22 julho 2011

Collection of thoughts

Enquanto esteve no Brasil o Steve, o meu PIF, surpreendeu-se com a nossa cultura e os nossos encantos. Incentivei-o a escrever sobre estas percepções pois assim ficaria registrado. Hoje ele me enviou este texto e me encheu de alegria. Pedi permissão para compartilhá-lo com vocês e aqui está o primeiro post escrito pelo meu lord, a tampa loira da minha panela! Se precisar use o google tradutor e... enjoy it!  

The first time I met IF she asked me if I knew anything about Brazil?  A fair question and one that some of you asked me over the past few weeks.  To be honest, I’ve never been to South America and I was only familiar with the famous sites, film and songs of Rio.  We recently went to see the Disney movie “Rio” that paints the picture of the beauty as well as the socioeconomic issues.  My company has an office in Sao Paulo so I talk with my Brazillian counterpart a few times a year.  I was very curious to have my own perspective and was invited a few months ago by IF to learn more.   I finally arrived on July 1st with an open mind and heart.  This is a short collection of things that I learned during my visit to Brazil:

Family is First - Brazilians appreciate their family and it is common for sons/daughters to stay home until they are married or well into their adult lives.  They also have great respect and take care of their parents after they retire and become elderly.  Americans have the same beliefs but sometimes we send our 18 year old children to war, university or a career far from their family.  Sometimes they never return or live far away and you only see them during the holidays.  I think differently now and will hold on to my children at home as long as possible.

Brazil is Beautiful - I've traveled (North America, Central America & Europe) and when we reached the top of Morro da Urca I thought Rio was the most beautiful city in the world!  It was obvious that you could spend months getting lost in the sites of this city.  I will always remember our hotel on the beach where you could hear the waves crashing with views of Ipanema.  One of the best surprises was exploring the village of Santa Teresa enjoying Bohemian style restaurants, live jazz and walking through the streets.  The trip to Shangri-La was good for the soul.  A beautiful home in the countryside was just the place I needed for rest and relaxation.

Language barriers are tall and thick, but it was an adventure finding ways to tear them down.  Within days I was driving, shopping and had a membership to the fitness gym.  This was my first real integration within a foreign country.   It was a good lesson to feel like a minority and unable to speak the language. There were a few times I would sit at at dinner party without understanding any of the conversations.  It was fun to watch and try to interprete what everyone was talking about. 
I was impressed with how many people spoke English and their willingness to engage in conversation never leaving me out.
It’s custom to have a light breakfast wtih bread, papaya and homemade coffee.  Goodbye Starbucks. This will be my go to here in California.   I will miss a big lunch with salt steak, salad, rice, passion fruits and caipirinhas.  My new favorite meal is shrimp Moqueca with an ice cold chopp.

There was a lesson in sincerity that Brazilians have for their underprivileged children.  One day IF scheduled a time to drop off milk at a school in a poor area of Salvador.  This was an opportunity for me to experience some of real problems that exist in Brazil.  We were clearly in a dangerous village escorted by a school Director and bodyguard.  I remember seeing the worst unsanitary living conditions without plumbing or running water.   Upon our arrival it was rewarding to see how receptive the children were to our visit by signing songs and taking pictures.   This was not the only example. The following day I was invited to sit with IF at a planning meeting for Voluntarios de Coracao that is hosting an event July 30st to raise money for charity.  Again, I didn’t understand any of the conversation but enjoyed watching the interaction of the committee.  Good luck IF, Beth & Socorro!!  I’ve learned there are a lot of people out there, and they are living their own lives with their own problems. Think about yourself less. 

The best part of my visit was meeting IF’s friends and family.  Since my arrival I felt very welcomed by everyone.  It's amazing how quickly some of my Brazilian Facebook friends turned into real people.  Now my plane is boarding for Los Angeles and all good things must come to an end. I am much better for this experience so thank you!  I sincerely hope I make it back to Brazil, and soon.  Especially since I left such a big piece of my heart

Written by Stephen Wesch, my love.

10 comentários:

  1. Ai que lindo, Val...ate chorei! E que foto magnifica!!! Da pra sentir o amor e a alegria de voces! Eh presente de Deus, mesmo :))

  2. Beautiful and lovely, the couple and the sentiments.

  3. E ainda por cima tem essa sensibilidade e inteligência....You are a lucky girl!!!!

  4. Muito lindo Steve, me emocionei várias vezes!

    Seja bem vindo aos amigos da IF!



    Hi Steve, Bye Steve


  5. I just loved it! Wish you guys all the best!

  6. As vezes nos não percebemos o que tem de bom ao redor das nossas vidas e é preciso que outra pessoa nos mostre. Legal!

  7. I just loved the way you express yourself about your brazilian experience. I think you got the deal... and I could capt the sincerity you showed in your face which smile was really natural and genuine...
    Whatever the future holds we should all be very greatfull for the special moments we had in family because you and my daughter deserve the best because you both are wonderful persons.

  8. Incrível, quanta sensibilidade. Um beijo Steve e seja sempre muito bem vindo, dia 30 vc será lembrado. Bjs

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