First things first: God has a wonderful sense of humor.
Now, to begin, there are a few things you need to know about Brasil. The first, is that everyone here likes to take their time. The second, is that everyone here is consequently late. to everything. The third thing, which is also connected, is that time moves in manner reminicent of "The Twilight Zone". The fourth, is that they pronounce "r" as "h". The fifth is that they believe in eating out. for lunch and dinner. almost every day. The sixth, is that everyone (middle class and up) has one or more maids. I do not wish to complain, merely to show you that God has a wonderful sense of humor.
Anyone who knows me, could tell you that I am infamously late to everything. Coming to Brasil has forced me to rethink my "Robin Minute" policy- I have never been more frusterated in my life at the lack of punctuality these people demonstrate. If they say that they will pick you up in two hours, you had better count on 3 or 4 (I am NOT exaggerating). If they say that they will get you home by the afternoon- buckle up; you will want to bring a pillow, toothbrush, and some for of entertainment, eg. a book (again, not exaggerating. I take all three wherever they take me now and I've had to use them almost every time we "go out to lunch" in Taubate.) When they say they will pick you up at 6:30AM to go to the beach, you might as well have slept another hour and a half, because they won't get you until 8. And once they arrive, it's "Hurry up, Robin, everyone is waiting for you in the car.." (again. true story. and there are many others, but these will suffice to make my point.)
My point in telling you of my "misfourtunes" is not for you to feel sorry for me- because, lets face it, I'm not really suffering down here in this paradise. :) My point is that the Lord has a wonderful sense of humor. I though it quite fitting for Him to send me, of all people, to such a place- not that I might fit in, but that I might get, shall we say, a "taste of my own medicine." I can see Him laughing himself to tears listening to me bitch and moan to Him over "everyone always being so rudely late and no one respecting my time" -disregaurding completely the fact that I do that to everyone. all the time. for everything. ... It makes me laugh out loud just remembering the numerous occurances of such a scene since my arrival to Brasil. Picture me: Robin Bowe, originator of the infamous "Robin Minute" getting completely pissed at having been made to wait for the late arrival of someone- and upon their arrival, looking completely scandilized at having to wait for so long, deciding to hold an especailly long grudge for the especailly long wait.
All this to say, my dearest friends and family:
I am deeply sorry for making you wait; for being ridiculously self-centered and not giving a crap about your time. How terribly horrid I feel now, because each and every time I wronged you, you were patient, good-humored, understanding, and forgiving- even though I was too wrapped up in myself to even imagined I might have wronged you. Please forgive me for this. And please know that I will not be perfect upon my return to the states. That I will be late again. :( That I will again ask for your forgiveness. But know now that I understand a bit better that being late is not "ok." And, Lord willing, I will learn quickly to respect people's time.
As for the fourth, fifth, and sixth points, allow me to explain. These are simply things that annoy me that are surely meant for your's, God's, and my future self's amusement and for my current person's "building of character." The "r"s sounded as "h"s is a small annoyance, of which its purpose is to simply remind me that I may be the "cool new american girl" but my name is, and I quote, "Hobin." That one was sure to bring the ego down a few notches. ;)
The, fifth thing you should know about Brasil has me a bit worried: they always eat out. This presents three main problems. The first is that I am going to get fat. The second is that I'm going to starve to death. The third is that I am going to run out of money. It is a well known fact that eating out for every meal is ridiculously bad for you and usually leads to obescity (im not sure where i heard that, but it sounds about right.. ;) Unfortunately, it is an even lesser known fact that eating out requires leaving the house. (lol) And since I'm sometimes left alone in the house during a meal time, there is naught but spoiled meat and rotting fruit (see the next paragraph) for me to feast upon, so prayers for my general health would be greatly appreciated. :) The last of my worries is that I am rapidly running out of money. I might go so far as to say that it's all really an evil plot of my host family's to save money by not having to pay for extra groceries for me, but I suppose that they're not really saving any money with going out and not paying for me rather than just buying groceries for all of us. Plus, I think they're too nice to do something that mean. But a greedy person like me will question all possible motives when my money is at stake.. ;) (jk, lol) Anyway, please pray that I will diligently pravtice self-control and good stewardship.
The final thing you should know about Brasil is that everyone has maids (well, middle class and up). I lied. THIS is the final thing you should know about Brasil: everyone has maid that only work during the week. One the weekends, all hell breaks loose. There is no such thing as me accepting a delicious steak (otherwise unheard of) if the meat was bought before that monday. For if it had been bought the week before, then it had spent it's weekend unattended by the maid (for she was on her break) or my host mother (I'm not sure what her excuse was... "slothitis" or some such disease) upon the kitchen counter or the low table where their 5 insane dogs took licks at it, competing with the overwhelming number of bugs. This my friends is why it would be a horrible idea to get a maid (so if you were planning on it, do reconsider...). For thought the house would be spotless and your laundry done and your messes cleaned up and your breakfast made for you and your water cleaned- on the weekend you will have grown accostomed to such luxories and would simply rather wait in your own squallor for the maid to return that have to do anything for yourself. I know I'm complaining about my family, and all this sounds horrible, but it's really not. It's completely great during the week and a lady comes to the house and gives us manicures and pedicures every tuesday- so son't think that my life here is hard, It has just firmly planted in my mind the horrendeousness of the idea of having a maid. I'm thinking about starting a support group: E.S.A.M. "Exchange Students Against Maids" What do you think??? (jk, LOL) ;)
Ok, well, now that I've gone over the worst of it. (which, all things considered, isn't bad at all). I plan on writing to you of all of my wonderful adventures. I've posted some pictures on my facebook so you can check those out in the mean time. For now, just keep swimming just keep swimming, jk. just please be patient: I'm going to make you wait again. :/ But I WILL try to update soon. I love you all and miss you very much. Grace and peace be with you,
PS. I just finished "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and it was SO good! Thanks goes out to my mom and the Helsels for the great recomendation.
PPS. don't forget to keep your eyes open for God's great sense of humor- you'll be suprised at what He comes up with! :D