“Why does it always rain here?” Natalia asked her mother. Natalia’s mother, who was reading a newspaper, looked at her in surprise. “It also rains in Brazil,” she said. “Don’t you remember? There is summer now, but it will rain in winter ”.
Natalia shivered and looked out the window at the rainy streets of London. Now, she couldn’t think of leaving home in a bikini any more than she could imagine walking on the moon. She then looked back towards the computer on the small library desk. Several pictures of her friend Rita appeared on the screen on the beach. Rita was tanned and happy, which made Natalia a little jealous.
“It’s almost time to go,” said the mother. “The library is closing. Finish your email and let’s go home. ”Natalia sat at the computer and finished writing her e-mail to her friend Rita: I miss everyone in Rio, especially you! It’s cold here and it rains a lot. Your photos are super cool.
January passed quickly and soon came February, and it was not long before Natalia received more news from Rita …
Here is very hot! We are all preparing for the carnival. I’m preparing my costume and Uncle Rufino will play tambourine at the samba school again. Carnival is so short away! I wish you were here.
Natalia sighed and said: “Carnaval …” is the best time of the year in Rio de Janeiro. “I wish I could be in Brazil now”, thought Natalia as she typed on the library computer …
Thanks for the photos! Tomorrow I will go to my friend Emma’s house to make American pancakes for “Shrove Tuesday”. We will use sugar and lemon, but it will not be as good as the carnival. It is still cold around here and it rains non-stop!
As the mother and daughter walked home through the dark, rainy streets of the city, Natalia listened to the rain splashing from the wheels of the cars passing by the sidewalk. She imitated the sound of rain to cheer up a little…Natalia played until she got home, making the sound of the rain, stamping her foot on the sidewalk and imagining she was playing a rattle.
How’s life in England? Today we went to the beach, but there was a person missing to play volleyball. You are the best player of all cousins, so we miss you so much! It is still very hot here. I’m drinking a lot of coconut water to keep myself cool! I took a picture so you don’t forget!
I miss coconut water, açaí with granola, but mainly cupuaçu juice! I wish there were cupuaçu here. Here, we have peaches and melons, but nothing can compare with the taste of the fruits there.
Spring began to arrive in England while Natalia and her friend Emma sat at the school’s computer. Look at this, Emma!” Natalia exclaimed enthusiastically. Emma approached the screen to get a better look at the men in sports clothes chasing a ball. “Who are they,” she asked.
“These are soccer teams from Rio,” replied Natalia, unable to hide the excitement in her voice. “Football in Brazil is so good! I would love to be able to take you to a game so you can check it out for yourself. The stands have samba groups, and the crowd goes crazy when a goal comes out! People play loud and everyone cheers and sings. It is like a huge party. Look, I will show you! ”
Natalia searched the internet and managed to find a video of a football game in Brazil so Emma could check it out. There was a lot of noise and colors, with a loudness with the loudest sound of all the instruments… Ba-boom, boom, boom! Ba-boom, boom, boom! Ba-boom, boom, boom!
Then, the two girls looked for more videos of soccer games in Rio. They then watched the city come alive through the screen: the sounds echoed in the darkroom, while the colors flashed on the walls. Natalia imagined that she was in Rio, in the apartment of Aunt Susana and Uncle Feliciano, which is at the top of a hill, but precisely in the room where she shared with Rita and her other cousins Alicia and Marina. The room was always warm and the girls always had fun admiring the city view at night. Suddenly, Natalia felt very distant from home, and it made her feel very sad.
That month, the seasons had changed from spring to early summer, and a pale, milky glow of sunlight often woke Natalia shining through the curtains in her bedroom window, very early in the morning. Unlike Rio, it was a mild heat that made everything shine. The garden beds near the school hummed with insects, while the bees went out to collect nectar to make honey. Natalia noticed how the whole world seemed to be smiling now that the sun was out.
