Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Holidays used to be so fun... I had my friends around and we used to do the wildest parties, get home the next day, after the sun was up...
Gee, my life used was a constant partying.
What happened? I just left them all behind... friends, family... not sure exactly why.
Friday, December 09, 2005
I was always very critical of everything he did at first, but completely embraced those things a little while later, becoming actually his greatest motivator.
He says that drives him crazy, but I tell him that's my prerogative of being a woman - I have the right to change my mind and start enjoying something I hated at first. And his prerogative as a man is to be understanding of this twist.
"If you see a slave sleeping do not wake him up. He might be dreaming of freedom"... He never really told me what that means, and my understanding is usually different from his...
(He is smarter than I. ... uh, well, I like to think I am still 15 months older and that entitles me some extra knowledge - not true though... We think differently and have our disagreements, but many times , I still think he is smarter... guys are naturally smarter, I guess.)
Anyway - I think the quote means: Freedom is the most precious thing a human being can have, because it gives him dignity. Without freedom we feel like we're not worth anything. And the poor slave has no feedom in his life. But he is at least free to dream. And in his dream he might believe he has freedom. So don't bring him back to crude and cruel reality. Let him have those few moments of freedom - even if it s only make-believe.
In a more philosophical approach -I believe that doesn't only go for slaves in real chains, but for all who live as slaves, deprived of meaningful things in life. Sometimes I feel that way. Maybe we all do at times.
Or - if you see a dreamer, somone who doesn't believe we have to comform to what it is, don't spoil his dream by talking to him about the reality of things - let him follow his dream. We never know where that road may go.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
All I can remember was that JP was in it. I woke up with the feeling he was mad at me.
Honestly I wasn't sure I would be able to make it through the day. I made myself stop crying so I could get ready for church, but every time I got something done, I'd sit back and start over.
At church everybody was talking to me, and I was acting happy and goofy as a usually do, flying around, being annoying, but... God, I just wanted to go home. I just wish I could. I just wish I could hear grandma yelling at me for getting home at 2 am. For working too much. For not putting the left-overs in the fridge.
Should I really be here? Is it really worth it? Being away from everything and everyone I love? Everyone who loves me? I am feeling so lonely and so guilty.
GUILTY! What the heck is wrong with me? I feel like I am a horrible daughter, sister, friend, everything.
My brother just graduated. My best friend. My only friend for half of my life. And I wasn't there.
My friends and family are all proud of me and I don't know what the heck they are proud of. I miss them. I want to go home.
God I just wanted ... I just didn't want to cry anymore.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Can't help it. Everytime she is full, I fall in love. ... uh... not sure what I fall in love with though.
This time it is not orange - it is silver, bright shiny silver.
Oh, how I miss watching the moon from my eighteenth floor window, with grandma and my brother Leo. The world looks so perfect at night, from the 18th floor, at the moonlight, with the people you love, and the smell of bean soup coming from the kitchen...
Sometimes I just want to go home.
"Não há , ó, gente, oh não, luar como esse do sertão."
Girl grew up hearing
That it was no use lying,
Because Mother always knew it
Mother used to say
That she read it on the forehead of the Girl,
And that only Mother
Knew how to read forehead.
To cover her forehead with her hand
Girl had to understand
Then, Girl found out
Girl then tried
Girl really had to learn
Girl tried, tried... and learned it.
But at night
Air did not come to Girl.
Girl - unintentionally -
Nor seeing eye.
Girl had learned
But it was no use.
And so tight that tight feeling got,
Girl had an idea,
Whether it was a brilliant idea.
Was to tell Mother
Girl found it bad
To learn so many things
And do not share them with anyone.
Girl told Mother
That it was really complicated
Girl really tight.
That Mother was crying.
And that Mother
Hadn’t learned it all yet.
Mother did not say anything
That in Mother it also hurt
To be grown-up alone.
At that moment
She found out that only care
makes loneliness go away.
And that, then,
Monday, November 07, 2005
I was some sort of spy. Me and 2 other spies kept going over to a place to rescue hair products. But our mission kept ending up badly.
The guy that was my superior got killed 3 times. Every time he would always tell me, "don't worry, this time it is going to work." I think that Nathan Hale story really got to me.
I always managed to survive though (because I am oh-so-cool!) BUt I had to bribe this couple to let me get through without their telling on me.
I was covered in mud when I got home and went take a shower.
Meanwhile, it was my birthday, and we were having a breakfast party at home. All my family was there, and also my friends from Memorial church, and my friends from my American church Jim and Dave. Jim came with everyone he knows from work and I got really mad at him. How was I to explain to grandma that she had to feed an army?
"Who the heck are these people?"
"They work with me." he answered as if that was the most normal thing in the world.
"Who told you you could bring your friends from work?"
Dave also brought a bunch of people - FRIENDS OF A FRIEND OF HIS. And he kept apologizing cuz he had no idea there were so many.
I kept looking at Dave and Jim, trying to figure out a way to make grandma not aware of their friends presence.
"These people -" I could only say in despair, "you know they were not supposed to be here! you know that, right?"
"YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I was completely overwhelmed by the people's behavior, "Just tell these people they can't start eating! Do they know it is my birthday? Do they know we have to pray before we eat?
"Dave, get the food out of that woman's mouth for crying out loud!" It was an old black poverty-stricken woman who got every piece of food she could hold. "Oh, my gosh, you can't eat that! PUT THAT BACK!"
Things calmed down after a while.
Since I had taken a shower, my hair looked like a porkypine.
Then grandma mentioned that this prince from some land was sort of in love with me. (It was the son of the couple I bribed on my mission.)
And my friend Marcus went like,
"Sure, that is so happening. You marrying a prince. Only if he is blind."
"What are you saying!"
"THe truth! No prince will ever marry you."
I get so mad at his spite that I want to hit him, but he is much older than me, so I figured it would be disrespectful. Everyone in the room would be upset at me. Especially because everyone in my family worships Marcus.
Crap, I have to hit some one. I have to show everyone I am mad. And I have to do it now.
Then I take out on Jim, that has nothing to do with the story, but happened to say he was taking off his shirt. (just for the record- it was a beach house)
"Just put on your shirt, you! This is my house!"
