And it Gets Easier: Immersed in Paradise?

And it gets easier

I watch the bikers strolling along the beach smile as I pass them, then give high fives to the longboarders.

And it gets easier

The stares I used to get from women soaking in the sun have turned to smiles; the glares I get from men soaking in the sun haven’t changed in a bit.

And it gets easier

The police officers now smile and wave as I pass. The shirtless runners I zoom past stare incredulously.

And it gets easier

Bomb the Music Industry’s hyperenergetic “Bike Test 1, 2, 3” blasts from my headphones as I ignore the humidity and run down an oceanfront road in Fortaleza, Brasil. Everyday I run, I find I’m further than I was when this song was on yesterday and that people are friendlier than the day before.

“Mind over matter” was my mantra when I started jogging here two weeks ago. I did my best to ignore the humidity, heat cramps and disorientation; I promised I would get to Rua Maua (Maua Street) before letting the mid-day sun stop me. The sign reading thirty degrees isn’t celsius, I lied to myself, it’s fahrenheit and the cold is refreshing as my body tries to overheat.

My body’s pleas to slow down didn’t stand a chance.

“Mind over dumbasses” I tell myself now that I’ve conquered the heat and run around glaring joggers well past Rua Maua.

And it gets easier as I see the double vans in our driveways, I’m glistening but I know some day I won’t even break a sweat.

“Você fala espanhol?” (Do you speak Spanish?) a man selling spitinhas on the street asks me as I pay for the skewered chicken.

“Sim, é mais fácil que português. Por que você pergunta?” (Yes, it is easier than Portuguese. Why do you ask?)

I’ve had this conversation several times over the previous week. People tell me they think I’m from Argentina. My Portuguese is still a work in progress, but being mistaken for a Spanish speaking neighbor is a big step up from being mistaken for an English speaker from 6,000 miles away. My flatmate’s default language when speaking with me is now Portuguese. People smile more and harass me less.

Has my immersion worked this fast? Have I infiltrated South America? I told myself two weeks ago that I would improve my Portuguese and tan enough to be o loiro (the blonde) instead of o gringo, but I never thought that would actually happen.

And it gets easier, as time goes things can only get better.

Next step: Have people ask if I’m from Portugal.


Song lyrics throughout the post are from “Bike Test 1, 2, 3,” written and performed by Bomb the Music Industry.

via Daily Prompt: Immerse


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