My life as an expat was the topic of conversation with numerous people today. While I realize I have a positive spin to the blog, I want to clarify something.
Being an expat is hard. While I may seem on top of it now, it would have been a very different blog if I had started writing my first few years.
I had many many days where I hated everything Brazilian. I could not imagine living here. I could never imagine actually having conversation in a language other than my own. I didn't know if it would ever be possible for me to understand the crazy way Brazilians think (and by crazy I mean different, or that is how I finally understand it to be.)
And most people will say things along the line of: You live in such a great place! It's so exotic! How could you complain?
Let me break it down for you. Have you tried to do the day to day annoying bullshit in a second language, not to mention in a bureaucratic maze that even Houdini would have a hard time getting himself out of?
I will never forget telling a friend I was jealous of her living in Spain. How amazing it must be to wake up there every day. She looked at me and said "You know, once you settle, regardless of where, it turns into daily life." Such true words that my little 20 yr old soul couldn't grasp.
The thing is that it is not easy to find your place anywhere. The complexities can seem insurmountable when you can't figure out which freaking sign means starting point.
As for me, I was the biggest and most horrible of the whiny baby expats in the world when I first got here. I can even prove it. At the end of my 3 week intensive Portuguese course at PUC the teacher broke us into groups and asked us to make skits about our fellow classmates. I was in one of the skits... whining and complaining. It was one of the most embarrassing and honest moments of my life. I sat there with the "Oh Shit that is SO me" look on my face. I was that girl.
I couldn't dig a hole and die there because, let's be honest, the cat was out of the bag. Time to either go home or make a change.
I'm happy I got it thrown in my face because I was being a big old baby. It forced me to take a painful look in the mirror. Time to suck it up. I had a choice, either I was going to let Rio de Janeiro bitch slap me around or I was going to stand up to the bully. Funny thing was that when I went to stand up I realized that I was the one I had to stand up to. Perspective is a bitch like that.
It was hard at first but I grew up with Rio de Janeiro. Now we are brothers from another Mother.
In the end it is your life and your choice. You don't ever have to be anywhere you don't want to be, and that doesn't necessarily mean moving. You can change where you are just by adjusting your head.
And now that I have fully made all of you throw up in your mouth a little bit with my corniness, I leave you with this note: Life can still be a bitch even when it's surrounded by caipirinhas and palm trees. I just decided one day to focus on the palms instead of the bitch while drinking the caipirinha.