He laughed cuz he got no clue what I was so mad at, so I pushed him as hard as I could and yelled,
"Just put your freaking shirt on! NOW!" and that got the message across. "And have all of these teenagers who followed you do the same thing! See what a bad example you set!"
The teenagers were my friends from Memorial youth group, Dani, Felt, and Deó, and a couple of guys from Jim's work.
Then my Aunt Inaja went like, "Marcus is right. With your hair the way it is now, when the prince gets here, he will turn right back."
"By the way," Marcus hollered, "did you shave?"
So I got mad at both of them. What the heck!
And you know what! That prince is sort of ugly and dumb-looking and I do not want to marry him at all.
But , oh crap, all my friends are here and I am looking like a porkypine. ANd to make things worse, there are all these people that Jim and Dave brought. They don't even know me! I better go get my hair done. And why the heck did Marcus have to holer the words 'did you shave?' out loud? Did the whole world have to know I forgot to shave in the shower?
Meanwhile the heater was on. Dave and Jim (I guess they were the only americans in the party) were, like, dying.
"Virginia," that was Dave, "can you please turn this thing down, cuz we're sort of scorching here."
Gee, there was some sort of problem with the heater. I could not get the thing to go down. "Just a few more minutes ok, guys?"
So Marcus got up and solved the problem.
"It was I.O.I.C. - incompetent operator in charge."
All the time, I had the distinct feeling he wanted to put me down in front of my American friends. For goodness sake. What the heck was wrong with him! A 34 year-old man. You'd think he 'd know better.
"Marcus, just drop the attitude!"
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Grandma used to sing that song when I was little. Tonight when I saw the moon, dazzling, huge, and orange in the dark sky, those words came back to mind.
"... if you were not married..." [who is she married to? Saint George?] "... I'd make up a ladder to go up there and kiss you." Yeah, maybe I should try that some time. When St. George isn't looking.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
That's a Paul McCartney song. From his latest CD.
I am watching a movie that reminded me of this song. It's called "The Quiet Room" about a girl who gives up talking because of her parents divorce. Throughout the movie her speech is in her mind. It is so interesting.
Reminded me of myself. My aunt says it was as if I lived in another world. Maybe that is why I grew up to be so different from everyone.
Unfortunately since I've learned to talk, I won't stop. I wish I would. So people would know when I am hurting.
"Even to cut off your own negative points can be dangerous. ONe never knows which of the negative points is the one on the basis of the whole building." Clarice Lispector
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
A very cool thing - the story is by Mario Puzo, the author of "The Fortunate Pilgrim" and "The Godfather" and one of my favorite writers.
LOUIS LANE is UGLY as HELL! They really did not care much about good-looks back then.
HIS OUTFIT (!!!!) explains my brother's articles about SuperMan being SuperHomo. What kind of man goes around in a blue bathing suit, red underwear on top of his pants, and shiny boots? "Feeling gay today, honey."
Now when Louis Lane dies, that's so stupid!!!! Doesn't Superman know how to make CPR! I guess that would make him too human... So he had to make the Earth turn backwards.
Huahuahua -Louis can't spell!!! So different from the smart Louis Lane from the TV series.
Funny I always thought there was a scene with a boy falling in the Niagara and Louis falling from the Eiffel Tower. Maybe that's from Superman II and III.
You could fly by the Statue of Liberty without being considered a terrorist.
Oh, that's why I've spent my life wishing I could fly!
I just checked the year the movie came out - 1978. Get out of here! The movie was already old when I was born!
Maybe now I will understand a lot of the story and not be scared of going to bed.
Superman, Star Wars, Indiana Jones... these stories filled my childhood dreams.
Only very recently I was able to understand a lot about Star Wars, watching it again with a friend in order to go watch the final episode.
Now I am afraid of watching Indiana Jones again... afraid that it will not be as fun. Indiana was my all-times hero!
In the end I found out who directed the movie - Steven Spielberg.
There was a time in which I knew every single movie Spielberg had ever put his finger in. When did that stop? When did I stop having a life?
Anyway, finding out that it was a Spielberg movie explained a lot. The movie has a sensitive and funny story that appeals a lot to your emotions, and an unavoidable happy ending that makes you want to cry because it deals with those sacred concepts of home and family. But in a sort of manipulatively naive tone.
Unfortunatley I think I have already been doing so much home/family crying of my own, that movies like that don't seem to make me cry aymore. MOvies have too be much deeper than a Spielberg sentimentaloid flick to make me cry. I don't think I still believe in happy endings.
Monday, October 10, 2005
I was watching a stupid scary movie. A very stupid scary movie from the 80's. The movie was so stupid and predictable, that I don't know why I watched it.
More than stupid and predictable - the story was one of the most senseless I've ever seen. It reminded me of the nerdy senseless stories my best friend (12 years ago) Daniel Troccoli used to tell me.
Daniel was 10 and I was 13, so even back then his stories were already way too stupid for my taste, and the only reason I put up with them was because he was my best friend and he put up with my trash too.
Friday, September 30, 2005
I was thinking about Lua a lot today. So, as silly as it may sound writing about friendship, that is what I will do now. Friendship is the kind of relationship that should be the basis for any other close relationship.
And though I have a handful of very dear friends here in the U.S. (I'd name them, but they know who they are, and enough is enough - I tend to become too melodramatic when i get into this subject), Luana is still my best friend. Even though we are far away.
The best thing about our friendship is how long we've been friends for - 11 years now. That is so awesome. One day, 11 years ago, we decided we would be best friends. I know that sounds a little weird, maybe childish. But we were kids then and kids do silly things like deciding to become best friends.
A lot of people that were probably as old I as am today told me that having a best friend was silly, just kid's stuff, that one day I'd grow up and grow out of it.
Honestly - I am glad I never believed them. And I still don't. I believe having a best friend is the best thing that can ever happen to someone. Having someone special you can always count on, someone to laugh with, cry with, fight with, share secrets with... yeah, someone to share.
Honestly - I think anyone who says best friend is a kid's thing is an unhappy creature who forgot a whole lot about loving and caring.
