Saturday, November 21, 2009

Does "I'll be there" mean "I'll be there?"

Last night I had a culture clash moment. I have to keep reminding myself that cultural mores are different in Brazil than in the United States. Even when that does not compute.

Last night I was hosting my boss for dinner. We had spoken several times during the week about the night. I had asked what she likes to eat. We decided on a time to get together. Usual stuff.

So I went about making it happen. In true qualidade de vida fashion I didn’t just go to the fish market to buy some fillets, I spent the day at the beach relaxing and soaking up the sun – then bought some totally fresh fish on the beach from a fisherman. (R$10 for 6 fish cleaned and filleted – amazing.)

[Not really my salad, but close.]

After an afternoon nap and refreshing shower I proceeded to prepare dinner: a picture-perfect steamed vegetable salad; rice to my satisfaction (while maybe others here would say it was not salty enough;) and an amazing baking dish brimming with a carnival of fish fillets, onions, mushrooms, green peppers and garlic. Super bom.

I set the table and even dusted the coffee table and shelves by the television.

About 25 minutes before my guest/boss was to arrive the phone rang. (The Brazilians know what comes next.)

“Jim, I’m still trying to resolve a problem with my cell phone. I don’t think I can make it tonight. OK?”

“OK, fine, no problem.” I replied.

What’s up with that? With friends – I get it. But when I am hosting my boss for the first time you would think she knows this is not just pizza with the gang. Luckily I had not already opened the wine.

Oh well. Keep breathing. It’s no big deal, really. I got snagged by my expectations that then clashed with my boss’s sense of casual weekend flexibility.

So half of the beautiful, tasty and completely boneless fish went into my stomach – and the other half went to the refrigerator.

It’s all good. We fall down - we get up.


Fabio Bossard said...

Hey Jim,
I am also from Rio and I enjoyed your blog. I am Brazilian but I like to follow ex-pats writing about my country. Since you are learning Portuguese, my blog may be useful for you, although it was intended to students of English.

Fabio Bossard said...

About you post. I know how you feel. It's heartbreaking. Brazilians are pretty insensitive about that.

Jim said...

Thanks Fabio. I enjoyed looking over your blog. Added it to my favorites and will be back. Interesting to learn the language in reverse.

I'll take all the help I can get!!


Fabio Bossard said...

Thanks Jim. I will keep ckecking yours for update as well.