Over the past three weeks more has happened than I can ever recall or remember. Somethings have been repeated others have only been done once and some not at all. I haven’t just spent three weeks on holiday, I haven’t just spent three weeks travelling in Brazil, instead I’ve worked towards creating a life that I can keep coming back to. For the three weeks of being in Rio I lived everyday not caring that I was going home at some point, not daring to think what lies there. Instead I’ve embraced every minute, everyday, every bom dia and boa noite. That was until the final day, 12 hours before my flight I still wasn’t packed and when I finally did pack the realisation I was going home hit. And now, as I sit at the airport for said flight I’m going to try and put into words theses past three weeks.
In truth, I’m not sure where I begin to try and sum up my time in Rio de Janeiro. It is a trip entirely different to any I’ve taken before. Not just because it was a new continent and culture but because it is where JP lives and I don’t. It’s a place I visited for a holiday but was integrated into the lives of people who live there and have lived there for many months/years. I was thrown deep into the expat life and community yet fully struggled to appreciate all that came with that. I didn’t go out and explore like a traveller would, I didn’t visit all of the tourist attractions like I would have if I didn’t know when I’d be returning. Yet I couldn’t fully commit to the life those have that live there.
Although I never fully found my place in the city during this limbo stage, I still do not want to leave. I loved the views, the weather, the people, the laid back way of life, the accessibility to the beach, the coconut water, the landscape, the language… I think what I want to say is, it was an incredible but very strange three weeks in the city of Rio de Janeiro. In this short time Rio has become a city I am very fond of, a city I feel like I am yet to get to know and a city with so much more to offer.
I remember the first time I saw Ipanema Beach, Copacabana Beach, Sugar Loaf Mountain, the Two Brothers, Cristo. I remember the initial strange sounds and smells that I have since become familiar with and often don’t even notice. I remember my first coconut water, mango juice, steak meal, kilo experience. In the past three weeks I have done so many things for the first time and I just want to bottle up that feeling. I want those things to feel as new yet familiar when I return next time. I need to hold on to that excitement and not get bogged down by the fact that I cannot live there like everyone else is.
Now as I sit here typing this in Rio de Janeiro airport, the words are coming out a little more negative than I imagined. I’d always planned to put my time into words while I waited for my flight, while the emotions are real, not in a few days or weeks when I struggle to remember what it felt like to be sitting here. To be typing away on my laptop as the man announces in Portuguese over the loud speaker. While I can feel my slightly sore and sunburnt skin beneath my top and the strain in my shoulder from an injury I seem to have acquired last night in my sleep. This year I said I was going to get more personal with these posts and that includes not editing out the bad because I think it isn’t worth reading. So I’m leaving this post exactly as it came out during my first draft, I’m expressing those raw emotions of leaving behind a place you could have lived in but don’t. A place that is half home but not. A place that I’m going to hold dearly in my heart yet begrudge because it is the reason for this long distance relationship.
For anyone who doesn’t know, I was in Rio because there is where my boyfriend will be based for the next year. This was one of three visits I will take to the city and incase you hadn’t guessed a trip which carried a lot of emotional baggage.