EVA HERSHAW – Brasilia – 2016

It was an overcast morning in Brasília, which meant I was able to sleep a few more hours than usual. My room faces east, overlooking one of the thousands of ​bloc apartment buildings that Ni​emeyer lay in rows across the city​ when it was conceived in the 1950s. It is my third week here, and I bought a Turkish rug to try to fill the still empty space. The guy who sold it to me told me, repeatedly, that it didn’t shed. He said he was a journalist, too, that he worked for the public media station, as a reporter for their digital side. I should come to a party this Saturday, he added, at ​his place. It was for children, but there were also waterfalls nearby? My Portuguese is bad, and I can never be sure what I am hearing. In the evening, I walked through the university campus, reminded of the energy people of that age and orientation possess. They huddled in groups ​along the Minhocão​ – the ‘big worm’ – a building that stretches across the middle of campus, long and narrow. A women’s group; a weekly film club; the contingent of salsa dancers. They had long hair, long dresses, and the square, metal-framed glasses that only youthful Brazilians have managed to keep in fashion. As the sun went down, the wind picked up and I made miso soup as it started to rain. After dinner, I laid on my new rug. It wouldn’t yet lay flat, and the wrinkles that came from being folded for transportation bothered me. But it didn’t shed, he was right. And it gave this place a sense of warmth that had thus far been hard to come by.