Chapter 2: Garota de Seattle
Freddie stood at the floor to ceiling window of their room at the Árvore Verde. He smiled to himself as he thought again of their most important priority, one that would be attended to right in this room; preferably very shortly. Last night had been amazing; so amazing in fact that they'd gotten very little sleep and almost missed their flight out of Sea-Tac. But it had been well worth it and he looked forward to spending the next five days with the woman of his dreams in paradise.
He looked out to the white-sand beach and the ocean beyond, and thought of all the sights and sounds of Praia das Palmeiras that they passed in the taxi from the airport. Sam had been like an eager puppy the whole ride, her head stuck out the window as she oohed and ahhed at everything she saw. As happy as he was to be here, watching Sam's face made it all the better. This was his first time in Brazil, and he was looking forward to spending time with his wife (his wife! he couldn't stop smiling at that) on a beach that the Washington coast could not begin to rival. There was the picturesque seaside town to explore, and he knew Sam couldn't wait to try Brazilian food. It was going to be perfect.
"OH, CHIZZ!" Sam's roar behind him brought Freddie away from the window, and he turned to her. She was standing near their bed in front of their open suitcases manically searching for something.
"What happened?" he asked, as Sam tore through the contents of their suitcases.
"My pills! I didn't bring my pills!" her voice was frantic as she dumped the entire contents of her toiletry bag out on the bed.
"My birth control pills!" she said, throwing her hands into the air in frustration as she sat hard on the edge of the bed. " I must have left them in the medicine cabinet at home. And, by the way, that means I didn't take one before we left Seattle this morning. What are we going to do? On our honeymoon, Freddie!"
Freddie walked over and sat beside her, rubbing her back as she sat pitched forward with her head in her hands, bemoaning her current circumstances.
She looked up at him and he suddenly wished he'd thought of something else to say.
"Calm down! How am I supposed to be calm? Let me do the math for you: zero pills, equals zero sex." Freddie bit his lip, he hadn't really considered that. "Do you still want me to be calm?"
"Well, I mean, there are…other ways. I brought condoms." He searched through the scattered contents of his suitcase for the box he'd brought.
"The product of our last experiment with condoms is as we speak driving your mother even crazier than she was to start with." Sam returned to moaning her displeasure.
Freddie stopped to think. Well, she only needs a week's worth, but she'll probably have to get a month's supply, since that's how they're sold. "Sam, the town seems to have a pharmacy on every block. It's not like we're in a third world country, they have to sell the Pill in Brazil just like everywhere else, right? Do you know what brand you use?"
Sam looked back at Freddie with an uneasy smile. "They have brands? It's not one big pill company?"
"I don't think so. They always have those commercials on T.V." Freddie stopped and thought some more. How was it possible for her to be taking a pill for this long with absolutely no idea what kind of pill it was? And then he knew.
"Sam, who got you on the pill?"
Sam threw herself back against the mess of clothes on the bed, looking at the ceiling. "Your mom took me to the doctor right after I had Jax and since then they've just shown up every few months like clockwork."
Freddie studied his distraught wife who'd thrown herself back onto the bed and tried to concentrate on what she was saying. It wasn't working. The sundress Sam was wearing had ridden up high on her thighs as she lay on the bed and the view from where he sat made the situation suddenly urgent. They needed to get those pills, and they needed to get them now.
He sighed and lay back beside her. "I think there's only one quick way to fix this, Sam. If my mom is the one who took you then…"
Sam sat up quickly. "No. No way. I am not calling Crazy to have her to rummage through our medicine cabinet." She shook her head furiously. "What am I supposed to say, 'Hey Marissa, I'd really like to have wild sex with your son so can you tell me what kind of birth control pills I use?"
