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.