One scary thing that has happened:
Tonight, while walking over to Kendra’s house to meet Steve and the other girls for dinner, I was asked for money. In the city, I am asked for money all the time (“city” meaning New Haven or Boston or Providence.) So I was prepared to shake my head “no.” But this guy, stopping directly in front of me, speaking loudly and asking me for five reais, persisted when my normal shake of the head proved not to suffice.
He spoke quickly, and I clearly didn’t understand. His body language was assertive and so my heartbeat quickened, adrenaline coursing through my veins. Was I about to get robbed? Did he have any weapons on him? He pointed his finger at me as if it were a gun, what the hell was I doing?!
I gave the usual “I don’t speak Portuguese” line, even though I could pretty much understand what he was saying. And then he followed me as I continued walking up the street away from him.
“What language do you speak?” he asked me, trailing behind.
“Ingles,” I replied.
I apologized repeatedly for not giving him money, “desculpa, desculpa,” and when he realized he would not get any money from me, he called out from the end of the street, “I like your butt very much.”
I turned right around and called back: “I understand THAT!”
Thank god for the churrasco yesterday and for learning the bad words.