That little phrase, uma lembranca de mim, is one that I heard often while we were overseas. It means, literally, "a remembrance from me". Brazilians don't just say, "Don't forget me!". They don't just say, "I will never forget you!" or "I will miss you!". They give something tangible for you to remember them by, so that, as the years go by, and you get busy and distracted, you are reminded of them whenever you see that item.
I will never forget when I was in Brazil back in 2006. I was just hanging out with one of my friends, and happened to notice how pretty her earrings were. I told her so, and she just took them right out of her ears and gave them to me. I still have them, and I do remember her and that evening every time I wear them.
One of our students, Raquel (Rachel), made an effort to connect with us right away, and we became friends on Facebook. She was always very eager to learn, and showed up at every class, even when many started dwindling off towards the end. Her bright smile and loving nature always left an impression on me.
|Jake and I with Raquel|
One day after class, she came up to me and asked me which one of my wedding photos was my favourite. She had mentioned previously that she loved all the photos I had put up on Facebook. As it got closer to Christmas, and on the last day of class, she told me she wanted to come see us before we left. We hadn't really made a plan, and, on the Tuesday before we left, as we were packing, she happened to come by our house. She was carrying this big package, and said she had been working on it for a couple of days, and was happy it was finally finished. As I was opening it, she was beaming, and, obviously proud of her work, said she knew I would like it. I had no idea what to expect, but I didn't expect this:
A beautiful photo box that she had modpodged with pictures of Jake and I on our wedding day! She got the pics from my Facebook, and said that it had taken her so long because she had to wait for everything to dry at different stages. I was speechless, and so blown away by such a beautiful gift, indeed a most precious lembranca!
Inside the box, she had written a message and stuck another photo, along with a cute little bundle of flowers to decorate it. I have been proudly showing it off to everyone we've had over, and tell them about our wonderful, hospitable, generous friends in Brazil, for there were many.
Thank you for such a wonderful gift, Raquel. Eu nunca vou esquecer de voce!