It’s a bit like starting a new job being here, which in a way I am doing. Today I moved in to my new home, with Brasileira Ana Lucia. When I first arrived, having overdone the caipirinhas last night, I was feeling pretty rough. There was an awkward first hour when I chatted as best I could to her mum Eva, who was welcoming but didn’t speak a word of English. My faltering Portuguese it is then.
One delicious meal later, Ana arrived with a Swiss lady who is also staying here and another Kiwi friend. I don’t think she speaks much English, but this could be just what I need as I really need to get the Portuguese up to speed.
Every time I think I’ve settled in something happens that feels new and alien. Last night, my school friend and I were drinking at the street bar (the obligatory “one for the road” which has never turned out to be just one, to my memory). I’m not sure if the man we were hanging out with, who everyone called The King, was the king of the whole of Rio, the king of his favela Cantagalo, or just the king of that bar because he’s always there. This kind of thing would be cleared up with a better understanding of the language, if not totally. The King is above with myself and Nermeen.
I had been a bit spoilt because I was hanging out with Graham, who is from south London, and my school friend, and Fred who may be Brazilian but has lived in London for years and the States and has perfect English. Now the real deal starts!