It took over a year, but I have finally made the most important decision a brasilera can ever make in her lifetime…yes…I have finally chosen a futebol team. After
asking what the colors were and finding a somewhat form-fitting shirt that was on sale heavy internal debate, I have finally decided to go with Flamengo.
Futebol (foot-chie-bol) is a big deal here in Brazil. Like. More than life. We mention it in prayer circle every morning. The priorities of the average Brazilian are probably like this:
- Being Brazilian as heck.
- Looking better than the average person.
- Hating the President and banging pots and pans about it.
- Standing close to foreigners and making them feel uncomfortable with your affection.**
- Never touching food with your hands.
For transparency, lately my priorities look like this
- This is where Jesus should be, I know. But in all honesty I spend more time thinking about the Rainbow Chip frosting coming for me this Friday.
- Figuring out more things I can put salsa on.
- Praying for pumpkin spice anything to make it’s way to Brazil.
- Reading books and napping.
Lamenting the Brazilian Real:USD exchange rate and the 50% pay cut I’ve taken since I started working here, down from a 70% pay cut from my job in California, which was about 60% of what public school teachers in California make. Will I ever be financially stable enough to throw blessings back at people who bless me while also having enough money to sail to Antartica and slide down icebergs with penguins? Probably not. Oh well, ay?
- All that nice stuff like texting my mom back and being a good friend.
- Attempting to work out or something. More on that later.
A bunch of us are going to a Vasco/Flamengo game in the epic stadium that is Maracanã on Sunday (famous for hosting World Cups, getting ready for the Olympics, partially collapsing during games and killing spectators. The usual). This rivalry is pretty big – fans from different teams will have separate exits and sides they can sit on. Stadiums are dry, which is a big deal considering I can drink everywhere else in this country.
There are gangs and street fights and probably divorces before/during/after games. Whenever anyone gets pregnant, our first question is what team the child will root for. We ask this before asking the gender or name of the baby. It’s nuts. I love it. Minus the extra-curricular violence.
In other news, this blog is where I like to give my weekly insect report. Last week I told the story of the flying zombie roach. The morning after I posted that blog, I woke to a fat one, belly up, slow-motion crawling in the air in front of my closet. I sprayed it until kingdom come.
The next night, after going on a long walk as part of what is sure to be another short lived attempt at fitness, I went healthy food grocery shopping, came into the house, which was dark, as my roomies were glued to their phones in their rooms. I walked into kitchen, leaned over a tupperware my roomie was soaking on the counter under an open window, and was VIOLENTLY ATTACKED BY A FLYING ROACH. IT FLEW ONTO MY BOSOMS. I screamed like I was being murdered, did that ninja-dance-hop we all do when a bug is on us, brushed it off and smashed it back into hell.
Neither Leana nor Anysia offered a “everything okay?” I could have been being bludgeoned to death, but they had to instafacegram or whatever. Leana says “no, I could tell that was a bug-related scream.”
Part of my ego thinks maybe the roaches, clever buggers that they are, have learned to read and are now involved in gang-initiations in order to appear on my blog.
Suspicions were confirmed when this happened the other night on twitter:
In other news, the somewhat shady but super adorable 24-hour food code violation establishment that is Hot Biscuit, that gave me so many free refills of Ranch when I was forced to spend an unexpected 24 hours in a hotel in Houston, contacted me via Yelp to thank me for my kind review, offering free meals whenever I next stop in. I think it’s fantastic that the actual city this place is in is called “Humble, Texas.”
Also, I’m still super obsessed with Snapchat. It is like the most fun. Please join this with me. I know it has a reputation for being for the young’uns to sext each other, and that’s well-deserved, but I think that craze is over, and it’s evolved into a “be clever in one pic and six words” kind of space, and I love getting to see the daily life of my peeps.
The only weird thing I do on there is that I accidentally started following someone who I thought was my friend David, as the name was listed as his exact first and last name. Turns out its like a 14 year old Hispanic girl who likes to wear Air Jordans, whose mom makes “da best beeeens,” and likes to lip sync to Rihanna songs. She uses emojis I’ve never seen before and I have to google her acronyms (what is this “bae” craze?!) but it’s like a train wreck I can’t look away from. I’m creepy.
School is crazy right now. And I’m in the middle of making a big decision about not only spending another year here at RIS, but how I feel about teaching in general as a lifelong career. I never grew up wanting to be a teacher. I wanted to be famous, to talk to people, to party. I literally fell into teaching on a whim, on a prayer, on a suggestion. In desperation. It’s a stroke of good luck that I’m a kickass one and that I love it. But like everyone does, I think, I go through seasons of “WHAT AM I DOING HERE IF ONE MORE KID SNEEZES ON ME WHILE SHARPENING AN ALREADY SHARP PENCIL I WILL DROPKICK MY LAPTOP OFF A TALL BUILDING.”
But in the span of a 9 hour work day today . . . I learned about the neuroscience of prayer, celebrated six birthdays, watched 200 students, teachers and parents participate in See You At the Pole, which I vividly remember from my school days. I led worship for high schoolers after an intense chapel about bullying, played English adjective charades with a Brazilian and a Colombian adopted by Mexican/Swedish parents,
discussed political career options with a French/Turkmenistan student obsessed with Russia and world domination in my yearbook class (whose name is Islam at a Christian school and he’s a total polyglot with a passion for cathedrals). I had an intense conversation about the tooth fairy with a 6 year old in pigtails, helped Colombian, Brazilian, Irish, Ecuadorian, Angolan, Greek, and South African first graders compose sentences about their weekends, and unlocked the mysteries of common vs. proper nouns for a 3rd grader. I think only I sat for 20 minutes today, at a lunch I forced myself to take, while double-fisting fried aipim, which is the Brazilian equivalent of tater tots. What more could you want, right?
Teaching’s hard. Most things that are worthy of our time and can make a difference in this world are hard.
When it gets hard, I try to remember the good. And thank goodness for the camera roll on my iphone, for I’m not great at remembering the good on my own. But it’s there.
and if you haven’t and you need to hear it today:
you are so cool.
you’re the bees knees.
better than sliced bread.
and i’m glad you’re here.
*I love it when my kids pray before a test or say under their breath/out loud “aleluya I got it right!” So cute.
**seriously. At our in-service before the students came, we discussed some of the differences between foreigns and nationals, and our darling psychologist shared a story about how the third grade teacher had read a book to the students at the beginning of the year to explain what “personal space” was and how to respect it in people. “And so,” she added, “I don’t know exactly what this personal space is but apparently it’s a problem for us Brazilians.”