Her Juggling Feet

everybody's a nobody. and nobody's perfect.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Celebration


Am 25 years and some days old, and growing older by the minute. I celebrated my 25th birthday on the 25th of April, though we really started the night before. I like how these Brasilians celebrate: Jessica, the other American, made a banana cake layered with chocolate and nuts, and Lucas, this beautiful Chilean six-year-old boy, led me into the kitchen, whispering about a ´surprise´. All was very sweet and warm and it was a lovely way to start my Earth Day, as a certain father of mine likes to call it. The morning of the 25th, I treated everyone to persimmons for breakfast. The persimmons are at the height of season right now and are so inexpensive, too--about 50 cents for 5 of them. I bought 20.

I am also pleased to announce that the Caravan is complete. The other half arrived last week in two vividly painted buses, a solar kitchen trailer named Caricola and a Kombi van, kind of like a VW. We are a sight on the road and have the tendency to stop traffic. Which we did several times on our way to the other end of Sao Paulo, where our next community center was waiting. The roads here are not built to accomodate vehicles such as ours, so some of the Caravaners were out on the road directing traffic so we could pass, make U-turns, and the like.

So, we are now at our next Cultura Viva point, a samba school and training center in another favela in Sao Paulo. We are finally able to camp outside, so, yes, Grandma, I get to use my tent! Though I didn´t pack a sleeping mat of any kind--I thought that I would tough it out. Tough schmuff--no one wants to sleep on cold concrete, including me, so I have been sleeping on top of all my clothes, jackets, and my towel every night for cushion. I feel like I´m in the Princess and the Pea story, because I can still feel all the bumps beneath me, in spite of my layering attempts.

Bueno.

I´m now officially a part of the kitchen team and have been spending lots of time in the Caricola, squeezing in between the other cooks for spices or cooking oils. It´s solar powered, so our lights and music (a small boombox) are not contributing to global warming, though our gas stove is, though not as much. We have a haybox as well, which is an insulated box that continues to cook grains, beans, and what have you, without using any additional energy. It´s wonderful, I love it, and I recommend that all homes experiment with one. All you have to do is find a cooler and line it with blankets.

Last night there was a capoeira circle at the center. Capoeira, from what I understand, is a combination of dance, martial arts, and music that was created by Africans during their enslavement in Brasil, as a clandestine way to build defense strategies for escaping. A group from a capoeira school came--composed of almost all children. Everyone sat around a circle drawn with white chalk, hands clapping, while the two people in the the center of the circle sparred. There is no physical contact between the two, so it didn´t have a feel of violence. I sat enraptured by the song, the agility and grace, the dance of it all.

Okay, lest you think this whole experience is all roses, it´s not! I am learning so much, though, and am having to face a great deal of my fears. One of the biggest ones, I´ve realized, is my fear of doing the wrong thing, of looking silly or inept. So every day I am working on consciously not taking myself seriously. Because everyday I end up looking silly or inept anyway.

Tomorrow we have a circus workshop that I will participate in, mostly to assist in the juggling part. I have been juggling some, though my equipment is enroute to the United States, after much searching and frustration. There is a gathering of jugglers and vendors happening in the city come Monday, so I will be able to buy a set of clubs there.

As far as feeling connected to the community, it´s coming along. I have befriended Beate, a German-born woman who has lived in Brasil for the past three years. We have bonded over worm composting and organic farming conversations. A blessing, as she speaks English as well. The others, I am gaining trust as well, and especially with the people in the kitchen and the malabaristas. Some days I feel like my Portuguese and Spanish is improving, and other days, it´s all I can do to ask if someone bought more toilet paper.

I have so appreciated and valued everyone´s letters! I am thinking of you all. I feel homesick often, of all my different homes, of everything that has been safe and familiar for me. Sometimes I can´t wait to get back to the US, and other times, I consider extending my visa. Time will tell. I make no commitments yet!

Until next time. Love and blessings and lots of under-the-leg juggling tricks...

2 Comments:

Blogger Christopher Cassidy said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

1:17 PM  
Blogger Anna Davies said...

Oi querida!!

Tudo bem? Espero que sim. Entao, Feliz anviersario :) (Tarde, eu sei, minha culpa...)

Nao se preoccupa sobre la lingua. Provar e mais importante. Eles querem entender ! Voce falei muito bem quando eu emborrei! Voce precisa me contacter quando voces chegam no Rio.. Vai estar bem!!

Ok, enough of the dreadful portuguese-hopefully you get the gist. Glad to hear that your happy and making the most of the experience. If you need there´s a bed (well, I have a double) in Rio should you be in need of a mattress!!

take care-hope you got out of Sao Paulo in time..
Annaxx

7:20 AM  

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