Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Live the life you want to live. (Part 2)

I had hoped I'd have some words of wisdom to wrap up the blog before I depart. I don't. Partly because I've been too busy with the preparations, and partly because there are so many divergent thoughts whirring in my head that I don't know yet, myself, what to make of them.

One of my favorite sights on Avenida Paulista.
I was reflecting on my first post, a little over 3 years and 4 months ago, and considering which of the goals I had set forth I have since achieved, and which I have not. Basically, I achieved them all, here and there, in bursts--though some of them, I have discovered, are goals that will be a lifetime in addressing, while others just ceased to be ambitions. The things I said I would miss about my Stateside life were missed, and will soon be regained: things I said I wouldn't miss will soon be a part of my life again--which now seems okay, for the time being. Things I declared I would cherish--the long and aimless rambles, the fruits and a la minuta, agua de coco, and futebol--well, I've satiated myself, again, for the time being. I did adapt--to crime, to "the system," and to machismo--at least, as much as I ever will. My wacky plan of waiting for amnesty worked, and now I have gained permanent residency. Among many other gains in my time here are a command of the language, and a solid understanding of the national history and cultural nuance, including the various sub-cultures that create Brasil.
But what is missing from that initial post, and indeed was greatly underestimated in my vision, became the most provocative element of all: the enrichment of my life and profound impact on my being through the amazing the friendships I made.

Victoria, Shelley & Rafael, Ivan, Lisa, Fifi, Maureen & Rudimar, Gina, Clair, Natália, Leila, Joanna, Roberto & Marianna, Adri, Eliana, Roxanne & Rudy, Kristin, Allison, Scott & Eliana, Anthony, Ahmet & Anelise, Juliana, Fernando, Danilo, Tanya, Vanessa & Rafael, Carolina & Mariana, my friends at Casa Club, and many others--you've been signposts, shining stars, and lighthouses along the way. I am fortunate and grateful to have shared this path with you.
In response to my own command "Live the life you want to live," I would, today, offer a resilient, experienced, positive, and optimistic, "I'm working on it."
As Adri wisely counseled a year ago: you're not starting a new chapter, you're starting a new book. I've enjoyed having this space to share my thoughts, reactions, anecdotes, and experiences. Though I was writing for myself (as my dear, late Uncle Greg reminded me), it was really uplifting to get feedback and encouragement from friends (and from strangers who became friends), and to know that, throughout this book, people quite literally all over the world were laughing with me and rooting for me. Thank you for that, and thanks for reading.

Louquinha Gauchinha Paulistinha no coração