He had to laugh at the look on her face. He wasn't exactly comfortable with the idea but it wasn't like she didn't know they were having sex, and now they even had the excuse that they were married. "We don't have any choice. We need to try to do something tonight before you miss another day. Like you just said, it's our honeymoon!" he sat up and grabbed her hand, "Plus would you rather ask her about the pills or tell her she's gonna be a grandma again?"
Sam picked up her pearPhone, turned it on, and dialed their apartment back in Seattle. They had decided to keep their phones off, both to stay focused on each other and to avoid the exorbitant roaming charges coming from international mobile phone use. This call would be expensive, but it was an emergency.
Sam began pacing in front of the bed as she waited for the call to connect.
"Can you even imagine?" she said, "Getting pregnant again? Now?" she shook her head as if the very idea set her teeth on edge.
Freddie started to respond when he heard his mother pick up on the other end.
"Hello?" Marissa was fortunately taking a week's vacation to spend with Jax, so she was at home to answer.
"Samantha! How are you? Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, yeah…everything's fine. I was calling to let you know we made it and we're in our hotel room..."
"That's wonderful! I'm sure you're tired after your flight. Do want me to give the phone to Jackson?"
"In a minute, but I actually needed to talk to you about something else."
"Oh, well.,,hold on Sam." It sounded like Marissa put a hand over the phone to muffle the noise in the background. Then she heard the laughter of her son and Marissa calling after him,
'Jackson Daniel, you come back here!"
Sam tried not to laugh as Marissa came back to the phone. "Jax giving you a hard time?"
"No, he's just –well, he's very…active." She sighed and Sam suddenly heard the exhaustion in her voice. Only one day and Jax had worn her down already. "So what is it you needed to talk to me about?"
Sam sighed and steeled herself. Might as well make this direct and get it over with. "Marissa, can I ask you to go into our bathroom for me, and open the medicine cabinet?"
"The medicine cabinet, why? Are you okay? Did my Freddiebear get sick already? Did he drink the water? Don't let a mosquito bite him—I just read about dengue!
"No, we're both fine. But I kind of … well, I forgot something. Are you at the medicine cabinet?"
"Yes, I'm here."
"Can you look for a round gray flat plastic container?" This is the moment she dreaded, the one when Marissa realized what this was about. Sam could almost see her shaking her head.
"You forgot your birth control pills? "
"Yeah." Sam said quietly.
"Did you take one yesterday?" she asked, thinking the same thing Sam was… 'was their honeymoon night going to result in any unexpected surprises?'
Sam closed her eyes, embarrassed beyond belief. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure I did." She groaned, "this is so embarrassing."
"Sam, honey, I'm a nurse who works with mostly with female patients. There is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. Are you going to try to get some down there?"
"Freddie said we could try one of the pharmacies but I need to know what to ask for."
"Let's see," Marissa said. "The brand name is useless in Brazil, since it will be different. What you need is a pill with the same active ingredient, or it won't work because it will change your hormone levels. I have the foil packet here. It looks like your pill combines estrogen and estradiol, so you need one with those two hormones. You probably need a prescription from a Brazilian doctor to get them, though. Ask the hotel if they can help you find one."
Sam scribbled down the names Marissa had rattled off and handed the paper to Freddie while Marissa put the phone up to Jax' ear and let Sam talk to him.
Ten minutes later, Sam and Freddie were at the concierge's desk, and Sam was grateful to be speaking to another woman.
"I think I need to find a doctor to get a prescription, and it's an emergency." She lowered her voice to a whisper, leaning toward the woman. "I need to get a new supply of my birth control pills,"
"Don't worry," the concierge, whose nametag read Renata, replied with an understanding smile and a rhythmic accent. "You don't really need a prescription for them here. It's rare for a pharmacist to ask for one. We call it jeitinho, our Brazilian way of getting complicated things done." She patted Sam's hand and Sam looked up at Freddie, her face relaxed for the first time since she'd discovered she'd forgotten the pills. "But no pharmacist in this town will speak English, so I need to write out what you need."
