I’m laying in bed and I’ve been feeling like I’ve been suppressing a lot of shit under the surface. I know it because I’ve been avoiding meditation to clear it. Well, finally I gave myself the space to truly feel it and let memories and feelings bubble to the surface. Out of nowhere came this memory of being in this hostel in Rio the last time I was there, October 2015.
These local indie playboy college guys had come to have a drink with me after meeting me the night before. I couldn’t quite figure out why since their friends seemed obviously bothered the night before that I couldn’t fluently speak their native tongue. They even told me, “You lived here four months before, you should know how to speak by now!” I have had this happen to me before. The last time I was in Rio, March 2014. Different people that were supposed to be like my hostel family turned on me at one point because they said I wasn’t trying to speak their language, that I am just another stupid American who expects everyone to speak English. They told me I should know the Portuguese language by now because I lived in Brazil two months prior to moving to Rio.
People were so mean to me in my travels about the language barrier. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to speak with people. I love speaking with people, sharing ideas, understanding cultures. They just didn’t understand that I couldn’t possibly learn a language at that point. I was so overstimulated and had downloaded so much information from the last year of my life, 2013, that I didn’t have the proper time to digest it all and because of that I couldn’t learn a completely new language on top of it. The part that made me saddest of all though, was that they blamed it on me being American. They thought I wasn’t trying to understand their culture or their roots more because of my nationality, when they weren’t trying to understand me on a humanistic level, that at that point in my life I couldn’t possibly take anything more on.
Everyone will say, then why did you go to Brazil, why did you travel more if you knew you couldn’t take anything more on? I went to Brazil because that’s what my soul told me to do. I had this innate calling from my depths that said, the only thing I want to do right now is teach English in Brazil. I don’t regret going to Brazil at all, Brazil is my favourite place in the world. Maybe Brazilians don’t see it because of their government corruption and high crime rates, but they have the most genuinely warm hearts I’ve ever encountered in travels, a truly unique and beautiful culture. This very experience healed my heart that was very down and broken and realigned my path with what I always knew I was born to be: an artist.
I think as time goes on and as people become one giant homogenized global culture, we have to break away from these labels. We should be expanding our minds as we experience more life, not closing them off.