It’s been two years, almost to date, since my last trip to Brasil. In Bahia state sits a city with so much culture, so much passion, so much life. That city is called Salvador. It’s no coincidence that Salvador means savior in Portuguese, as I and so many others have found ourselves there. I was awakened at a time in my life when I least expected to be asleep. The first time I visited was in 2007, as an undergraduate student. I had so many ideas, questions, and concerns when I left, and I knew it wouldn’t be too much longer before I returned. In 2009 I had my second chance, and I took FULL advantage. I met people that have truly changed my life, did things that I would both brag about and keep secret, touched a few lives, but was transformed by those who touched me, learned what “dancing” truly meant, ate like a queen of the Jungle, and connected with my roots. And I’m not even Brasilian by nationality! But when it was time to come back to the states, I was Brasilian, by experience.
This entry is not to recapture my trip to Bahia, but rather, to connect the events that have occurred thereafter, which only proves to me that Brasil is calling my name…
Teaching- In Salvador I was a volunteer English Teacher for a non-profit. Because I had taught Kindergarten prior to my arrival, I thought I would be in a perfect place to reach my new students on the most basic level possible. I was wrong. My teaching style, and everything I was trained to do was challenged. I didn’t get it right, but even more profound, when I returned to the states, I didn’t believe in what I had been taught, and that belief continued to crumble (and is still crumbling!) to the point where now, I no longer “teach”, I facilitate in a new environment, where my role is to unschool and allow students the freedom to develop their own path. I am anxious to revisit the Brasilian classroom with this newfound understanding!
Friends- I made some lifelong friend in Brasil, and miss them dearly. But even here in the states, I’m meeting the most unlikely people, like the governor of Bahia, and his wife! I was in line at the beauty counter in an Indianapolis Walgreens when I met the first lady Fátima Mendonça!
Diet/Exercise- Since leaving Brasil, the way I eat has been altered. Fresh fruit is a staple for me, but particularly, the tropical fruit I ate in Brasil. The way I cook is also different, and I can tell my palette has matured for things I wouldn’t have eaten pre-departure.
These days I also find myself more active, and have incorporated different styles of dancing into my routine. But what fascinates me the most is how quickly I pick out all-things-Brasil when I work out, go out dancing, or listen to music. The connections that I make today seem profound, like everything leads back to that enchanted place.
Love- I see love differently today. In Brasil, people are flowing with love. Before I really understood Brasilians, I must admit that I believed what everyone else was saying: Brasilians are hyper-sexualized, sensual, too free with themselves, etc. But what I understand today is that the people who made those generalizations were not in touch with true love. I believe you can’t put a cap on true love, and that when you feel it, you can’t help but share it with as many people as you can. So all the touching, the closeness, the openness that we see many Brasilians demonstrate, actually comes from this awareness. I can only hope to be as comfortable with sharing my love with more people. What are we afraid of?
What I also realize today, is that this awareness and affinity that I have separates me from some, but brings me closer to others. It seems like the people I meet today are either inspired by my story, or also have a story to tell!
My goal is to return within a year, which is a little past my previous goal, but because I know the Universe conspires, I know the timing will be right. I want to return to uncover some truths that I believe awaiting me. I want to share this place with my loverboy as well, in hopes that we will be transformed together…