Thursday, December 3, 2009

770 mL Day And Other Accomplishments

Today was a day I had looked forward to for a long time. Today was my final Portuguese test, which symbolically, if not actually, marked the end of my Portuguese studies. I finished level five, and there are only five levels -- so I should speak perfect Portuguese, right? Ha. Yeah right. It mostly means that I know every Portuguese tense known to man -- and there are a lot. 

Anyway, the real reason that I was looking forward to today was that it was 770 mL açaí day. (That's pronounced ah-sigh-ee for all you gringos out there.) I know you've all heard about this magical berry from the Amazon, with more antioxidants than blueberries; you've probably even had it in iced tea or some other flavored drink. But until you've come to Rio -- and for some reason it doesn't seem to exist in this form in other states -- you've never had açaí as it was meant to be eaten. That is, frozen, mixed with guaraná syrup, and covered with your choice of toppings.

I actually wasn't a huge fan of açaí upon my first bite five months ago. However, as with many other foods in Brazil that didn't seem very appetizing at first glance -- suco de abacate, farofa, cachorro quente completo (that is, avocado smoothie, manioc flour sprinkled on beans and rice, and hot dogs with ALL the toppings (including corn, mayonnaise, quail eggs, peas, etc.)) -- it quickly won me over. If it's possible to be addicted to açaí, I'm pretty sure I am.

Tuesdays and Thursdays I have (or had, I guess I should say now) an awkward two-hour break between my translation class and my Portuguese class. Since it's from 3-5, no one is ever around except for my friend Stephanie, who is also in those two classes with me. We were always looking for ways to occupy ourselves, sometimes getting açaí while we killed some time. This quickly turned into a habit, and eventually we would leave our translation class and head straight for the açaí stand without even having to discuss it. I worked my way up to 400 mL as the semester wore on (com paçoca no meio e em cima -- sweet peanut butter powder in the middle and on top), but to celebrate the end of both of our classes, we decided that today was the day to go all out and get the biggest açaí offered. That's 770 mL.

I was thinking the other day about how I don't eat much ice cream here. Those of you who know me well know that I'm obsessed with ice cream. In my essay writing class senior year of high school, I wrote my persuasive essay on how amazing ice cream was. So yeah, I like ice cream. And it's consistently 90 degrees Fahrenheit here. Today it was at least 97. Perfect ice cream weather. But here's the thing: açaí has replaced ice cream in my life. I never would have guessed anything was capable of that.

And yeah, 770 mL of açaí is as big as my face:

Apart from the açaí, today was rather stressful; besides the Portuguese test, I also had a translation and a revised translation due, as well as a third of a paper that I had forgotten about until I was reminded at 9:30 this morning. Twelve hours later, I am done with 4/5 of my academic classes, with only a short paper left for my Brazilian Literature class.

My iTunes must know that things are ending soon, since it just started playing "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." Seriously, it just did. You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last. But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast. I wish I could keep açaí; unfortunately, I don't think it would travel very well. I wonder what I will take away from this experience that will last. Great memories, photos, and friends, of course. 

I just hope that many months from now I will also still remember how to use the future perfect subjunctive and the simple pluperfect indicative.

1 comment:

  1. Good entry!! Wow, I can't believe you're coming back to the states. We baked cookies with emily and stephanie the other day. It was pretty funny because we accidentally made like 4 dozen and our icing was all weird. Wish you could have been there!