LFB – Going Home

It’s not the end of the blog but..

Hidden Cove summer

The other day when I wrote about possibly going home, it was just an idea that could have become a plan. The way the universe works, I was just offered a way to go back (and get back on my feet) between now and next month. So…I’m going to stay another month few days and then head back to California.

I’ve become a complainer here and I don’t like that person. My Lessons on Brazil, which started rather innocently, has become my venue for veiled (and not-so-veiled) complaints. In fact, it’s me holding back, because if I wrote a post about everything, I’d write twice as much. I didn’t start out this way, when I came here to live for the first time in 2005, everything was fine. Again, in 2009, I was fine…until the last few weeks when I felt a strong need to leave the country. This time around, since 2011, I was also fine for at least half the time I’ve been here but, in the last few months in particular, life here has been getting to me and I feel it’s changing me. Some have said that it’s likely Rio’s fault, a cidade de beleza e caos. That’s quite possible, though not entirely.

Judging from the outside looking in should be something personal and, in the best of circumstances, it should be curbed over time. I’ve been placing my version of normal on what is considered normal here and finding it doesn’t add up. Well, of course it doesn’t. Intellectually, it’s obvious, but it’s still hard to override almost 30 years of norms learned in my own country, no matter what country I compare it to.

Here’s a few of the things I’m looking forward to when I get back…

– Driving. I really, really love driving. It’s close to total freedom. Choose where to go, who to go with, all with your own soundtrack.

– Working for hours from a cafe (with outlets for my laptop) with free wi-fi and being left alone by the staff.

– Target. Ok, that’s just an example store, but the fact is I know all the kinds of things they sell there, I can get there easily and find what I want in record-time. I may not like corporate culture nor corporate dominance (over Mom & Pops) but corporate solutions are a god-send for lots of items.

– Lake Tahoe in the summer (pictured above). Awesome.

– Pacific Coast Highway 1 (pictured below). Awesome.

– Secondhand stuff, from clothes to electronics, to whatever. Craigslist…

– Health/Organic food. Trader Joes…



13 thoughts on “LFB – Going Home

  1. I understand exactly what you are saying Adam. I suspected this but if it weren’t for your blog, it wouldn’t have made me really want to experience Brasil and with an open mind, so I thank you for that. And while I was learning a lot prior to my actual trip, by the time I did arrive, I kept asking myself what was it about the country that attracted me to come in the first place? And the way you wrote is the way I began thinking, and sometimes I still do, but that was because I thought I wanted to move there. Still not sure. But at least I can see it from different perspectives, not just one.

    • Thanks, Kalani! Glad to have offered perspective. Btw, it doesn’t mean my blog is stopping, as I’ve written more posts from the US than from Brazil.

      I still think that having access to more money could possibly cure some of my ailments here, make me less frustrated, but then I would feel like it’s “us” (rich people in Brazil) vs. “them” (everyone else) and I don’t think I want that either.

      Also, if I met the right person while here, staying would have been a lot more viable.

  2. I understand what you say about not having met the right person here. I was married seven years here and then divorced, so I’ve experienced my share of loneliness and frustration. But, if I leave for that reason, I won’t go to the USA, where women won’t go out with a man who doesn’t have a car. Instead, I’d go to Africa or Asia.

    Adam, I’ve lived in Brazil consistently since 2004 and I’ve never been to Rio de Janeiro. I’ve heard bad things about Rio and have just never felt the desire to go. Brazil is SO much more than Rio and São Paulo!

    The last time I went back to the United States, as I was flying into Newark, I asked myself, ‘What did I do to deserve this recidivism?’

    I live in Porto Seguro, which is a small town but is one of CVC’s primary tourist spots. Here, I swim half a kilometer into the ocean each day, summer and winter, without being concerned about dangerous currents or sharks. I’m not aware of anyplace in the United States where I could do the same thing.

    The photograph you posted about of the United States shows one of the greatest things about Brazil. In the United States, the roads and highways go right along the ocean, so that there are no car-free zones and you can never escape cars. In Brazil, the north-south roads are a hour’s ride from the coast, which means that there are coastal areas unspoiled by the highways that are ubiquitous in the United States.

    Before you leave Brazil, or when you come back, walk along the pristine beaches and cliffs between Praia do Espelho and Caraiva, Bahia, which are both part of Porto Seguro. There, you can see the coast for five miles to the north and five miles to the south, but without a seeing a single car.

    If you go back to the US, then eat some real pizza for me and have a T-Bone steak at the Olive Garden. Eat some greasy Chinese take-out food for me. But, don’t join the 127 million Americans who are overweight or the 60 million who are obese, or the 9 million who are morbidly obese. Don’t join the 64.5 percent of Americans who are overweight! http://www.wwu.edu/depts/healthyliving/PE511info/obesity/Obesity/demographics.html

    And, for the love of God, avoid elementary schools, because that’s where crazy people in the US go to slaughter children with automatic weapons.