After thanking Renata profusely, Sam and Freddie walked out of the hotel with an old-fashioned map (no phone meant no GPS) and a piece of hotel stationary on which Renata had written Precisa de pílulas anticoncepcionais and the words estrogênio and etinilestradiol. They found the pharmacy, exactly where Renata promised it would be, and walked up to the counter.
"Boa noite, senhora. Como é que eu posso ajudá-la?"
Having no idea that the pharmacist had simply greeted them and asked how she could help, Sam handed her the paper. The pharmacist studied it, turned to Sam, and said "É, este é Triquilar." She turned around and grabbed a small red box, placing it on the counter. Despite the broad red stripe with the words VENDA SOB PRESCRIÇÃO MÉDICA UNICAMENTE, and the fact that they'd never been asked for a valid prescription, the cashier rang them up.
"Sete reais, quarenta e cinco centavos, por favor." They understood nothing, but Freddie could see the cash register display showing a total of 7.45 of the local currency. He pulled out a reddish-pink note marked 10, and handed it to the pharmacist, who gave him a handful of coins and a receipt.
The mood was noticeably lightened as they left the drugstore, and Freddie felt Sam tugging him forward by the hand back toward the hotel. Back in their room Freddie changed into board shorts and a t-shirt while Sam changed into a bikini that made him seriously consider staying in. Sitting on the bed he watched as she opened the pack of pills and downed one without water, looking relieved as she swallowed.
"Feel better?" he said.
'You have no idea! Now I'm ready for some serious honeymooning!" she said, doing a little dance in the mirror. Freddie offered a half smile as he watched her. She paused, studying his face.
"Hey," she said, coming to sit beside him. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing honey, really. I'm fine."
"Not even married twenty four hours yet, and already lying, Benson?" she laughed softly.
"Seriously, tell me what's going on with you."
"Would it have been so bad?" he said, looking down.
"Would what have been so bad?"
"Missing the pills…getting pregnant. Would that have been so bad?"
"You're not serious…"
"I mean, I know we don't want kids right now but you were just…so upset and it made it seem like, I don't know." He sat quietly before looking up at her, "Do you want more kids?"
Sam sighed and tried to find a way to answer that would help him understand how she felt.
"I love Jax, and I love being a mom. But there are days when I feel like that's all I am, you know? Like there isn't a part of me that's just…me. I'd like to do something, be something."
"You are something! You're a wife and an amazing mother and…"
"And all that's great but, I don't know. It's like you and Carly, you're going to school and you have all these plans and hopes but I've spent the last two years focusing all my hopes and plans around being someone's mother." She reached out for Freddie's hand, "and like I said, I love it but I just think that one day, soon I want to find out what else I can do. And that can't happen if I'm popping out kids like that Duggar chick." She leaned over and kissed his cheek. "Do you understand?"
"Of course. I'm not ready for more kids right now anyway. I guess I just wanted to make sure that it is something you want, you know, someday."
She grabbed Freddie's hand, pulling him toward the door.
"Someday, Freddie…but right now I'm much more interested in spending the day on the beach with the world's sexiest husband."
He followed Sam out of the hotel and back onto the sun drenched street, glad to have survived their first 'discussion' as man and wife without any yelling, or tears. They walked up the street, hand in hand, both of them sporting ear-to-ear smiles.
From the sidewalk, they turned onto a boardwalk that led to the beach. The boardwalk had a series of shops, one selling beach supplies like sunscreen, another a newsstand, and finally, a little boutique that sold swimwear. Sam stopped to look in from the boardwalk, finally grabbing Freddie's arm and leading him inside. The boutique was not particularly large, but it featured multiple racks of Brazilian-made bikinis. Sam immediately pulled a couple out and began to study them. Freddie couldn't help but notice that they seemed much smaller than the American variety, and that they were all string bikinis. Freddie saw a little label on one that read fío dental, and remembered reading that the Brazilian nickname for a string bikini was "dental floss." The name seemed appropriate.
