“No, her name is not Barbie, it’s Linn.” my colleague patiently explained to the (somewhat disappointed) girls that I was about to teach. It’s not the first time I’ve been mistaken for a plastic doll, and I’ve got used to all the comments about my hair- and eyecolour. This week I taught for a few days at Fundaçao Amazônica de Música, a free music school in the center of Belém, and founded by the pianist Gloria Caputo. The students are very good, and could easily compete with similar schools in Europe. What differs the children here from the ones I’m used to, is the often complete lack of shyness, an openness and curiosity that is extremely endearing. “Tia!” (“Auntie!”) they shriek when they see me, before attacking me with a group hug that threatens my upright position.

I’m writing this in a taxi that is taking me from Belém to Tracuateua, and apart from two elderly women I have an 8-year-old Lukas beside me, swept in one of my cardigans, his head resting on my shoulder. He’s making the three-hour journey by himself and I’ve just showed him all the animal pictures I have on my computer to entertain him. Not much has changed since I was a kid, he’s playing the same Super Mario that I did at his age. He just asked me if I’ve dyed my hair blonde.

Categories: February 2013 | Leave a comment

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