Monday, April 25, 2011

Mais Você (More You)

When I was at the ReaTech convention with Juliana, I had a couple missed calls. The caller was from São Paulo, but I didn't recognize the number. I figured it was probably a potential student and I'd call back Saturday. But then there were two more missed calls. Four total, within an hour. Hmm. Someone is trying hard to reach me, I thought, so I called back right away. Between the reception and the noise, the only thing I managed to decipher was that it was a woman, and someone had given her my name and number. I explained that I was at a convention and gave her my email address.

When Juliana and I arrived home that night, I found an email with the subject "Depoimento para TV" (literally, deposition for TV). Since Ju had been filming her show that day, I assumed that, perhaps despite my attempts otherwise, I had been caught on camera by the crew and they must be writing for authorization to air it. Right?

Wrong. My jaw dropped as I read Tuca's email [translated and excerpted]:
Hi! How are you?
We tried to speak today, but you were at the fair, and really, the cell connection was terrible.
Well, the reason for my call...
I work in Production for the program "Mais Você" [which is, essentially, the Brazilian equivalent of Good Morning America] with Ana Maria Braga [a mega-star] on TV Globo [the biggest network in the country].
(That's the part where my mouth fell open.)
We're doing a piece with the theme "Foreigners discussing: 'I Discovered Brazil'". We're looking for cool people (I already know that you are!) that came to Brazil, already in the adult phase of their life and chose to live here. It will be a quick thing, a super-informal chat with our reporter. Please, accept our invitation and speak with us! Will you? Ha ha!
What do you think?
We already have the participation of a German and a Chinese, and we'd like yours. We can record on Tuesday wherever is best for you. We await your reply and appreciate your attention.
Among my reactions, in no specific order:
- Holy $*@&! (Which was, actually, the first.)
- I don't want to be on TV!
- How can I pass this up? It'll make such a great blog post!
- In Portuguese, really?!?!
- Out of the thousands of foreigners living in São Paulo, let alone Brazil--me?
- Why didn't I lose 40 pounds and study harder?
- In Portuguese, really?!?! (That thought was worth noting twice!)

Well, obviously I accepted. After a sleepless night wracked by nerves, last Tuesday I met with the Globo team at Casa Club Hostel Bar--a location I deemed appropriate for its influence on my decision to move to São Paulo.

The interview took about 40 minutes (of me trying to cobble together coherent responses in Portuguese), after which they spent another 40 minutes filming: a pretend English class (which, being unanticipated, felt, and surely looked, very awkward and unnatural; me pointing out my trajectory on a giant world map; me sitting on the rooftop terrace of the hostel surrounded by the São Paulo skyline; and, in what became much more provocative than intended, some shots of me laying on my stomach on one of the dorm room bunkbeds!

The program was set to air on Friday, April 22, to coincide with the anniversary of the Portuguese discovery of the country. Knowing that they would edit my long story into, likely, just a minute or two, I was one-part-relieved, two-parts-dismayed that it wasn't on. I received an email from Tuca this morning, apologizing that the material got bumped on account of time. She noted, though, that the studio really liked the content of all three interviews and they plan to incorporate them into a different program. She'll keep me posted, she said.

If it airs later, I'll surely post a link. Even if not, it's still an interesting story, no?
Oh, My (incredible, in every sense) Life in Havaianas!