Sometime earlier in the semester, my roommate and some of his friends watched a scary American movie with Portuguese subtitles with the occasional Romanian word. For some reason the translators chose to use the Romanian word "bufniţă," which referred to the movie's evil spirit or demon. Since then my roommate has attributed anything that goes wrong in Brazil to the bufniţă that apparently lives in our apartment.
While I wasn't there watching the movie, since I've moved into the apartment the bufniţă has shown its cruel face on many occasions. At first I ignored his insistence that there was an evil spirit in our midst, but now too many uncanny things have happened for me to continue ignoring the bufniţă.
For starters, everything breaks. Everything. The glasses broke, the shower broke, the lights broke, the windows broke. . . You get my drift. And when something breaks, it tends to have lethal implications. For example, this is the note my roommate left me after the shower broke one morning:
Why electrocution? He wrote this for me after trying to shower and seeing sparks. Because our building doesn't have a water heater, the only place in our apartment with hot water (namely, the shower) needs to have electricity flowing around the water to warm it up. *Our* electric shower heater has exposed metal wires and fun stuff like that. Did I mention the standard voltage here ranges anywhere between 140-200? I recently read 100 volts is enough to kill some people. So. . . yeah. Bufniţă. We didn't shower in the house for about a week. Even after that we were nervous. Heck, I'm still nervous.
(And a really quick aside to anyone who may be developing electric water heaters. Give the user more heat options than "summer," "winter," and "none." Now that the weather is cold, we're avoiding the shower for two reasons: the risk of electrocution and the fact that the water rarely gets above 65 degrees.)
Other bufniţă stories include turning on lights and watching them smoke (after not even having lights for a few months), things disappearing, and windows that just won't close; however, the bufniţă extends its reach beyond our home life. I've had my flight home changed three times, each time giving me a mind-achingly longer layover in the murder capital of Brazil. My roommate just found out he may not get into graduate school because his GRE scores arrived the day after he sent his application. And even then it was three weeks after they were supposed to be here. Not to mention endless headaches we've been having in one of our classes. The bufniţă just won't quit until either we're permanently stuck in Brazil, or dead (which I suppose could permanently keep us in Brazil as well).
After some thought about the situation, I think someone put a Santeria or Candomblé curse on us. We've been seeing signs of the religions around town, mostly in the form of chickens heads and bodies on the odd street corner.
The person living here before me had a bad breakup, and I wouldn't put it past the injured party to pay for someone to curse this apartment in revenge. Maybe a long stretch, but it's actually the scenario that makes the most sense to me at this point.