Today if I could I would be in Paris with G and P. I would be sitting on a bench near the river eating a baguette and brie watching the spring blossoms and the boats. I would be be walking through the tiny streets filled with shops and boutiques. I would stop for a café au lait. I would eat a croissant. I would be wearing a spring dress and little peep-toe heels. I would sip a good glass of french red wine. It would be a swell day.
Posts tagged ‘Travelling Women’
After the relaxing two and a half weeks I had with my parents its hard to face the reality of Sao Paulo again. When my parents came to visit I felt like I did every time I have visited Brazil… I felt like it was this magical country that is filled with beautiful people, rich culture, exquisite food (even if the best part is…its fried) it was so good to once again have a positive perspective on things. I found comfort in having my parents here… people that I knew… people that knew me… people who understood where I came from. Please don’t get me wrong I have met very nice people in Brazil, but there is and always will be some sort of gap… a space that isn’t filled… a space that you will keep wanting to fill. I suppose it’s culture that does it. Or maybe sometimes you do it to yourself. Anyways, my point is Sao Paulo is different when you’re on vacation than when you live here.
Is it possible to be on vacation in the city you live in? I guess for me it was! I didn’t need to take public transportation, I didn’t need to worry about time, money, traffic, writing reports and looking over my shoulder to make sure I’m safe. No sir (and ma’am)…I walked the streets like I owned the town. I ate out without worrying about money. I enjoyed the city. And it gave me a chance to sit back and realize what Sao Paulo is all about… eating, working and playing. People come here from all over the world and all over Brazil. They come because Sao Paulo is the next big thing… it’s changing right before your eyes. It has opportunities that Brazil hasn’t seen for years. It is Brazil’s biggest hope! So yeah… they work hard here… they play hard… and you better bet your bottom dollar that they eat hard too.
It doesn’t mean Sao Paulo is without it’s flaws. Anyone that knows anything about anywhere knows this. Its a city where the difference between poor and rich is so clear it makes you feel a little nauseous. Where it may be common to see thousands living among makeshift brick homes along the hillsides where the rich look down upon from their tall apartment buildings. But what can you do? You are living in a city where community is a scarce word, where your neighbor is even looking for a bargain from you and where you find yourself doing and thinking things you didn’t think you would.
I’m stuck. Stuck in between two worlds! I can’t figure out what to do!
Sao Paulo is an interesting journey…
After writing and erasing and writing and erasing…after motivated then unmotivated then motivated then unmotivated…after happy then sad then happy then sad…after busy then lonely then tired then lazy… I am attempting to write my first entry in a month. I guess life happens… it gets in the way sometimes. You don’t know what to do with it and as a result you just aren’t quite yourself.
Either way, here I am! In this massive megalopolis called São Paulo. This city is not for the faint of heart however and kicks your butt when you least expect it (I have learned to expect everything now). The city where more than 20 million people consider home, where you could be stuck in traffic for 5 hours, where helicopter traffic exists, where the best chefs compete, and where the skyscrapers are your scenic view… is where I am trying to find my home.
After spending almost a year in Sevilla (700,000 people) it was and is a big change, but a necessary one. G found work straight away and is paying off his debts and saving for some new nomadic travels. I am teaching (slowly, but surely) and we are trying to make the most of our time in Sampa.
When I was still back in Sevilla I had been trying to find some blogs speaking about São Paulo and about people who had moved to São Paulo. I found one in particular whose blog saved my life. She is Canadian and has been living in São Paulo for a year. As soon as I arrived I contacted her and we met for drinks and then almost every 3 days we met again for something or another. She was my savior! I confided in her and she helped me with work, classes, students, my mental state, and gaining weight (by eating cookies). She has now moved back to Canada and is enjoying the life of fresh air and maple syrup. However, I hope during my time here I can be the same light she was to me when I first came.
I’m excited to write about this new city I’m exploring, the new language I’m learning, and the new me I shall no doubt become.
Tchau for now…
I read a blog post by Almost Fearless the other day that got me thinking (actually it was posted by a guest-blogger on her blog). The post was about what travel days show us. Most people I know, including myself, despise travel days… the lines, the waiting, the junk food, the bathroom stops and the smelly passenger. However, this post made me think of them in a different way.
It carries on saying that travel days should be considered a luxury. They are days to think and days to reflect on the past, present or future. I began to think more about this and sure enough… it was true! All the days spent on and in buses, trains, planes, taxis, sheruts, cars, boats were some of the best days of my trips (if I put aside some of the previously mentioned things).
While living in Argentina we took many bus rides through the night and I remember many bus rides I would spend just sitting and looking aimlessly through the window… but thinking…pondering… or listening to music. A song would come on and I would think of something or someone else…a memory…an event.
Again, on the Middle East trips, the travel days (oh and there were so many) were a blessing. They forced me to sit and relax, rest, and prepare for the next step. They allowed me to meditate on the days before… what had happened, who I met, what I saw. It was a moment that I otherwise wouldn’t have given myself and a moment necessary for all travelers.
Often I spend so much time planning a trip, some time on the trip, and even less time reflecting the trip. Actually, I often forget what happened… small details… people I encountered, conversations I had. For this reason, the days in between travels are for recording these events… either on paper or in our mind. The moments spent with only ourselves (and the smelly passenger) are the moments we should cherish the most.
I remember waiting at a bus station in Syria somewhere between Palmyra and the Iraq Border and waiting for hours… but more than this I remember the time I had to observe the people and the culture around me. The striking difference in communication between men and men, women and women and men and woman. I remember observing the looks people gave me (being the only foreigner). I remember observing the positions and places where men and women would sit. It was a time of reflection and I see that now.
In the hustle and bustle of traveling I often forget to do the most important thing. Sit. Think. Observe.
Travel days confirm our beliefs or ideas. They contradict and negate others. They anticipate future plans and keep an eye on the present.
Think about it the next time you curse the unforeseen travel day.
p.s.- Especially with an exploding Volcano, travel days seem to be more common over here.
I met up with two of my dear friends from when I lived in Zurich and it was more than grand. Milan was the chosen city because we had an apartment to stay at and thanks to Ryanair we were all able to find cheap flights. I also saw another dear Italian friend who lives there permanently.
I loved meeting up with them and spending quality girl time…gossiping…drinking…shopping…eating…and laughing so hard we cried. I only wish we saw each other more often, but in the end a friend is a friend and the 7 years apart quickly disappeared and it felt like yesterday when we graduated high school all together…so scared and so excited about the world awaiting us.
Until next time girls…I shall love you and miss you.