On May 1st, Brazil celebrates Labor Day! So two weeks ago, I got a day off. It was weirdly enough a Wednesday, which made me realize how much U.S. tends to move our holidays to either end of the weekend. So while we couldn’t go somewhere for a long weekend, my good and first friend here in Lavras, Rosie, invited us for the day to her family’s farm (the fazenda)!
Hali and I met Rosie one day at the pool, during our first weekend in Lavras. She was playing with these two kids, and trying to balance them on a floating swan, of course, and asked us for help. Hali and I had no idea what she was saying, so we reverted to the good old “stand there and nervously laugh” until she left. But, Rosie was not deterred by our stand-offish behavior! She actually came back again to us, but this time speaking in English, “Are you girls from here?” We all laughed and exchanged Whatsapp numbers, and have been going on fun adventures ever since.
So that morning, Hali, another friend of Rosie, Rosie’s dog Cyndi, Rosie, and I piled into her car and set off for the fazenda. We arrived an hour and a half later, and trooped down a short path to meet the rest of Rosie’s family. The smell of sizzling pork and smoke greeted us first, with dogs going crazy and huge slabs of meet everywhere. “They killed the pig today!” Rosie explained. There was a massive fire, and a group of five women were chopping the rest of the meat into smaller bits to make pork rind, which we tried right out of the pan. Nice and salty, “If you find a hair in it, don’t worry! It’s from the pig”…thanks Rosie!
During that day, Rosie made all of my city-girl meets country dreams come true. Hali and I milked cows for the first time, we played with the millions of dogs that lived on the farm, took pictures with cute baby calves, and even rounded up horses and took them for a ride.
To ride the horses, we had to bring them in and saddle them up first. Rosie told us which gates to open for her, and then went off in search of the horse with a bridle in hand. We watched Rosie creep up to the horse to throw the bridle over it, just to be intercepted every time by these three crazy dogs running to join in and scaring the horse off. I’m sure Rosie was tired, but Hali and I could not STOP laughing at the whole scene. Finally, with some help from a couple other people, we managed to round up the horses and took them for a ride at sunset. The sky was periwinkle with huge puffy clouds and we rode off into the horizon, just like in the movies.
We ended the day with coffee and pão de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) and then packed up to head home. I’m touched by the intimacy of being welcomed into someone’s home- it is always a privilege. Thank you to everyone in Lavras who has invited me in and made me feel so connected here! And Rosie, thanks for not giving up on us that day at the pool!