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Post two by Shawn Knable – 24 de Julho de 2013

September 1, 2013

I’m still having a lot of fun here. The lifestyle here is so different that every second of every day is something new. It’s all a learning experience. I just did some laundry by hand in a bucket in the sink because we don’t have washers or dryers. It takes forever and doesn’t get anything actually clean. But I’m learning. We have to do everything in a very old fashioned way, so it’s really making me appreciate what we have in the States.

The food is really good, but I’m already craving familiar food. I had a banana with peanut butter this morning that was amazing just because it tasted like something I’ve eaten before. But their food is very easy on my stomach. They don’t eat hardly any spicy food at all. They HATE spicy food. Meat, rice, and beans are the meal. And it’s pretty much every day. But the weirdest thing is that they eat their biggest meal for lunch, so most restaurants aren’t even open later on. If you miss lunch you’re shit out of luck. We ordered pizza the other night and it tasted weird. I liked some of it, but they use weird cheeses. They have some really interesting snack foods though, and they sell them everywhere. It’s usually some kind of fried dough with meat in it.

I tried the famous Brazilian liquor too. It’s called Cachasa. It’s kind of in between rum and tequila. I don’t really like it except in this drink called Caipirinho, which is sugar, water, lime, and cachasa. They drink really sweet drinks here. I do like a lot of the beer, but most of it is generic pilsner. I had my first Xingu and Colorado beers here, but most of the people don’t drink them because they’re too expensive. But that’s completely relative because the exchange rate still makes it pretty cheap for us.

I went to a big party last night thrown by the university. It was so weird. They had a huge covered area with a big stage, and several bands played. They had a great samba band, this other band that was their version of country music (which is nothing like country at all, it’s just what the farmers listen to), and a couple DJs. The weirdest thing though was this slightly chubby dude (who was very clearly gay) singing and dancing suggestively to just about every horrible female American pop artist’s songs. His accent was ridiculous, and I couldn’t stop laughing. But it was totally normal to everybody there.

Which is the weird thing about all of this. Everything that seems super strange to me warrants no response from the Brazilians. They seem completely unaffected by almost everything. É tranquilo.

The three of us played soccer on the little dirt field with my padrinho (godfather) Wanderson the other day. Wanderson is really tall and uncoordinated on the soccer field. So I can legitimately say I dominated the first Brazilian I played soccer against. But he’s a basketball guy. So I don’t think it counts. I’m going to go try to find a soccer game after I send this email.

The people here really like Americans actually. They keep telling me they pull a lot of stuff from our culture, which is very loosely true. But everyone I’ve talked to has been really impressed with my Portuguese. I’ve picked it up pretty quickly since I’ve gotten here. I still have problems ordering food sometimes, and the supermarket is a pain in the butt because they always ask if I have a CPF code and I forget to just say no. But I’ve met a lot of really cool people. I hang out with Wanderson a lot, and he’s trying really hard to learn English. Sometimes I have to ask people to speak Portuguese because they all want to practice their English.

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