I talked with Dennis today. I mention this only because, since he has been in Hawaii with his cousin, the opportunites to hear his voice have been markedly fewer. This is due to the seven-hour time difference and the fact that he is with his cousin in Hawaii; and who wants to talk to their girlfriends on other continents when they’re in Hawaii surfing and drinking with their cousins?!
So we talked. I think there are no words to describe how it feels to have my heart jump up into the back of my throat when I hear his voice on the other end of the phone. I have to swallow it back down to get out the words, “Hi Den! I miss you!”
Don’t get me wrong. I can totally function in his absence. I feel wonderful here; I totally, totally love Brazil, totally love my friends, totally love my kids and my job. This is such a cool experience and I’m thrilled to be here. But I think it’s completely fair to be at a loss, at times, realizing that I am missing the person I have come to love more than anything. (Except my mom, of course. She wins because I came out of her womb and it’s rude not to love that person the most. But Dennis wins for the Person Whose Womb I Did Not Come Out Of.) My friends here are all dating people, they’re speaking Portuguese left and right and understanding it up and down. They have people they can curl up with at the end of the day.
In my own country, I have that too. In my own country, I can understand everything (except algebra and why Bush was not only elected, but re-elected) AND I have The Person At The End Of The Day. So being here in a new place, where I get the words “outside” and “I’m hungry” confused with each other, AND being without The Person At The End Of The Day is difficult. It is made even more difficult because, when I first arrived Dennis and I formed a routine of talking to each other every day, and we now have to do mental math for each other’s respective time zone. I’ve already established math is not my power zone, so I’m pretty much starting in the red. I would attribute most of my shitty week to this sudden disruption of communication due to Dennis’ trip. Now more than ever, talking with him is not only a surprise treat, it is also good for my very soul.
Things might be different if I were single. Of course things would be different if I were single…there would be no one for whom I would feel this “saudade”–this “longing.” It’s not like this longing is debilitating–clearly I am active and busy often, probably more often than I want to be. But maybe I would be able to feel more…permanent…here. It’s hard to describe. Wait.
So…sometimes I feel like I am only a visitor here, like I will only stay for these two years, and then I’ll go home to the US and do whatever. But then there are other times, yesterday for example, when even in the very depths of my despair about not being able to understand anything here (which is a gross overexaggeration), I still want to consider this place my home. I was in the middle of sobbing and dialing the US, trying multiple numbers to no avail, when I thought to call Dennis’ mom to cheer me up (AND YES, MOM, I TRIED YOU FIRST BUT YOU WEREN’T HOME, DON’T WORRY). But then I stopped because I didn’t want her to convince me to leave Brazil! There are times when I am so happy here, so comfortable even WITH the language mess, that I think to myself, “Man, how will I convince Dennis to move here forever?” (AND NO, DENNIS’ MOM, WE HAVE NOT TALKED ABOUT THAT AT ALL, DON’T WORRY.)
But back to being single. Maybe if I were single I could just go out and date people. But the fact of the matter is, I don’t know how to “date” and I don’t find the guys I see here in Campinas to be particularly attractive anyway. Lots of them are short and I can’t handle that…(let me be the one to contribute the short genes to our future children, not the both of us, please.) They’re petite–their appearances are, anyway–and so nothing, absolutely nothing, compares to what I’ve already got.
Whenever I am surprised by Dennis’ phone call, I know more and more I am with the person I want to be with. A day passes, two days, three without talking and during that time, I have more and more saudade, more longing. It’s a cliche, yes. But as far as I can tell, it’s only cliche because it’s so damn true.