But yeah, one day we made a pledge to be best friends from that day on. And it was one of the best things I ever did, since I never really had a close friend before (besides my brother of course, but my brother was well on his way to find his own friends and girlfriends and I was really being left on my own). Sudenly I had someone who was not part of my family to play with, and do those fun things only friends do - like being silly and not minding it, going to the movies whenever, talking about boys, and being irresponsibly happy.
We helped each other grow up. And when we realized it had been 10 years we had decided to become friends, we went to the mall and bought a pair of pink blouses and had our names embroided on them. Talk about being irresponsably happy - we did it just for the sake of it, as we have always done. Oh yeah, we are no longer teenagers, but if best friends is a kid's stuff, we can still act very much like kids.
Everytime I think of Lua I have to thank God for the gift of friendship. Everytime I think of Lua I can't imagine my life without her, because everytime I think of her most of my life comes to my mind in flashback. Sleep-overs, outings, phone talks, letters in colored envelopes, beatles CD's, Bible studies, camps, and so much more. Oh! Oh Yeah! I hope she forgive me for writing this here, but ... I also can't help thinking of all the times she broke up with her boyfriends and I was the shoulder she'd have to cry on. Everytime I answered the phone and a crying voice begged me to come over and talk, I knew I had a long long afternoon ahead of me.
11 years... wow! isn't that something!
Now that we have grown up and have gone our own separate ways, maybe we won't be as close nor have as many memories in common. I don't know what will happen from now on. I think maybe we should re-start the letter-writing practice. Distance and time are 2 things that cause a lot of trouble. But we have to get on with life , right?
And maybe part of being best friends is figuring out how to keep th erealtionship even when time and distance say no. We won't live in the past. I refuse to look back and think what a great friendship we had. We have a great friendship and that will not die. Best friends is not a kid's stuff, it is a lifetime commitment.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Ok, the title of this posting was supposed to be "Lost in New York". But then I remembered that M. Culkin had a movie with the same name, Home Alone 2:Lost in New York. So, yeah, that's where I got the idea for this title from - See? How extremely creative I am!
Yesterday I went to NYC on business.
(Just in case you are reading this blog and you know me, DO NOT assume anything - I was really there on business, but I won't jinx it by blabbering about it.)
Well, the whole day went perfectly fine. My business meeting couldn't have been better.
And I was proud of myself, because I had never used the subway before and I did not screw up or anything. Got into the right one, got off at the right station, took the right direction to the place... everything was perfect till it was time to come back home.
My meeting lasted longer than what I had expected and I realized that by the time I would get home there would be no more buses running.
Well, the family I live with had offered to pick me up at the station, but I'd rather not bother them. After trying a lot of alternatives that did not work out though, I was pretty desperate. That's when I decided to give them a call. I was on the subway when I called them.
I had gotten the right subway, but got off at the wrong exit. Don't ask me how, but I looked at the map and thought I had it all figured out.
I walked for 10 minutes absolutely certain that I was going the right way. Next thing I knew I was arriving at Central Park.
"Wait, I was trying to get to Grand Central! What I am doing here?"
Besides, Central Park + night... not a good combination. Remember Home Alone 2? And remember the Brazilian grad student murdered there? Yeah, when I saw the name Central Park at the sign , chills went down my spine.
"I-I shouldn't be here. I am not giving another step forward." Really? Funny! My feet kept moving. I don't think they believed I was actually at Central Park. Those eyes of mine could be deceiving me. I was tired, maybe I was seeing things.
FEET! STOP MOVING! THAT THING ACROSS THE STREET IS CENTRAL PARK AND YOU ARE NOT GOING IN THERE! Ok, that is pretty much what my brain told my feet, so, guess what! they stopped.
Let's see, I needed to get to Grand Central, I had no idea which way to take and even less of an idea why I ended up a street away from Central Park, and please, let's keep in mind that I do not know NYC and it was a little bit past 10 pm. I needed help. And I needed help right away.
But of course I would just not stop anyone on the street and ask for help. Who knows what kind of weirdos walk by Central Park at that time of night. Na-na-nee-na-nahn, I would not talk to anyone who was not wearing a uniform. One thing I've learned as a city girl is to never trust any passer-by after dark. And, as scared as I am of NYC, I never trust any passer-by there @ anytime of day or night.
Looked around to scan the enviroment. Spotted target: hotel on the corner, doorman.
It was a little upsetting, though, realizing he had a very think accent. But I figured that in order to be a hotel doorman, he would probably understand English pretty well, and be able to give directions to Grand Central. And I was right.
"Sir would you please tell me how I get to Grand Central?"
"You have to catch the subway."
"The subway????" No, no, no, he doesn't understand English. Oh, God, why did I go to someone that does not understand English???? "Sir, I just got off the subway. Can't I walk to Grand Central?"
"Well, G.C. is on 42nd and you are on 57th. You can walk if you want to."
"42ND?!?!?!?!" Yeah, 42nd?! How the heck did I end up so far off the target? "So did I turn the wrong way? Was that it?"
"I don't know." Of course he wouldn't know it, Dumbo! How was he supposed to know how you screwed things up? Duh!
"Uh... yes, I did. So what do I do now?"
"You have to get on the subway..."
He would point in a totally different direction of the one I came as he spoke. My head spinned and I stopped listening, though I could see his lips moving. Getting back in the subway was not an option! Going anywhere I hadn't been to before was not an option, trying to figure out new directions in NYC at that time of night was not an option! Sir, do me a favor and just tell me what I want to hear.
"So if I wanted to walk there, which way should I go?"
He pointed me the way. So I thanked him and started walking.
After a little while, I understood why the funny look in his face when I used the verb 'to walk'. Argh! My kingdom for a cab!
I started looking for a cab. And many cabs drove by - all packed. A few would stop to drop people off, but before I could any closer to them, someone else would get in. Beautiful! I am just not aggressive enough to get a cab in NYC. ... uh... not yet. And maybye I never will be, since NYC is not my dream land.
So I did the rest of my walking, my legs weighing more and more by the minute.... until... WOW! I finally spotted GC! It was a block away! But even then getting there felt like forever . By the time I made it to the entrance, each leg weighed a ton and I had to use a lot of willpower to get them off the ground.
