Farol da Barra
Farol da Barra
Adorable type-written letter from my friend Liz arrived yesterday reminding me of the pile of postcards I still have not sent…
Every morning at about 6:30 AM, I wake up to early light, music, the sound of men’s voices, and an occasional siren. The large sliding shutter window in my room faces the Police Station, and I am a stone’s throw from the men lining up and organizing for the days work. I can hear the engine of each policeman-bearing motorbike or car as it pulls up to parallel park below my bedroom. This is, of course, only true if the vehicle is not blaring “Rebolation,” in which case I hear the music get louder and louder; the men pause for a minute to steal a last few beats of Brazilian axé and then the song is abruptly cut short. There are two car door slams, and a greeting is yelled across the street announcing the new arrivals’ presence. Between the intermittent bursts of music and greetings and excited chatter of deep men’s voices, I can also hear the sound of singing tropical birds and the occasional kissing sound of the little monkeys that scamper across the power lines to cross from tree to tree.
By now I have adjusted to my routine, and I either rise to finish my homework for my 9AM classes, or will myself back to sleep until the alarm on my phone tells me at 8 that it’s time to join the living. Making the bed consists only of arranging my sheet and pillow neatly. There is no air conditioning in the home, and I am cooled at night only by the fan and the breeze. With any more than a sheet, I would awake drenched in sweat. After showering and getting dressed, I linger in my room wondering if mae is up. The clicking sound of the gas stove sparking in the kitchen tells me that she is.
Salvador has been unbelievable so far. I have 6 hours of classes each day with a two or three hour lunch break at 12 and field trips all over Bahia on Fridays-Sunday. I am kept so busy that I have not had time to digest anything that I’ve experienced ( or obviously to write about it). Being a part of this exchange program lets me do an all included see, eat, hear, touch, smell everything in Salvador trip, and living with the family let’s me practice Portuguese like I would never be able to touring the city any other way. However, the family is paid to provide me three meals a day and laundry, and complying with my family’s schedule definitely docks from the freedom I’ve enjoyed while living away from home the past three years. I’ve told my Mae that I don’t mind cooking my own breakfast so that she can sleep in. It feels strange having her wait on me, but she insists that I sit at the table while breakfast fruits, sandwiches, and eggs appear over my shoulder ready to be obliterated by my American appetite. Her insistence on cooking/serving means that I must time my entrance to the kitchen perfectly so that I don’t have to hover uncomfortably while she plays maid. The sound of the blender means she’s making the juice, and I can leave my room and head to the table. I notice Lua waiting by her bowl in the corner of the kitchen and feel a strange kinship with my perky eared friend.
My family and I (brother and his girlfriend not included)
View of neighbor’s garden.
View from dining/ living room.
Photos of my new home!