Today, Emma and I play tennis at school. It was very funny! This is the season of the Wimbledon tournament, so many people are excited about tennis. We watched the school games and ate strawberries and cream. It was very funny! It’s finally sunny here, and really beautiful!
We also have sneakers here, remember? But I don’t like to play tennis when it’s too hot. It looks like you’re having fun in England, but it’s always more fun here! Here are some pictures of me and João when we went on a school trip to the Botanical Garden.
When Natalia read this last email she was unable to contain her annoyance with her friend Rita. It seemed that Rita was always saying how much better things were in Brazil, even though she knew that Natalia missed her country a lot. In the end, the two friends ended up arguing and deciding not to write for a while. Natalia realized then, more than ever, how difficult it was to be away from home and adapt to a new country. In addition, she was disappointed in her friend Rita, who had been very insensitive.
It was a hot summer, the school term was over and Natalia felt alone. Emma had gone to visit her grandmother in Scotland and her mother was always working. Natalia was bored and missed home a lot. She was tired of watching the same television programs; those with stupid people dressed in furry monsters, always singing silly songs. She was even bored of drawing. All she could think about was designing Rio’s beach, with people sitting under umbrellas drinking coconut water, playing volleyball, or surfing in the warm waters of the sea. Thinking about Rio made her very sad.
Natalia’s mother had shown her how to lock the front door so she could go to the library whenever she wanted. This made Natalia feel much more adult. However, every time she went to the library and turned on the computer, she felt disappointed that she had not received an email from her friend Rita. Natalia was very upset because they had argued and missed receiving news from home.
But one day Natalia received an email, not from Rita, but from her English friend Emma …
How are you? My mom asked me if you would like to come here and stay with my grandma and me next month. My grandmother is very old, but she is very nice, and Scotland is a fun place.
Natalia couldn’t believe her luck! She ran home and waited for her mother to return from work to ask if she could go to Scotland.
Scotland was so different from London! Emma’s grandmother lives near the sea in a small village. The nights remained clear for a long time, and they went out to the beach. There were raspberries growing in the bushes, and you could pick and eat them whenever you wanted. Natalia had never seen them grow in the wild and was impressed when Emma took a handful directly from the bush.
On the first day in Scotland, Natalia saw something even more exciting than wild raspberries … the sea! The sea, the sea!”, She said. “Let’s put our feet in the water!”It’s so cold!”, She shouted at Emma. I tried to warn you!” Emma laughed, “but you ran so fast! This is not like Rio. The water here in Scotland is very cold ”.
They jumped in and out of the surf and watched the waves breaking on the rocks until their fingers were numb with cold. Natalia felt happy for the first time in a long time and remembered when she played on the beach with Rita, João and the other cousins in Brazil. She saw a small boat tied to a wooden pier, a little further along the beach, and the little girl thought to herself: “We could sail the coast of Scotland and the Atlantic Ocean in this small boat. We would pass through the United States and Mexico. Then, the water would start to heat up until, finally, we reached the coast of Rio! ”.
Natalia wondered how happy everyone would be to see them, and they could have cupuaçu and açaí juice, and eat feijoada and moqueca. There would be a samba group to welcome them, just like in celebrations when a goal is scored by Botafogo … Swoosh, swoosh, splat, Chuki-Chuki-pdf, Chuki-Chuki-paf!
Natalia and Emma played all day until the sun started to disappear. They talked about the differences between England, Scotland, and Rio de Janeiro. They explored, walked, and ran one after another across the beach until they were exhausted. Then, when night fell and the weather cooled, the two friends returned to the house for dinner.
That night, curled up in bed, in Emma’s grandmother’s little beach cottage, Natalia thought how lucky she was to be able to get to know other cultures and make new friends so far from home.
Before going to bed that night, Natalia promised herself that she would write to Rita and apologize for the silly argument, and she would tell everything about Scotland, the little cottage on the coast, and even how she was expecting snow in the English winter. This is something that Natalia had never seen in Rio de Janeiro!