It was 5 of 11, meaning I had been walking for almost an hour. For somone who had plans to get the 10:30 train to Stamford, I was a little bit late. By 10:40 I had called the family and left a message with their little girl "Tell your mom to go to bed, I got lost and it took me forever to get to the train station." And my phone died. Good. I didn't want them to call back and say they were picking me up anyway, I'd feel the most inconsiderate person on the face of the earth."
The train was leaving at 11:22. I made it to the train, my legs begging "mercy, please! Just forget the Miss Manners walk and drop down on a seat!" ...hum... no, not yet. I had to find a seat with an outlet. Even though I was not going to let the family call me, I had to have some battery life to make sure I was safe in case of an emergency.
Once I found the right seat, I finally dropped down and forgot about the whole manners thing - I connected the phone and passed out. And I had this weird dreams that I had missed my stop and ended up in New Haven. Oh, what a troubled sleep.
At last I got to Stamford and got a cab home that cost me 12 bucks. Oh! An arrow through my heart! 12 bucks is just so much more than what I was expecting to spend on that day! But - I was home safe, and that was all that mattered at that point.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
That really brings me back to my childhood. I feel like I am Ayrton Senna in my F-1 white and red McLaren.
Of course, the car I drive looks nothing like Senna's McLaren, and it's not nearly as fast, but the fact that I have to go from zero to 70 leaving from the STOP sign, in something like half a minute, switching through all the gears of the car in the process, definetely gives me the feeling that I just entered the race circuit. Images of Ayrton pass in my mind like a flash back.
Well, everything is not always beautiful. Evrytime some dumb driver does something stupid in front of me I kind of remember Senna's fatal accident at the Tamburello bend, in the San Marino GP, in Ital y. The blood, the delay of the medical crew, the words that came out of Roberto Cabrini's mouth hours later, when he finally gave the saddest news of my whole life then - "Ayrton Senna da Silva is dead - News that I wish I never had to give".
That was it. My childhood was officially over. The man I had admired even before I could understand what a car race was, the hero, the patriot. Ayrton Senna da Silva was more commonly know as Ayrton Senna do Brasil, and wherever he was, he was never ashamed of lifting our flag.
Other kids I knew would still watch F-1 races after that. I had no reason to do it. I never valued the race, I valued the man, his morals, his honor, and the delightfull memories that he had forever produced in my childhood. Memories of the brazilian flag being raised up high, memories of my family gathering together around the TV hollering "Go Senna! Go BRazil!" When Senna died, a lot of my childhood was over.
I also remember the huge sign that is still posted at BR124 (the road that takes me from Salvador to Feira, in Brazil): "Senna gets paid to speed, you don't," then I feel that maybe I should not be going so fast. But... can't really help it, every Brazilian has a little of Ayrton inside, and the notion of danger seems to fade away.
Monday, September 05, 2005
Having found out about it, I had to go there, right? And even though the bands playing were not my all-time favorites, it had everyting to be a perfect day, especially because I was dying for some typical food.
There was no time to be wasted, I got on the phone and put a group together. But pretty soon I would find out that I had picked the wrong group to go with. They complained about everthing and before the day was over they went home and left me behind.
I wasn’t totally innocent on the issue. Staying behind was my own choice. I simply refused to leave anytime before sunset. There was way too much going on for me to leave! So I stayed, mingled with the crowd and danced till my legs were num.
Between one concert and the other, we sang the National Anthem. It was beautiful! I held my flag up all the way through it and had to fight back a few tears.
The lady that sang the American National Anthem though did a very bad job. She thought she was Whitney Houston and hollered the words out, instead of doing some actual singing. Pitiful. The land we live in deserved better.
Artists from TV Globo (the Brazilian equivalent to Hollywood) were there, like Thiago Lacerda and Luigi Barricelli, good-looking guys that most of my friends in Brazil would die to see. Andre Marques, the cute chubby host from Video Show (a daily TV Globo show), hosted the party and shot some images for his TV program.
“Hey, Mom, I am on TV Globo!” Ok, ok, I was just one amongst the crowd, but I was on Globo indeed anyway! Next year I will write a huge sign saying the words “Film I here!” which draws attention from the camera because the grammar is so wrong!
Andre Marques asked the people from different states to holler as he said the names of the places. Minas Gerais was the largest crowd. Sao Paulo was the runner-up. Bahia was really small, but I cried my lungs out when he said “The people from Bahia-a-a-a-a-a!”
I would have hollered even louder if Miss Dumbo with me hadn’t pulled my arms down to say “My ‘Our Lady’! We are the only ones from Bahia!”
If you have ever looked at someone with a truthfull desire to kill the person, you’d recognize the look in my eyes. What did I care and why wouldn’t she let me holler?
Foodwise, I was disappointed. I paid SEVEN DOLLARS FOR AN ACARAJE!!!! There is acaraje being sold on every street of my hometown for a dollar! Seven dollars?!?! Shoot me!
Acaraje is a small cake made from crushed beans and you eat it with lots of different fillings, like a sandwich. It is a typical and unique food from Bahia.
When I say unique I mean it literally “not found anywhere else”. Oops, I am lying. Actually there is a lady in Sao Paulo that makes it, but it is pitiful. She wakes up at 4 am, and bakes the cakes at 5 am. At 5 pm she is still selling those same cakes that she made 12 hours ago! Well,you can not save an acaraje for the next hour, let alone 12 hours!
But as I said before, I was dying for some typical food, so I paid the 7 dollars with true pain in my heart. And it wasn’t even the best acaraje I’ve had. As a matter of fact when you’ve had Dinha’s and Deborah’s cakes you will not find anything better ever again. Soft dull, crunchy crust, fresh and ripe tomatoes for the salad, tasty vatapa... everything with those baianas is just right.
There was also churrasquinho (shih-kebab), but I guess it was not the one made in bahia, because the pieces in Bahia are smaller and crunchier and they come with slices of fresh tomato and onion on the tip of the stick.
The other thing they had was churros, some kind of dull with caramel inside. But the dull was too thick.
