Today when you guys were springing forward, I was forced to fall back to a recurring thought that has been in my mind ever since Tuesday.
Only one hour separates me from you, my fellow compatriots! Just one hour! You know what that means, right?
It means that I’ve already done a year’s worth of the seasonal time changes! One hour, two hours, three hours, two hours, one hour… I’m getting closer and closer and yet the distance remains the same.
Instead of dwelling on the fact that I have been in Brazil for well over eight months at this point, the one fact that resounds in my being is that I only have four more left to go. At once, this brings me a very complex sort of joy. Knowing how quickly time seems to pass here–and it passes all the more rapidly now that school has started back up again–brings me…–dare I say it?–comfort.
Though I can honestly say that I do really like it here and already plan on returning as early as after graduation in May 2010, I really am looking forward to coming back home. At this point, staying here forever, despite being very illegal, would be doing a major disservice to myself in the long run. In order for me to live and enjoy Brazil as I would like to, I have to tie up the loose ends (such as my undergraduate degree, for example) back in the United States. Just as I needed some time away from the US to figure things out, I’m going to need an equal or greater amount of time away from Brazil in order to put those things into action.
This was one of the many conclusions that I came to during the last two months of my summer vacation, in which I traveled to some less popular tourist destinations here in Brazil (Brasília, Goiás Velho-a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Curitiba, Blumenau, Florianópolis-voted the hottest new tourist destination in South America, and Porto Alegre). Mostly alone for all or part of each leg of the journey, I was left to my own wits, instincts, and most importantly, thoughts. Indeed, the voices inside my head were my biggest company (oh my God, I sound so crazy right now!) but I was able to have some very amazing, and even enlightening conversations when the opportunity presented itself. For example, when I was visiting the Ukrainian Village in Curitiba and I was able to chat it up with some very young residents of the nearby favela for some time, in which they proceeded to ask me about the United States, prices here in Brazil compared to prices in the US, what it is like to learn Portuguese, and finally, if I missed my mom. Up until that point (3 days after I’d left Rio), I hadn’t really had an actual conversation with anyone so I was very grateful, really appreciative of the genuine kindness and natural curiosity of children.
Overall, I left these conversations and my travels feeling just a bit more refreshed and even more aware of the world outside of Rio de Janeiro. One of the most important, and perhaps disheartening, conclusions that I reached was that, for me, Rio de Janeiro might be more of a place to have fun, but not exactly a place in which to actually live.
I know you’re probably thinking, “but Deion, you’ve been there forever, having the time of your life!”– which is true!–but…when I take into consideration the person whom I believe myself to be, or to be in the process of becoming, then I realize how I need to live in a smaller, cleaner, more genuine, and more organized sort of madness that fills my heart with joy when I return to it and with pain when we are forced to part ways, and not the other way around.
Or maybe I’m just crazy.
Either way, I’m very much looking forward to the next four months, to the new classes, new friendships, and new passions that I may discover. Now is the time for me to kick everything into overdrive, to try to take advantage of everything that I possibly can, all while knowing in the back of my mind that my story with Brazil is far from over. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on my success and failures at accomplishing this goal of mine.
Until then, enjoy the pictures from some of my adventures these past few months!
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