Saturday, August 22, 2015

For The First Time In Forever

Yes, I was absolutely quoting Frozen.

It's no secret that I love Honduras. Within five minutes of meeting me, anyone will know that it's my favorite place on Earth. Which can be really unfortunate when living in countries that are not Honduras and interacting with people who are not Hondurans. For example, living in Rio de Janeiro.

When asked about living in Rio de Janeiro, people back home could tell that I wasn't as happy living in Rio as I was in Honduras. They would ask, I would give short answers that absolutely didn't invite further discussion. "It's nice." "I like it." 

And I felt like a horrible person. Because Rio de Janeiro is an incredible city and the people I have met here are amazing and I was totally selling them short. And I wasn't selling them short for legitimate reasons, I was doing it because I couldn't let go of the past.

I have always felt at peace about moving to Rio de Janeiro. At the beginning, I was rarely happy about it, but I always knew that it was what God wanted me to do. I knew it when I told my Grade 1 students that I wasn't coming back to be their Grade 2 teacher and they said "It's okay. God told Jonah to do something he didn't want to do and he got swallowed by a whale. You don't want to be swallowed by a whale." I knew it when my visa hadn't gone through and the school didn't give up on me. I knew it was the right thing to do, but that didn't mean it was the easy thing to do.

When I arrived in Rio de Janeiro last October, I was miserable. My first words to my new roommates were "Do you have something that I can throw up in?" My days started and ended with tears and trips to the bathroom to throw up. I didn't eat very much and was nauseous all. the. time. I cried to the nurse and I cried to my supervisor. 

I was miserable because I wouldn't let myself love another place. I was miserable because Rio de Janeiro, Brazil wasn't Siguatepeque, Honduras.

I stuck it out, mainly because I was too poor to buy a plane ticket home. I gave myself until Christmas. I would last until Christmas and if I was still miserable, I wouldn't come back in February. 

As they have a tendency to, things got easier. I (thankfully) stopped throwing up. I didn't get nauseous. I didn't cry every day. Christmas came and went, and in February I was on a plane back to Rio. Not only was I on a plane back to Rio, but I was returning with the decision to stay to teach for another school year. 

I decided to return because I had made awesome friends. I decided to return because I really like my school. I decided to return because living in Rio is incredible. I decided to return because I was letting myself love two places, I just didn't realize it yet.

But then I flew to Las Vegas for my sister's wedding and saw a billboard similar to this one in the Atlanta airport. I was a little surprised to realize that seeing it made me a little bit homesick for the city that I had just left. After 12 hours of travel with at least 6 still ahead of me, I assumed that I was homesick for a bed and real food and a bathroom that wasn't the size of a shoe box.

Photo from: DGA Photoshop
Then in Las Vegas, I heard Portuguese everywhere. I heard almost as much Portuguese as I did English and Spanish. Again, I was a little surprised to find myself excited to hear (and understand) Portuguese. Just a few weeks ago, I heard Portuguese in the airport and rolled my eyes. Now all of sudden, I was frantically trying to think of how to tell these strangers that I live in Rio de Janeiro in Portuguese.

Later still, I was walking through the Las Vegas airport and saw this mural of Rio de Janeiro painted by school-age children in Las Vegas.

And seeing that didn't make me scoff and roll my eyes either. It actually made me excited to be boarding a plane back to that very city.

At the risk of sounding like Anna, for the first time in... forever, I realized that I really, truly love Rio de Janeiro. I really, truly love living in Rio de Janeiro.

It took me TEN MONTHS to feel that way. And realizing that took a huge weight off of my shoulders. I do love where I am. I'm happy where I am. I love my school, I love my friends, I love this city. After ten months, I can adequately give Rio the praises that it deserves.

The "keep calm" part is always up for discussion.

Move to Rio de Janeiro? Check.
Live in Rio? Check.
Love Rio? Finally. Check.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you, Cait! Grateful you have peace with it...and you are following God's lead.��
    Love you, Dad.