There were no preserves like tamarindo or groselha; no fruits like pinha, jamelao, jambo; no roasted qualho cheese. Things that I miss more than life! They were also serving feijoada and that green leafy thing that might kill you if it’s not well washed and cooked long enough, I forgot what it is called. Those are things you do not want to buy at the street.
When the party was over some guys I met found out I was from Bahia and asked me to go dance Forrall with them at some dance club on 47th. Forall is a typical north-eastern rythm. But then that samba lyric “moro em jasanan, se eu perder esse trem que sai agora as 11 horas, so amanha de manha.” (I live in jasanan, if I miss this train that leaves now at 11, only tomorrow morning.) Yeah, i had a train to catch and I had no idea what kind of transportation would expect me at my arrival in Stamford. I had better leave. So I passed on the Forrall, with true heart ache.
As I walked to Grand Central I realized my legs wieghed 100 lbs. each. But I was still trying to walk like a lady. I still had to get away from thi guy that proclaimed himself my boyfriend and would n't leave me alone. Guess what! he found me again at the station when I got there.
Overall, it was a fun day. It was worth it, and next year I am doing it again!
Saturday, August 13, 2005
It was night. And I have no idea where this takes place. I was with some girls from my American church and we had to run somewhere to save our guy friends from the living-dead creatures. It was either a grocery store or a clothing store, maybe a Target... no, no, it was definetely a Marshalls. Was it? Who knows!
Anyway, the living-dead creatures would suck your blood, like vampires do, and then you would become a living-dead too. Yes, just like the movie, no big news. The only difference is the vampire fashion of deadifying the people.
Once you became a living-dead thingy you'd become black and white. Yes, really, including your clothes, as if you were in a black and white movie.
I know, that sounds really stupid, but that is what happens when you keep watching scary movies. Though I haven't been watching that many scary movies. I've been watching a whole bunch of action and science fiction movies lately. But I guess Charmed can count as scary and I have been watching a lot of charmed lately.
Anyway, the movie, I mean, the story, I mean, the dream begins with these girls and I trying to get to this place to rescue these guy friends of ours. I think we had a car. And one of our pastors, Clay, was with us.
We drove by a street with several small shops, just like downtown Salvador (Sep.7Ave), and I spot my best friend Luana in one of them. "LUA! LUA! RUN! THE LIVING-DEAD ARE COMING! ... LUANA! LOOK AT ME! YOU GOTTA RUN!"
She, as usual, was from one side of the store to the other, looking at this , asking to see that ... well, can't blame her. We are very much alike, my best friend and I. We go into the store just for the sake of it, give the salesperson a hard time and leave saying we'll be back later. I know - that is mean. But that is us. That might sound vain and futile but here is one thing I really miss - the way we had so much fun together, not really caring much about anything. Not feeling time going by. Not taking life too seriously. We would just look at each other and laugh, no need for words, isn't that what being best friends is all about?
She only identified where the cries were coming from when my car was way too far for her to see me. "Oh, God, my best friend is going to die."
ONe of the girls overheard me and said, "Sorry, Virginia, she is too far now. There is nothing we can do."
We got to where the guys were just a little bit too late. All of our guy friends had been deadifyed. (I know, I know, What a waste! Now I can say that all the guys worth dating are either married, gay, or dead)
"Uh-oh, girls, too late, they are all dead." I say. "Let's get out of here before they see us."
"Are you crazy? They're our friends!" Lauri said and tried to run into the store.
I grabbed her arm. "No they are not! Not anymore! They are dead! They are enemies now." But point was if we went in there, we'd have to fight them. And I didn't want to fight my friends. "Let's get the heck out of here!"
But guess what, the girls started running to the store. And Dumbo here ran after them and back again, not knowing whether to try to save them or to run for my life.
"Girls, come on, think! We can't rescue them anymore! Let's please go away!" but then when I looked up... surprise surprise "Oh... darn... too late ... uh... hi, guys." Phoney smile.
They were some 3 feet away from us. And only then the girls realized the guys were really not friends anymore. The only thing not grey on them was the fresh blood dripping from their mouths.
"... Oh, my gosh! what happened to them?"
"See! what did I say! Let's get out of here! NOW! Come on, people, run!!!!!"
I ran, some girls followed me, some stayed, doing what? I don't know. And our pastor had got trapped in the way out.
At a safe distance I stop and look back. "Wo, wo! Where- is- Clay?"
"He got trapped trying to leave."
"Darn!" I say to myself, "this is only getting worse."
"We have to save him. If they get him, we're all dead."
"I KNOW! I KNOW, OK! ... just ... let me think."
"Well, can't you think any faster? They're getting closer!"
Everyone that is left is getting into cars, and I am standing there trying to figure out what to do about Clay when I realize there's no more cars left.
Lua shows up just as the creatures spot me and start running my way.
"Lua! oh, God! you're alive! Thank God!"
"Vika! Hurry! Hop in!!!! Or they will get you."
She has a weird car that did not fit the 2 of us, so I ride on the top of it.
"Lua, we have to get back there."
"What? Are you crazy? Those things almost got you!"
"My pastor is in there! They can't get him!" Point being, if Clay was down it was no good to keep on fighting, since he was the best man we had. Er, actually, he was the only man we had at that point.
Anyway, for reasons that I do not know, we get somewhere and come back with more people for Clay. Some lady from church (I think she was some lady from my Brazilian church) came running to us.
"CLAY! Where is Clay?" I yelled as soon as she approached.
"You're too late. They got him."
"You gotta be kiddin' me."
"If you were here 2 minutes earlier you'd have saved him."
"... no..." My first reaction was denial, but the approaching creatures left me no choice but to accept the facts. After all, I was still alive, and I wanted to keep on living. "Ok, gang, with Clay in the other team all we can do is run."
Apparently Clay was the strongest player in the game. That is why we were so hopeless without him.
But before we could run, suddenly the living dead were negotiating their rights ... with the mayor???? And the mayor was... Preston??? And, for some reason unkown to me, I was kind of a mediator in the whole negotiation.
