I told myself that I would do a Happy Post today, in recompense for whining yesterday. But I am far from happy today. I am ... well, mad doesn't quite cover it. Irate. Livid. And also sad, disappointed, humiliated and hurt.
We've been robbed. AGAIN.
Lest you think Brazil is all parties and beaches, I'm about to reveal the ugly side of living in South America's most beautiful country.
Safety is a real issue here. Your standard Brazilian house has a wall around it - picture your entire yard encircled by an eight foot brick wall topped with either spikes, barbed wire, or shards of glass. This is just your average house. I know quite a few families refuse to leave their house empty. (We get that excuse a lot when people don't come to church - "Jose was working, Maria went to visit friends, and I didn't want to leave the house by itself.")
Now, we live in a gated community, so our house has an open yard with no barbed wire. (Although the condominium does - and also guards with big guns.) But apparently that doesn't mean we're safe.
We found out yesterday that our gardener has been robbing us. He has been walking into our house and taking blank checks. We only found out because he was an idiot and signed the back of one of them. There are six in all - for a grand total of five thousand reais. (About half that in dollars.)
I am mad.
We have known this man for over two years. I have laughed with him. Joked with him. He brings little presents for the boys and they love him. He has relatives that go to our ward - although he is not a member himself. I have met his family and been to his house. He's a good guy.
And he's been robbing us.
I am humiliated.
Does he think we're stupid? That we wouldn't notice? Or that we wouldn't care? Does he think he can just get away with it, because we're church-going Christians who preach mercy? (And also justice?) Does he think we're undeservingly rich, and need to be pruned a little? Did he think we're just 'bomzinhos' and wouldn't mind?
I am hurt.
And I feel ... dirty somehow. Unsafe in my own little house. He's been IN here - when I haven't. He's been looking through our cupboards and drawers and opening things that belong to me. Our checkbook wasn't in the most obvious place - he had to hunt for it.
I am disappointed.
I keep thinking of his kids. Because yes, I believe in mercy - but I also believe in consequences. I will tell the condominium security and he will lose his job. I want my money back. He will have to sell his possessions to do so. And I remember his young children - his wife. Because every thief has a family. Every thief has people who love him - and depend upon him. Their faces tortured me in my dreams last night. He must have been desperate to go to such lengths.
And I'm sick, sick, sick of feeling like HE is the victim.
Because like I said, this is not the first time. We had checks stolen last year as well - we can only assume that it was him again.
But it doesn't stop there:
My Man had R$200 stolen from his BISHOP'S OFFICE at church once - on a mutual night.
A gas station once cloned our debit card and drained thousands of dollars before we discovered it.
Some jerk cloned our phone number and ran up a cell phone bill of hundreds of reals - it took months to sort it out.
My Man has had cash stolen from work, too.
Not to mention the four times our ward building has been robbed while no one was in it. And the countless times My Man's company has been robbed - some outside jobs, some inside.
I want to ask the world - WHY US? I know Brazilians my parent's age who have never been robbed. And yet we've had more than our share. WHY? Is it because we're American, because they think we're easy victims? Because they think they can get away with it because we're foreigners? Well, they won't.
I am MAD.