I’m Telling You This for the Last Time

I don't know what to say, except that it's close to the end here in Brazil, and it has been a whirlwind of emotions, and things to do, and anxiety, and parties with friends, and alcohol, and emotions, and wait…I already said that.

Update: until last week, I was excercising every day, just like I said I would try. But this last week I didn't make it…unless you include frantic sprints or angry gesticulations towards bus drivers. But I'm sure anxiety burns it's share of calories, so maybe I'm ok. Except no, I'm not.

Uma cesta de Natal: cheio de coisas que você não quer :)

Another update of sorts: after I blogged about that special graffiti in my old neighborhood (notice I said “old neighborhood”–that is because I did succeed in moving out of my apartment. Juuuuuuuust barely. Money and tears can do wonders. And money. Did I mention money?) there were some folks that reminded me that it's not true that “no one cares.” You are right. Sometimes my language tends towards the realm of extremes. Well, maybe all the time. But here is what I meant: there are some who care, yes, but there is such an overwhelming majority that are indifferent or ignorant or apathetic or lazy that it brings all the rest who care down. In fact, it wears us out so much that sometimes we even forget that we care, and we start making excuses for the majority that don't care, saying that the situation is complicated, and we try to offer excuses for them. But here is the reality: it is not complicated. Life is ugly. Cultures are not perfect. We all have improvements to make, and those improvements require LOTS of work. I am worried about Brazil, but I have not yet given up hope.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve…doesn't matter your tradition, your religion, your culture: now is a season of hope. And it's also a season of mistakes. Of reality. Of shitty decisions. Of grace. I wish you all the best, but you must understand, MY best includes things that you may not want: truth, tears, chocolate, suffering, good music, hoppy beer, loud voices, perfect cookies, children laughing and complaining, difficult questions, beach vacations, forever covenants. If you don't want my best, ok, don't take it. But this is all I have to offer. Beijos! Até a próxima!

 

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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.

 

Wearing Gloves is Advisable.

One helpful thing for you all who read this blog (a number which I hope is growing, if for nothing else than my terribly hungry ego) to understand is that I am…well…not always such a nice person. I think a good word to describe me could be “prickly,” but others may choose asshole, or blunt, or truthful to a fault, or something else worse that I choose not to publish here. For elaboration, I think a picture/video essay would be apropos.

I think cacti are a good “plant comparison” for me (as I'm sure you all were wondering, “Hmm, I wonder what a good “plant comparison” for Matt would be?). I have an appreciation for them having lived in the Southwest of the United States for ten years, and I do think they are beautiful. But getting close enough to touch them is not advisable! I mean, we cacti produce fruit and flowers and such, but we're also going to prick you if you touch us, because, hey, we're prickly and that's what prickly things do.

I think “dog analogies” can also be helpful, don't you? I love dogs. And of all the breeds of dogs, German Shepherds are not my favorite. Just being honest. They are a crunchy breed, often “one-family” dogs, and if you mess with them, they will bite. Also, without all that thick lustrous hair, they would not be so attractive or youthful looking.

Yes, Jerry is one of my favorites, but not only for his brilliance, but also because his character on “Seinfeld” was, well, not quite the vision of perfection himself, and yet he always seems to be looking for perfection in others. But he makes people laugh, and so they let him get away with it. This clip of different phone calls is classic Jerry: there is never a bad time for a joke. Never.

Yeah, I read the book. But more importantly, I am just the kind of person who is ALWAYS trying to improve what's inside and outside of me. Some people don't like the constant critique, but hey, I'm used to it.

I don't hide my emotions/thoughts.
This does not always mix well with the cultural syrupy sweetness that surrounds me.
Bon Apetit!