Thursday, May 1, 2008
I have started, and failed, at keeping a blog on a number of occasions. Now I am going to do my best to actually have a blog and keep up on it. Your comments will be sure to give me some needed encouragement, so feel free to leave them!
Here is a bit about my current situation, for those of you who don´t know....
I have been in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil off and on (mostly on) since June 2006. I originally came here to continue learning Portuguese and to train capoeira. My plan was to stay for 6 months. But as fate would have it, during my last month here I met this incredible woman and there was no way for me to even consider not pursuing the relationship. So after 3 months in the US I returned on a student visa to study some more Portuguese and be with her.
Fast forward to now, May 1, 2008 and I am living with my girlfriend in a neighborhood called Ondina, in a little one-bedroom apartment that is within walking distance to the English school where I teach. I also teach private students, which is better for me as I can make more money and have more flexibility. I have had many adventures, struggles, laughter, tears, self questioning, doubts, dreams, ideas, and hopes for the future since I arrived, and I still don´t know what the hell I am doing. I want to move back to the US, but visa issues for my girlfriend are an obstacle, and I am in a position of choosing love for her vs. love for my country.
I never really thought I would say that I love the USA...and it is true that there is a lot about it that I don´t like or even hate. But after living outside of it for almost 2 years, I miss it! I miss my friends and family, my community. I miss Portland, the city where I lived for 10 years. I miss Portland restaurants...thai corn cakes at La Vida, pizza from the Blind Onion, and what I wouldn´t give to be chowing down on fish tacos from La Bonita!!! I miss my capoeira group in Portland. I miss having a dog. I miss being able to walk down the street and not worry about being mugged. I miss the mountains and hiking. The list goes on and on.
That is not to say that there are not cool things here. First of all I love my girlfriend! I love the fruits and juices. I love agua de coco (coconut water) that you can buy on every street corner for R$1. I love living by the sea. I love the warm weather and sun. I love how musical everyone is. I love the feeling of history and culture here. I love feeling the intense energy that this city is teeming with. I love my little apartment. I love teaching english and my students...
But that said, the things that I hate about this city are overshadowing my loves. I hate the level of crime and violence here. I hate having to think about getting mugged every time I walk out the door. I hate that nobody trusts anyone here. I hate the economic disparity- the rich are super rich and the poor are living in shacks with no plumbing and stolen electricity. I hate the drug problem in this city that infiltrates every layer of society. And I hate that because the US immigration does not recognize same-sex relationships, that my girlfriend and I (for now) are forced to stay here because it is our only option.
Here is a picture of us, so you can see what she looks like...
Well, I think that this is enough for a first entry (primeira entrada in Portuguese) so I will sign off. But look here for more stories and thoughts about my time in this land of contradictions.
Posted by Pedra at 10:08 AM