They Call Me Nataxa
In Alaska I am Tasha. Here, I am Natasha.
And I figured out why.
Taxa (pronounced Tasha) means a tax, rate, or fee in Portuguese. In the Portuguese alphabet, the "x" makes a "sh" sound. No wonder people looked confused when I introduced myself as Tasha, and then looked relieved when I said "or Natasha."
Also, tomorrow will be my 30th day in Brazil. I've been here for almost a month. Where did the time go?
From October 11th to October 15th, my hfamily generously took me with them to Brasilía, the capital of Brasil. It was a cool experience returning to the city I arrived in.
This time around I saw more of the city. My host uncle and host cousin took me on a tour of the city and told me a little about the history while pointing out important landmarks. They also took me paddleboarding by the JK bridge (JK was the president when the capital was being moved from Rio de Janiero to Brasilía. Brasilía is a very young capital, only a couple years over 50.
At the beach I've never been more aware of how pale I am compared to the Brazilians.
While stand up paddleboarding, this one guy that was swimming decided it was his job to comment on and try to talk to everyone that passed him. My host uncle passed by him first and ignored him, and when he saw me he tried to get my attention by yelling "Branca de neve! Branca de neve!"
Branca de neve translates to "Snow White." Yes, it may be true my skin is snow white, but the Disney's Snow White has raven black hair. Read up on Disney so you can make more accurate references. I thought it was hilarious though.
My host cousin was behind me; it was his first time paddleboarding, so he was on his knees looking a little shaky. Mr. Commentator picked on him too.
"Stand up little rich kid! It's called stand-up paddleboarding!"
I wish I had my DSLR camera with me at the beach to take pictures of the absolutely gorgeous sunset, but I wouldn't have felt safe carrying it around, advertising that I had a very expensive camera. I made do with my phone. My pale skin is already like a flashing beacon screaming "TOURIST-FOREIGNER-GRINGA."
When my host cousin bought us some ice cream, the ice cream man took one look at me and bumped up the price to 4 Reais per ice cream bar. Clueless tourist me would have happily handed over the money without a second thought. 8 Reais is roughly 3 USA dollars.
But Hcousin wasn't having it. He was like "Nuh-uh, I'm a Brazilian, I know what's up" (he said it in Portuguese so I don't know exactly what he said, but that was the gist of it.)
Ice cream man rethought and said okay, 2 for 5 Reais. He handed us the ice cream and when Hcousin went to pay, he handed over 4 Reais and said sorry, this is all I have. Ice cream man smiled at the bargaining skills.
And that's how it's done in Brazil. You bargain.
Other things I did in Brasilía:
- tried guava fruit for the first time
- celebrated Dia das crianças (Children's day), a holiday here in Brazil
- Children's day is also Nossa Senhora Aparecida. We had a huge party at hgrandma's house with sooo many family members, too much good food, and live music to celebrate
- Saw Brasilía from the TV tower
- Went to two malls
- Saw a McDonald's in the mall. The menu is so different
- Saw important monuments I've only seen pictures of before coming to Brazil. My friend, Leo, from Brazil, was an exchange student that came to Alaska for the 2016/17 year, and in his presentation he included pictures of Brasilía. Now I've seen those monuments in person, and that's pretty cool.
- walked around a mall w/ hcousin and got ovomaltine milkshakes from Bob's Burgers
Enzo, another hcousin, had his 6th birthday party. It was crazy. They go all out for birthdays.
This is what they had:
- Professional photographer
- Table decorations
- Bouncy house
- Edible chocolate picture frames with birthday boy picture
- Minecraft theme for everything
- Minecraft-themed candy
- Brazilian finger food & candy
- Cotton candy machine
- Minecraft kids flip-flops for parting gifts
Lots of family members came. It was so different from anything I've experienced at a birthday party in Alaska.
Back in João Pinheiro
I've also been to my hdad's sports club. It's a pretty cool setup. Almost everything is outside. There's a sandy play area for kids with slides and see-saws, a handball court, a volleyball court, pools ( a kid's and a regular one ), a soccer field, and a place to buy food & drinks. It's like an outdoor concrete jungle.
Today, Thursday, October 19th, I will go to Brasilía again after school with a Rotarian and get my official Brazilian identification card. I will get back Friday night, so I won't go to school that day. I also won't go at all next week because my class has testing. I think that's how it works here. I don't think they have pop quizzes or tests at different times in different classes. Or maybe it's special testing just for the seniors (third year). I don't know.
Also, at the end of this month my hfamily is taking me with them to São Paulo, where Ana (hmom) grew up.
I'm so excited and so thankful I've had these oppurtunites to travel thanks to my hfamily.
(Also I finally got around to editing/sorting the photos I took at my host family's farm. See below)
Tchau gente, BEIJOS :)