Brazil: Update #1
April 23, 2017 § Leave a comment
Well, an update is finally here. For those of you who thought that I had perhaps died I appreciate your concern. But far from death, the past week or so of my life has been pretty incredible. In fact, I’ve never felt more alive. I’ve been to downtown Recife (or “Recife Antigo”) and I’ve seen some of the most beautiful beaches in my life. In fact, I was so impressed by how fucking warm the water is here. Perhaps too impressed, because I left Porto de Galinhas (unlike anything, google it) with a good deal of sunburn.
But more than anything else it’s the subtle cultural, environmental, and other changes. Of course I find the language change is difficult at times. Even when I can see improvement (which I can) it gets very tiring being around people who speak another language for hours at a time. I need to constantly focus just to understand what others are saying. Especially if they are unaccustomed to speaking with non-native Portuguese speakers (most Brazilians). Outings with family and friends can get tiring. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m frustrated or bored (because I’m not) or worse that I simply don’t care. But after spending three hours really focusing on every last syllable from six people you just met that day, I get a little exhausted.
Brazilian culture is really cool. But like anywhere else, Brazil is not without its problems. The traffic here is absolutely bananas. For the most part street signs are treated as suggestions, not laws. At most traffic stops you will find men walking from car to car selling water. Every major intersection has poor men yelling “Olha, agua!”. In fact, pretty much everywhere you go there’s people selling or begging for something. And of course, senhor gringo over here is target number one. Blue eyes, red beard, etc. I’m basically have a face that says “has money”. Which is unfortunate for both of us because I certainly don’t have any.
I’ll be honest, it makes me a bit uncomfortable that merely my face and skin tone makes everyone around me say “oh shit, he has money”. It’s especially unfortunate because Brazil can be incredibly dangerous. And something you never want to do in dangerous areas is stand out. But I find myself doing exactly that everywhere that I go.
The longer that I’m off night shift the more I feel myself reverting to my old self. I’m reading more and more. I care more about recent events than I have in three years. I’m less loud. I feel…calmer. Less angry. Less impulsive. Less dwelling on dumb shit that I can’t change. Night shift changed my behavior in very toxic ways. And I’m glad to be past that stage of my life.