    And don’t forget that “racism” (offensive color-aroused behavior) is formally illegal in Brazil, but not in the United States. TÍTULO II Dos Direitos e Garantias Fundamentais CAPÍTULO I DOS DIREITOS E DEVERES INDIVIDUAIS E COLETIVOS. Article V, XLII. “the practice of racism is a crime not entitled to bail or to the statute of limitations, and subject to imprisonment, according to the law;”

  3. That’s a very honest post. I think I came to Brazil and experienced the reverse, perhaps complaining more than I should (and writing these complaints down as posts) because I was only comparing and not really reflecting. However, I think that’s changed the more time I’ve spent here although Brazil is very much a place where you’re always going to have your good and bad days.

    Anyway, I really enjoy the blog and I hope you keep it going in some form.

    • Not only in Brazil but in Life! Regardless where you are, you will always have good and bad days! You missing home and it is as simple as that! Trust me once you are in the States, you are going to miss something you had in Brasil! And that is life, we humans are nostagical by nature,idealizing things that never happened and things that will probably never happen in the future! Focus in your present and enjoy your last days in Brazil, and then enjoy every minute of your life in th USA.

  4. Well, I think it’s a dignified way to give up on Brazil, because turning yourself into another complaining gringo would be just as counterproductive to say the least.
    You know you’re not alone in this, but at least you’re bold enough to say out and loud the reason you’re leaving Brazil. You deserve my respect for that.
    I know a couple of expats and immigrants from your country living in Brazil that make complaining, comparing (mostly without thinking) and even ranting a nasty habit. I wish they’d follow your example.
    Good luck with your new “American life”.

    • Thanks, Gil. The bad part is that many times Brazilian friends I would be complaining to (even when not comparing cultures, just complaining about something in my day-to-day life here) would be polite enough not to tell me to shut up. The solution was to directly ask them if I complain too much and I found out I do (I mean, I kind of already knew that), but nonetheless, I agree…it is a nasty habit and quite a useless one, too.

  5. I feel the same way…sometimes I think I’ve become “that American” in Brasil that complains all the time, and I don’t like it. I like to be open minded and positive, but sometimes it is hard, and we all have bad days!

  6. Oh I’m sorry to hear that. I just found your blog today and have spent hours reading through most of your past posts. I plan on visiting Brazil some time in the future.

  7. Hi Adam, I am back to subscribing and reading your blog after having spent several months away from it. The main reason for having done so was that I needed to stay away from the Internet in general, to take care of some pressing matters in my life. So, this post is the first one I read since your pipa post.

    I totally understand what you mean in the post. Just to refresh your memory, I was born in Japan and lived in Brazil for 17 years, then for 17 years in the States and now I live in Holland. And I will tell you, It took me almost 30 years of living outside of Brazil, your lifetime, to really stop complaining about Brazil. When my Brazilian born husband and I left Brazil, we thought that we had had enough of it. But, recently, when I spent a month in São Paulo, all the “mágoas” I had of Brazil were gone, my love for Brazil kind of exploded, and I enjoyed every second spent in Brazil. I guess, it happened because I am no longer economically and emotionally dependant on Brazil, and I can go there just to enjoy myself by immersing myself in Portuguese (I went to that new Museu da Língua Portuguesa in São Paulo) and in the vibrant energy that the country seems to be filled with now more than ever. Visiting my dear old friends and old places also filled me with enormous joy.

    In my opinion, a foreigner coming to live in Brazil for the first time as an adult can achieve happiness in Brazil only if he/she meets a sweet someone who can pull him/her right into Brazilian life by making you a dear member of his/her loving middle class to upper middle class family and also to give you free access to the network of his/her friends.

    I am saying this because on my trip from here to Brazil, I met a very happy German businessman living in Rio who fell into the category I mentioned above. He had a lovely Brazilian lawyer wife, and had everything going on for him including money matters, for he had a successful business (his company washes the ceilings of big old buildings) in Rio, Germany, Holland and States. He told me with a great smile that he loves Brazil, and he doesn’t want to live anywhere else.

    My husband and I left Brazil because we both come from struggling middle class families who went through lots of ups and downs, who hadn’t yet developed deep roots in Brazil, who had no other members of the family there besides the parents. In other words, we were not living the kind of desirable Brazilian life we wanted to have.

    But now I am facing the following problem: since “A língua é a sua pátria” and since Brazilian Portuguese comes closer to my heart than Japanese or English, I wonder how long I will be able to keep coping with the fact that I live where almost no one speaks Portuguese. My life seems to be incomplete without been surrounded by Brazilian Portuguese speaking people.

    I wish you a Happy 2013, and don’t feel uncomfortable complaining about Brazil. Just listen to Brazilians complain about their own country. It’s just impossible not to complain about it. Abraço! :)

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