The year is rapidly coming to an end. In some ways this is a relief, and in other ways there are a lot of "what ifs" left hanging. I am constantly concerned about whether or not we are taking "advantage of the opportunity" of being in Brasil. Every night we stay home, I wonder if we missed something, every time someone tells us about something and we don't go I feel guilty, and every Saturday night at home is a missed opportunity.
It is funny that I expect something different from my life here. It is as though everything should change because you are in a different place, but it doesn't. Life is life. We go out here as much as we go out at home (well, maybe a little less). It is complicated to live in a big city without a car and deal with public transportation. All of the little things add up to making life just a little more difficult on a daily basis. And where do these expectations come from? Why is it assumed that living abroad means living some extravagant lifestyle that you never had before? I am here to say that, it is not so exotic. Most of the time spent is dealing with the bills, going to the grocery store, and trying to find something to eat for dinner. Occasionally there is a great samba party or art festival to go to...much like home when there is a great dance party in someone's kitchen.
We went to Arte em todo parte in Olinda on Sunday and it was wonderful. All of the artist's studios were open and we had a chance to go peek into all of the beautiful old houses in Olinda. The art festival in Olinda is based on Portas Abertas in Rio that gives people a chance to visit the artist's neighborhood of Santa Teresa. I had the opportunity to go to Portas Abertas in Rio and it was a constant flashback to that time as I wandered through Olinda. All of the houses have a beautiful facade, but appear to be quite small from the outside. When you enter, you realize that the house is enormous and the outside area is expansive. Most of the houses in Olinda have giant backyards full of trees and beautiful plants. Yet again, I want to live where I don't.
I love the idea of being surrounded by people making art, music, dance, etc. Olinda is where all of the cultural action is, and I have to take a field trip to get there. It is a choice, to live where the action is and commute to work, or to live where you work and commute to the party...it is a tough one. I am beginning to think that commuting to work is the way to go. If we stay here much longer, I am going to start looking for a house in Olinda. I should note that I love my house and it makes living in Recife wonderful. Okay, wonderful is a stretch, but I can't think of another word to describe it. We live in a lovely little white house tucked away from the madness about 5 minutes from where I work. We are centrally located, but far from it all. Coming home makes everything all right. I get to eat lunch at home (2 hours!) and it is just a quick jaunt from work to the oasis. Aside: 2 hours is the right amount of time for lunch. It is civilized. It is enough time to go eat at home with your family, pay the bills, get your hair cut, etc, but it is not as excessive as the 4-6 hour Spanish siesta. I don't know if I will be able to adapt to the inane 1 hour or less US lunch again. Lunch is the main meal of the day and should be treated as such. Long and leisurely accompanied by a wonderful juice (or whiskey).
We recently had friends living with us for 2 months and it made the house come alive. Now that they moved out we have two empty bedrooms and it seems like way too much space. I guess this is an invitation for those of you who want to come, stay awhile...We are now lonely, and want people to visit! (up to 3 months is fine, after that, we negotiate)
As always, Brasil has got the best of me..this is my third time here. What is it that brings me back? Something is making is difficult to stay away.