Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Faxineira versus Fashionista

I’ll be the first (make that second behind Brian) to say that I am not a deep-clean kind of person. I’m more of a daily surface cleaner. I keep things in neat (and perhaps numerous) piles. I believe in letting sleeping dust bunnies lay (lie?). But when the mildew between the tiles in the bathroom and the kitchen starts rising up in revolt, I know it’s time to call in the professionals. And that professional is Cida, the faxineira (pronounced ‘fashion-era’) or cleaner. She came to our apartment last Wednesday and spent four hours in our not so big place cleansing. She successfully kept the dust bunnies at bay but sadly did not work miracles on the mildew, although she did reduce the spreading designs it had started to create.

And rumor has it that she will iron! There are two reasons for my joy here. One, when one line-dries clothes here, they are super wrinkly. I have always worn wrinkly clothes (as have the kids – they don’t know any other way). I have never been mistaken for a fashionista, and it’s certainly not going to happen here. But Brian team-teaches a graduate class at the federal university and also has to interview various officials and heads of political organizations so the wrinkled look doesn’t quite fly. The other reason is fear of the iron. Ever since starting an electric fire the first time I used an iron back in 9th grade as I ironed a safety-pin laden toga I was to wear for Freshman Day at Greely High School, I am a bit gun-shy about irons. Seeing an iron still brings back the smell of singed poly-cotton blend.

Cida thought the kids were a riot. They’re speaking English! They dress so strangely! I’m not sure she was as amused when their little footprints left their mark all over the newly mopped floors. Oh well. I was thrilled and look forward to having her back in the near future, whenever that will be. And just curious if anyone can explain why we pre-clean our house before the cleaning lady comes?

In other news, Brian made his first overnight trip away from home (two days in Vitoria, Santo Espirto) last week. This week he’s off for three days to Brazil’s capitol, Brasilia, where he’ll help evaluate Brazilian applicants who hope to go to the US through a Fulbright. Bas, Ginger and I have done pretty well holding down the fort. But the best times are when we’re all together on the weekends. We headed to Ouro Preto and Mariana (two historical mining towns with beautiful churches here in Minas Gerais) this past weekend. Ouro Preto was hosting a jazz festival and Mariana had a children’s festival in one of its plazas. The kids played hard and we all enjoyed the weekend.

Quote of the weekend: Paula to family as we stand in yet another slow-moving long line: "We'll learn patience in Brazil this year." Bas' retort: "except Daddy." Words of insight beyond his 5 years...

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