We just got in the door from an interesting evening out. Matt and Mary Virginia invited us to go with them to the home of some members of one of the Churches of Christ here in town. That was about all we knew.
We left the apartment just before 4:00, utterly confounding my brother, Dave, who I was chatting online with (with the time difference, I was telling him at 1:30 his time that I needed to go get ready for dinner). We had plans to meet our hosts at the church at 4:00 because they were going to be there for a class. We arrived about twenty minutes late, but that didn’t matter because the class was still going on and our hosts weren’t even there. But, we discovered, their son and his girlfriend were.
We walked to the bus through the rain (it has rained nonstop today- many streets are flooded) and quickly caught a bus. It was quite full. The capacity of most buses is 70+ and we were left standing. And we remained standing, because for some reason no one was getting off! Finally, though, seats gradually started opening up. We were on the bus for at least forty-five minutes, but with the rain, the windows were fogged and I had no idea where we were. When we got off the bus, I asked the girlfriend what neighborhood we were in. She told me it was close to Luciano’s house. My jaw dropped. Luciano (who we had visited previously) lives on the far north (and a little west) side of town. We live in the south-east.
The house was about a five minute walk from the bus stop (past Luciano’s house). Once there, we greeted the family. Rosie, the mom, had all but lost her voice but was thrilled to see us. She lead us into the bedroom, saying, “Jackson has a fever, but come see him!” We all surrounded Jackson in the bed and were exchanging pleasantries when the subject of us spending the night came up. Apparently they were under the impression that we would all be spending the night there. (We had wondered why Tania, the girlfriend, kept asking us about sleeping over!) For several reasons, it just wasn’t an option tonight. First we said, “We didn’t know the invitation was to spend the night!” Rosie explained that it had been for the night from the beginning (but given our fledgling Portuguese skills, we miss a lot of information!) Then we tried gently saying, “No, thank you, we didn’t bring any clothes with us.” That didn’t fly. They started pulling clothes out of the closets for us to wear. Finally it was brought up that I didn’t want to spend the night because I’m getting sick and really needed to go home to my own bed to get a good night’s sleep. Or that’s what we were trying to communicate. It went back and forth and finally the story was “Valerie is sick and needs her specific allergy medicine.” The offer was made for Russ to go home with Leo to get it for me. Somehow, maybe from the panicked look on my face, it was understood that no, we really did want to go home tonight, it didn’t matter that it would be late, and that yes, we would absolutely like to spend the night at their house some time but we need some advance warning.
The rest of the evening was quite nice (though Leo kept telling us it made him sad we weren’t spending the night!). We had escondidinha, which is a layer of meat and black-eyed peas covered in a layer of white goo. It’s absolutely fabulous. For dessert we had mousse de ameixa, which sounds nice in Portuguese but is actually prune mousse. Very good, though unexpected. We had a great time conversing with the family and getting to know them better. It was excellent practice for our Portuguese skills and we treasure any time we get to spend in Brazilians’ homes. And we really would like to spend the night some time, just when we know it’s coming and have things like contact solution, pajamas and clean underwear with us!