Many of you know Dennis will be here in two weeks. It’s actually fifteen days and as much as I’d like to do anything but think of his arrival, I can’t. So the biggest challenge for me over the next 15 days will be to <em>do</em> things. Like teach. Or like get up in the morning. Or like follow through with any kind of responsibility I have here. Good places to start.
The difficulties started this weekend. I woke up relatively early Saturday and went to feira hippie with Mandy. We walked around, looked at the tacky art, beautiful jewelry, and tiny dogs, and then I returned home to basically sit in my apartment floating between the internet and my bed waiting for time to just pass. I don’t know why I think time will go by faster if I do nothing. Saturday night, however, we all got together at our boss’ house for dinner and then went out to a bar to hear live music and have fun. And have fun we did indeed. It was low-key, but after a full meal of churrasco and beer, it felt appropriate that the party should last until the wee hours of the morning. So it did, and we had a grand time. (Plus, I had new pants on, and am I right to say that the potential for having fun increases exponentially when one wears new pants?) Sunday was a waste since I did little more than fold my laundry and walk to the coffee shop to grade papers. I took a shower, but even that, I considered, was overextending myself.
I did forget to mention the weather. Both Saturday and Sunday were torrential downpour days. The heat has been building up over this country for two solid weeks with so little rain it’s been troubling. So Saturday, well before the sun began to set officially, the sky darkened with heavy, thick rain clouds and then down it came. It started off with just regular rain drops. But by the time I had crossed my apartment from one end to the other, it was hailing, dropping granules that were maybe three-quarters of an inch in diameter. At one point, from my back porch that is enclosed on two sides with plate glass windows, I stood watching the weather close in around my building. I live in a city, so therefore I can usually see apartment lights on in the buildings next to and across the street from mine, and well into the distance. But there, in the middle of the hail cloud, I could see nothing. I could barely see across the street and felt entirely enveloped in the thick brown cloud. Lightning occasionally lit the sky and thunder shook the concrete walls of building. The streets below raged with the sudden rush of water and cars down below moved slowly through the flood splashing giant wings of water up onto the sidewalks and onto other cars. I stood on my porch, not just a little bit scared of being struck down by a lightning bolt and left to rot in the next day’s hot sun. So I crept back into the darkness of the guest room, lay on the bed, and watched the rain coat the window and lightning electrify the night sky.
It was then I wondered when I had stopped being afraid of thunderstorms. Had it happened here in Brazil where thunderstorms are plentiful? Or had it happened earlier, in New Haven where I had the comfort of someone’s arms to hide in? I suppose I am thankful for them here, which makes it easier to like them. Here, a thunderstorm means a relief of oppressive hot weather. And so I am grateful when I see clouds gather, instead of nervous about the noises I will have to sit through alone. I like to hear how angry the sky is here, kind of like a “Serenity Now!” moment from the weather gods. I feel like during a thunderstorm, me and the weather gods are on the same page: both acknowledging that something’s gotta give. And so last night, for thunderstorm number two, I lay again on the guest bed and watching the storm fall against my window for the second time, eagerly anticipating the next big crack of thunder that I would feel reverberate only slightly through the thick wall I lay next to.