Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I don’t want to lose so many things. I came to Brazil for many reasons but one was to change some life long habits. The biggest was this self concept that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, talented enough, fertile enough, and the list goes on but ENOUGH! When I was offered this chance to experience living in a different country for the first time I thought yes, but I want to change. And I have. I actually feel heard. This is kind of crazy and contradictory because I had to learn Portuguese from absolutely zero. But I feel heard because it’s not words – it’s deeper than that. It’s a change inside that says you need to listen to me because I am important. Of course, this new feeling inside is supported by change on the outside. I am maintaining a good weight, taking more care with my appearance, and taking some chances and updating my style. Absolutely yes, I don’t want to lose that. This outside change has been due to many things but I would say that clean eating has played a huge part. I eat many more fruits and vegetables and few processed foods.

This is a big fear for me. I actually have days that I am afraid that when I go back to the states I will go to Sams, buy the biggest and grossest bag of Doritos and a huge tub of premade guacamole and just go at it. Then I have to remind myself that food doesn’t jump into your mouth you have to put it there and I won’t. And if I did it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

I also have made many changes that have greened up my lifestyle. I made a good effort in the states but here it’s kind of been imposed on me. I don’t have a car and in my neighborhood everyone walks to the market, bakery, and cleaners so I walk a lot. Products are not over packaged so I produce a lot less trash. You eat less here and the food is simpler - as a result less waste and often organic. We usually have one bag of recyclables and one bag of garbage per week - small bags. I really don’t want to lose that.

So, along with the physical weight a lot of other heaviness has been kicked to the curb. I see it being picked up by the trash man, going off into the distance, and staying out of my life forever. But if it comes back, I know what to do and how to do it.

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  • _UMAMI_
    I'm jellus! And I can understand what you're saying. I miss walking around to GET AROUND. I moved back to the South (US), after living in Boston and NYC, where I rode my bike and walked everywhere. Put on weight from the git-go, thanks to having to drive everywhere. (I also blame the Internet, heh! And air-conditioning! Didn't have that up north, always lost winter weight in summer.)

    It sounds like these changes have become a part of you, and you don't need to be afraid of slipping when you return to the US.

    Enjoy the rest of your time in Brazil!
    3414 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8349004
    amiga! i had your experience but the other way around! in brazil my weight always hovered between 48-50 kgs and i did not consciously try to keep my weight low! after i moved to the us put on over 30 lbs in less than three months! i had never seen donuts, cupcakes and the all you can eat cafeteria food! but you are wiser than this because you have lost so much weight already! so you'll go to sams and buy the huge boxes of organic greens and try to incorporate the walking into your life! don't doubt all the wisdom you've acquired in this journey! and i wish i was 55kgs right now!! emoticon
    3416 days ago
    Minha queirida,
    Yes, I had similar experiences living abroad. Back in 1982, the Netherlands required you to bring your own canvas bags for shopping and everything went to the recycle center in town. In New Zealand, pick up of recycled goods was free and we paid dearly per trash bag. It taught us a lot about composting, reducing, reusing and recycling.

    Also, both countries had fewer but healthier options in the markets and when you eat a meal in a restaurant, the portions were reasonable---not enough to feed a family of 4 like in the USA.

    I moved to the east coast of the USA from New Zealand and was absolutely shocked at how obese the kids were! Scary stuff. One of my first memories of New Jersey was seeing a family of obese children walking on the beach, each holding a liter bottle of soda and a family sized bag of potato chips. Yikes.

    Living abroad changes you in ways you will come to appreciate as time marches on. It opens your mind and your heart. You become more understanding, more compassionate, less tied to the things you always believed to be true. The good news is these changes last forever. Brazil is now part of your life experience and it will stay with you always. You are indeed blessed to have lived in such a wonderful part of the world--difficulties and frustrations included. There will be moments of great saudades for friends and things that can only be found in Brazil. I love the word saudades because it is so much deeper and richer than nostalgia. You will have happy/sad/familiar memories that will bring you back to Sao Paulo whenever you want to go there again.

    Do not be afraid of "reverting" when you return--this is now impossible. You are a new person now. American by birth, but now you are Brazilian at heart. And you know what the Brazilians say, "Deus e brasileiro." I think it is true, and the best part is now you speak his language...

    Mil beijos, sua amiga em Havai
    3417 days ago
    Great post! I, too, feel that my life in Brazil is healthier and greener. I have a voice and a respect for being an educated person and just for speaking English. That's a nice boost to any self esteem. Life in Brazil isn't always easy and I often long for Walmart and big packs of white paper plates, but it's a good life and I've come to appreciate!

    You're doing good!

    3417 days ago
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