Sam held up a bikini with a green and yellow top and a blue bottom, and headed into the changing room to try it on. She stepped back out a few minutes later, and Freddie's eyes went as wide as saucers. Unfortunately, it was not in a good way. The string bikini predictably covered little, and while Freddie enjoyed the sight of his wife's body, this particular swimsuit did not flatter her. The top was … well, Sam was not really … shaped like most Brazilian women, and he thought that this top was not particularly … supportive. His eyes passed to the bottom, and he immediately understood the significance of the term "Brazilian wax."
"How do you like it?" Sam asked. Freddie thought that he'd rather go back to talking about birth control pills than answer that question.
Freddie stared at Sam a little while longer while he thought he approached the question. While he stalled, he noticed other men in the show starting to stare at Sam, one of whom had to be a German tourist when he saw the man's girlfriend slap him, call him something beginning with "schwein," before storming out of the shop.
Freddie had to act before these men got too used to the show. "Well," be began, "the sizing on these swimsuits must be a little weird. It doesn't really look right."
"Are you sure?" Sam retorted. "I really like the colors."
"Ugh." He was going to have to be more direct. "Sam, that bikini makes you seem too much like your mother. Please look in the mirror."
Sam turned, and suddenly realized what Freddie meant, and she ran to the dressing room to change back.
A few minutes later, they left the store, Sam back in her own beachwear. But Freddie had given her an idea—she bought a fío dental as a gag (she hoped) gift for her mother.
They spent a quiet afternoon on the beach, enjoying the warm sand, ocean breeze, and each other's company. Sam made a vendor's week by buying four drinks prepared right in opened coconuts, and made the pleasant discovery that food hawkers wandered up and down Brazilian beaches, making the acquaintance of local snacks like a pastel, a kind of thin meat pie, and the coxinha, a ball of shredded chicken coated in mashed potatoes and fried.
Freddie enjoyed the musicians wandering up and down the beach, though he didn't particularly enjoy the group that noticed Sam and surrounded them while singing a Brazilian song:
Olha que coisa mais linda
Mais cheia de graça
É ela menina
Que vem e que passa
No doce balanço, a caminho do mar
They seemed even happier when Freddie gave them five reais to go away.
A few hours later, after returning to the hotel and putting on slightly dressier clothes, they set out on foot for downtown. Freddie slipped his hand free and put it around Sam's waist, pulling her close to him. "So what's next, baby?"
"I'm hungry, and Mama wants meat. On 'Dude Takes on Food' there was this all you can eat meat place where they just keep coming at you and piling it on your plate." Her eyes lit in excitement. "Come on, nub, time to start making good on that promise to love, honor, and feed me."
They wandered randomly around Praia das Palmeiras for a while. Their map did not help them much. They were just too used to watching a blue dot float around a touchscreen as it followed a path set out for it. But they slowly made their way into the center of town, and as they reached the main praça, Sam immediately picked up on the scent of grilled meat. Freddie smelled it himself just as Sam began to push him in the direction of the smell. Neither had eaten since the last leg of the plane trip, and Freddie realized that if he was feeling hungry, he could only imagine the message Sam's stomach was sending her.
"Want to have some dinner?" Freddie asked, and immediately chastised himself for asking such a naïve question. Sure enough, he turned and looked at Sam's face, to see the look of impatience. "Look who I'm asking," Freddie said, mostly to himself, and they headed toward the sign marked Novilho de Ouro.
They entered the restaurant, and Freddie gestured to the host that they wanted a table for two. The host took them to a table, where they took their seats. Noticing that they hadn't been given menus, they grew nervous as they realized the language barrier might be a real issue. Standing beside their table the host smiled wide and spoke in rapid, lilting Portuguese. Sam and Freddie looked from the host to each other and back again, suppressing their smiles. Just as they realized they had no idea what the host was asking them, a young server ran over to them. Her nametag read Gabriela, and she said to them excitedly, "you from iCarly?"
