February 23, 2017 § Leave a comment
I decided to start making my posts in English and Portuguese. Mostly because I want to continue to practice Portuguese but also because it’s my blog and I don’t give a fuck.
Anyway tomorrow is my last day at my job, and I will then have much more time to focus on myself, my relationship, and my life. The older I get the more I realize that I know nothing about myself. And once I reached a level of maturity where I realized that most people around me are just as stunted in their personal development I decided I needed to do something about it.
So for at least the next year I will spend every day trying to do things to better myself and better understand who I am as a person. Until I figure that out, who am I to critique the world around me?
Quando a gente chega no Brasil a gente vai estar feliz pra caralho! Mas a gente ainda vai precisar trabalhar. Mas eu uso a palavra “trabalhar” em um jeito diferente. Por examplo, vou querer leer mais frequente. A minha namorada vai querer passar tempo com a familia dela. Claro, morar no Brasil vai melhor o meu portugues muito. Mas ainda durante a minha namorada e eu moramos nos estados unidos a gente ainda fala em portugues por mais ou menos 30 minutos todo dia. Quero melhorar!
So here’s a list of the things that I expect I will focus on in an attempt to improve myself over the next year (March 2017 – April 2018):
Claro, vou querer melhorar o meu portugues. And I expect that improving my speech, writing, and ability to listen (and understand) will improve. The question is how can I use my time in Brazil most effectively. Recently I read something that changed the way I approach these things: “The old saying ‘practice makes perfect’is wrong. Perfect practice makes perfect”. This is true. I noticed that I will often try to hide the deficiencies of my spoken portuguese by rushing through a sentence when I would be better served to slow down and make sure my grammar and pronunciation are correct. This is actually very hard for humans to do, because our natural impulse is to be ashamed of our novice abilities and posture ourselves as experts. But the first step to becoming an expert is admitting that you’re a novice and keeping that in mind while you practice. Whether I can be brave and cognizant enough to do this while living in Brazil will be a big test for me. It’s (for me, at least) embarrassing to not fully understand a language. I need to overcome this, or I will not improve as much as I’d like.
I read “The Gulag Archipelago”by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and it affected me in ways I never expected. I’ve become infatuated with the history of the red revolution and the years preceding and following it. I’m almost done with The Gulag Archipelago and I already checked out another book from the library about Russian history. In particular, there are a couple historical figures from these time periods that fascinate me. Naftaly Frenkel and another dude whose name escapes me (he’s an Estonian escape artist) are two guys from this general time period that did some incredible things. Because the communist party destroyed so many books and newspapers some of these people’s stories are shrouded in a cloak of mystery. That fascinates me.
Psychology & Philosophy
For other reasons, I’ve become really interested in the lectures and writings of a psychologist at the University of Toronto named Jordan Peterson. He has an incredibly interesting way of looking at the human mind and a knack for explaining the ideas of psychology in simple language that even a laymen can understand. His ideas about the relationship between ancient myths and modern culture are cool as fuck. He wrote a book called “maps of meaning” that I really want to read but it’s unusually expensive and I can’t find it at any libraries. I also want to use Peterson’s ideas a launching off point to start reading more of the classics of human psychology and philosophy. Yung and Niethzsche are on my short list for those fields, respectively.
Geology and Human Civilization
I just ordered a book called “Magicians of The Gods” that I became interested in a while back when I first saw its author, Graham Hancock, on the Joe Rogan Experience. There’s some really interesting connections between the origins of civilization and massive impact events and the geological evidence suggests (according to Graham and his cohorts) that human civilization could be much older than mainstream archaeology believes. Interestingly, this relates back to Jordan Peterson and the power of ancient mythology. Hancock believes that many of the stories in ancient mythology tell the story of massive natural disasters on earth. In any case, Peterson’s and Hancock’s research seem to be independently converging on the same idea. The fact that I first heard about both around the same time is a happy coincidence.
Skills, Knowledge, Etc
After spending some months in Brazil we will be doing volunteering projects at farms, hostels, and random places across South America using the website “workaway”. My hope is that besides providing me with a great opportunity to live in other countries, I will learn more about different ways of living. For instance, there is a farm in Uruguay that is owned by an older couple. Perfectly they are both vegetarian and only serve vegetarian food. So besides learning how to take care of a large farm we will be able to easily continue the diet and lifestyle that we chose to live. I’ve always wanted to move to the middle of nowhere and live off the land. A lot of the people we will stay with moved from home and live entirely self-sufficiently. Anything I can learn from them will be an asset moving forward.
