Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bye, Grammy

Grammy went home today. She left, not looking to kill two hours before her flight, but running to the gate. This wasn't because we were late- it was because they changed her flight. My mom gets really nervous when it comes to being late, so when they told her the plane was boarding as they gave her her boarding pass she kinda freaked. They wanted to put her in a line of about 10 people to check her bag, with 15 minutes until the flight was to leave. I know how slowly lines move here in Brazil, and I knew how flipped out Mom would be if she had to wait in that line. I told them, in Portuguese, that she wasn't going to make her plane if they made her wait. Luckily for all of us, they bumped her to the front and then she made her dash for the gate.

This was all for the better really, as she was nervous she wouldn't have enough time to take the bus between the two airports in São Paulo. Now she was looking at an 8 hour layover- I believe this is generally time enough to get all the way across the city on an average day.

Mom rates holidays and vacations like military missions- that is: 'successful' or 'unsuccessful.' We both agreed that this was a Successful Visit. Mom has visited pretty much every place I have ever lived, and there have been a lot of successful visits.

We crowned this particular visit off with a big old American style breakfast. I love a big heart-squeezer meal to start the day, but I almost never (uh, actually- never) make them for myself. Mom had to be at the airport by lunchtime, so I thought it would be fun to make a breakfast. We had omelettes with sauteed peppers and cheese, home fries and of course bacon. On a whim I bought a dozen oranges and Mom made the orange juice. That and a papaya and we ate like kings, no toast required! I don't have a toaster and don't miss it. I can't buy bagels here, so what's the point? It was just me and Mom feasting on this stuff- the Brazilians on hand were not interested.

Yesterday was also a pretty successful day, as we finally went up to the coast north of Salvador for a day at the beach. We kept Lucas out of school and he joined Grammy and me. Evani and I discovered a spot called Barra de Jacuípe, which is at the mouth of a river dumping into the ocean. Being a weekday, it was deserted and very peaceful. It's a great spot for the kids, as you can sit just shy of the mouth of the river and there are tide pools and such for them to play in. There was one guy selling beverages, and he had three tables set out with umbrellas. We took one, one was empty, and one was occupied by three guys who were nice enough to share their roast chicken with us and give Lucas some soda. This was a blessing because usually the 'barracas' as they are called serve food as well as beer, yesterday there was none to be had.

All was well until the wasps showed up. They showed up in the dozens, swarming, but not someone-stepped-on-my-hive swarming, more like where's-the-sweet-stuff-we-smell swarming. I think they must have smelled the Coca Cola and come looking for it. They weren't biting, they were questing. But they were annoying, and they made Grammy nervous. So we quit our table and I suggested we walk up to the ocean proper, a walk of about a quarter mile.

The sun is really hot here. It's the tropics. In the middle of the summer, it's like an assault from the heavens, and even a short walk without shade can be an ordeal. My poor mom suffers more than most from the heat here in Brazil. She doesn't go anywhere without a little bottle of water to keep herself hydrated.

I found myself on the other side of this problem the last time I was in the States, for Thanksgiving. Mom keeps her house at 62 degrees in the winter to conserve energy. This is not the end of the world, but I was coming from the tropics and wasn't used to it. I'm sure you've heard or made the observation yourself that if you're too cold, you can always throw on another layer; if you're too hot, there's only so many layers you can take off- thus my little boy, as most little boys here do, spends 90% of his time in the house in his underwear; I am generally only marginally more modest with a thin pair of shorts over mine. The problem this time around was not the layers, I put on a bunch and most of me was fine. The problem was where the layers ended, or joined. At my wrists. My ankles. Slipping up under my shirt and down my collar. And what was slipping in was the cold- it felt like an invading force trying to creep in wherever it could find a chink in my armor. Later, when I got back to Bahia, I had an equally bizarre sensation- it was like I had stepped into a warm bath that perfectly enveloped me at a soothing, uniform temperature. Humid, very warm, the atmosphere of Salvador welcomed me home.

So: back to the beach. Grammy is being assaulted by the midday sun. She suddenly was... extremely concerned... that she was getting sunburned. She was so concerned that she was unable to enjoy herself any longer, so we turned back. Oh well! Luckily she didn't get sunburned. I did. Lucas just got browner.

On the way back, I stopped and painted a little monster on the side of the barraca where we were buying beer- a barraca already decorated with a rather cool painting of a fish with a respirator on (which of course I didn't take a picture of). Here's the other painting it got:

I thought it came out rather well.

Back at home, Lucas redeemed himself for a day and a half of 3-year-old snottiness towards his grandmother by asking her to read Hop-on-Pop to him, a book she brought down for him which was an instant success. I was immensly

Bye Grammy. Bye Mom. It was great to see you.

When I first moved here, I had hoped to go home every year, or better yet, every six months. Or better still- to spend a part of the year in the States. It hasn't worked out that way, so it could be a while until Lucas sees his Grammy again, and he'll be a different boy. I still hope to achieve my goals of spending more time at home, but as time goes on they only seem to get further away.


AkuTyger said...

Aw, is that him?

markuza said...

Yep, that's him- in his teeny tiny sunga...