Springing forward and falling back

Today when you guys were springing forward, I was forced to fall back to a recurring thought that has been in my mind ever since Tuesday.

Only one hour separates me from you, my fellow compatriots! Just one hour! You know what that means, right?

It means that I’ve already done a year’s worth of the seasonal time changes! One hour, two hours, three hours, two hours, one hour… I’m getting closer and closer and yet the distance remains the same.

Instead of dwelling on the fact that I have been in Brazil for well over eight months at this point, the one fact that resounds in my being is that I only have four more left to go. At once, this brings me a very complex sort of joy. Knowing how quickly time seems to pass here–and it passes all the more rapidly now that school has started back up again–brings me…–dare I say it?–comfort.

Though I can honestly say that I do really like it here and already plan on returning as early as after graduation in May 2010, I really am looking forward to coming back home. At this point, staying here forever, despite being very illegal, would be doing a major disservice to myself in the long run. In order for me to live and enjoy Brazil as I would like to, I have to tie up the loose ends (such as my undergraduate degree, for example) back in the United States. Just as I needed some time away from the US to figure things out, I’m going to need an equal or greater amount of time away from Brazil in order to put those things into action.

This was one of the many conclusions that I came to during the last two months of my summer vacation, in which I traveled to some less popular tourist destinations here in Brazil (Brasília, Goiás Velho-a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Curitiba, Blumenau, Florianópolis-voted the hottest new tourist destination in South America, and Porto Alegre). Mostly alone for all or part of each leg of the journey, I was left to my own wits, instincts, and most importantly, thoughts. Indeed, the voices inside my head were my biggest company (oh my God, I sound so crazy right now!) but I was able to have some very amazing, and even enlightening conversations when the opportunity presented itself. For example, when I was visiting the Ukrainian Village in Curitiba and I was able to chat it up with some very young residents of the nearby favela for some time, in which they proceeded to ask me about the United States, prices here in Brazil compared to prices in the US, what it is like to learn Portuguese, and finally, if I missed my mom. Up until that point (3 days after I’d left Rio), I hadn’t really had an actual conversation with anyone so I was very grateful, really appreciative of the genuine kindness and natural curiosity of children.

Overall, I left these conversations and my travels feeling just a bit more refreshed and even more aware of the world outside of Rio de Janeiro. One of the most important, and perhaps disheartening, conclusions that I reached was that, for me, Rio de Janeiro might be more of a place to have fun, but not exactly a place in which to actually live.

I know you’re probably thinking, “but Deion, you’ve been there forever, having the time of your life!”– which is true!–but…when I take into consideration the person whom I believe myself to be, or to be in the process of becoming, then I realize how I need to live in a smaller, cleaner, more genuine, and more organized sort of madness that fills my heart with joy when I return to it and with pain when we are forced to part ways, and not the other way around.

Or maybe I’m just crazy.

Either way, I’m very much looking forward to the next four months, to the new classes, new friendships, and new passions that I may discover. Now is the time for me to kick everything into overdrive, to try to take advantage of everything that I possibly can, all while knowing in the back of my mind that my story with Brazil is far from over. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on my success and failures at accomplishing this goal of mine.

Until then, enjoy the pictures from some of my adventures these past few months!

[flickrset id=”72157615007249728″ thumbnail=”square”]

About Deion Simmons

A native of Buffalo, New York, Deion Simmons is currently a pursuing a major in Portuguese, with a minor in French. This July, he will be leaving for Brazil to study at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro. On campus he has held various leadership positions in clubs and organizations such as Club Filipino, 25 Days of Service, the Black Student Alliance, and YLEAD. As an avid photographer, his pictures have been featured in The Hoya, The Fire This Time, The Midnight Mug, and of course, Facebook. In addition to that, he is also a member of the Corp and is a Patrick Healy Fellow. While studying abroad, Deion hopes to volunteer with at-risk youth in the favelas as well as to build a strong portfolio of photography in case photojournalism is somewhere in his future. Although he expects his time in Brazil to be difficult, he is eager to learn and is even more excited to show you his world.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Springing forward and falling back

  1. Doug says:

    Oi gato! i like ur post… i feel you on this a lot… its important to travel, but ya gotta “tie up the loose ends” like you said… how would you even say “tie up loose ends” em portugues??

    but yeah man, you gotta go there to come back… but damn i wish i could be in brasil right now!!!

    abre alas irmao, e voa

  2. Frances says:

    Deion, you must tell me more about your experiences traveling alone! I did it for a week and by the third day, I was about to go crazy from not talking!!! Well, at least during the day when I was sightseeing. But at night I found traveling alone opens you up to conversation with all kinds of people

    ;) Frances

    P.S. You better visit NY when you back to USA!

  3. Shira says:

    Ah, I feel ya, Deion – the longer I’m here, the more I realize that this wonderful life I’m leading isn’t really sustainable, or the way I could live forever. I’m just not this cool. But that’s half the fun, right? Its a really long fantasy…

  4. Becky says:

    As I think I’ve said before, your posts just keep getting better and better! I like the personal introspection stuff. I know what you mean about traveling alone; it can be a pretty weird experience in a way, and you do have to rely a lot on your instincts and wits (I had to a lot of this when I was traveling alone in Natal and around Rio Grande do Norte my last week in Brazil to get what I wanted and stay out of trouble).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *