Thursday, January 13, 2011

Time to go Home

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.  


  1. Thanks Danielle :)

    That being said, I am going to miss all the lactose free options for my youngest! That and grated cheese because, well, I really hating grating cheese!

  2. You just wrote what I was thinking during the last days in Finland...but I think there will always be two identities...the memories and the roots we have on our national soil will always pull back the old "me" and all we can do is enjoy the debates, discussions, disagreements and nostalgic chats the old and the new identities have between themselves... But I really hate the airport crying...that's clearly and utterly the worst part of the story.

  3. Well said, great musical interlude and I smiled all the way through the last paragraph.

    Safe travels. See you soon.

  4. Great post Rachel! I saw a little bit of myself in it.. I am sitting in the fence of "I miss the US someday Ill be back for good" and "I love Brazil I dont know if I could leave?" What would my pace of life be back home? All the dumb crap we/they worry about and argue over, i hate the politics and the whining. Like you said every corner here has something new to learn, its always unexpected but thats the thrill and its easy to get addicted to the thrill.. hell ive almost died more times here in 2 months than my many years in the US! Now if that isnt a notch on my belt...

    safe travels to you!

  5. Interesting post.
    I pondered SO MANY deep thoughts in comparisons between the U.S. and Rio when I was there. I wondered if I would miss it if I lived in Rio.
    Being in the southern U.S. even brings a whole other set of issues with it such as racism, rednecks, obesity and just plain ignorance to the rest of the world.
    I really don't belong here and as soon as my children are on their way to creating THEIR life path, I will begin creating my new one as well.

  6. Love it Rachel!

    Have a nice trip!


  7. Rachel,

    If you understand this song your ENGLISH is AWESOME, Gil and I had to listen to it a couple of times to understand it and it was really hard...I hope we are not loosing our Portuguese

  8. Oops, I meant PORTUGUESE... lol...

  9. Funny enough I understand exactly how you feel....

  10. Will be home in 13 days :D

    Ray, I do know the lyrics. It's taken time but I can totally understand them. My husband was kind enough to translate them, line by line, at first. Later, he would just sing it in Portuguese, along with the song.

    Love that song!

  11. You captured it perfectly! It's one of the reasons I am addicted to your blog, because I completely relate to your experience. You'll be home soon!

  12. Like. It is a nice feeling to belong in both places for different reasons at different times.