That is the name of the game here…new experiences. We are experiencing new things all the time. Today my new experience was going to the chiropractor. That in itself wasn’t that new, I’ve been going to a chiropractor off and on over the years since I was in college. And as a funny side note, I decided to count HOW MANY I’ve been treated by over the years since we’ve moved around some….the grand total is 14. But I haven’t seen one since we’ve arrived in Brazil, and wasn’t even sure if there were chiropractors here, but someone told me about this one awhile ago, and I finally decided yesterday to get in touch with her because my back/shoulder have been bothering me lately. The muscles in my neck and upper back get really tense when I’m stressed (probably like most of you reading this :)) which has occurred in varying degrees for the past, hmmm…year or so. Add to that carrying a briefcase-type-thing on my shoulder to Portuguese class and back every day for an hour, the fact that the pillow I sleep on is kind of lousy (which I tried to fix by buying a new one, also lousy), reaching over my head every day to hang up clothes…ok, you get the picture. And when my back is out of alignment, it’s worse. Anyway, I was relieved and thankful to be able to go get an adjustment today.
But I was a little unsure about HOW I was going to get into the building. We looked it up on google earth last night so I knew where I was going and what I was looking for. Decided to walk rather than drive, because with all the traffic and one way streets in this city, it was quicker to walk (10 min.) and I didn’t have to look for a place to park when I got there.
Here, most apartment buildings and houses are behind some type of gate or wall. For instance, there is a little room next to the walk-in gate at our apt. building that someone sits in 24 hrs/day to let people in and out, and when visitors /repairmen/ deliveries (like boxes from the US!! :)) arrive, he calls up to the apartment to let us know. Not sure if this is more a big city thing, or a Brazil thing, although people tend to live behind gates much more here than in the states (in my limited experience–see, there is is again–experience!) It is very common here for stores to have a guard-type person out front, not with a gun, the only guards I’ve seen with guns seem to be at the grocery store or the bank. Larger places (banks, supermarkets, etc) are open and you can freely walk in and out. However, smaller stores tend to have a locked door that you need to be ‘buzzed’ into, i.e., push the ‘doorbell’, and then they (hopefully) push a button to unlock the door. I have already experienced being “buzzed in” at the hair salon, a scrapbooking store, clothing store, compounding pharmacy….
So….. I knew what the building looked like, but not what to expect once I got inside–or how I was going to get in. As I entered, off to the left there was a reception counter, with a lady sitting at a computer, and of course, a guard. Fortunately there were a few people in front of me so I had time to assess the situation 🙂 I noticed that there were two turnstiles immediately after the reception desk that I was going to have to go through in order to enter the rest of the building. That was new to me, haven’t seen turnstiles yet. Started wondering what I should say to the lady at the desk, because I wasn’t quite sure what type of building it was. About 10 stories, so theoretically it could have been an apartment building and someone had a chiropractic practice in their apartment. Or I thought it might be a building of medical offices of different types. But I didn’t see any signs of any kind to indicate that.
So I wasn’t sure if I should say I had an appointment, or I should just say I was there to see (name of chiropractor). Except that I wasn’t 100% that the business name was actually her name. I was really glad I had decided to write down the business name (which turned out to be the chiropractor’s name) and address on a piece of paper. So when it was my turn, I showed it to the lady at the desk and said “I’m visiting…” My Portuguese teachers would not be impressed 🙂 She smiled, and then asked me for something, but I didn’t recognize the word she said, and of course by then there was someone waiting behind me in line, so we went back and forth a little, her repeating the word and then another one I didn’t know, and I finally figured out she wanted a document–I.D.–with a number on it. So I showed her what I had, which thankfully was sufficient, and she gave me a card that looked like a hotel key. She called up to the chiro., who asked me to wait there for a minute and she would call down to the receptionist desk again when she was ready. So the kind receptionist said I could wait on the sofa–on the other side of those turnstiles.
I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with the card, but I thought that was my ticket in, so I walked over and starting looking for a place to stick it in. Not realizing of course, that there was an In and Out, and I was standing by the wrong one. The guard motioned me to the right one, took my card and waved it over a little square on the top of the turnstile, a green arrow lit up, and he motioned me through. So I sat and waited on the couch for a few minutes until they said I could go up, managed to remember how to say ”408″ in português to verify that that was where I was going, and up I went. And got some good language practice in by giving my medical history in Portuguese 🙂 Along with diet, exercise, how much sleep I get. It was fine, but I was sweating by the end. A lovely thing both Matt & I have noticed–speaking with a Brazilian in an unfamiliar situation, someone I’ve just met, etc.–immediately starts us sweating, no matter the temperature. Anyway, I met a very kind, knowledgeable, helpful chiropractor today and the treatment was a huge help to my back, neck, shoulder, etc. Headed back downstairs to face those turnstiles again.
I thought that while I was waiting before my appointment, I had seen some people exit and then keep that little plastic card–maybe? I knew they hadn’t handed it back to the receptionist…but I wasn’t sure who those people were, if they worked there, and had a ‘frequent user’ pass, or if the card I got was mine to keep because she had asked for my ID #……Matt asks sometimes how I have time for all these thoughts to go through my head, I tell him he doesn’t really want to be inside my head 🙂 So, I have my card out, walk up to the turnstile, and drop/toss it on the floor and it proceeds to slide about 4 ft. away, on the OTHER side of the turnstile. I was like, WHAT DO I DO NOW? I’m stuck here, because I can’t go get it without climbing over the thing, which definitely draw lots of unwanted attention, but I can’t get out without that card. Of course there were people sitting in the waiting area, who may or may not have been paying attention, but I felt like they were looking at me. And the words to ask for help were not in my brain at that point, so fortunately the guard, who was still sitting there, saw the card slide across the floor and came to my rescue. Picked it up and put it into the machine for me too (because it was pretty obvious by then that I didn’t know what I was doing), and the card stayed in it, so that answered my question about keeping it 🙂 I said thank you, and left. When I got home & re-told the story, Luke promptly told me what I should have said in Portuguese…'” pega meu cartão por favor” Oh, of course. Made perfect sense–half an hour later!