Grace Clements Paris Temple Summer

To be a foreigner

A couple things come to mind.  I can’t say popcorn in Portuguese.  Why is everyone talking so fast, and damn, I really thought batman would at least have English subtitles.

After throwing ourselves into Bahian culture, we decided to take a day off and head to the movies.  Because of lack of Internet to check times, we started walking to the mall with nothing to loose.  We got there and saw that the next movie was for 3 hours, so what better time than to make a pro con list of malls in Brazil.  Pros; everything is an extra half off because the dollar is so strong, the food court is way nicer, and you can buy caramel everywhere.  Cons; nothing.

The whole group spoke about how it was kind of comforting to come to a mall and be around some familiar things.  It was funny to me though, because this was one of the times it hit me the most that I am in Brasil.  I realized that you never really have a day off when you are the foreigner, and you should never get too comfortable.  I decided to go the American way, and have ice cream and popcorn for dinner.  This was my first hurdle.  Why did everyone look at me like I was crazy?  All I said was, “una bolsa de dolce de leite”….  Is my accent that bad?  The same exact thing happened with my popcorn, but I got through that by pointing, smiling and pointing again, and repeating the phrase in Portuguese, until I see the mutual look of understanding.

It was weird for me to go to such a familiar place, and experience it in such a different way.

After searching and scouring for deals, and finding none, we trekked on to the movie “batman, the Dark Knight Rises”.  Things were starting off pretty well.  The previews were mostly in English with Portuguese subtitles.  Perfect, I thought, I get to practice my Portuguese, and I get to hear Christian Bale’s crazy batman voice.  Well, to everyone’s surprise, the movie was neither in English, nor did it have subtitles.  Within 15 minutes 3 out of 6 Americans were napping.  Every ten minutes or so, I would forget about the Portuguese, and just continue to watch the movie, then I realized again, oh right I have no clue what is happening. 

This very minor comfort zone put many things into perspective for me.  I had one teacher last semester that gave us 3 pieces of advice the first day, none of which was related to his class.  One was to take a picture of yourself in your birthday suit, because you wont be this young forever.  The second was to read the newspaper, and the third was to study abroad no matter what.  Everyone needs to know what it is like to be foreigner in another culture.

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