It’s a hot day and I’m sweating on my bicycle. My beautiful black beach cruiser with a basket attached to the steering wheel on which I’ve fabricated a heart. A ‘hippy heart’ my friends call it, made of the colourful ‘Senhor do Bomfim’ ribbons. In this city of violence I felt I had to give a different signal. A signal of love and peace and hope. It gives my Harley Davidson look-a-like bicycle a strong feminine touch and makes people smile.
I smile as well, cycling over Avenida Atlantica towards Ipanema. After forty minutes of cycling and smiling, I arrive at my appointment. It’s only ten to twelve, I’m on time. My cell rings. It’s Andrea, president of ModaFusion.
'Where are you Kim?’
‘In Ipanema, why?’
‘We’re not coming. We cancelled the meeting.
‘What?! I’ve cycled all the way and I’m already here. Why didn’t you call me earlier?
‘We only just realized we had to cancel.'
‘But you knew this before, it’s not that you found out just now, right?’ I’m angry because this is not the first time this happens to me. My colleagues have a different perception of time and efficiency.
‘Calm down Kim. I’m sorry we didn’t call before but it’s simply like that’.
‘No it’s not Andrea. Cycling up and down to Ipanema costs me 1,5 hour, I could have done other stuff in the meantime. Why didn’t you think of this before?’ ‘This is Brazil Kim, things go differently here’. My head must be very red by now, not from the cycling but from anger.
‘I know Andrea, and I’m learning to deal with this lack of looking ahead. I know I have to adapt to this country and the way you guys do things. But maybe you can see it from the other side as well. I’m a Dutch girl. In my country we work with plans, with a strategy, with time. We try to do things efficiently. Try to learn from me as well instead of sticking to what you know. Open your eyes!’
There’s silence on the other side of the line.
‘I have to go Kim, but I understand what you’re saying. Let’s talk about it more later on. Tchau, kisses.’
I put my phone in the basket and breathe deeply. The sun shines, a granny passes by and smiles when she sees my hippy heart. I breathe again and feel the flow of anger leaving my body.
At least I had my exercise for today.
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