So I remember that everytime they wanted to claim something, one of them got literally too close for comfort, and I would yell at them "BACK OFF!" Threatening not to negotiate anything anymore.
I was told to tell them they'd have the right to "live" in that store and have their own government. But their way of debating was pretty much that of the Landless Workers Movement in Brazil: coming forward, yelling things, and blaming it all on politics:
"Do you think we don't know? it's all about the tax money!"
Yeah, sure, whatever that meant. I hate being in a situation in which I have to take action not really knowing what is going on. I figured though that since they did not have a lot of money and the living people did, they'd not have a lot of things done in their territory.
I looked back trying to get someone to tell me how to answer to that, but had to turn around and tell them to back off again. I move I few steps to the side and two of them get too close. I hollered "back off" but one of them thought he could tricking me, hiding in one of those clothes racks. I looked at the rack and yelled right at it "And I am talking to you!"
The two of them went back into the store. When these two old ladies come forward to complain about the fashion, the type of clothes that they would supposedly be forced to wear if they were to "live" in that place.
They showed me this hippy/gipsy skirt and said that most people my age like that stuff and frizzy/curly hair, but not them, and the government could not force them to wear that.
Mommy!!!! Do I really have to deal with that?
"Ok, lady, I totally agree with you. No one can force you to wear what you don't want. But see, no one will..."
At that point I realized I was talking to the wind, because even before I started to say anything, the old women had gone back into the store, and I saw them showing the skirt to other older women, and angrily pointing at me.
Why are they pointing at me again? What on earth had I got myself into and how? And how was I to get out of that kind of trouble? Fortunately I heard this very annoying and deafening beeping sound. It was my alarm clock that brought me back to my bed, and woke me up.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
The question caught me by surprise, and the only answer I could think of was "I still don't like peanut butter". I know there are Americans who do not like peanut butter, but it is an American staple. An American who doesn't like peanut butter is like a Brazilian who doesn't like feijoada - he is just odd. But the true answer to my friend's question is "no".
I don't feel American. As a matter of fact, I feel more Brazilian everyday. And more lonely. I miss everything about home. Places, food, friends, culture ... I miss the simple safe knowledge that I know what is going on around me, that that is my area.
I know that I have changed. That if I go back home everyone will think I am different... or weird. There is no way you can be the same after spending some time in a different place and in a different culture. That is why I can't help feeling like I lived in another world, another life, and that I died for that life.
Today I know how much my family loved me and cared for me. Today I know how important my friends were. But as of today, I don't have any of them anymore. I can't be with them, or hug them or just give them a call to talk about trivialities. I can only miss them and hope everything goes well. That is why it feels like I am dead.
I feel like Bras Cubas, a book carachter that wrote his bio after he died. The writer Machado de Assis completely absorbs the point of view his main charachters, never letting you know whether it is reality or interpretation. In the case of Bras Cubas, he is dead, but, he still has his own view of reality, he judges people, draws conclusions and gathers arguments to justify his thinking. Like anyone of us, he only sees what he wants to see and only tells us what he wants to tell.
Do I feel American already? I don't know. And I don't know if I ever will.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
I had this weird dream that had to do with my brother Joao Pedro, even though he was not in it.
The story starts when I have to buy a movie for him and go into this one electronics store. The place looked quite messy, and it was a mix of a store I visited in New Britain and Mesbla, a store in a shopping mall in Salvador. And I knew it was supposed to be a very dangerous place, but went in anyway. My thing is - I don’t think much when it comes to doing things for my little brother.
In the store, there was a huge TV set with scenes from a Schwarzenegger movie, maybe one of the Terminators. Someone tells me not to mess with that TV because it belongs to the owner of the place, a really strong guy and he kills people that touch his stuff.
Heck, nobody was looking and I really had to find this video that my brother asked me, so I went on and touched the screen to make the images change. What was the big deal anyway?
But I am not sure if I knew what I was looking for. I kept on searching through the images when this 17-year-old kid comes behind me.
“What are you doing?”
“Did you touch that thing?”
“Yes, you did!”
“No, I didn’t!”
“well, you better be tellin’ the truth. ‘Cause Mr.(who?) is coming.”
I look the way the kid pointed and there comes Mr. Muscles looking very upset, eyes fixed on me.
“S***.” (I say in a whisper)
I start running like there’s no tomorrow, find my way out the door, and cross the street. CPC, the church I go to, is right there, and several people I know from there are standing outside.
I ask for help, but nobody seems to understand. Then I keep on running. When I turn the corner I am in Itaigara, a fancy neighborhood in Salvador. My middle brother Leo is in the car with somebody else from our church. I hop in the car and they get me out of there.
Later on I am walking down that same street. I walk by the church, when Mr.Muscles appears right in front of me with a camcorder in his hands.
I freeze. For a second, my heart stopped beating. A little voice inside told me “run for your life!”, but my feet did not obey.
“You messed with my TV this morning.” I have know idea how to describe the tone in his voice. Maybe he was not totally mad, but the simple fact that he was twice my size in height and width was intimidating enough for me to try to decipher tones of voice.
“…Ah-ah-ah-ah-I….I…,” I felt my heart growing weaker, my body energy draining through my feet “sir… I was only…”
“Do you think you understand about electronics?” Again, no idea of what the tone in voice meant, but something urged me to answer the question, so I did it.
“uh… yes… sir.”
“Can you figure out how to fix this?” and then he hands me the camcorder.
“I was going to kill you for touching my things. But if you can fix my camera I will let you go.”
Ok, he hands the camcorder to me. My hands are shaking more than a green bamboo. My mouth is dry and I feel that cold sweat on the back of my neck. Don’t ask me how, but I got the thing fixed.
“Here you go, sir.” The words came out with an extreme effort to utter any reasonable sound as I handed the camcorder back to him. I thought of telling him what was wrong with it and ask him to try it out now, but I guess my brain was too busy dealing with fear to send any unnecessary messages to the rest of my body.
The guy gets the camera and smiles.
“You’re good. What did you want in my store anyway?”
“…Aaaaaa… a… a movie… for my little brother.”
“Ok, come along, let’s check out your brother’s movie.”
And that is it. I wake up.
