Saturday, July 2, 2016

Life in Belem

The days here are starting to fly by faster and faster. Everyday is a new experience, and a new opportunity to learn. I can feel my skills in Portuguese improving. Some days I'll be talking with a co-worker or stranger and understand the conversation without having to translate a word in my head. Other days I'll feel totally lost after a poor interaction (especially at supermarkets where people are often impatient and speak fast). But it's the little differences here that really get me. Everyday before I leave for work my wonderful host mother will wish me to 'be with god' and to be wary of the dangers outside.  And every evening I'll start a game of backgammon with my host father Claudio. He's always quick with a joke and never seems to be serious!

Last Friday I was lucky enough to go to a university sponsored party with meu amigo Tomi. We learned new styles of dance (quadrillia) while talking and meeting new friends.  Then they started blasting the Reggae music, but the singers only sang in Portuguese. Never in my life had I heard Reggae music in Portuguese! I had never felt happier at that moment, enjoying life and the down time outside of work. Life is very good here.

Last Sunday we hit Pra├ža Da Republica (a market place) and I met more university aged students. After going around and buying useless shit from the vendors, my friend, Natalia, took us to a meeting in the park about what it is like to be black in Brazil. Although I am not black, it was wonderful to have the opportunity to gain a new perspective about what it means to be black in a predominantly white and mixed race country. Listening to their stories inspired me to think of my experiences here and in the US. To be perfectly honest I feel more at home in Belem than in the United States! Everyone is of a similar complexion to my own and I feel so at home to have people who can identify with my bi-racial identity. It saddens me to know that I've been here for close to 5 weeks now. My stay is almost half way up.  But I promised myself that I would make the most of every single moment here. So far I've lived up to this expectation.
A picture of ya boy standing in front of Ver-O-Peso market.

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