Sunday, January 4, 2009

Falla Portugues? sou uma gringa

This whole idea of being a Gringa totally escaped me for about the first six weeks I was here. I thought that was like a Mexico vs US thing, but apparently all South American countries use the term. My good friend André often told me there was no way I could pass for a Brasileira, and I would protest that ANYONE can be Brazilian so why couldn't I? He would try and be tactful and say it's because I have Irish ancestry and there aren't a lot of Irish influence. (And I'd try to explain that I saw Fitzcarraldo, and try to prove there were some Spuds in South America, but it's not worth it.

After hanging out with Mark and Monica, I realize I'm a super-gringa, and that's what André was trying to say. While people look similar to me here, it's not like I have twins everywhere (the way that Maggie and Erica and I at home could all pass for sisters.) As my good French friend Antoine always tells me, I have "such an American face." Well, I guess it's good that I dont try to hide it! I guess this explains why me and Marite stood out so much at the Samba club in Rio!

Anyway, in Brazil, the term is extremely general and can refer to anyone that is not foreign. Our friend Helio's wife is from Japan and she too is considered a gringa. That's toally fine. Talita's fiance is Argentian, and even he is a gringo1

At the end of the day, I dont really care. I like being the weird foreign kid, and having license to be myself, explore this country, and given a certain level of lee-way and understanding, cause I just don't understand how this place works.

And I also really, really love the silence. I so often am surrounded by conversations that I just cant grasp. I might pick up on a theme or words here of there, but the nuances that can so distract me over hearing a conversation on Muni back in San Francisco, I dont hear her. My perspective is different. I just look at everyone here from the perspective of how their actions fit into the bigger picture of this country. I hope I have that when I go back.

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