Monday, June 26, 2017
Passions of Belem
First month of work has been sweeeeeet. I've been hanging out with my friends and colleagues at the Nucleo (Nucleo de Medicina Tropical) Joyce, Railson and Terezinha. They love to practice their English and I my Portuguese so there is a lot of give and take. I have met all of their families and have thoroughly enjoyed becoming friends with them. I also pass this homeless elderly man Pedro, who lives at a bus stop everyday on my way to work. He still remembers me too. Tomi and I had become friends with him last year.
Givago, Leticia and I talk about politics pretty frequently too. Givago explains how politicians get into power all because of corruption. To get to a certain level they must accept bribes and influences from different groups and companies. It all comes down to who they choose to get their influence from. Givago told me how Brazilian politics really reminded him of House of Cards, as it's all just different ways that people get themselves into power. He also told me that he was happy to hear that I was returning because he knew I wouldn't really be too stressful for him as I already speak the language and I wouldn't really be at risk of getting homesick and wanting to go home. Then we rolled into talking about research. First he wanted me and Tere to do a new research project rather than a continuation of last year. He wanted us to do experiments based on pyschophysiology rather than electrophysiology.
One day after work I headed home and was just relaxing hella as it gets way too hot here when Camila, my host, told me that a bunch of her friends were coming over and that I was more than welcome to hang out with them. So later on I joined Camila, and her friends Felipe, who was from Sao paulo and a few other people. I greeted them all and then I remained quiet for the most part as I was scared to try and speak with a lot of them! I finally got up the courage to ask how they all met and I guess it was through music and playing in different stages as Camila is a singer in Belem. There was a moment in the conversation where Camila was talking about how she just couldn't identify with Samba as she isn't 100% Brazilian. I asked her if she identifies more as Japanese or Brazilian. Her response was fairly similar to mine in that we are both biracial and have a culture totally separate from that of the majority of the population so our identity can vary with the situation.
This one guest was telling many stories about her dreams in agonizingly perfect detail too. She said she remembered her dreams so well because they're scary. Overall I was proud of myself for keeping up with the conversations. As the night went on guitars were pulled out and people started singing more. It was fun listening to all these songs and conversations!
Moments like these happen frequently here. I am happy to be immersed in the culture of Belem again and to be able to keep honing my Portuguese skills. I learn something new and get into another adventure each and every day. Will keep you all updated.