Last Monday, I woke up early and was putzing around when I heard a knock at the door. It was a woman who introduced herself as a teacher at the school, Professora Arlete. I’ve met several neighbors and teachers who have dropped by to introduce themselves, chat, or practice English, so this was by no means an uncommon occurrence, even at 7 in the morning. As the small talk began to wrap up, Arlete said she was going to get her malas at the neighbor’s house. The word mala sounded awfully familiar, a Portuguese word I had once known but clearly forgotten, so I just smiled and thanked her for visiting. This was met by a confused look.
“No, no—the neighbor just lives over there, and I’m going to get my malas right now,” she said. It was my turn for the confused look. “I’m going to get my malas and come back to the house. I’m going to live with Professora Amelia.” And therefore, most importantly, me. At this point, I remembered what malas were: suitcases.
I tried my best to channel my shock into an overly enthusiastic offer to help with her malas, and tried to hide my expression of complete astonishment. I must have succeeded, because the friendly chatting resumed immediately. And that is how I met Arlete, Mozambican roommate #2.
Arlete is kind and warm, and lived in my house with Amelia last year. At first, I had reservations about being the odd person out and having to readjust to their existing routine, but I think it will work out well, and might actually be easier for everyone. Maybe not as easy as me moving in with my fellow PCV in Chimundo, but where’s the adventure in that?