sundays in brazil are my favorite because of the feiras (street markets) and family get togethers. today i didn’t really get a chance to hang out at the street market like i wanted to because it was rainy and i actually had other plans. rosangela, my brazilian mentor, invited me to spend the day with her family in lauzane paulista, north of são paulo the city. i was so grateful for the invite as i love anything that involves family and food. rosangela jokingly told me that all black families are the same so if i arrive before noon then they will put me to work. i didn’t have any problem with that and actually welcomed the familiarity.
so i woke up early because i knew that the trip would take about 45 minutes and i had to go get a metro card, put money on it, and find the bus stop. up until today i had been walking everywhere. why? because i need the exercise, it costs $0, and it helps me to learn where i am. on my way to the metro station i stopped at the supermarket and bought a little flowering plant for my hosts (dang i’m just remembering that i forgot to take a pic of the plant). once at the station i went to the ticket window and was told that i had to go to another window around the corner to get the metro card for the bus. of course. remember this is all happening in portuguese. when i got to the right window my hearing defect kicked in and i could barely hear the young sales woman. i kept saying “i didn’t hear. please repeat.” the good thing is that there wasn’t a long line behind me and i eventually got my card with enough money on it to get me to my destination for the day. phew…
next, i had to find the bus stop on rua rego freitas. i had some idea where to go since i had been walking so much and found that it was only 10 minutes away from the station. as i got there it started to pour but it wasn’t too bad because the stop had seats and a shelter/cover. there were three young adults there also waiting. one was a girl with this dope hat that said orgulho (proud/pride) with the gay pride flag in the last “o”. i so wanted to take a picture of the hat but i didn’t want to be the lame gringa so i opted out and decided to listen to the trio’s conversation to see if i could understand. the bus finally came after 30 minutes of ear hustling and waiting.
when i got on i asked the driver to please let me know when we got to bergamais, which is a supermarket near the stop i needed to get off. at first he didn’t understand me but i explained what street it was close to and he got the gist. i was actually pretty proud of that. the survival skills have kicked in lol.
one quick side note about the bus. it has two operators – the driver and the collector, who sits in the middle of the bus. you get on at the front per usual but in the middle of the bus is where you scan your card or pay the collector and then you walk through a turnstile to take a seat. kind of interesting and cool. there’s also tv screens that show various things news, pop culture, upcoming events, etc… that was cool too because a lot of what was shown was olympics related and it was another chance to practice reading the language.
as you probably guessed, i made it to my stop. the driver and the collector let me know when we were close and that was such a relief. rosangela was meeting me there but when i got off i didn’t see her so i went into the market because i was curious. it was gigantic! and super crowded. i went straight to the sweets and brought my fave amendoim (peanut) snack. then i just walked around to kill time until i heard from rosangela. after a little while, i realized my phone lost signal so i rushed over to a line to pay for my stuff. you’ll never guess what happened next. the lights went out and the store was completely dark. thankfully the sun hadn’t gone down outside yet so there was a little light at the front of the store. i ran out with my snack before anybody noticed….actually the lights came back on, i paid, and left. rosangela was there by then and we walked to her mom’s house.
everyone was so welcoming and super nice. the men were in charge of cooking for the day. as we waited the men periodically brought out snacks and drinks for us. it was really cute. once the food was brought out to the table a few of the elders had words. one man in particular got very emotional about the gathering and it instantly took me back home to many instances where my dad would be that guy. it was great and the food was even better!
after eating someone moved the couches and folks begin to dance and sing samba. i recorded some of it but wordpress won’t let me post the videos unless i pay. i’ll probably post to instagram when i get a chance – @jem_fly.
Despite the rain and cool air, this day turned out to be a good one. I found the spirit of my own family or shall I say what is familiar all the way down here in Brazil and for that I am grateful.