It's time to go back home. No, it's not because of the small town my parents moved to. It's not due to the unusually cold weather. It's not even because I'm bored. I'm not. Well, not enough to desire an overnight, international flight anyway.
The thing is, I miss it. I miss home. I say that phrase with caution because, in three words, it says so much. Rio de Janeiro is my home. I may be American, but my heart no longer belongs on this soil for an extended period of time.
I used to have trouble saying we would never move back, even though I thought it wasn't likely. I couldn't hear that, even in my head. These days, my head says it all the time, and it's not just economics.
Not only am I not on the same "life path" as most Americans, I don't agree with it anymore. I can't even watch the news without getting annoyed with our petty concerns. I can't imagine how people in such a fortunate national situation can sit around and fight and bitch about such petty little things. How can you use the reference of shooting someone because you disagree with legislation which, if you ask me, isn't even comparable to life or death .
Ok, now I'm getting into politics and that's not the point. At the same time it is, I don't get the picking at each other. I don't get the hate. I don't get the overall pettiness to people's nature, the mine mine mine quality. I have a hard time understanding the lack of patience for others and yet, I am completely lacking patience here.
I just don't like myself here anymore. It's not a me I relate to. And that is a problem. I can't remember having more then one me. It's uncomfortable, like two people trying to fit into the same jeans.
So where does that leave me? I'm not 100% American at heart anymore and I'm not even 1% Brazilian. Hell, I can't even say I'm totally fluent in Portuguese. As I say to my English conversation students, the first goal is to be understood. Check. The second is to perfect it. I think I've passed the statue of limitations on that one.
Not so shockingly, the kicker is my kids. With my first, I mourned the loss of my country, the fact that he would not grow up knowing the norms I knew. Once I became a Mother twice over, that changed. It became less about what I thought and wanted for my children and more about what is best for them. Where do they thrive? What embodies my so-called requirements for their life?
Rio de Janeiro, as I can not speak of Brazil as a whole in this situation, is a conundrum, with something to learn and figure out at every corner. My children will be raised knowing they are fortunate, at the same time not too fortunate. They will see the blurred line between right and wrong, law and outlaw. They will experience routine and lack there of. They will be surrounded, constantly, like it or not by friends and family.
On top of it all, I've only raised my boys in Brazil. All those things I thought I'd teach my children vanished with what I actually taught my children. The traditions I felt were lost were replaced with the traditions we made. In the place of the home I missed grew a home I didn't know I had.
Anyway, it is really time to head back. I will miss my family but I always do. I will also miss my friends but that is just how it is. Thankfully I have my friends and family in Rio who help fill the void of both.
To top it off, a little musical inspiration. This song is the perfect description of what Rio de Janeiro feels like to me. I can't explain it but it just feels like this song.
So here's a little Nando Reis for your viewing pleasure:
Oh Nando, sing me back home. Let the charms of Brazil make me forget the amenities of the USA. Let the churrasco fill the place of good high chairs in restaurants. May the beautiful weather make me forget the affordable shopping. And hopefully the quality ingredients will make me forget the luxury grocery items from here. Then my transformation will be complete.