I have been saying good bye for a while now, little by little, ever since I found out months ago that Carlos and I would be leaving Brazil for the US. In the beginning, I had periodic thoughtful moments like “OK, take a long last look at this beach because it will be the last Brazilian beach you’ll see for a long time.” Then it became less something I did once in a while and started to become more frequent, entering my life like a new job. Soon I was saying good bye to certain roads I traveled a lot, to cities, to the country club where we went often and which I cherish deeply. Then these thoughts got closer to home, creeping in slowly like some plague, taking over my much of my life as I started to have to say goodbye to jobs, to friends, to family, to things in my home that cannot come with me.
Tonight I will say good bye to this apartment and tomorrow this country. I sit now tearfully packing for a trip that will take me back to the half of the world where I came from; the half that I left to come here a bit over two sweet years ago. The half that I left behind not knowing for sure if or when I would return and in what condition. Now is the time for good byes again, only this time they are for Brazil and everything it has brought to me as a gift, as a friend I didn’t know I had before I came but now one I can never forget.
In a rush to fill suit cases with most of my life’s material contents again I started to think about how saying good bye is an important time. It is a time for reflection on all that was. It is a time for appreciation for everything given. It is a time for looking back and feeling good at everything that you went through to get here, from beginning to end. It has encompassed my favorite and my worst moments in life. Its bitter, too bitter to want to feel directly over and over, but because of this sadness we get to experience the happiness of what it feels like to come home. We get to taste the fruit of our accomplishments and at the same time turn over to a new chapter in our life and begin to start to write all over again. What has been written for me is an absence of the belief that I can not do this. I can say goodbye, I have done it now several times and each time the feeling is the same and each time so is the result. You have to give, you have to let go, you have to trust, you have to let yourself wander…you have to live. I have done all of this and more here during my time in Brazil.
I have learned a new language, new customs. I got married and have come to know & love a whole new wonderful family, that of my husband’s; now mine too. I have mastered a new city and a challenging one at that. I tried a thousand kinds of new foods and drinks and I even acted in play (in Portuguese)! I put the trust that I needed to come to Brazil in the first place into every other step I took here and I did a lot. As I look back, I find that I am happy and surprised with myself.
I’m happy about the good brasileiro friends I have made here and without whom I wouldn’t even be writing this. For those are the people who counted when times grew difficult and I wonder if I would have made it without them. Though they may not realize it, my friends here pulled me up by my bootstraps and carried me to a place where I felt like I was a part of this country, not just another stranger within its vast boundaries. They gave me countless moments of joy and fountains of things to look forward to. I know the saying goes, “There is no place like home.” but I have seen now that real friendship IS home .
Thank you. Thank you to everybody I met here. There is no one I am not happy to have encountered. I find it funny because, although I can appreciate the duality of a balanced system…my world here has really been nothing but good, good and more good.
And what do I do with it?
PACK IT! I will pack up these feelings of gratefulness, of plenitude and I will bring them home, back to Minnesota and then on over to New York City, which is where my husband and I will go next and start the whole process all over again. So as my next chapter begins there let me close this one by saying.
I love you with all my heart, Brazil…O meu coracao esta cheio hoje. Cheio de felicidade e gratidao por tudo que voce meu deu, Brasil. Obrigada o meu amigo. Te amo.