Oi. I just had the best weekend ever. Like, super Brazilian adventure weekend: Almost died in a taxi, got nauseous on a bus ride, was heckled on the street, saw a monkey, sweated out my eyeballs, was in the middle of a mini riot, danced my heart out, had a come to Jesus moment kind of weekend. It was amazing. I am exhausted. So exhausted I fell asleep fully clothed on my bed, with my glasses on, the lights on, texting. I woke up, killed a tub of Rainbow frosting, went on a walk, went to Bible study, and am now drinking wine out of a mason jar wearing a maxi dress as pajamas, listening to fake rainstorm and cafe sounds because that is my aesthetic.
First, lets talk about “stupid things Rachel does while living abroad.” This is always fun. A few weeks ago I went out with some friends to Lapa to see a forró band and dance until sunrise. While we were at the club we heard some songs and I had my Brazilian ambassador Larissa write down the names of them in my phone because everyone in the club loved them. I downloaded one of the catchy ones and loved it. Been singing it in the streets, the grocery store, the halls. It’s sweet – a guy says he doesn’t have any money, or a car, but you still like him. And then there are some words I’ve never heard before.
So naturally I send a video of myself singing it to Larissa, who immediately shoots back “RACHEL! YOU CANNOT BE SINGING THIS!!”
Turns out that these are the lyrics I was singing, and they come complete with suggestive dance moves:
I don’t have a car, I don’t have a house
And if you stay with me it’s because you like me
You like my RA RA RA RA RA ( I now realize these are supposed to be sex noises, complete with like a humping dance move)
lepo lepo (which is a slang term for sex)
I HAVE BEEN SINGING AND PLAYING THIS SONG IN THE PRESENCE OF CHILDREN IN A SCHOOL DEDICATED TO GOD’S SERVICE. I cry. And of course I can’t get it out of my head.
Leana’s friends are visiting for the week, and its super fun because they’re fun and because you realize when something has become home or normal to you when you have to explain it to an outsider. And if they question it, your feathers get a bit ruffled and you realize “oh wait, I just went Brazilian.”
I’ve only been here a little over a year and I can easily find things to say “BUT WHY, BRAZIL?!” but at the same time, I’m in love with so much and blessed by so much here. You see a new perspective on things when people from your homeland come to visit. Also, they brought me Rainbow Chip frosting and a replacement for my dead Fitbit. Kind of an oxymoron there.
We tackled some touristy things I hadn’t done yet. At the Christ statue we saw a million selfies being taken and little else, as the weather was kind of crap. But it was a cool tram ride up to the top. You can also hike it, which I want to do some day. And some Catholic babies got christened by a father guy in all white, and some young adults singing “Blessed be the Name of the Lord” in different languages. It was pretty neat.
Parque Lage is just gorgeous – I’ve mostly wanted to go there because it was in a Snoop Dogg video…my loyalties run deep. It’s at the foot of the mountain and you can see Jesus looking down and blessing this beautiful city. We had mimosas and cafe com leite and wandered around a bit. You can buy art supplies there and paint on the grounds, or practice yoga or tai chi, or have a picnic with the monkeys.
That night we all went out to a totally awesome club to celebrate birthdays. Waiters that break into themed song and dance every half hour while the rest of the staff plies you with caipirinhas and fries with squeezy cheese on them. It was 70s night, so every song was my FAVORITE SONG and we tried to keep up with the Brazilian cougars who were clearly regulars and had a very commanding presence on the stage. Brazilians love organized dance to popular songs, almost like line dances to every song, so it was totally awesome. They played Jackson 5, ABBA, KC and the Sunshine Band, Footloose, It’s Raining Men. SO MUCH FUN.
On Sunday we had tickets to a HUGE soccer game – Flamengo (which has the biggest fan base in the world) vs Vasco (which is a terrible team and no one likes you!).
We headed out to historical if somewhat troubled Maranacã stadium in heat that rivaled the surface of the sun. This involved a crazy bus ride over the mountain – hairpin turns at a million miles an hour, sailing over potholes and bumps, and also got to see some Macumba candle/flower rituals on the side of the road, some favelas, some really nice houses. I had to pee the whole time so I could barely function as the driver tested the capacity of the shocks and tires again and again and again.
Getting tickets at will call in Brazil involves about seven forms of ID, which I didn’t have, but I had to ter um jeito and played the “dumb gringa” card and the lady let me have my ticket after a very stern warning.
“Yo no falar? Portuguese? Discluppa?” <— this is how I talk when I need something and need to be charming and clueless to get it. Then we were caught in between a beer and rock throwing yelling riot between the two teams which involved some very colorful language I won’t repeat ever.
Fans at futebol games in Brazil make American fans look like they’re not even alive. It’s tattoos of your favorite team, curse the other team’s moms, stand the whole game, drums, flags, sing, yell, trample each other kind of fun. Each team has it’s own entrance and exit to avoid fighting. BUT there are actually places online you can sign up to fight members of the other team after a game. There are cops on horses in riot gear, SWAT teams, TONS of security, and the stadiums are dry. The volume and energy and passion Brazilian fans have is indescribable and it was a once in a lifetime game, if slightly hectic.
The ride back in the cab involved running four red lights, swerving into oncoming traffic multiple times to cut in front of other drivers, and our cabbie asking me to bring my arm inside the window so it wouldn’t hit anything as he maneuvered his way through the neighborhoods of Rio before swindling Nick and me on the fare. Le sigh.
Plans for this weekend, if I make it through Picture Day, tutoring, Science Faire, and all the regular fun of teaching, include binging on season 5 of The Walking Dead and possibly bussing into a place I haven’t been before on an epic quest to find Kombucha! And also LOTS OF SLEEP. :)
wish you all were here.
and in case you haven’t heard it today and you need to –
I’d take a beer can to the shin in the middle of a futebol team riot for you.
And Happy Birthday to Dana!!! Seven years ago today we were celebrating you in Honduras. I gave you bug spray as a gift. <3 To more adventures!