Joao Pedro had just been born. 3 months old at the most. Mom put him in bed and asked me to watch him.
At a certain point, he lifted his head as to look at something.
“A brand new baby lifting his head????” I thought in awe.
“Mo-om!” I called out a little tiny bit scared, a great deal amazed.
Not happy yet with the lifting of the head, the kid lifts his whole little body, supporting it on his elbows, and finally sits down.
Amazed??? By this time, I was totally freaked out. Is this a freaking horror movie or the new version of “Looking who’s talking”?
“MOOOOOM! Joao Pedro is sitting up!!!!”
“What is wrong with it?” Mom’s voice comes from outside of the room.
That was the introductory scene. You know that one that comes before the credits?
Next scene happens years later.
Joao Pedro (age 7), Mom, and I, at Campo Grande Square, in Salvador, walking back home towards Vitoria Blvd, by the Govmt. Palace. As we walk by it, J.P. walks into it and starts climbing the fancy stairs.
“Joao!!!!” I yell at him. “Come back here now!”
JP acts as if he was 3, and totally ignores my command. I am pretty mad. Not sure if I mad at mom for not backing me up when I am trying to make HER SON listen, or if I am mad at her son for not listening to me who always claimed mother’s rights to be obeyed.
“Joao!!! I am telling you! Get down from those stairs! RIGHT NOW!”
JP looks at me challengingly and goes on as he pleases.
I walk in furious, with the urge to twist his little neck, but trying to keep just authority in my voice.
“Joao Pedro! This is your sister talking – you come down here this instant, or you’ll get a sp…”
Nope, no need to complete sentence. Kid shouts from up there, “Coming down, Vika! Look how cool this is!” And jumps all the way down from the top of the stairs, onto the lobby floor, where I was.
What could I say at this horror scene? Terror filled my entire soul, I tried to scream, but no voice came out of my wide-open mouth, my heart came to a halt. The kid was certainly going to die.
But no. He had a perfect landing, looked at me with that wonderful smile that he only smiles when he is absolutely in love with me, expecting, of course, a word of approval.
But tears simply overwhelmed me, and all I could do was to grab him by one of his ears and run to mom, crying in anger and fear, barely getting the words out “MOTHER! YOUR SON… YOUR SON…OH MY GOD! YOUR SON JUMPED FROM THE TOP OF THE MUSEUM STAIRS! YOUR SON IS OUT OF CONTROL!”
Then I wake up.
A TERRORIST FRIEND?
This is by far one of the craziest dreams I’ve had.
Here I am, back at home, in our condo on the 18th floor of Cyclame building on Florida St.
“I am going to the movies!” I announce. I announced it for whomever might be interested in hearing it (apparently nobody), and left without asking for permission.
The fact that I was home and that I was actually leaving home without any attention did not seem to strike me as odd.
Barra Shopping Mall is actually located way down the hill, from the corner of my street, closer to our church. But in this story, it is at the corner of our street, where the Yazigi Language School is in real life.
I walk into the mall. The entrance looks nothing like Barra, and a lot like Iguatemi’s 3rd floor entrance, with the large hallway, the glassy walls, the ice cream place, and the phone booths…, but without the shoes store.
In this crazy mix of malls, the multiplex was right after the ice cream place. This organization was recently re-engineered by my own dream engineers.
As I walk into the movie theater area, I meet this friend who looks a lot like a middle-easterner.
“Virginia!” He seems happy to see me.
“Hashid!” Oh! I seem happy to see him too! What do you know! “What’s up, man?”
“We are doing a terrorist attack.”
“Really?” I reply courteously, but not really interested. I wanted to get through with that small talk to go buy my ticket. “When is that?”
“Oh … ok.”
“You want to help?”
“Who? Me? No, thanks! I am not a terrorist.”
“Oh, but you can not tell the police.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t. Good luck.” And start my way to the ticket booth.
“We are putting a bomb at the movie theater.”
“WHAT?!?!?!?!” Now he had really caught my attention.
“We are bombing the movie theater.” He repeats. Same candid smile.
“You, you, you, you can not bomb the movie theater today! I am coming to the movies today!!!!! You know how long it’s been since I have been to the movies?”
“well, are you ready to die?” He asks calmly in spite of all my anger.
“NO! I am not! I don’t wanna die!” I go on as mad as before.
“So stay away from the movie theater today.”
“Man!!!!” I reply upset. “What time is this gonna be?”
“In 30 minutes.”
“Man!!!! You just ruined my day! Well, good bye, then. It was nice meeting you.”
I leave him and his girlfriend and start my way home. But I decide to stop at the ice cream place first. I look at the watch, and order 2 large scoops of ice cream - plain chocolate, and chocolate chip chocolate.
I enjoy my ice cream, keeping in mind that that is the last time ever I will be having ice cream in that place. Look at the watch once more. 10 minutes left. “Shilt! I better pay for this and get the heck out of here.”
“Excuse me! I am done. Can I pay now?”
The clerk, in a very bad temper, says, “Just a second.”
Fine. A second is fine.
5 minutes pass by.
“Excuse me, Miss!!!! I need to pay, ‘cause I gotta get goin’!”
“I am a little busy now. I will be with you in a sec.”
“Well, that’s what you told me 5 minutes ago! I want to pay for my ice cream ‘cause I gotta go!”
She comes very unwillingly , I pay for the ice cream and start my way out of the mall in my usual hurry, just that this time, I am running for my life. And as I hurry out of the mall I think – “good thing I did not tell HER about the bomb. What kind of a person is that? How could someone hire her? Argh!”
In just 5 min. I manage to get out of the mall, and cross the street. I chose the longer way, cause the shorter way would make me walk right by the mall for at least 2 minutes. Since my street has a U-shape, I decided that I could go to the other corner and start my way down the street to my family’s condo, which is located at the bottom of the U.
For some unknown reason I walk into the big white marble building located in between the two corners. I don’t know why but I thought that would take me straight to my condo.
Well, it didn’t. I got lost in their garage, that up until this day in my life I have only seen through the gates. Maybe that is why I got lost, since I don’t really know what the inside of that building is like, my dream designed something senseless.
