Saturday, October 24, 2009

first days with my host family


it helps a lot that 1.) I speak Spanish, and 2.) I studied a bit of Portuguese before coming because, although it’s a bit choppy, I can interact with them right away and learn and tell them about myself. I was in “Advanced Beginners Intermediate” funny title but I had a really good professor and since it was Portuguese for Spanish-speakers, I feel like I got a lot more out of because we didn’t need to spend a lot of time learning certain things. And I got the hang of the differences which helps me guess a lot of Portuguese words so I’m not just speaking Spanish like a lot of my peers were. (not that it’s bad and it seemed like the families didn’t really mind, I just personally prefer not to). So comparing it to Spanish many l are substituted by rs (blanco=branco), and hs substituted by fs (hacer-fazer; horno=forno) and -cion or –tion turns to -cão (revolution/revolución=revolucão). but a lot of words are different and I learned the basics to not just be speaking Portanol. But one of my first impressions I find it easier to understand women I’ve met than the men. Like when my sisters namorado and the dad speak to me I can just barely catch a few words, I don’t know why that happens when I can understand pretty much everything my mom my sisters, my professors, ladies on the street say. It seems like the men I’ve met talk faster and the consonants are less pronounced and words flow into each other more. My host mother (I will from now on refer to her as mãe; it’s faster) so my mãe is the clearest and easiest for me to understand, but possibly because she was used to using motherese with her children teaching them to speak; so, she just treats me like a child as to the pace and clarity? Maybe.

About personal space: I noticed that they don’t really close the doors to their rooms, so I keep mine open too. Although I’m really not used to it, my instinct is to close it—well I do when I’m going to sleep, they don’t usually. But anyway, yeah so it’s all good for them to come in to my room without asking permission, not in a bad way though, they’re just things that stand out to me. and well it’s really their room anyway, so naturally they’ll come in looking for a book or something in the closet, as they also have some stuff in the other part of the closet.

Manners: According to Clara, the director who gave us some tips for living with Brazilians, Brazilians are way more watchful of manners such as eating manners and blowing your nose in public, and coughing or whatever. But I don’t think that is so in my family, possibly because this is in their house and not public—I don’t know but they seem to be comfortable doing those things, [not burping but..] my father as soon as he gets home takes of his shirt. And to me that’s pretty much representative of how my family just gets home and feels comfortable—except for eating etiquette! They will still always use knives and forks for their sandwiches and fruits. They cut up their bananas and strawberries on their plates and take them piece y piece. And I am feeling very conscious and trying to just eat like they do, because I know I’m not the representative Califronian, but I eat with my hands/chopsticks sometimes, and I have not eating with a knife in….i don’t know how long, but if I use it I’ll just use it like once and put it down, but they eat with a fork in one hand and a knife in the other, the whole time! And I should do that because I’ll forget and seriously use like a finger to get some food on my fork, but usually it’s like stuff I would have eaten with a tortilla/tostada/naan=my hands. So I’m trying not to do that. Although the other day my sister did ask me “you don’t like to use the knife do you”[obvio in portuguese] when I was like cutting something up with my fork I think it was like…a potato—no!: meat J ooops.

What I really love is how accommodating my family is, and my mãe makes all her food from scratch! Talking to other people from the program not everyone really makes such complex full-course meals, but my mãe tends to. And she makes these cakes that I swear look professionally made with layers and filling and frosting and nice little designs of fresh fruit on top.
And they have a little canary that goes crazy singing once or twice a day, and there’s this little turtle named Sofia who just goes around the house, she doesn’t really have one place where she stays, but I just see her when she comes out to be fed.
Overall, I really am glad I’m in a homestay program because I can learn so much from my family. Also I don’t have to worry about cooking, looking for a place to eat, or having to pay every time. I can count of having 3 meals a day and can snack any time of the day. And that’s really important to me.
It seems like this family is really trying to make this stay the most pleasurable it can be.
my sisters and one of the boyfriends. in the kitchen they're just really fun people. and we're always teasing the namorado although it seems like he almost likes being the butt of the jokes

on the way to arembepe where they have their second house. i realized at some point that my sister and i were sitting the same. and it's just so amazing how much we actually look like sisters and have sooo much in common, i think this picture of certain habits captures it. i'm so glad about how well we get along.

the passaro, no name yet, they told me to name it, any suggestions? i'll ask if it's male or female

our cagado Sofia, she's a carnivore, i don't know if that's good for her

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