Friday, September 7, 2012

Independence Day

Today is Brazil's Independence Day. We celebrated by going to a neighborhood barbeque. Marly and Marceo hosted it in our honor.

Everything was delicious, and our neighbors are really nice. The men all hung out around the barbeque and the women all visited around the tables. I didn't understand much of anything. It seems that I am understanding less than when we first moved here. It is frustrating. Marly kept trying to speak slowly for me so I could understand. I don't think anyone can speak slow enough for me. I now know how those Sapanish speaking immigrants feel in Logan. I could never understand why they would nod and say "yes, yes" when they obviously didn't understand. Why would they pretend to know what was being said?! Hypocritically, I found myself smiling and saying, "sim, sim" a lot today. They knew I was faking it. They would try even harder to make me understand. When things got really desperate, I would yell for Tom to bail me out. This Independence Day, I look forward to the day when I can be independent.

I may not be able to communicate my most basic needs. I may not be able to follow along and participate in a neighborhood party given in my honor, but, in  my new-found spirit of optimism, let me dwell on the things I CAN do:

First, I CAN do my own laundry (yipee!). And thanks to Tom, I can do it anytime I want. We just got a dryer yesterday! This took some time to find, as most people dry clothes the old-fashioned way; the way Mother-Nature intended. Let me just state here that I actually didn't mind hanging my clothes on the line. Tom, however, got tired of the crunchy socks and stiff underwear. My "new" dryer has 2 settings: "off" and "on". My old dryer also had 2 settings: "rain" or "shine". I have to admit that it is nice to be able to do a load of towels after the sun goes down. And Tom's socks don't stand in the corner anymore.

I CAN feed myself and my family. This is a little tricky, at times, but we haven't gone hungry yet. I have written previously about the difficulty in finding some ingredients. We are learning some of the things that work for our family and those things that do not work. For instance, nobody likes octopus. This comes as a big surprise for those of you who know the eating habits of my kids. I have to admit, though, that I was a little hesitant to try this delicacy. My good friend Marly brought over a lovely dish for us called, "Panela" (or something like that). I think that in other cultures it is called, "paella"--not sure on that--it's not a staple at our home. It is a dish with seasoned rice, meats, and seafood.

It had GIANT shrimp on top (they still had the heads on). It had chicken, sausage, calamari, and peas. I love all of these things. Here is where it got interesting.

Yep, that's a tiny octopus. The whole dish was "swimming" in them. I was not about to put that in my mouth! We found one of those on the beach in Rio. I saw it wriggling around. Now, looking down at my plate, I could imagine that little live octupus feeling it's way around on my tongue with slimy tenticles. No way would I try that!... Well, everything else tasted so good, and it would make good fodder for my blog....What the heck! I popped it into my mouth. I was careful not to touch it too much with my tongue. Mmmmm! It tasted good! I ate the rest of them.

What is this on my fork, you ask? No clue. But it was once alive, as evidenced by the internal organs visible upon dissection. I finally decided that I needed to not look too closely at the food before putting it in my mouth. Down the hatch. Soft...tender...delicious!

My family didn't try any of this dish. I had the whole bowl to myself--and I enjoyed it thouroughly!!

On the subject of food; last night, we went to a rodizio style pizza place (they bring the pizzas around to your table and you choose which ones you want). This place boasts 43 different types of pizza. I remember a lady I knew in California. She was touting the versitility of pizza: "You can put anything on it!" I had no idea...

At this retaurant there was pizza with hard boiled eggs, peas, ham, and onions; pizza with raw arugala and olive oil; pizza with mashed potatoes and bacon; different kids of fish and capers; steak pizza; shrimp pizza; pizza with sausage (Hilshire Farms type); chicken; mega garlic; pizza of unknown origin (there were several pizzas for which Tom couldn't translate the names of the toppings--we avoided those); and then there was the hot dog pizza. Tom tried this one--against my better judgement. It had a layer of mashed potatoes, followed by sliced up hot dogs (the hot dogs here are a strange orange color), and topped with crunchy potato chip strips. All that was missing was the ketchup. Tom didn't care for it. Duh! The only topping  they didn't have was pepperoni. We won't be taking the kids back to this particular pizza place. However, we did finish off the night on a good note. They started bringing around the dessert pizzas and ice cream. Yummy! You can't go wrong with chocolate sauce!

Back to my CAN DO list:

I CAN do the dishes. I am learning to pack that little disher washer with efficiency. Even my sister-in-law, Holly, would be proud.

I CAN clean the floors and bathrooms. It may take me all day and a lot of sweat, but I need to work out. Who cares if it needs to be done again tomorrow?

I CAN help Marissa with her school work. I am becoming very adept at looking up information on the internet.

I CAN go grocery shopping by myself (as long as I don't have to order anything at the meat counter). It may take me three hours of wandering up and down aisles, using the google translate on my phone to decipher labels, but it can be done. I just have to make sure that I have enough cash. I can't access our bank account yet-- I don't have a debit card. Apparently these things take time to process. I rang up my purchases last night on my calculator. I added it up twice--OK, 3 times--I was a little nervous. It came to $93 (Reais). I had $110. My math skills aren't great. I was worried the entire hour I waited in the check-out line (don't go to Extra at closing time). I got up to the counter prepared to take out a few items if needed. My order rang up to $62.57. Go figure.

So the moral of the story is: While I may have to do things a little differently, and with a little more effort, I am taking (teeny-tiny) baby steps toward independence. Maybe next week I'll be able to answer the phone.... Maybe.

1 comment:

  1. You answered the phone when I called. I'm surprised you didn't have to fight Tom or the children for the octopus dish.