Although all of these things are clearly means of developing myself, I have plans to do things that will explicitly be a means to better understand myself. I want to complete the self authoring program, which is a professionally developed online program designed by psychologists to help you map out your life. Its intention is to help you better understand your past, your present, and what you would like your future to be. This makes all the sense in the world to me because I’ve used this blog almost exclusively for this purpose. Although I am skeptical what advantages paying for the same thing will offer, the professionals that design it offer a lot of concrete data that shows that, for whatever reason, their program truly helps people.
Similarly I’m looking at the next year as a break from the things that prevent me from simply taking a moment and thinking about myself. I look at some of the forty year olds that I work with, meet, or generally cross paths with. So many of them seem to be missing something. It’s hard to explain, but I think it has to do with their inability or fear of taking the “leap” I’m about to take. Rather than spend a chunk of their twenties or thirties focusing on themselves they chose to focus on a career. Of course everyone is different, and not everyone has the opportunities that I do. That said, becoming them in twenty years makes me lose sleep at night. I don’t believe I can truly flourish in that lifestyle. At the very least, I know that I need some time to myself right now. To focus on myself, on love, and on truly understanding what is best for me. Perhaps I’m projecting on some of these people, but I can assure you a good chunk of middle aged professional in the United States are walking bags of regrets.
Of course, I want new experiences! After this March I will have been to every state in the contiguous United States. Been there, done that. I remember I wrote about a year or two ago in here how I wanted the second half of my 20’s to be even more adventurous and wild than the first. This is me doing exactly that. I’m leaving a great job, a safe country, and a generally easy path for the unknown. And I’ve never been happier!
Look, I’ve almost died in a tornado in Kansas. I watched a friend almost overdose in Colorado. I was almost robbed a number of times in Ohio (ok, that was bound to happen). I’ve driven 24 hours straight through the night. Partied in New Orleans, drank in Montana. Smoked in…everywhere. Hiked the Appalachians, the Rockies. Granted, I have not conquered this country. And I will never get sick of watching the Rocky Mountains appear in the distance as you drive west. But I feel I need something different to truly break out and take me out of my comfort zone.
I have no question that South America will do that for me. Between the beaches of Northeast Brazil, the mountains of Patagonia, and the beauty of the latin languages and people, I have absolutely no doubt that this will provide exactly the surroundings I need to flourish mentally, physically, and spiritually at this phase of my life.
Before I go, here’s some cool ass pics of me.
Eu no meu apartamento em Raleigh sendo um weirdo (Me at the apartment in Raleigh being a weirdo)
O meu visto brasileiro! (My brazilian visa)
Ate logo, gente! Eu amo todos voces!
February 19, 2017 § 5 Comments
Okay, time for a post in English. I know these are becoming more rare these days. The life of Eric is taking turns that I can never anticipate. Whew.
- I quit my job. My last day of work is the 24th of February. My lease is up on the first of April. My flight is April 12th. So between the 24th of February and April 12th I have some free time, right? Time to pack, move, and maybe relax?
Nah, that would be too easy for Eric. Because I’m a nut and my partner is also a nut, there is no one to stop us and say “dude, slow the fuck down”. So we’re going to spend the first two weeks of March selling our shit and packing whatever we want to keep so that I can leave it at my Dad’s house in Ohio.
Speaking of Ohio, we will be leaving North Carolina on the 14th of March so that I can go home for the first time in four years and see my family before I leave the country. Also we’re going to drop everything we’re keeping but won’t need for Brazil at my Dad’s house. We will probably go to the St Patrick’s day parade in Cleveland, spend time with family, and go to restaurants from my childhood and college years.
- From Ohio, another road trip. After we spend a few days with family and reassure my mom that her son will actually come home every few years (oh, and introduce my girlfriend to the family…should be INTERESTING). So we’re roadtripping the Northeastern United States. That includes Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. We’re going to spend a few days hiking the Adirondacks in upstate New York and another few days in Acadia National Park hiking and sight seeing.
- Somehow, after all that, we need to get back to Ohio to pick my dog back up (shit, that reminds me, I need to ask my sister to watch her). That brings us back to Cleveland on the 28th of March. THEN, we will need to head back south. Our flight is out of Miami! We will probably stop in Raleigh over night to get the last few things before we’re kicked out the 31st. After spending a week with my dad at his girlfriends house in Central Florida we will need catch a train to Miami where we will (hopefully) get a couchsurfing host to have us for a couple nights before our flight to Brazil on the 12th of April!!
Which reminds me, I hope my dad will let me leave my car at his place in Florida. I really don’t know what the fuck to do with it. Shiiiiit. lol se fudeu!
Clearly, we’re crazy. Man to be honest I didn’t realize how nuts all of this will be until I sat down to write it all. But I embrace the insanity!! Bring on Brazil!! More on our plans once I have more time (and once we know what they are hahaha).
Until then, peace and love always to my people of the blogosphere and elsewhere!