Volunteer in Mission to Brazil

08 August 2007

Decisions, decisions

I'm going to keep it brief this week because I'm in the middle of making a difficult decision--whether to accept an interesting job offer in the U.S. that would require me to leave here pretty quickly or to stay here with an uncertain future. Even though, to this point, my social life in Brail has left much to be desired, the thought of leaving the warmth and closeness of the Brazilian people is grievous to me. When I planned to come here to volunteer, I knew that it would be a temporary stint for 1-2 years, but still... Someone I respect said that I could find the same things in a small, country town in the U.S., but it's not the same (and I don't think I would thrive in a small town).

Now for some lighter weekly observations.

I was waiting at the bus stop the other night when a bus passed by going the other direction. Nearly everybody inside crossed themselves at the same time, because they were Catholic and passing a Catholic church behind the bus stop. I've asked a few different people here what the ritual of crossing yourself is supposed to represent, and the answers I've received have varied widely. I think, like many rituals, people end up doing it out of habit and don't necessarily remember why.

When I was putting away my clean clothes the other day, I noticed that my jeans are now wearing out in new places because of constantly wearing a backpack.

There's an older gentleman in my neighborhood who I call (in my mind) the "Funky Grandfather." He's got to be at least 70 years old, and he is always sporting the latest fashions, including cool tennis shoes, sunglasses, jeans, etc. I could totally see him starring in some commercial (but I'm not sure for what product...).

I love how people are more comfortable with the human body here. For example, the other day I was in a doctor's office, and she had a beautiful drawing on the wall of a nude pregnant woman. I admired it and asked if she bought it or if it was a gift, and she said she had it made from a photo and, actually, it was her pregnant with her second child.

As I think I've mentioned before, there's always something in bloom here. Now, it's time for the spectacular yellow Ipe trees. I've borrowed the picture below from http://www.ipef.br/identificacao/tabebuia.alba.asp.

And finally, something I've wondered about for a long time. You know how some songs get stuck in your head, even though you don't like them? Well, I have a theory that there must be some "faulty" brain cells that record things and will continually bring them to your consciousness against all logic. I'm thinking about the repertoire of songs that I end up spontaneously humming. Some of the songs that always pop up in my head or that I find myself humming are songs that I don't even particularly like. Why, out of the hundreds/thousands of songs stored in my brain, those same few always float to the surface? I think those must be the songs that were stored in the defective brain cells/sectors. Profound, huh?

Wishing everyone a blessed week.


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