Hola WDIET Family! Hope you are feeling light and bright. The weather is smiling on ALL of us these days. Lovely.
I’ve been on the road for the past three weeks, hiking and swimming nearly every day after work exchange. Now I’m back in Salvador for just a few days until I make my way south to Itacaré to spend some time with a friend.
Let’s rewind to my last days at the farm in Seabra because I really want to share these notes and images with you.
Day 4: For the past four days I’ve been cooking like a base-head. Each morning, I look forward to Nance, the housekeeper and farmhand, coming by to sweep the grounds. With the help of the chickens and dogs, I awake at 6am to prepare breakfast for Nance and me. She is the first face I see on days when there is work. I am overjoyed after nearly 20 hours of alone-time. In my neon green composition notebook, I write questions then inquire as she eats. How do you say ..? What is the word for frog in Portuguese? How do you spell ..? She grins and chews then responds with the care of an elementary school teacher. Sapo is the word for frog. There is always one in the toilet when I use the bathroom. We eat, chew, and smile at each other. A spinach and potato omelet on Monday. Oatmeal with dried plums, walnuts and honey on Tuesday. A Cucumber, tomato salad with rice n’ beans on Wednesday. Once again, cooking has saved my life. Or at least that’s what it feels like. Nance has never eaten so well. We are both happy.
Day 5: Nance invited me to her house in the afternoon — a 45 minute walk from the farm. She thinks it’s bad (ruim) that I’m staying alone. She wonders why I don’t live at home with my mother. Her mother lives three minutes from her house and her mother-in-law lives next door. She has never lived any where else. Her hobbies include walking and buying products from Avon reps in the area.
Day 6: A change occurred in me last night. I no longer feel the desire to leave the farm. My routine is working. Make breakfast. Clean. Wash something (dishes, clothes, my hair). Read. Write. Prepare Lunch. Make Photos. Yoga. Practice Capoeira. Shower. Make dinner. Read. Write. Record a Video. Try to Sleep. Listen to Music. Sleep.
Why wasn’t taking a Portuguese class at a community college enough? What’s wrong with doing community gardening in Brooklyn? Why am I here in Bahia, Brazil?
1) to be warm — actually HOT!
2) to be closer to nature
3) to understand and learn to speak Brazilian Portuguese fluently
4) to learn how to grow fruits and veggies (and my own food)
5) to meet new people, visit new places
6) to write, make photos, share stories
7) to practice being self-reliant
Day 7: Despite feeling more at ease with my situation, I’ve decided to leave the farm today. I packed most of my things last night just in case João shows up for work today. I’m doing all of the above at a bare minimum and it’s not enough. I haven’t prepared our breakfast; there’s no time. Nance knows that I’m leaving; she is sweeping with her head hanging low. I called her over towards me and whispered (as if we’re indentured servents). There is a lot of food in the fridge; take it home with you today, okay. And more rice and beans in the cabinet. She has five kids; they eat rice, beans, farina, and meat for lunch and dinner every day. They have one loud-mouth dog, some chickens, and a feisty parrot. Nance won’t drink tea without lots of sugar in it and she has never eaten pizza in her forty-two years of living.
Love to you and your family!
p.s. Nance is pronounced Nan-cee. Most of the images were taken at her house or in the homes of her neighbors and family members. I posted the images of the farm grounds in the previous post, sozinha.
My time alone was perfect. It’s amazing what a bit of silence will do for the mind and spirit. Giving thanks for being alive, for new experiences — fun and fresh, dull and lonesome alike.
One day while on the farm, a song by the Rolling Stones popped in my head. Listen and sing-along with me.
You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes you just may find … you get what you need.