That's right - I have made it through those three rough weeks and am back "home" safe and sound. This blog is also now up-to-date on the posts I wrote during this time - I back-dated them, starting on May 20th, if you'd like to catch up.
I was pleased at how familiar Fortaleza felt upon coming back. I took a cab from the bus station, went up to my family's apartment, and I was home, or as home as I get in Brazil. I had forgotten that not everything here is as difficult as those three weeks were. Here, I'm already done with the exhausting first weeks of the homestay, where I am struggling to understand in every single moment. Here, I can relax a little. Last night, I took the oh-so-familiar bus to IBEU, saw my English-speaking friends, and watched American TV. Things make a little bit more sense here. These next two weeks look like a lot less from this side.
The rendeiras, though, are ridiculous. I had a great last day there. I understood about six jokes, which is basically the definition of a good Brazilian day for me. There are two levels to understanding jokes. The first level is to understand the words they’re saying, and the second is to understand that they’re joking. This second level is essential, and is much more difficult than the first. If you know someone is joking, you can laugh whether or not you totally understand what they’re making the joke about.
Anyway, these are the lovely pieces of lace I purchased: a table runner and a place mat.
These, though, are the pieces they gave me on my last day. I tried so hard to explain to them that it was too much, that I understand that this is their work and it's valuable. But they were insistent. The final count was one dress, two collar pieces to sew onto shirts, two rectangular place mats, one oval centerpiece, one butterfly applique, and one little zippered bag. I tell you, these ladies are too much.
Oh, and one little mini-rendeira, which is extra-exciting because it even has some of the cactus-spine pins that they actually use sticking out of her lacework.