As I realized I was lost, I heard the explosion. Then I also realized it was stupid to have entered that building, and decided to get out of it. It was the most difficult thing ever, but I finally managed to do it.
Back on the street, for some reason I got back into the mall. I saw the whole ordeal of people trying to get out, all exits controlled by the police and paramedical crew…
“Man, I am in the wrong place,” I thought.
Back on the street once more, I run home again. And I finally get to the entrance of the condominium. But it’s impossible to go in.
“If you are not dead or wounded you can’t come in, this building has been closed as an emergency exit.”
“But I live here! I gotta get home!!!!”
Only then do I remember to call home and let everyone know I am alright. Great! Half an hour later! Oh, man! How insensitive of me! I mean, I had thought of that as I left the mall, but with all the hurry, I forgot all about it. My family was probably freaking worried!
I reached for my cell, but it was out of battery. Back to the police officer, “Sir, I need to go in! I live here, in this building, on the 18th floor! My family is in there, they have no idea I am alive. I need to get home!”
“Sorry, miss, no one is allowed in but dead or wounded.”
“Jerk,” I think, as I feel someone pulling my clothes. I turn around and – guess who! – Joao Pedro and Alyssa (Alyssa is the little girl under my charge in Middlefield, CT).
“What are you guys doing here????”
“We were looking for you!” JP answers smiling that smile, the one he has just for me.
“Joao…. Joao, haven’t I told you so many times not to leave the house by yourself! Look at this mess around here! This is no place for kids!”
“I wanted to be with you. You were taking too long.” (Goodness, shoot me, how can I get mad at him when all he wanted was to be with me!)
“Ok, fine. Both of you, hold my hands, and do not let go! For nothing in this world, ok!”
I hold both kids’ hands and try once more to walk in the building. Useless.
Then I have an idea! “Let’s go down the hill that leads to the Canela Valley, and enter through the first floor! (Our condominium has 2 entrances – the one we were at is on the 7th floor; the other one, on the back, is on the Canela Valley and it is on the 1st floor. But to get there, you have to go up the street, turn right, and go down this steep steep hill that I hate, because there’s a lot of poor people living there.
Well, that was our only chance to go in. I hold both kids hands and start my way down the hill. Darcilyn, Alyssa’s mother, drives by in her BWM. “Where are you guys going?”, she asks as if the world was at perfect peace!
“We’ll try to get into the building by the back entrance.”
“Good idea!” she says and drives away.
I am not sure if there was anything else to this dream. But I do not remember.
This one was somewhat despairing. I got the title from the movie, but it is a little different. Now just recently I watched a movie that might relate a little to this dream. It’s called … not sure what it is called, something about the spotless sunshine of the brightless mind, I am not sure if this is the order of the words.
In my dream, there was a doctor that had invented some kind of machine that could make people young again, so that you could make people go back in their lives and therefore, erase hurtful memories.
For some reason my family thought that would be a great idea for JP. Make him not having to go through his mom and dad’s issues.
So, they made JP be 15 months old again.
I played a lot with him. It was so special, having that little tiny joyful baby again, throwing him up and down just to watch him laugh…
But then I asked a nurse, “what about all the good times we had together?”
I was thinking about the funny things he said, the time I taught him to ride his bike without training wheels, the day I went to visit him in his new home in the South and he was waiting for me at the airport.
“It’s all gone. He never lived any of those moments.”
I sat back and cried. “That is not fair. That is not natural. You can’t make those memories go away from me. You can’t take them from him. They were special. We’ll never be able to reproduce them.”
“That is implied in your choice. That is the way it is.”
I thought about my life today, so far away from him, and how he would go through his early childhood and never know who I was. And how all those memories that I had from us would be as if they had never existed. It wasn’t fun.
I was with C.J., this guy from my church in New Haven, at a stationery store. Jim, my other friend from church, was the clerk. My red BMW was parked outside. I was really happy for having just successfully parallel parked.
All of a sudden CJ’s nose is broken, I mean, cut. Jim keeps asking me if I am buying the funny looking pen that I had just taken to the counter. Meanwhile CJ’s nose is bleeding like crazy.
“Are you buying this pen, miss?”
Hello-o! The question might seem very proper since I had brought the pen to the counter of a stationary store, but… C.J.’s nose was bleeding! A pen? Was I buying a pen? I was planning to, till the guy I was with had a huge cut on his nose that I could not figure out how or why. Was he fighting outside?
“I don’t know. I can’t find my pennies.” I reply to Jim
I did not understand my answer either. Maybe I wasn’t thinking straight. I could not get my eyes off of CJ’s bleeding nose. For some reason I pictured him trying to protect me from a gang of mean looking guys with pocket knives. Back to Jim, “Would you just tell me if there is a hospital around here?”
I don’t remember his answer. Next thing I know CJ and I are in the car. I hate the fact that he’s bleeding in my car. I make it to a hospital, a public hospital that reminds me of the place where I took my brother Leo when we were 12 and 11 years old and he cut his knee at the shopping mall when we were skipping class.
They take C.J. in.
Later on the nurse comes to ask me what kind of a health plan he had, because they could only transfer him to the private section to get proper treatment if he had a health plan.
“I don’t know. Just treat his nose. What’s the big deal?”
“We really can’t do that. We need to know what kind of coverage he has.”
I guess at this point I woke up. I am glad I did. That was one stressful dream.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
I would just like to know what those British jerks were thinking to shoot 8 TIMES an INNOCENT BRAZILIAN who was on his way TO WoRK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I would like to know just who they think they are to go around shooting people!
I would also like to know why didn't the media pay more attention to such an awful, shameful episode.
Why isn't anybody talking about it? Why didn't it make headlines? Why did n't this story cause international commotion and protesting? Where is the respect for the human rights? Regardless of the fact that they are British subjects or Brazilians, or Chinese or whatever they want to be!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I also would like to see how the Brazilian government will deal with this issue. And I just hope that they do not let England get away with a lame apology! Because if they do, I won't be just angry at England (poor England, everybody now can only think of how they were the victims), I will be very angry at my wonderful chicken-s*** government! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Of course I am mad! The kid that died was from my country and just a few years older than me.