Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Policia Federal

Today I went to the Federal Police Station, to register so that I don't get deported. The nearest one is in Cuiabá, a roughly 3 hour drive from my house. We wanted to get there at 8 a.m. when it opened, so we all woke up at 4:30 a.m, and left by 5:00. We were running early (the speed limit was 80 km/hr, we only drove between 100km/hr and 160km/hr), so we stopped by a pastel shop and I got a delicious chicken pastel. I remember eating these in London [NADS and KATIE:)] I hadn't eaten them since so this was a delicious mix of old and new. We got to the police station and they started filling out my paper work. We then went on a mile walk through the city to make copies of my passport for them (they conveniently didn't have a copier we could use). Now I am not fussy and I like to explore cities on foot, just not in 44 degrees celsius weather. For all of you not familiar with how hot this is, it converts to around 111 degrees fahrenheit. Now I am becoming accustomed to the heat slowly, where I live it is always 37 degrees (99 ish), but I was not prepared for this! Let's just put it this way, I strongly dislike extreme heat. After that we returned and I got my finger prints taken and I turned in a sheet (with a picture for my identity card, a very awful picture) so that everything was complete, however they marked me as masculino. So some of the paperwork had to be redone. None-the-less we were finished by 9:00 am.

Finishing early wasn't a problem except we were also in the city to pick up my sister Laura from the airport (she lives in a different state/city and is visiting for the weekend). She was to arrive at 1:00 p.m. So we killed time by going to the construction mall and the regular shopping mall, where I ran into some girls I knew from school (they were skipping). I ate a baked potato filled with chicken stroganoff for lunch, it was delicious. They also found my weak spot, Coca, although I LOVE guaraná (the typical brasilian soda), the coke here is soooo much better than that in the United States and we don't have pop in my house, so I don't feel bad when we go out and that is what I have. They will buy me one even after I have turned down the offer because they know I will drink it.

We eventually went to pick her up. She is always talked about with so much pride and love from her family and I was so excited to meet her! She is FABULOUS! She is one of the sweetest people I have ever met and I can understand her when she talks, major plus! We then continued to make our way home. Like before; they don't follow speed limits, they don't stay on their side of the road, they like to pass everyone, and it is pretty much the same as playing frogger.

Once we were home we sat on the porch for a while drinking tereré, which my father told me is the only type of water he is accustomed to. It is common here, it is an open cup with a metal straw in it (kind of like the cups/bowls that were around when I was a kid, built in straw) and you fill it with some herbs and pour cool lemon water over it. It wasn't my favorite at first but I keep trying it and am growing accustomed.

On water. I love water. I crave water. I drink lots of water here. My family noticed this and pointed out the fact that they really don't drink plain water, and they think I have extremely healthy eating and drinking habits. Like I said before, the only water they drink is tereré.

On sharing. People are always offering me things, and most of the time I accept. However sometimes I don't want to impose and so I kindly decline. One kid was offering me candy in class, he offered me two different types and I wasn't in the mood for candy at the moment so I told him no thank you and he looked at me and said "so in America you don't accept anything from anyone else?" Strange assumption, but I understood it. It is also the most normal thing in the world to share drinks or food with other people. For example, when we drank tereré today, there were five people, one cup, and one straw. I'm still growing accustomed to this idea, seeing as the people in my family share but we also share the same DNA. It isn't just family though, I've noticed it is everyone, no worries about other people's germs.

On assumptions and observations. A have a round face and because of this my brother and everyone who had looked at my pictures/videos on facebook (our spanish one.... ;P) thought I was 'gordinha' aka a little fatty. Then I showed up and now they think I'm anorexic and don't eat enough. Truth is, I eat so much, I'm always full and well fed, but compared to them I eat little and slow! I eat less than them but take double the time, talk about food eating contest champions! I also can only eat about one small sweet here every once in a while, because their sweets are extremely sweet--delicious, but too much for me at times. When we went to a churrasca (BBQ) I ate my weight in watermelon (one of my favorite fruits and delicious down here). I also ate a bunch of other fruit because the only fruit we have at my house is manga (which is also delicious). Today my pai came up to me and told me that I have great eating habits and that I only eat small portions and little sweets, then he told me I had a beautiful body (not in a creepy manner at all, that's just how it translates and I find it amusing). They all assume I'm watching my weight and that I am trying not to become fat, I try and explain it to them but they don't take "no thank you, I'm full" to mean anything other than "I want to stay slim". It is rather hilarious to me but it gets kind of old after a while. I also want to join a gym so I can go swimming and actually get some what in shape (ya know? six pack abs ;)), I'm hoping they'll let me! :) Another assumption from everyone is that because I speak English and am American, I MUST know all lyrics to every song in english and I must be able to sing them. They are incredibly wrong. They also point out the fact that people in brasil are very hospitable and people in the U.S. aren't always as welcoming. I try explaining to them that it is only in certain circumstances and that we just have different cultures. People might view them as loud and rowdy, where as they might view us as quiet, arrogant, and stuck-up. They also ask me quite often if our high school parties are like that from American Pie and if our high school is similar to Mean Girls. Oh what great examples have been set of Americans.

