Why I Feel At Home In Brazil

Aug 22, 13 Why I Feel At Home In Brazil

Posted by in Featured, Thoughts/Ideas

If you ever arrived in a place for the first time and was taken over by an incredible feeling of familiarity, of “home-ness” and felt you simply belonged there, you will understand how I feel like being in Brazil. Ever since I first stepped off the plane on my first trip in February I simply felt I arrived. Every time I had to leave I left a small part of my soul behind, only to find it again when I returned. Now, on my third trip this year, I cannot help smiling when people back home in Romania still ask me: “Aren’t you afraid? Brazil is a dangerous place!”. To all my friends concerned about my safety, here is why I feel so at home in Brazil: I love to smile. I do it most of the time. I smile for no particular reason. Back in Bucharest some people find this odd and often they ask me what am I so happy about. I sometimes feel others consider my joy inappropriate.  I never get this question in Brazil. This is the place where everybody smiles. It’s not unusual to say “Hi” to people on the street, smile and get a smile back. If you’ve met them before they not only smile, but they kiss and hug you every time they see you. In the restaurant where Copo now happily lives out his own love-story with Brazil, the working day opens and closes with hugs. They hug each other at the beginning of the day, as a sign of joy for spending yet another evening putting happiness on people’s plates and they hug each-other at the end of the day for a job well done. When I’m here I’m included in the hugs. Joyce, the sous-chef, affectionately calls me “meu amor”. In the shops people ask me where I’m from, what I am doing here, if I like Brazil. Two days ago I basically ended up sharing my life story in my rudimentary Portuguese to a shop...

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Chronic Busyness – The Epidemics of the Modern World

After almost two weeks spent in Brazil and more to come later this year (so I have more opportunities to double-check my initial impressions), I am becoming aware of something that I had noticed before, but never really found the time (sic!) to reflect upon – and that something I can only call “the chronic busyness syndrome“. What first struck me when arriving here, besides people’s joy for living, accompanied by constant hugging, kissing and smiling, was the pace at which everything seems to be happening around here. There is no rush, no hurry, no stress, no deadlines. This place is the nightmare of any self-respecting corporate worker!! My friends here in Itacare have are experimenting this latin-american spirit of laissez faire on a daily basis. Running a business here is no easier than in any other part of the world, and to do it well – especially if you are an European who’s worked hard all his life and knows exactly the rigors of doing business in other countries – you first need to learn the rule of laissez faire. If you haven’t grasped this rule early on in your stay here, you’re bound to suffer the torment of what you might rightfully label as eternal delays and un-kept promises. For example, my friends needed a new sign for their restaurant, to put on the outside of the building. There is just one guy in this small tourist town by the ocean who specializes in this and has created the signs for all the restaurants and shops in the area. The process of hiring this guy goes like this: you don’t have his cell phone number because he either doesn’t have one or he hasn’t bothered giving you the number (I’ve only seen one business card in my time here, and it was from a Portuguese lady – the rest of local businesses work by word of mouth). So because you can’t call him you wait until you run into him on the...

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The Trip to the Land of Green and Smiles

It took me more than 24 hours to fly to the other side of the world. 12 hours across the Atlantic Ocean, in what turned out to be one of my scariest flight experiences ever. I think Mother Nature decided to show me her worst before she could show me her best. The huge plane trembled like a leaf in the wind bravely going through what the flight attendants politely called “un mar de turbulencias”. And while we were “atravesando” this sea of turbulence, I seriously thought about my life so far, about the possibility that these might be my last hours on Earth, or actually above it. This trip provided me with a wonderful opportunity to reconsider what I had to be grateful for in my life and to think of all the reasons I still so badly wanted to live. It also made me incredibly happy to have my feet back on the ground when we finally landed and gave me a renewed sense of wonder for everything around me. I discovered a fresh capacity to look at the new world unfolding before me with a child’s eyes – full of joy and curiosity and deeply connected to the magic of being alive. I finally made it to Brazil, the land of luscious green forests, breathtaking sunsets, wild waves, amazingly colorful birds and strange bugs. I found myself happily drowning in the emerald sea that assaulted my senses from all directions. Waiting for my last plane connection to my final destination in Bahia I had a few hours to get acquainted to the warmth of the people here. I’ve seen countless people hugging, stewardesses coming back from their flights happily greeted by their colleagues at the airport with a kiss on the cheek and a heartfelt hug, people smiling everywhere I looked. I wondered what is it about this land and its people. In the few days I’ve been here I’ve seen more people smiling than I see at home, in Bucharest,...

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