Monday, January 21, 2008


So these were taken when we went to visit Tamra's mission in Porto Alegre, Brasil - but they're extremely typical of any Brazilian downtown marketplace.
You Americans don't realize how lucky you are to have Target.

I just spent the morning pushing a stroller around downtown Jundiai - over an overcrowded, uneven sidewalk with a telephone poll in the middle of it every half block or so. Of course, everywhere I went, I was followed by cries of, "Oi, que loirininhos lindos!" "Nunca vi olhos tao azuis assim!" (Translation: What beautiful blondes! I've never seen such blue eyes!) I suppose they're compliments, but frankly I just don't like the attention.

For three and a half years I've been having the same small talk everywhere I go.

"No, I'm not Brazilian."
"I'm from the United States."
"Yes, I like it here."
"I've been here a while."
"Yes, it was hard to learn Portuguese."
"Yes, I still like the States."
"Yes, I like Bush."

Same. Every. Time.

And then the person I'm chatting with calls every friend in the vicinity to "come meet the American." Sometimes I want to charge admission. And when I'm in a hurry and indicate I don't have the time or desire to sit around chatting, I'm written off as a "cold-hearted American, rude and closed off in general." Grrrrrr.

And then there's the fact that everything - EVERYTHING - is sold separately. One store for shoes. One store for pants. One store for bathing suits. One store for toys. One store for clocks. I MISS TARGET AND ONE STOP SHOPPING!!!!

And the sheer AVAILABILITY and SELECTION in the States counts as one hundred blessings in and of itself. I went to THREE STORES to find pants for Nathan and found ONE PAIR. ("Sorry, miss, we don't have a size three in boys." EXCUSE ME!?!?!?)

Hmmm. I'm using a lot of capitals. I must feel strongly about this.

And while I love our small town, it's more than a little annoying that I have to drive half an hour to get errands done. I have to lump them all together to make it worth it ... but that means one L-O-N-G morning for the boys. (Pssst. I'm more than slightly worried what I'm going to do with THREE!) Luckily they were both angels and stayed in the stroller or held my hand the whole time. No fuss over toys not bought and ever-cheerful to go into as many stores as it took. Angels.

I love Brazil. I do. But I really, REALLY miss the States on days like this.


heidizinha said...

you know there is a target just right up the street. and lots of homes for sale around me. ;)

kristi said...

Oh boy, that is hard to deal with on a regular basis. Just come back to the states and be ignored by everyone around you :) I think that you will do great with 3. It will definitely be an adjustment, but personally I think that I adjusted better to 3 then I did 2. Weird huh!! I wish I could come help you, but since I am having a baby a couple of weeks before you I guess that won't work :) Have I told you have cool I think it is that we are due so close to each other. Now you just have to move to Texas and everything would be just great.

Lisa Fox said...

Hey there fellow newbie blogger. I too have procrastinated and bahhed at doing a blog, but i finally succombed to the pleas and started one up. Now i just have to figure it all out and keep it up. No prob right, yeah that's what i thought. I'm glad i got to see you for a sec. and maybe someday we'll actually get to chat. Love ya and miss you. Lisa

Kim (Davis) Loudon said...

OHHHHHHHH, I remember and I feel your pain. I remember having to leave like 30 minutes earlier than necessary because you have to plan on being stopped 100,000 times by people wanting to pet your kids hair and chit chat.
AND... I remember the issue of going to 19 different shops everyday for basic every day needs. ARGH! Funny, too... I remember how every store sells one... or possibly 2 things... usually that DO NOT GO TOGETHER. Like tupperware and lingere. HA! Fun times.