On Recent Happenings. Yesterday I went to some friends' house (Isabella and Ricardo) with my brother after school for lunch. They have a beautiful home with two dogs (Wendy-Maltese, and Hannah-golden retriever) None-the-less I filled the much needed dog void I had been having. I got to sit by them and pet them for hours and play fetch with Hannah. They are wonderful dogs. They also have a pool and a bunch of tennis balls, rackets, and american footballs. We played around for a while. For lunch we had feijoada. Typically in ancient times this was a dish of the random unwanted pig parts (nose, ears, feet) however more commonly now it is just a soupy mix of pork, put on top of rice and sometimes vegetables. I have no idea what parts of the pig it contained but it was delicious (even though Ricardo told me that he didn't like one of the pieces of meat I ended up scooping onto my plate). Everyone watched me for my reaction and I wasn't anything other than completely pleased! Their parents asked me many questions and they were some of the nicest people I have met thus far! Everyone did make jokes about me and my strange habits and facial expressions. They told me I was patient and a wonderful person and I am really hoping to get more time around them. We also created a home-made fire cracker. They normally work when they make them, this one was a fail. EPIC FAIL. That is what I am teaching them:) It was fun never-the-less and I walked around barefoot which I haven't done since I got here! Man have I missed that!! We then went to take my picture and try out my debit card for withdrawls (there are miscommunication errors). After that we went to a college graduation, long and not all that interesting, but good to experience.
On Tuesday I went to the special language school, where people of all ages take spanish and english classes. The lady who teaches it is a brasilian who lived in London for nine years. She has a british accent, I love it! I went to her class to have a conversation with her advanced classes about my life and what it is like in Minnesota. It was a lot of fun, although I probably spoke too fast for many people, I feel there pain on both ends. It is hard to speak slowly and it is hard to understand people that speak fast. They asked lots of questions and I tried my best to give them answers. Then I showed them pictures, the seasons especially amazed them because they have but one, summer. One lady was extremely shocked when I showed a picture of our German Shepherd and said "This is our dog Josie", her name is Josie and she didn't care for sharing a name with a dog. They were also amazed that I had hunted/killed deer before. Here owning a gun is illegal and you can't kill anything wild. I gave them Smarties and Jolly Ranchers. Apparently they have Smarties here, but they loved them anyways. Jolly Ranchers blew them out of the water though, they were all grabbing more, some for themselves so they could try more flavors, and some for their family members to try. They served me guaraná and a delicious caramel cake! After class Isabella, Larissa, Lays, Henrique, Hiago, and I went to an ice cream shoppe. The ice cream here isn't as delicious by far. It tastes a little freezer burnt, but I never pass up ice cream. That is about all of the interesting things that have been happening lately. I'm getting better at school, making many friends, remembering more names, and having an infinite amount of fun!

Well, Miss Wordy is going to go try and use some words in Portugues.


P.S. The bubblegum here is quite good!
P.P.S. People ask me to say "Trident" over and over again.
P.P.P.S. Halls (the coughdrops) are sold every where and eaten by everyone as candy. I refuse them often because they are exactly the same as the medicine we have [Clair-you would like it] and I have also been told that if you are going to hook up with someone, halls are a must (for good breath of course).


  1. Ahahahahha Aletha, wow, we must be in the same country or something. My family thinks I drink so much water! I bring a water bottle to school and meu pai keeps making fun of me for how much water I drink. And I agree, the coka here is much better than the US. AND I AM EATING SO MUCH MEAT. I need to join a gym fast. It's been a month and I have done like, nothing. Oops. Oh well, it's Brazil. It's one year. (I'm rationalizing...)

    I hope you survive the heat!!!


  2. dearest aletha and carly- we must be on the same continent or something:) there are soooo many things I can relate to in your blog! From the water to the filling food to how much people offer you things to the crazy assumptions and stereotypes of America. It sounds like you are getting along just FABULOUSLY with everything though and i'm happy you're having such a great time:)

    beSos from your border buddy

  3. ah aletha so much is exactly the same where i am!
    1. i drink so much water and my family doesnt, just like you, carly and maria
    2. same american stereotypes
    3. coke is better!
    4. ice cream is worse!
    5. halls as candy! i know, weird right?? i got some yesterday though haha
    6. i'm definitely joining a gym haha