Yesterday morning KT had her going away party (despedida) at her house. In Brazil, the person leaving gives their own going away party. In Mexico, friends would host the party for the departing. Starting at 10:00 a.m., KT opened her doors to her friends to serve an astounding array of cookies and cold beverages. Unlike other going away parties, this was a Purge Party. KT had individual bags of stuff from her closets with individual names attached, in itself a feat of unparalleled organization. Out on the porch and in the dining room, other unclaimed items were displayed for those interested such as beach towels, books, and birthday candles.
It is well known in ex-pat circles that when a person leaves, those staying behind circle like vultures, waiting to scavenge everything from furniture to electronics, art supplies to cupcake sprinkles, Christmas decorations to cocktail napkins. Yesterday was no exception. KT was picked clean, which was her intention. Me, I went home with my goodie bag and 5 boxes of lime Jell-O.
How to thank a bible study leader, devoted school volunteer, and Christmas bazaar hostess for all her contributions? Normally, in our community, the family leaving is given a feather headdress from the Amazon. To be frank, this would not fit in with KT’s décor, style or color-wise.* Parrots just do not have celadon green feathers. So we gave her a painting of cherries by Maria Isabel Santos,** not really because it is particularly Brazilian, but because it is by a Brazilian artist she admires.
KT is slated to leave Brazil in two forty foot containers. I think she just created a whole more space. More importantly, she is leaving a big hole in our neighborhood. Someone else will fill it, to be sure, just not in the same way.
*Make no mistake, KT is an avid patron of other Amazon arts.
** To see Maria Isabel’s paintings go to: http://www.mariaisabelsantos.com.br