Little Brothers

Dom, my host mother’s boyfriend, has a son named José. He stayed over at our house during the holidays and Carnaval, and now he’s here again.

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José (left), Matheus (middle), and I

I love him. He’s adorable. He’s a year older than Matheus, my official host brother, whom I also love dearly.

During Carnaval, I walked my two brothers to the community center for a Children’s Carnaval party, and I made Trevor come along. I don’t know why, but everything seemed so perfect in that moment.

They were being energetic 10 and 11 year olds, joking and skipping around. Trevor and I trailed a bit behind and talked about our own adult business. Once we got to the center, the boys realized that they forgot to buy confetti and other goodies to bring, so they grabbed some bills from Dom and took off to the general store. Trevor and I ran after them to make sure they didn’t get lost or hurt— drivers in the Lagoa area are not the most vigilant. Good thing everything is within a 5 minute walk around here. Once we got to the store, we met the boys pouting outside that the store had run out of Carnaval goodies. We walked them back to the center, again, and were finally able to get them off our hands. Tiring but fun, I loved being responsible for the two.

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These days, with José back in the house, I feel the same way. Everything seems so perfect, even when they’re not, when I’m around those two boys. I feel like a real sister taking care of her two younger brothers. I always find myself watching them play video games, especially Call Of Duty, bringing them to play in the square, or prepping snacks with them.

José is very polite and curious about the world, a stark contrast to Matheus’s stubbornness and confidence in himself and his knowledge. The two always argue about what the United States is like, and only after they both go into wild stories of how it must be do they let me answer their questions or explain truthfully.

I remember José would always offer me marshmallows, and each time ask if they existed in the US and tasted the same way. Matheus, on the other hand, would share his Kit Kat with me and say that chocolate is better in Brazil, right? While José could talk about football for days, Matheus would have you updated on all the latest video games and technologies. José is smaller but eats more (and healthier), Matheus is picky. Matheus is on a swim team, José is scared of the water. They both have different strategies in pillow fighting. I always get caught in the middle.

But they both dream big. They both want to leave Brazil and explore the world. Maybe go to the US, but Canada and England seem to interest them more. They ask me what it’s like, to be old and to be able to go wherever you want. They also ask why I came to Brazil, since the US is so great. I tell them I love Brazil and they laugh at me, believing their country is in such a bad place. I realized I think the same away about the US, and that’s why I needed so badly to escape for a year.

I tell them I love Brazil because they’re here and I can play and talk and fight with them, my little brothers. I tell them that if they ever find themselves coming up North, they’ve got a place to stay with me, their American sister.

Love and Peace,

Elise

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