I got lost again today. It’s to be expected. I’ve only been here a few days after all. When I was in Belgium, Jennifer and I got lost so much. All the time. And I got frustrated. Sometimes because when we got lost we ended up in not so nice neighborhoods. Sometimes because I just didn’t feel like getting lost. Sometimes because I just expected me to be better at being directionally competent. Each time was a lesson in patience, retracing my steps, and getting over my expectations.
Yesterday, it was less about being lost and more about being hesitant. The buses do not allow for hesitation and despite me planning an hour for mistakes, I was still late to the first day of class. No biggie. On the way from school to the house, I took the wrong Pituba bus (there are 2) from school to the house and landed who knows where. But the kindness of strangers put me on the right track. No biggie. Today, I gave myself an hour and twenty minutes, figuring if I got it right I didn’t want to be too early-before the schools doors even opened. Well, turns out, I needed the whole 1:20. Sigh. This morning, no hesitation. I got directions that from home to school I could take three buses: Pituba (R1), Nordeste, and Aeroporto. Well as soon as I saw the words Aeroprto, I raised my hand, boarded the bus, and was confidently on my way. Until it made a turn that I knew was not going towards the coast and the school. Ruh-roh.
The bus driver was not so friendly and I was at the end of the line, but turns out if I can get to shopping Barra then I can get to school and just asked which bus would get me to shopping Barra. Mission accomplished. Until I started walking in the wrong direction, knew I was walking in the wrong direction, checked my watch-with 5 minutes to spare and hailed a cab. Which took me 3 minutes to my destination. Sigh. I shoulda went left and went right. No biggie. 2 minutes to spare.
In conversation with our professor, she asked what we did in the morning and we were supposed to respond in Portugues. I told her I spent the morning getting lost. She asked me where I lived and I told her Ondina. “Ondina! That’s close! You don’t need the bus-you can walk!” I was surprised. My friend, Luisa, told me I could walk, but it would be at least 30 minutes. Graca (minha professora) offered to walk me home after lunch so she could show me how close it was. How sweet of her!
We ate lunch together and then had a lovely walk all the while talking in Portugues and she pointing things out to me in her (soon to be mine) language. I was so appreciative. We came to a crossroads and she wanted to know how much further. I had NO idea where we were. I was thinking, “you’re the one who told me this was doable!” We stopped at a gas station, asked for directions and turns out…I don’t live in Ondina at all! I live in Federacao! OOOOOOOPS!
Now, I roped my professor into my chronic lost-ness. Desculpe Graca, desculpe!! OK. No biggie. We grab a cab and eventually make our way back to my house. Frustrating, but she was great about it and we laughed. The good things: I found out Ondina has a beach and I can walk it easy from school! And I like it tons better than the beachy strip at Porto de Barra. Score. I made a cabbie friend who I can call whenever I need him. Score. I had a great walk on a beautiful sunny day. Score.
You gotta get lost to find your way, right?
Somewhat related post from my favorite blogger: Don’t Be Buried Alive. Exploring my edges…