Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Reforma "já que" - São Paulo

Well, since you're painting that wall, why not the entire house? Photo credit:

So this morning I was going to bring to you my latest car service department story, but since it hasn't ended yet (our monster truck is still being repaired, day 3), I am going to tell you another one of my favorite Brazilian expressions. But first, let me set the scene.

While I am in the Volvo car service department, I am discussing the rumbling, shaking and other assorted scary noises coming from the car with Ricardo, the service guy. And we come to an agreement about what needs to be done and what does not, and then Ricardo says this: "já que o carro está aqui, por que não faz (blah, blah)". This translates as "Given that the car is here, why don't you do this that and the other. Normally, that phrase is followed by optional car seat hydration, waxing, tire polishing, air filter cleaning or any number of other worthless things.

"Já que", pronounced "ZHA (think Zsa Zsa Gabor) KAY" is "given that". And as a newly arrived gringa five years ago, I learned that it actually means that you are going to spend x times 2 more than you had planned and it will take y x 40 days longer than you had scheduled. Here is how it works.

When we bought our house, our furniture was still being held hostage by the customs authorities (as I have mentioned before, the Brazilian phrase of "liberar" or "liberating" your goods from customs always brings to mind a picture of my furniture behind bars). So we decided to take advantage of the empty house to paint a couple of the rooms -- one blue for one son, one green for the other. And given that the new paint in those two rooms looked so great, we decided to paint the other two bedrooms. And given that the rest of hallway looked sad, we painted that. And "já que"  all the trim in the house was chipping, let's paint that...and já que...etc. By the time we were done with all this, our furniture had to be covered with painting cloths, and our budget was blown.

This is what my husband and many other Brazilians call a "reforma já que". Let me digress just a moment to say that "reforma" is another one of my favorite Brazilian words. Literally "re-form" a house, which is absolutely perfect for what a renovation does. Back to "reforma já que". It is an expression that describes pretty well how when you start a little house project, it quickly becomes a huge project. Given that you're blowing the place up, why not just drop in a swimming pool? No, we did not do that. 

So here is my advice to any arriving gringos here. If the sales person, or handyman or gardener or whoever  uses the phrase "já que", you're going to want to pay careful attention and repeat "no thank you" frequently.

1 comment:

  1. In the four years that we lived in our 30 storey apartment block not a month went by that was actually quiet a free of 'reformation.' I am surprised that the building is still standing since just about half the apartments were gutted and redone. The penthouse took almost 2 years - they were busy on it before we moved in! I have never experienced this before.