I don't blend in here. In fact, I obviously stand out a lot!
And just when I was thinking I was doing good too...
I have been real encouraged lately because my Portuguese is coming along pretty well, and I am getting confident enough in my grammar that I am speaking a lot more. The last couple days I have been spending time with my neighbor across the hall who is a very sweet lady and doesn't speak a word of English. It was a big day for me yesterday when she invited me over for afternoon coffee and cake and we visited for well over an hour. Just the two of us, just Portuguese!
She and her husband are also members of Minas Tênis Clube, and she asked if I wanted to go over there with her to workout today. So this morning we went and spent a couple hours at the clube. They have one pool that is solely for people to walk in for low-impact exercise. While we waited for some machines to open up in the gym, we decided to walk a while in the pool.
We were walking and talking when this older guy stopped us. He looked at me and said to me (in Portuguese) something to the effect of, "I know you! You were in São João Del Rei for Carnaval! I couldn't forget a tall blonde. That was you, right?" Holy cow, there went the anonymousness I was enjoying living in a city of 5 million people! How the heck does that happen? I visit a town three hours away with well over 100,000 people crowding the streets, I return to my home city of 5 million occupants, and three weeks later some random guy sees me at the club next to my apartment and remembers me!
I speak Brasilian Portuguese, I buy Brasilian clothes, I wear a Brasilian swimsuit, I get a Brasilian tan, I eat Brasilian food, I hang out with Brasilians, and I still stand out as so NOT Brasilian that I become memorable. We really should have moved to a city with more foreigners! (Or maybe I need to dye my roots dark so I look like all the other 'blondes' in this town.)