“Sem eira nem beira” - the disdain
Hello Amy, BBC LE team and beloved readers,
Heinrich Stamm from Pomerode, SC, Brazil had suggested me to talk about Portuguese architecture and I’ve looked through my files and the pictures I have, are some taken in Tiradentes.
In Tiradentes, in the Minas Gerais state, I’ve learned why we say this expression in Portuguese: “sem eira nem beira” referring to a person who has very little or no money. This picture show the roof with “eira” and “beira”. In the past, the locals used to build their houses showing their social position. If they had no money, their roof would be without “eira” and without “beira”. If they had little money, the roof would be with “eira” and if they were rich, the roof would have “eira” and “beira”. For this reason, if someone says “I don’t want my daughter to marry him, he is “sem eira nem beira”, he is saying that the guy has no money to marry his daughter.
Heinrich, I have nothing in pictures about “alpendres” or any Brazilian colonial architecture apart from Tiradentes and Ouro Preto
However, speaking of Brazilian architecture without mentioning Oscar Niemeyer, the famous architect of Brasília (capital of Brazil), is a sacrilege.
I went to Brasília in March for doing my English test, the OET (Occupational English Test), a first step of a migration process for skilled health workers.
After sending my application as soon as they had started receiving it, and after many not-replied e-mails asking for information, at last I received the e-mail and the postage advising me about the same date published in the website, 24th March.
I cannot forget the 23th of March flying nearly a whole day among airports flying to Brasília ...for nothing because when I arrived at the Australian embassy, they advised me that the test had been one day before. The date had been rescheduled to 23th due to circunstances beyond their control, according to their apologies.
This fact turned my trip to Brasília a bit sad so that I decided to cheer me up visiting the places in Brasília with my son and my sister.
I had already spent money on the trip, hotel and the flight (not forgetting also the time spent in studies and to be out of the work) so, the best thing to do would had been a sightseeing along the city.
In Brasília there is a huge zoo and I thought it would had been a great entertainment for us, animal lovers, going there.
Everybody was happy there but I don’t know weather or not it was my own sadness due to the OET, while I was seeing the animals, gradually I realised that the animals were not happy at all.. It could have been my imagination but when I tried to take a picture of a monkey, he simply turned himself to the opposite side. It was a surprise for me.
I tried to persuade him: “Hey, let me take a picture of you please, I came from so far just to see you...please...let me see you” and he just looked over his shoulders with such "disdain" that I felt like an idiot and I imagined the monkey like a celebrity thinking “another idiot to take a picture of me, I’m fed of this!”. Later looking at his eyes in the pictures, I noticed it was more like a sadness than disdain and I realised that a zoo is not really a good place for animals. They really need to be in their invironment.
You might be thinking, and the OET? Well, after reporting what happened in Brasília to the OET in Australia (not the episode with the monkey, I mean the rescheduled date), they apologised me and told me I could do my test in June in a closest major city suitable for me. I chose Rio de Janeiro, not for the Pan-american games but because it is closer to here than São Paulo.
Again after many not-replied e-mails , I got the information 4 days before the test that wouldn’t be in Rio de Janeiro anymore but in Brasília again.
Again I had to fight against the time (and against the air traffic crisis) to find tickets, arrange the hotel and of course, ask for day off at work. And over again that saga of me among the airports...
Fortunately, I was the first candidate arriving there, except for the chief at the embassy saying that my test went to Amsterdan (don’t ask me why!?). I asked why they couldn’t get a copy of the candidates’ tests as they were the same test? And so, she agreed to do that, but asked for all my documents (the same I had already sent). Have you any idea of how the anxiety was growing inside me at that moment?
At last I felt relieved when they decided I could sit for the test, except for the examiner not alowing me to sit near the audio for the listening test as I wanted. After everybody had chosen their seats, I claimed for a empty seat over there and he agreed. But I confess, all I wanted was to have my pillow for crying all my tears. The anxiety was at the highest level at that moment. I did a horrible test. I was confused even to write my own name... and my arms? They were paralysed so that I couldn’t write almost anything I was listening.
So I left the embassy, took the taxi to the hotel. I definitely refused having lunch. When I saw the Bible at the room, after all the happenings among embassy, zoo and airports, I said a little prayer for one passenger I met at the airport and for a waiter at the hotel. At least they were so gentle with me. Then, I decided to cry all the afternoon until going to the airport over again.
Finally I was happilly coming back. Except ... the air traffic controllers decided beginning a strike just the moment I would have taken my plane. The attendant had mistakenly dispatched my bag (with my money and my clothes for cold).
As the night was coming with the cold, I claimed for my bag but she refused what made me cry again among numerous desperate people. It was worthless because I had to face the cold and the hunger for a long period until a guy who was there, offered me a biscuit. My education let me take only two ( my desire was to take all them) biscuits so thin that I regretted for refusing the lunch.
Inside the plane, only that normal anxiety when the pilot says: “in case the plane falls, the seat is able to float over the water...”. I just looked over the window to the sea below and my wish was to be deaf. When my feet reached the ground, what a relief! "I am back to the place I should never have left".
Good bye friends...until next post! Kisses!
Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.