My Idiosyncratic Transition from Normative to Progressive

The year was 1997 and it was the summer before my Senior year of High School. I was in Brazil as a Christian Missionary, spreading the “good word” to the poor, primitive foreigners as if they were somehow less enlightened for speaking another language and living in another place. My ignorance shone bright when I called home from a small border town near the jungle and squealed in surprise and excitement when I found out the operator spoke English. Her frustrated retort of, “Yeah, a lot of us speak English here,” barely fazed me, at the time, but resonates…