After yesterday’s post I decided to take a good hard look at myself and my current mood. Realizing that I was in fact teetering precariously on the edge, if not already falling into a deep dark canyon of depression, I committed myself to a reinvestigation of Christmas in Brazil and my new home in general before I officially hit the bottom. Lately my life has been feeling like an Edward Hooper painting that has been left out in the sun with it’s paint melting and sliding down the canvas in a gooey mess. It felt solitary and as if it’s original meaning was being consumed and irrevocably damaged by the sun. What was to be done?
Well, the first move in an attempt to go in a better direction was to purchase a fan. Apartments and homes in Brazil usually don’t come with central air. Ours didn’t but we had a lovely hole in the wall to stick the air conditioner into. Air conditioners here are expensive(if you ask me) and to be honest, up until the last week or so it really hasn’t been that hot. There were moments of heat but the wonderful and arguably depression inducing weather of Angra with it’s rain, rain and more rain, always seem to cool things off at least momentarily.
All of this rain also makes it more humid and a nice lovely home for mosquitoes, Dengue carrying ones at that. Two weeks ago MGFI brought home a a company newsletter that warned about Dengue season approaching and also informed me that Angra is considered one of the worst places for the disease. Yay! I had heard about Dengue before I came to Brazil. In Niteroi, a man from some government agency had come around to check the property and Dengue proof it. He left with warnings to not leave water standing anywhere, helpfully pointed out what to overturn and what plants not to have. At that point I decided to investigate more. This was serious business indeed.
Dengue is an infectious tropical disease transmitted by mosquitoes with symptoms that may include: fever, rash, muscle and joint paint. There is no vaccine and a possible but not common result from catching Dengue is… death. Hmm.. I don’t like this. I don’t like this one bit. I’ve heard stories from MGFI’s friends (all of them seem to have have it at one point or another). They are stories of not being able to get out of bed for days, losing dramatic amounts of weights, fever, rashes, aching and an actual report of a death within their extended group of friends. Dengue is so common and serious here that the fan we bought has a place to put bug replent in and a button to spray it while the fan oscillates. There are all sorts of commericials (outnumbered only by perfume ads of which there are at least 2 of every commericial break) for bug zappers, repelents and creams. Oh Dengue! I feel a lot more prepared but I’m worried, I’ll be honest.
Moving on, after we bought the fan we walked around Centro. We stumbled across a giant Christmas tree by the dock made completely out of recycled bottles. Although this may not sound pretty, it really was in it’s way. The hot dog vendor had Christmas lights strung across his cart and served us wearing a Santa hat. Then what to my wandering eyes did appear? A little house marked Casa de Papai Noel (Santa’s House). I had no idea Santa had a home in Angra. I assumed it must be a vacation house, then suddenly I saw the man himself crossing the street with a sparkling twinkling cane. Sure he was overdressed for the weather but it was Santa. It was my version of a Miracle on 34th Street. We were thousands of miles away from Macy’s and almost directly in front of the 1.79 Real store but… but… maybe for a split second I became a believer again. Maybe I don’t need snow or pine trees after all. We walked a little further and came across a street closed down for the day with several trampolines replacing the cars and children jumping and laughing while Portuguese versions of standard American Christmas music played. It was then I smiled. I smiled and watched them play for a moment. I smiled. When we returned home, I beamed like beacon after I plugged in our new fan and felt the gale force like winds it emitted. If only for a day, my melting painting began to regroup itself and started to reassemble something more like a Norman Rockwell portrait of a sweet innocent life, had he lived in Brazil in 2011. Yes, I know that’s a mental stretch to even imagine what that might look like but I’ll tell you this, it was good . I was happy.