. It was quite the affair, with fireworks and parade music and the graduates being given swords...
I got invited to the graduation ball, special invitation and everything. It didn't register until the day before the ball that this was a floor-length formal affair...and all night long. I spent hours in between work and manicure appointments trying to find a dress that would fit the bill...just hours before the party! Being nearly broke, this was an impossible situation...but impossible situations always work out the best. My neighbor had a sparkly top...and I had a skirt I've saved for more than six years, never worn, because it was an impossibly too-small size 8. I don't know why I even bought it in the first place. But it went out in style last Saturday night: there was no one else in the place who looked like me! And we danced from one am until the sun came up at six at the fanciest party I have ever been to in my life. I wish I could put words to the experience...suffice to say that my feet have never samba'd more or that I've pulled a more pleasant all-nighter in all my 26 years...

3. Today was the end of the year party at one of the ministries we work at. It was hot and there were more than sixty children there. The noise level was unbelievable. I ran the "Memory" station. Never thought I'd see fistfights break out over a kids' game...they're really serious about their ducks and flowers! We were miraculously spared when a gunfight broke out in the street next to the project; all the kids were hustled inside without incident. One of the workers was downstairs and a stray bullet hit him in the leg. Praise the Lord that it was only in the leg and not a dangerous wound. He's already been to the hospital and to the police station to report it...and it looks like he's planning on going to work tomorrow. Only in Brazil...a shooting isn't enough of an excuse for a sick day.

I have so much more I want to say about this, but I'm still in a little bit of shock. It could have been one of the kids. Or me. I don't think I would have handled it with quite the aplomb that he did: stoic face, blood running down his leg, he said, "Don't tell my grandmother..." And then he walked BACK DOWN THE STAIRS, with a BULLET IN HIS LEG.

That guy's amazing.

That's enough for tonight. I need to stick my head in the freezer for a while.

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