Sunday, November 21, 2010

Começou falando de feijão, acabou falando de razão… We started talking about beef stew, we ended up talking about praying…

feijoada… a staple here in Bahia. My description will not give it justice, so look here for a more official one. but here’s mine anyway: a whole bunch of meat – tons of different parts of the pig and cow, cut up and cooked with a brown bean. Traditional Bahiano seasoning: tomatoes, green pepper, onion, garlic, cilantro, salt ground up in a wooden bowl with a wooden stick thing to pound it all together til it becomes like paste. add that to the olive oil in the pan, then add bay leaves, Knorr (they call it by the name brand) it’s a bullion cube, add tomato paste/sauce, add other spices that are yellow, red, and brown (I think one is curry).

Back to the title, but let me give you a bit

of a backdrop before I even go there. So, it’s resolved that we’ll now wash the clothes at Tia (Aunt) Luisa’s house next door. She tends to play this role in Eder’s life every since he was born, picking up where his mother leaves off. She is the diabolical opposite of my sogra (mother-in-law), she’s open, conversational, expressive, fun, youthful (well, mi sogra is youthful but in an immature sense).

For now, while we wait for this non-existent guy to show up from the washing machine company, we will wash at Luisa’s.

So, I lugged over the wet diapers – had to take 2 trips they were so heavy/so many. As I went to leave, I saw Luisa prepping all that darn meat in the sink, cutting off the fat, the skin, soaking it with lime to remove smells and bacteria. I asked her how long the feijoada she’s going to make will last. Remember, Luisa’s awfully generous so it’s not just her husband and 2 kids who she cooks for, every day, pretty much her daughter’s boyfriend, her niece/goddaughter, and her nephew eder come to her house hungry every day.

So, she says that the feijao will last the whole week! Maybe you’re not startled by this fact, but it’s because you don’t realize that it is going to SIT OUT ON THE STOVE IN

THE POT THE WHOLE WEEK. I’m serious… and I find it terribly ironic, I’ll take this moment to point out, that they all are insisting that it’s a major health risk to feed Zaya food that I’ve frozen after pureeing it. hmmmm).

I was discussing this interesting observation with Luisa. She said she tried to store it in the fridge, but then no one would eat it, they didn’t like the taste. It’s too much work to make every day, since she works all day long, there’s no way for her to get it done. So, instead, she makes enough for the week on Saturdays and it sits out all week long. They bring it to a boil every night and then cover it – that keeps it ok I guess.

Luisa then said, that nonetheless she prays that the feijao doesn’t make anyone too sick. I joked, and said - "so, after a long

week of work, on a Friday evening like yesterday, you drag yourself to the church to pray for the feijao?" She said, "ahhh, minha filha, eu rezo por tudo. tudo. ninguem mais vai na igreja, entao, eu tenho que rezar para tudo mundo" (ahhh, my daughter. I pray for everything, everything. no one else goes to church, so, I have to pray for everyone). She starts rattling off who and what she prays for, mentioning me, eder and zaya a lot. Should I feel indebted to her, not just because of her generosity with her washing machine and meals, but for her prayers too?

Right now, we could use someone praying for us. Zaya came down with a fever and was miserable for a couple days. TGFT! (Tylenol). Then she passed it along to me, so I nursed a fever all day yesterday, and now

just have the headache. Eder came down with it last night, so he’s got a fever now. In the meantime, our emergency room visit with Zaya was in vain, because she didn’t poop that day so they couldn’t do the lab work to test her feces. She pooped the next morning, and we rushed it over there, but they rejected her poop! how dare they! This morning, she woke up with a rash

covering her whole body (had started last night) of tiny red dots that look almost splotchy by today. So, as soon as we can all be awake at the same moment, we’ll head over to the emergency room again. Fun times. Like the U.S., the wait is quite long, so you make a day of it. And that pediatrics section can cause you to have nightmares as you hear kids screaming bloody murder and pleading with their parents not to get whatever the dr./nurse is threatening to do with them.

I think I’ll post this much here and stop now. That last blog was a record! I could complain to you about the latest drama

with the silva/muniz in-laws downstairs, but maybe it’s best I refrain from delving into their brilliant passive aggressive revenge techniques. It just makes me sad more than anything else, here we are, mom crying over skype with longing for zaya, and the other grandma next door giving silent treatment to us all. Drama =family. Family = drama.

Observations/Updates/Photo Journal

- there exists, here in Brazil, some serious prejudice against people from the “northeast” of the country – especially towards Bahianos, the state I live in (much like in the U.S. our attitude towards Mississippi or in Italy the north perception of the south/Sicily). You’ll often here jokes about how lazy and/or stupid Bahianos are… they don’t work, don’t know how to do anything. Well, from my observations, they work a hell of a lot harder than most people I know! The work week is Monday – Saturday. A normal working day is usually 8am-6pm with an hour for lunch. When you think about how most people live in the periphery, and spend at least an hour, sometimes two, on a bus going back and forth each way, then they are gone the majority of the day. Friday and Saturdays people get out around 4pm or 5pm. So, that leaves just Sunday as their day off. So, today is Sunday, when so many of Eder’s family are around, it’s usually a much livelier day here in the neighborhood. As I look out over our balcony to the valley below and all the people, I don’t just see people sitting around. Today, they are doing work on their own houses – building roofs, working on septic systems, painting, doing various projects. My point is, it seems to me that these “lazy” Bahianos work 7-days a week!

Zayathon of Photos.....

(above - she's eating now. adorable little photos in her chair. thanks aunt phyllis for the bib made of post-consumer materials (or however you call that).

lots of photos of eder's latest pieces around the city

2) zaya falling asleep in my arms, a nice photo my mom was able to capture while here

3) below... Z chillin with the neighbors across the street

next below: Zaya with her two Brazilian great grandmothers

next below: Z with her cute halloween costume aunt Angela got her

next below: Z on the beach with sunglasses! can you handle it!?

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