I am constantly overcome with all that has come into my life while visiting this country. One of my treasured souvenirs that I hope to return home with is the sense of warmth and hospitality I've been shown by Rodrigo and his family. Since the day I arrived, they have stopped at nothing to make sure I am well fed, comfortable, and have everything I could want or need. When I had friends visit, they extended the same courtesy to them. If I had visited for a week, I think it would not have been as apparent, as it's easy to mold yourself around a visitor for a short amount of time. But I've been in and out of Rodrigo's house for going on 3 months now, and I know I will have a hard time returning the multitude of favors I've received. Most things I've been able to do while here are because of some contact of his. Now that Rodrigo has returned to studying for his law exam, I often go out with his friends. I mix in with them, and they accept me with no questions. The other night I came home late and we were up late recounting some family stories until I was literally rolling on the floor from laughing. I'm smiling just writing this sentence. I've never had a brother, but if I am so fortunate in another life… I hope it will be something similar.
The other night I went out for drinks because a friend of mine, Dani (who I met in the Salvador apartment during Carnaval) was having a birthday. I went into the night knowing 3-4 people, and came out with a multitude of new friends, and a number of invites to come to Rio Bonito… a town about an hour away. As evidenced by my ever expanding Orkut account (wildly popular here)… I am constantly meeting new people who invite me to new places.
This morning I spent learning how to cook some black bean and chicken dishes a la Clarice. Sigh… despite copious notes, I don't really have the confidence I can replicate her culinary works of art at home.