Before I knew it, the tears were welling up in my eyes and my throat was tight trying to choke out the words I was trying to say about Brazil. I was in my classroom with Mandy talking about our time here and suddenly I was shaking my head with confusion about where the tears were coming from. She’d said to me, “Maybe you feel like you haven’t had enough of Brazil yet,” and then…the tears. She was right, of course, because I’ve only been here for a year. And how could I possibly think I’ve had “enough” of Brazil when I’ve not even scratched the surface of this country? I’ve stayed within the same 8-hour driving radius for a year which altogether is probably 3% of what this country has to offer. All of the places I’ve visited so far–Rio, Bombinhas, Itatiaia, Sao Paulo, Trindade just to name a few–have made me feel adventurous and relaxed and excited and alive. How is it possible I would want to leave a place that fills me with such life?
Today I was feeling jealous. I read an article in the NY Times about really smart people at MIT who are working together to invent things to help people in impoverished countries make their lives easier. The article mentioned several “professionals” in various industries and I began to wonder what it was that I was “professional” about. What is it that I love more than anything? What is it that, if given the chance, I would do for the rest of my life with passion? Besides reading and eating, of course, I couldn’t think of anything. I’m not a scientist, I’m not into technical stuff, I’m not one of the Great Thinkers, there’s no profession out there on the planet that makes me want to study and work to earn a Ph.D. and be deemed a “professional.” And then I thought of travel. If there were a Ph.D in travel, I’d be in school for life. So why would I want to stop traveling here in Brazil? I suppose it all depends on your definition of “traveling,” because we all are quite literally traveling along the course of our lives. I think I just prefer to be able to speak Portuguese along the course of mine. (And now I am thinking back to a year ago when I was fumbling around with words and self-esteem about Portuguese. And now a year later…?)
Yesterday as I was writing that post about the upcoming decision, Dennis called. And because I can’t keep my mouth shut as my mind is processing something, I told him I’d been thinking about staying on here a third year. The hurt in his voice, or the concern in his voice, was palpable and I regretted telling him anything. There’s part of me that wants to include him in my decision making, and then there’s the other part that says it’s only fair for me to make the decision on my own.
Today we talked again and I told him I felt bad about putting my indecision upon him yesterday and he told me, “You need to make the decision that’s right for you, that’s going to make you feel happy. You’ve made sacrifices for people in the past and now you need to make the decision for yourself.” This is probably Reason #429 Why Dennis Is Amazing. I guess the point is that I have a decision to make and either way I’m going to a good thing: either I travel back to the States to my family and to Dennis and to work, or I stay here and get to travel in Portuguese a little while longer.
Quem sabe? Vamos ver.