Everyone should take a time in their lives to live life at loud and travel. Exchange programs, a year traveling, some time to be in a country you don't know, to be with people you don't know, to try to speak a language you never spoke, and to open yourself to a new environment. These are the situations where you learn the most, you learn about life, about people and must of all, about yourself.
Two years ago I lived in a small town in the state of Rio de Janeiro called Saquarema. I was used to busy roads, a lot of noise, people rushing in life. I came to Saquarema to find the time stopped. My Saquarema is a place to hear your heart, one of the smallest town I have ever been, where the ugly noise of cars is substituted by the soft sound of big waves. People is relaxed and happy with simple and humble life. Things as malls, cinemas, didn't exist in this town, the beach, football, volleyball, skate, were their entreatment, their way to live life. I had the great opportunity to travel around Brazil, meeting new people and the most beautiful places I have ever been. Life was perfect.
I was an insecure girl, who didn't found her place in the world and in herself, Brazil was the perfect place for me to be, I learned a lot. I came from a country and city where you are criticized really easily, specially if you don't choose your friends carefully, which was my bigger mistake. Brazilian culture opened its arms to me, it welcomed me, it felt like home really quickly. In a country full of nature, beauty and easy happiness, I found my place easily.
Even if I felt lost in Mexico, I knew who I was, and I knew since I was a little girl that I wanted to travel and meet people from all around the world with same ideas as me, to find a group of people where I would not be criticized but loved. I was in Brazil because of a Rotary exchange program. For some reasons of life, me and my exchange students friends where specially picked from each country to be together in Brazil, we where the perfect mixture of people. Since the first moment we met we became friends, and with time out friendship because a strong bound that begun to call family. I'm so thankful I met them, I never had such special people around, who I could feel so comfortable and happy. The most important thing is that they made me feel special and unique, things that I needed to hear and feel. We where young and wild, we cried together, we laughed together, we ate like pigs, we had long conversations where we said things we never said to anyone, we danced until our feet hurt (One time I even danced with 39º of fever thinking that I couldn't waste my time) we where drunk together, we where silly together, we cuddle, we figted, we got mad and smiled again, we became a family. As an exchange student in a beautiful and happy country as Brazil, school didn't cared, life was around us. I lived two hours away from the city they where all living. I didn't cared, must of my time I was in Cabo Frio, and the other half I was in Saquarema. At first I didn't liked this, to live in another city where I felt alone and didn't had them to be with me all the time. But as time passed I learned to love Saquarema, a place that gave me the loneliness and silence I needed for myself. I use to ride my bike and explore the lonely places, I spent a lot of time at the beach looking at the surfers, feeling the strong sun on my skin, swimming in the cold ocean. I didn't had a lot of Brazilian friends, but the few that I made, where the most special ones. I stayed in 3 different families, I learned a lot in each one of them, but the 3rd one was the most especial. They adopted me as another child of them, their house was a sanctuary for me. My host father Ivan worked with an airplane company and traveled all around the world, he shared with me his stories and adventures, and now he dedicates to carpentry, almost all his house is made by him, a unique places full of things from all over the world, full of plants and light. My host mom Ana Cristina was kind and funny woman, her loud laughs remind me of my own mom, and that made me love her even more. My little brother Iago was a little boy full of energy and light, I miss them so much. I had another 3 brother which lived in Niteroid and Rio, but I also had a few fun adventures with them. Oh, I miss them so much.
When I came back from Brazil, I was ready to start a new life, to know more people as I use to do in Brazil, and implement all the things I learned. Reality slapped my face and realized that this was the place I escaped a year ago. I can't count how many times I cried in my room, in the bathroom school, the awful nightmares I had, and some tears that escaped from my eyes when I didn't want to cry. I think I learned more things about life the year after I came back from Brazil then in my exchange year. But even if I wasn't happy in Mexico, I came back as a different person, with an open mind and ready to live the life. I started to see my home city as a different place. I realized that if I was so mad because I thought that my city was full of plastic people, I would continue seeing plastic people, blinding myself to see the kind and good ones. I decided to meet good people, and to be a kind person so kind people could come to me. It was up to me to have a positive way of seeing things. I made the decision to be happy. I made the decision to be happy here, there and everywhere.
Things have changed so much since that day. Amazing things have happened and now I can say that I'm in love of my city, I have wonderful friends here with me and I'm still in contact with the ones I did in Brazil. It was always my decision to choose how to live my life. If I leave this place again it will be as a decision and because I want to explore, not because I am escaping. I realized that if I escape from one place, my own shadows will follow me. I maybe be happy but will always have to look back to see the place I come and feel sad. I think we need to feel satisfied and peaceful with the place we come from. Now everything is healed for me, and I feel so happy. Thats why Brazil is such a special place for me, it was the place where I healed my heart.
I couldn't come to this point of happiness without that year of extreme happiness in Brazil, and also that year of darkness before and after Brazil. I lived what I had to live to feel this way. And I'm so happy for all the things that happened because it makes me the person who I am today.
There where so many times in Brazil where I use to think "Clara, this is life, breath and inhale all the greatness that surounds you. Enjoy." I now do this a lot, even with the small things. It makes you enjoy life better.
I love you Noora (Finland), Ivana (Slovakia), Edward (France), Ben (Germany), Tianna (USA) I'll see you in summer, FINALLY!.
Little love memories:
The sound of waves at nights.
Sound of nature
Long bus rides with beautiful views
Cold water touching my feet at the beach
Guaravita in a hot day
The sound of samba from the neighbors party
Sandals all the time
English, Spanish, Portuguese all at the same time
Visits to beautiful Rio
ps. I took and edited these photos two years ago with my old camera. At that time I did't focus myself on taking photos, just to live the moment, but here are some of the ones I took. They are photos of my friends, special places and feelings. I wish I could have more.