samba pa ti.

missionaries probably shouldn’t have favorite areas just like parents shouldn’t have favorite children, and yet, valinhos stole my heart.

i spent six long months in my first area. four of those with a very difficult companion. i was ready for a change.   change came moving me to the other side of the mission. our new city had previously been the territory of a pair of elders. one, a blond, named elder turner. brazilians had a hard time hearing a difference in turner and tanner and so they assumed we were siblings. they also thought i was related to tina turner…

two major things sweetened the deal.

my new companion*:

and the family we lived behind equipped with four adorable daughters:

familia dias feasting on funeral potatoes, jello and casserole.

the dias family was thrilled to have a set of sisters living behind them. we were thrilled to benefit from their family-run restaurant in the front of the house. almost every evening they’d save us frango milanesa, feijão , arroz and of course my favorite, mandioca frita.

as often as we could we’d return the favor. they loved american desserts. we used their industrial kitchen to make american delicacies like apple crisp, banana bread and lemon pineapple bars.

but, there was one dessert reserved for edsom. he was louco for snickerdoodles.

during the week of carnaval our mission enforced some restrictions, the biggest being that we were to be home before sundown. but our “home” was conveniently on a main avenida through valinhos which the parade was about to travel. the family restaurant was open for lots of business that night.

12 years ago we hatched a plan to make the biggest batch yet of snickerdoodles and surprise edsom. we were confined to our shabby little kitchen and meager supplies.

brazilian snickerdoodles

music and drums filled the air as we delivered our bounty to edsom. he downed about two dozen in one gulp. he quickly fashioned a sign and promised he’d sell the bolachas americanas during the festivities.

our feelings weren’t hurt when not a single one sold and i’m pretty sure edsom wasn’t disappointed either.

*left-top: after our preparation day run to the mission home to get our mail. it was much farther than we had planned. left-right: how awesome is my jumper? bottom-right: cheap capoeira pants + camera timers = good times. bottom-left: look closely in the jar. we had a crazy spider infestation. we took the jarred spider + a letter to our mission president. he was more alarmed than amused. sidenote, my companion refused to share her bed’s princess net.
samba pa ti, by santana


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