Lessons from Brazil

“How was Brazil? Was it crazy? What did you do?”

I’m back from Brazil now, and a lot of people are excited to see me again -like that little girl in the picture hugging my hand to her face – that would be my littlest sister, Karina. She picked me up from the airport… with my dad, of course. Anyways, the people, the people. The first thing they want to do is hear all about my trip to Brazil. They want to know what I DID while I was away. It’s weird because I’m not really sure what to tell them.

I changed. That’s what I was busy doing. I was busy learning new things about myself and experiencing a different way to view life and respond to the people around me. That’s a bit hard to put into words. Aaaand, I’m guessing that’s probably a bit deeper than they were bargaining for when they asked.

With that said, I thought I would finish up my Brazil posts with some lessons I learned on my trip. Here we go.

Lesson #1: God is Everywhere

The first time I traveled internationally, I remember anxiety when I thought I had left God by leaving the place I knew. That proves how self-centered I am. I am the small momentary creation and he is the CREATOR of the past, present, and future universe, and I thought I had left HIM. Ha! I guess when you build a relationship with God in one place, it’s easy to forget that he’s everywhere else as well. Trust me, there’s no way you could travel away from God.

I knew God would be with me in Brazil. There’s no possible way that he could ever leave me. God is in the air I breathe. God is all of what I can see and all of what I cannot see. He’s every thing I touch and everything that touches me. How could I ever escape that?

I asked God for help before I left for Brazil. He answered. I asked God for help while I was in Brazil. He answered. Never once did he fail to provide for me. I think that’s the special thing about travelling on an unplanned trip. It makes you needy – which is important. You HAVE to rely on God.

We need to feel like we don’t have it in control every once and awhile so that we realize: we never had it in control. There’s no such thing as control. It’s an illusion.

God can take care of us a lot easier when we let Him.

Lesson #2: Differences are Okay

We’re so scared of what’s different from us. When I arrived in Rio, I could only see how different it was from the United States. I worried I was in over my head. Maybe it was too different, too scary. What was I doing there?

As I spent more time in Rio, I realized – it’s not so different. It’s basically the same. It’s like how genres of music can seem so different from each other, but when you break it down – it’s all sound. Music is just a combination of notes and beats that becomes something more unique, interesting and different because of the new way the same old stuff has been put together.

Brazil is like a different sort of music from the United States. It’s different, but good. I don’t think I ever realized life could be like this particular rhythm.

Brazil has a certain charm that is not obvious at first. It took me unaware. Without realizing it, I began to like the differences. I began to embrace the culture. I began to embrace the trash on the streets and the graffiti on the buildings. Brazilians have a wild spirit. They’re civilized – but still a little primal. They compete for their women. They protect against danger. They give into impulses more. They’re a little less filtered. They resist rules and regulations – especially while driving.

It’s different. But, it’s also beautiful. Differences are nice.

Lesson #3: How to be a Woman that NEEDS a Man

This is probably the biggest lesson I learned in Brazil and it’s very hard to communicate without sounding boastful. I’m going to write this very carefully.

In all of my twenty-six years of life, a good portion of it has been dependent on my parents and family to raise me and take care of me. However, within the last 4-8 years, I have become more independent. I pay my own bills. I make my own decisions. I fight my own fights. I feed my own belly. I take care of myself. Essentially, I’ve learned how to live without thinking that I NEEDED anyone else. I became self-sufficient (or so I thought – this was an illusion,of course).

When I went to Brazil, all of this bravado left me. I was in a new culture where it was not safe to a woman alone at night. I had money, but having it made me less safe. People wanted my money. I had a phone, but it did me little good. People wanted my phone and it was useless anyways since my phone plan wouldn’t allow for international calls or data services. I was unable to buy my own food at a restaurant because I couldn’t pronounce the words to order it. I was in new situations where I had no awareness of danger because my past had not prepared me to look for this kind of danger. Sure… I’m a strong woman; but, that didn’t make me safe. That made me a challenge.

For one of the first times in my life, I could not take care of myself as a single woman. I needed a man (luckily, there were willing men everywhere -some with good intentions and some with not-so-good intentions). The point is, I knew I needed one. It was a matter of survival. So… I got one.

After I had one, I found that I liked being a female who was dependent on a man. I was treated like a princess. Every need was anticipated and met. It was about taking care of me and providing for me.

It was lovely.

I wondered why it was so different from my experiences in the United States. I think it was different in Brazil because I was different in Brazil.

In the United States I’m a strong, independent woman with a dominant personality and I think I’ve been cutting the feet out from underneath the men I dated. I communicated to them that I did not need them. That’s tough for a man.

I think men are probably wired to take care of females and we’ve done something to confuse their wiring when we became so independent. They need to be needed, but we’re not acting like we need them. As a result, they feel less like a man and we wonder where all the “real men” went. I was not allowing them to be as good as they could have been.

In Brazil, I realized how much women need men to be men and how much men need women to be women. I like being a woman.

Women and men fit together better than we’ll ever understand. We need each other. We complement each other. Unfortunately, we think we don’t need each other. That’s hurting us. We’ve got to get back to the basics.

Lesson #4: Saying Goodbye

Sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye, but it’s necessary if we want to allow new things to come into our lives.

I was so sad when I came home from Brazil because I missed all of my friends I met while I was there. I missed my Brazilian boyfriend. I missed how warm and welcoming the culture is in Brazil. The United States seems so emotionally cold after being there. I missed my peppy upbeat writing… every time I attempted to write after getting back I stopped because I was sure I would depress everyone reading. I was S-A-D.

But… my life goes on.

Since coming back to the United States I’ve been back to my routine: work, write, work-out, church, family, friends. My routine is not a chore, it’s a blessing. My first couple of days back to work have been great. I’ve been able to touch new lives see all of my “work-family” that I missed while I was gone. I also started a new Bible Study the Sunday after I got back and instantly made new friends. And, I’ve had the chance to spend some great time with my family here in Missouri – which is a constant blessing to me. Some old and some new, but it’s all good stuff.

In truth, I love both places. Even though I was sad to be leaving Brazil, I’m excited to be back with my peeps in Missouri.

There is so much to be thankful for in my life.

Last, but not least… I wanted to take one minute to say thank you to all the WONDERFUL people I met in Brazil. You all made my trip.

I’m thankful for the lessons and the part of me that developed while I was away. I’ll never be able to separate myself from the experiences I had in Brazil. That means I’ll never be able to separate myself from the people that helped them happen. There are new parts of me that exist now that might not have ever existed without Brazil and the people I met here.

THANK YOU! You made a real difference in my life. I’ll carry that part of you with me – even in a place as far away as Missouri.

Kisses! Sarah (a.k.a. “Missouri,” “Young Sarah,” “The H****y of Destiny,” and my favorite nickname, “Sarinha”)

For the rest of you… it’s back to writing about food, diabetes, and exercise! WooHoo!

2 thoughts on “Lessons from Brazil

  1. Pingback: thebeetingheart is Getting Older… | thebeetingheart

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