What I’m Looking For

The best part of saying “this is the LAST time” is changing your mind.

That said, I have found the perfect thing to do on my last morning here in beautiful Belo Horizonte. Ok, so it really isn't all that ground breaking that I would be reading the New York Times, but the article (or group of stories, really) that I found could not be a more fitting close. “The Lives They Loved” is a collection of short obituaries written by family members or loved ones and accompanied by a photo. No, I'm not dying, and no, I'm not overly morbid, but as I was reading, I was overwhelmed by two things: One, my life is not nearly over yet (I hope!), and two, I could not be making a better decision–now is definitely the right time to return.

I know that people often say nicer things in obituaries than were the reality, but as I was reading folks saying things like: “I never heard him say a mean thing about another person,” and “she saw potential in everyone she met” I realized that some goals are just not within my reach. I'm just being honest with myself–I am far from perfect, and I'm okay with that, most of the time. But I have no regrets either, and I look back on much of my life, including these last four years here in Brasil with joy and thankfulness.

And if there is one thing I have learned from the culture here in Minas, it is the importance of family. Yes, there have been many occaisions where the blind devotion I have observed in many Brazilian families has seemed absurd, crazy, time-consuming and burdensome. But there is beauty in extremity, and in the end, don't we all want to be able to tell unforgettable stories about those that we loved? Well, that's what I want, and just like any good story, this next one will require proximity, patience, and sacrifice before it can be well-told.

So, this morning as I was reading and drinking my coffee, my son came into the room, and with my emotions running high I grabbed him from reading the Guiness Book of World Records to hug him tightly. “Are you ready, buddy?” I asked, with the full weight of what is to come. I waited. “Well, I really have to go to the bathroom now.” Sigh. I guess we aren't all looking for the same thing.

Thanks so much, Brasil, it was worth every sacrifice. Now we are off to learn some new stories. Grande Abraço!

Foi inesquecível pra todos nós.

 

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This is What it Sounds Like

It's 7:30 in the morning, and I am already fielding emails and sifting through dates and events in my calendar. I probably shouldn't be writing, but I will keep it short.

My mom (and maybe yours too) used to say “You can never have too much of a good thing.”

I'm not going to argue with that, except maybe to tweak it a bit. You CAN have too many good things. I suppose it doesn't help that I have children–just multiply all those good things by three. Oh, and add in my wife, too.

Do you hear that? It's the sound my heart being stretched and pulled and…eventually I guess I'll just leave part of it here. That's a good thing too.

 

The Other is Gold

Google strikes again

 

I like to watch TV. In fact, I would really like to be watching something now. But I can sink my eyes into that endless tube of telly anytime–in fact I already watched part of a movie earlier today. I'm trying to be more disciplined here. And I have things to say–things that won't just write themselves on their own. I could just let them go unsaid…but that wouldn't be so much fun now, would it? And remember, IM4FUN.

It will look like this when we return

 

So, the big news around here is that in about a month, we are moving back to the good ol' US of A. Some of you that read already know, and some do not. Now you all know. It's been a good ride here in Belo Horizonte, but it's time. Time for what? For new adventure, of course! For roads untravelled! For discomfort, and new places, and … colder weather!

 

I do love it here, though. I love you, Brasil. What's that, you say? You couldn't really tell???

Yes, I understand. My love is not that groovy kind of love we all sang and dreampt about in the 80s. No, my love has always ebbed to the truthier side of things. If I love you, I'll tell you EXACTLY what I think in curt direct sentences. Just ask my wife. Actually, don't ask her, just trust me on this one.

So as we leave, I'll be truthing it up here. And the truth is, I'm going to miss you, Brasil.

I promise, I'll write!

I'm gonna miss all your crazy monkey-ass laws that no one knows but everyone has to follow at certain times that will be revealed only when it is time. I'm gonna miss all the beautiful people who have laid their lives down for us, and the raucous drivers who have tried on many occaisions to take our lives. I'm gonna miss the coldest beer I never would have drank, and some of the best beers I have ever tasted. I'll miss your children who greet me with a kiss on the cheek, and all of the plentifully unhelpful and snarky clerks that fill the ailes and counters of each and every retail establishment. I will miss your rolling hills, your samba, and your Verdi-esque anthems. Your pão de queijo, your goopy bowls of desserts, your mangos, your meat.

I'm serious too–I really will miss all these things. Heck, I'll probably even miss my inarticulate ramblings in Portuguese. Not so much for the actual inarticulate awkwardness of it all, but because I DID IT. WE DID IT. We have adapted to life here, and while Brasil may not have always completely accepted us (which is a completely “normal” feeling for an immigrant–not meant negatively in ANY way), we have accepted Brasil. The good and the bad. And we are sad to leave.

It's the beginning of the end, but I'll never forget you. Let's become old friends; those are the best kind.