By Kate Romero
Sometimes, for fun, particularly when I’m waiting for our next assignment to be handed out, a Brazilian Wandering Spider has wandered into my shoe, or it’s raining inside my house, I like to make little pros and cons lists of this Foreign Service lifestyle. This week, I’ve added a new “con” to the list, and it’s right up at number one. The goodbyes. Although my friendships are long lasting, I don’t generally make friends very easily. Someone once told me that in order to make friends you first have to leave the house. Now, in order to leave the house, I’d have to change out of my yoga pants. I figure if the powers that be wanted me to get out and make friends, they wouldn’t have made yoga pants so comfortable. I also once read somewhere that if you want to make friends, you have to be sincere and approachable, sooooo….. Anyway, despite my character flaws and yoga pants, I have slowly made some very good friends here in Brasilia, and now they’re beginning to up and leave on me, the jerks (see how I am?).
Dale was the first friend I made here. We arrived at the same time and compared our suffering with each other. I believe our first conversation at the embassy pool consisted of me describing how I kept all my tear-soaked tissues in a pile throughout the day, so when my husband arrived home from work, he could see how much I had endured with no car, no internet, no television, no phone, no stuff, and four kids not yet in school. I’m a thoughtful wife like that (also, that pile of tissues was a flipping MOUNTAIN!). Alas, as one does, we both grew fond of Brasilia and remained friends. But now, she’s headed home and a few of us ladies decided to pitch in on a gift that would remind her of Brazil. We went with some gorgeous gold filigree earrings. If only her ears had been pierced. My other lovely friend Liz (look at me with friends and whatnot!) and I volunteered to go with Dale to Filigrana do Cerrado to exchange the earrings for a necklace.
Filigrana do Cerrado is a boutique jewelry store filled with beautiful gold handmade jewelry, primarily delicate filigree made from leaves, but they have several pieces made from other objects found in nature as well. You can learn more about the process used in making the jewelry here. The instant I stepped into the store a ring jumped on my finger. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I was powerless to remove it. I wracked my brain for reasons I deserved to have the ring. Birthday? November. Anniversary? Not until August. Groundhog Day? Over. Valentine’s Day? I already overspent on myself for that. I was starting to panic, as Dale was wrapping up her exchange and Liz was nearly finished maneuvering through the jewelry like she owned the place. When all was said and done, they offered Dale a R$4 credit for the difference of the earrings versus the necklace with no cash refund. So, basically, I HAD to use that R$4 credit because I hate wasting money. Thankfully, I had gotten a bunch of cash out at the bank just that morning to replenish our emergency medical fund that I keep dipping into to pay the gardener. I felt that the R$4 credit and the cash in my wallet was the universe’s way of telling me to buy the ring, and you can’t argue with the universe. After we repaired to a nearby coffee shop to admire my ring celebrate Dale’s new necklace, it struck me that St. Patrick’s Day is coming up. And, as luck would have it, I’m an Irish girl, so of course I must have a pot of gold at the base of my finger, right? Whew. I knew I deserved that ring.
I know the goodbyes will not end as we travel from place to place, and the right way to close this little essay would probably be to say something positive along the lines of blahblahbe thankful we had even a short time togetherblahblahblah, but I think I’ll just say that goodbyes suck, so when they happen, go put on your yoga pants (unless you’re a boy, because, eww…), pour yourself a glass of, uh, grape juice, and console yourself with something that makes you giddy. Boa viagem, minha amiga.
Filigrana do Cerrado is at CLS 116-Bl. A Loja 33, and they did not give me a discount for writing about them, as much as I wish it were otherwise, because I have my eye on one of those leaf necklaces and it’s a long way until, um, Easter? Mitch? Are you reading this? Hello? Is this thing even on?