Sam and Freddie nodded, both in shock. "You know us?" Sam managed to ask.
"Did you watch our webshow?"
"É mesmo. I watched until you stopped for a time, then you stopped the show forever. But I see you together?"
Freddie and Sam both smiled as he grabbed her left hand and held up her wedding ring for Gabriela to see. "We got married on Saturday, and we're here for our honeymoon."
"Não acredito! Sua lua-de-mel, aqui no Brasil! I mean, you're on your honeymoon, right here? It is wonderful that you got married! The two of you together, always best part of the show! When you arrived?"
"Just a few hours ago," Freddie said. "We're having our first Brazilian meal, but we don't know how it works here. Is there a menu?"
"Não, you're in a churrascaria. We serve a rodizio de carnes here. All meats. The servers walk around with the meat, and put pieces on your plate until you're full. And you get salad from the buffet over there. Just set your little card here to the green side, and they bring the meat. You have Brazilian meat before?"
"No!" Sam said excitedly.
"É, vão gostar! Beef is our national specialty. And don't forget the fejioada from the buffet. It's Brazil's national dish! Do you want something to drink?"
"I'd like … I don't know what you have," said Freddie.
"How about I get you caipirinha? It's the national coquetel, made from lime juice and cachaça. Very good before a nice dinner."
"Sounds good," said Sam. Gabriela wrote a few things on a pad and hustled away.
"I never realized iCarly had such enthusiastic fans in Brazil," Freddie said. "I never heard from them much on the site. Maybe they have their own sites where they talked about us in Portuguese…" Freddie shrugged his shoulders and looked over at the salad bar. "Why don't you try the buffet?" he asked Sam, as she made a beeline for the food. She returned with a big bowl of a dark brown, almost black soup.
"This is the fed-ju-ada she talked about. It's like soup, but it's full of beans and something like sausage." Sam eagerly grabbed her spoon and shoveled a few bites into her mouth. She sloshed it around her mouth, and began to chew. She swallowed, and expertly spit several perfectly cleaned pieces of bone onto a plate. She looked up at Freddie and smiled. "Mama likey Brazil…"
Gabriela came back and set two small cocktail glasses in front of them, filled with a pale green liquid full of sliced limes, with a visible coating of sugar on top. She also placed before them a tray with little round rolls that seemed to have a generous amount of cheese baked into them. Freddie picked his glass up, and immediately smelled the alcohol in the drink. Sam had already taken a long drag from hers, and set it back down, the smile never leaving her face. She said, "I'd eat fruit every day if you made it like this!"
Over the next two hours, they reveled in their introduction to Brazilian cooking, as they tried ribs, lamb, turkey wrapped in Brazilian bacon, grilled chicken, a very spicy pink sausage that a server said was called linguiça, and a flavorful cut of flank steak unique to Brazil called picanha. They each downed two caipirinhas beyond the initial ones that Gabriela brought, not knowing that they contained the world's strongest sugar cane rum and not realizing that they were getting bombed as the meal went along.
When it was time to leave, they both stood up and found themselves staggering to the door. While Sam had drunk occasionally at parties, Freddie almost never did, but tonight they had made the most of Brazil's legal drinking age of 18. Freddie stopped Gabriela as they were leaving, and asked how far it was to their hotel. It turned out that thanks to their having walked in circles, they were only two blocks away, and they decided to skip the taxi and work their way back on foot, hoping that the fresh air would help clear their heads.
"I want fatcakes," Sam said emphatically about half the way up the first block. Freddie stopped and looked around for a supermarket, wondering if Fatcakes were even available here. He noticed several people standing in front of an open-air storefront, and as they got closer, he realized it was a convenience store. They had taken just two steps inside when Sam's eyes, rum buzz or not, seized on the familiar pink half-spheres, and ran over to them. She grabbed several packs, as Freddie looked at the back. His eyes came to a halt at something he read, and he turned to Sam with a big smile.
