Before leaving LA, I was told that anything I brought to wear, had to be below the knee. This was most important for attending church, which ideally a skirt or a dress needs to be worn. Wearing clothing that’s an appropriate length, is a cultural norm. If a woman were to choose to ignore these rules, it was explained to me, it would be the equivalent of walking around topless.
I discovered in Italy, what I had brought to wear, which I thought was fine, actually stopped mid knee. I try finding something that looks like a Sunday school teacher/ kindergarten teacher would wear, but also something that I would wear again, not church related. Which is a very specific look. I search for something, on a Saturday afternoon, when everything would be closed on Sunday, and I was leaving Monday. And I would love to say I found something at a cute store that will always remind me of Italy when I wear it. I find something at H&M, because sometimes times are desperate.
I am glad that I fixed my clothing issue, because I don’t need more attention than I already receive. Most of the time I’m being stared at by kids, but sometimes adults too. I deal with this by waving, and smiling. There is one little girl, who is impervious to smiles. She’s probably about a year old, and a daughter of another family on staff. Whenever she sees me she closes her eyes or cries, if not both. I think this is funny as do the rest of the orphan kids, even the girls mom thinks it’s funny. It’s a running joke my whole stay there, everyone laughing at this little girls fear. Of me.
The Church that Victor and Christiana attend meets in the meeting area/lunch room of the school, conveniently next door to their home. Except for the occasional hallelujah and amen, I understand nothing, because it’s in Portuguese. I spend most of my time in church watching everyone around me. One Sunday there are these three little boys sitting in the row in front of me. The oldest one is maybe five? They each separately turn around and look at me. And I wave at them. And give each one a high five. They play with little toys that they’ve found, and turn and look back at me to see if I’m watching them. Of course I see what they’re doing, but because it’s church, I stare ahead as if I’m listening.
But really the thing that resonates with me the most while attending church, is the singing. There’s three or four groups that sing, and I love listening to them. Here is some of the singing. It also just gives a sense of what church is like, kind of noisy, with people walking around.