Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cha cha cha cha changes...

I've been in a weird space for a couple months now, knowing that I might be nearing the end of My Life In Havaianas. I have been wrestling with a lot of "shoulds"--and I believe that whenever I find myself uttering "should," an examination is required.

I adore São Paulo and am not ready to leave it, especially yet-so-unexplored and unconquered. On the other hand, I put a lot of faith in things I perceive as signs. My intuition--when followed--is almost always validated. When I first traveled to Porto Alegre and felt a twinge of home... When I moved there in March 2008, laughing in the face of uncertainty, and everything fell into place so effortlessly... When I moved to São Paulo last year and landed in the perfect neighborhood with generous and caring new friends as roomies... Brazil has always felt right.

Well, almost always.

This year has been a bigger challenge than the others: it's been hard to find reliable and reasonable income and difficult to stay motivated and happy in a constant state of major transition. Simply put: my life just hasn't been flowing in the way that I've grown accustomed to. Nor in the way that I demand--that is to say, I've learned to demand a certain level of responsibility, of ownership, from myself when it comes to choices, irrespective of fear or hesitance. At first, I fought the idea of moving back, seeing it as some sort of defeat. Then I got depressed, wondering where my net had gone. Finally, I've decided to accept the obvious changes that need to be made, and focus on the positive.

Since I've already taken this post to a more personal level than usual, I'll throw out another from my collection of Words to Live By:
1. Accept your feelings.
2. Know your purpose.
3. Do what needs to be done.

While there still might be a change (after all, if there's one thing I learned on this mission...), I am planning my move back to Chicago in August. The search for interesting career opportunities is already underway (help!), and I have registered to begin a masters program at DePaul University in September. The focus on international commerce and exchange between Brazil and the U.S. will hopefully prove as stimulating as it appears. I'll also be back to class at Brazil In Chicago, working to maintain and, frankly, improve my still-stunted Portuguese.

Of course I will bring my Havaianas with me, and all the friendships and memories forged. Moreover, I will be back. (Paulistinha is still louquinha, and thus has ideas kicking around already for the next prison break.)

Visitors are welcome in the meantime, though I'm toying with a prospective birthday trip to São Luís and Lençois Maranhenses.

In closing, when I was devastated by the end of a relationship just 10 weeks before my move to Brazil, my wise and dear friend Stacee counseled: "Just make the time count." Now, with (apparently) 9 weeks left in Brazil, I fully intend to put her words in action, again.

Vamo lá gente!

Paulistinha