"Hey Princess … what are the three most beautiful words you can say about Fatcakes?"
"In my stomach. Now let's pay for them."
"No … how about," he held out a package and pointed at the back, "made in Canada?"
"Get out!" Sam screamed, turning every head in the store in their direction. Sam grabbed two more packages, opened one right there in the middle of the aisle and proceeded to lick it slowly, her eyes half closed in ecstasy. Her appreciation for the sugary snack drew attention – particularly from the male contingent of customers. Sam, of course, was oblivious to the stir she was causing and continued to moan and murmur her happiness to the fluffy pink cakes, at one point rubbing them over her face. Freddie, suddenly feeling like he was back in the bikini store, grabbed her hand, paid for their dessert, and started off toward their hotel.
In the street, the alcohol in her system reaching its peak, Sam screamed "MEAT AND CANADIAN FATCAKES! I LOVE BRAZIL!" waving her fists triumphantly in the air. Without warning, she hopped on her husband's back and made him carry her the rest of the way to their hotel. When they got back to their room, they collapsed into bed to sleep off the drinks. They woke up a little before noon the next day, Freddie's arms in the exact spot he put them around Sam before going to sleep.
Four days later, as they took their seats on a plane headed for Seattle, Sam was still talking about it. For five days, they'd lounged on some of the world's most beautiful beaches and immersed themselves completely in Brazilian culture, but he knew that years from now when Sam told the story of their honeymoon it would still center around cane sugar Fat Cakes and the genius of Brazilian meat.
"You ready to go home?" he said, reaching for her hand.
Sam looked over at him and smiled. "Yes…and no," she said. "I can't wait to see Jax but, I'll sort of miss it being just us."
"Yeah," he said, "Me too. But just think, in a couple days we'll be moving into our own place and then it will be just us."
"Us and Jackson."
"Exactly the way I like it," he said, "surrounded by my two favorite people."
They lapsed into silence, Sam staring out the window, Freddie staring at Sam. Turning, Sam met his gaze.
"Thank you," she said.
"For every minute of the last five days. For loving me. For making everything so absolutely perfect." She put her hand to his cheek, leaning in to place a soft kiss on his lips. "I love you."
"Until forever ends. And until death do us part."
We think Sam and Freddie negotiated the language barrier well enough. But here are some of the expressions they encountered:
A Garota de Seattle = The Girl from Seattle
Precisa de pílulas anticoncepcionais = she needs birth control pills
Boa noite, senhora. Como é que eu posso ajudá-la?= Good evening, Ma'am. How may I help you?
Sete reais, quarenta e cinco centavos, por favor.= Seven reais (the Brazilian currency) and forty-five cents, please.
VENDA SOB PRESCRIÇÃO MÉDICA UNICAMENTE = TO BE SOLD UNDER A DOCTOR'S PRESCRIPTION ONLY
Olha que coisa mais linda / Mais cheia de graça / É ela menina / Que vem e que passa / No doce balanço, a caminho do mar = opening lyrics to Tom Jobim's "The Girl from Ipanema," Look at that beautiful sight / so full of grace / it's a girl / who comes and passes by / swinging by sweetly on her way to the sea
Nolvilho de Ouro = The Golden Calf
É mesmo= that's right
Não acredito! Sua lua-de-mel, aqui no Brasil!= I can't believe it! You're on your honeymoon here in Brazil!
Vão gostar! = You're going to like it!
Rodizio = a style of service common in Brazilian restaurants. Customers pay a fixed price, and servers bring meat to the table on the cooking skewers, cut pieces, and place them on diners' plates. Rodizio service is all you can eat.
Fejioada = a thick stew made from beans and pork that Brazilians consider the national dish
Coquetel = cocktail
Cachaça = a very potent Brazilian rum distilled from sugar cane