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November 29, 2004


Sigh.  Mixed emotions are starting to set in.  On the one hand, I’m incredibly excited to be coming back home soon; but on the other, I’m starting to realize just how much I’m really going to miss certain peoples, places, and things here in Porto Alegre/Brasil.  It first hit me on Friday when I was riding back on the bus from Eldorado do Sul with Alex and Rafa.  We were crossing the bridge that connects the two cities across the delta, looking out over a gorgeous sunset that illuminated all of the buildings of the city and made the water below shine.  Rafa was talking animatedly to Alex about something that I couldn’t pay full attention to due to the view, and suddenly I realized that I am really going to miss Rafa’s constant but very intelligent commentary.  Then I looked to Alex and thought about how much I’ll miss his brotherly teasing and reparatory winks–“‘to brincando, Cori” (I’m just kidding, Cori).  The lushness of the city’s vegetation.  The little places that have become “my” places.  The public park.  The public market.  The food.  I’m going to miss all of these things.  And above all, I’m going to miss the members of Raízes do Sul and our trips out to Passo Dorneles and rodas here in the city.  They are all such wonderful people who really know how to live–who really seem to know what’s important in life.  A friend of mine who’s living in France right now commented that the few people she’s met over there who are capoeiristas all have one thing in common:  their lives seem to revolve around capoeira.  I could say the same for the members of Raízes do Sul.  They take the spirit of capoeira–the spirit of rebellion against the norms of contemporary society, the spirit of playing and not competing–and live it out not only through their constant participation in capoeira-related events, but also in their everyday attitudes.  Tradition, fun, and friends seem to be the most important things to them; they aren’t striving for money or prestige–just joy.

But again comes the other hand.  Yesterday I had another, albeit brief, bout of homesickness where I suddenly felt like I didn’t even want to go through these last two weeks here–I just wanted to be home.  But that feeling disappeared quickly as I stepped outside into the warm, perfumed air and rode the bus down to the park, then up to Passo Dorneles later on to help Cris, Kelly, Róger, e o Indio work with the kids (or, more accurately, watch them work with the kids and learn along myself with the youngsters!).  Afterwards, Cris and Kelly wanted to give me a tour of their neighborhood (they live in Passo Dorneles), so I walked around with them in the late afternoon shadows of the setting sun for almost an hour and a half, enjoying their constant chatter even as I enjoyed the relative peace and tranquility of Passo Dorneles compared to the formal city.  I felt as if I were walking with a couple of FISH girls as they pointed out the places where the cutest guys live and work and asked me about Pennsylvania.  Unlike most FISH girls, though, Cris and Kelly will go back home to tiny, self-built tijolo and concrete homes without computers, central heating and cooling, or paved streets.  I hate to think of what it must be like to live in those hilly, informal neighborhoods when it pours, as it is wont to do in Porto Alegre.  The ruts in the dirt streets can only give me a hint at what happens to all that water when it bursts from the sky.

I’ll miss those girls, as well as Indio e Róger, just like I miss the FISH kids now.  Their energy and genuineness always make me smile. 

But this morning I again felt a brief longing for home as I flipped through the pages of a book in the architecture library on restoring farmhouses.  The pictures of New England farmhouses in settings of fall and winter provoked a pang in my chest that reminded me yet again of how much I love and miss my home. 

Ah, such push and pull of emotions!  But I am incredibly thankfull to be experiencing them, for they prove to me how much I have appreciated and valued all of the people and places I’ve had the opportunity to visit in my 23-year-old life.  It’s nice to know that so many lives have left an impression on me, and to know that my life has left an impression on so many lives in return.

Still missing you all… but seeing you soon.



From → Brazil, Uncategorized

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