“the only way to make sense out of change is to
plunge into it,
move with it
and join the dance.”
– alan watts
This week makes the start of new change for my family. Put simply, we are moving back to Australia. Today, the removal company arrives to pack everything. The suitcases are bulging, and we soon move into a hotel while they wrap and box up all our belongings. It is a moment mixed with excitement and sadness. There is a buzz of anxiety in our house, and many emotions flow freely. Tears. Laughter. Joy. Sadness. Love.
We have lived in Brazil for 5 years. It has changed us as a family and who we are as individuals. We have made many friends, learned a new language, and now see the world from a different perspective. Living in another country is different to just visiting for a holiday. The holiday ends after the first few weeks, when you realise that daily life is inevitable. It still involves school, shopping, appointments, and in our case all spoken a language we could not understand. You do not know what brand of peanut butter to buy. You do not know the words to say that your child has an ear infection and need antibiotics. You nod and say yes, hoping that is the right response to the question you did not understand. You feel as if you dropped into a different world. The invisible strings of your normal life disappear. You are free floating. At the same time, you see beautiful places and pinch yourself that this is not a dream. You try new foods that become your daily food choice. You see that your way of living is not the only way and become more compassionate. You learn to hug and kiss, and express emotion. This combination of joy and pain has changed us. We are different people, and we are a different family.
Yes, we loved our experience here. Yes, I would do it again. Honestly, I would do it all again. We have heard the roar of water as it falls at Iguacu Falls. We have tickled the feet of the statue of Christ in Rio. We have learnt to stand in lines. We have felt the drum beat in our chest as the Carnival parade went past us in Rio. We used our hands and miming when we did not know the words to communicate. We have walked the cobbled streets in Ouro Preto, and the swamps in the Pantanal. We have learned to say hello and goodbye to many wonderful friends. We have played on the beaches in Bahia as the breeze swayed in the palm trees. We have learned that looking like a fool when you say something completely wrong is ok. Yes, it is embarrassing, but you learn from those mistakes. We have learned to hug and show our love. We have learned to hold on to what is important to us as we embrace a new culture. We have learned that bad days come and go. We have learned that no country is perfect, and focusing on the positives is easier than dwelling on the negatives.
We are closer as a family because of this. We did it together.
After 5 years, we know which peanut butter to buy, what to say to the doctor, and we have our routine. We have our favourite places, and for my youngest daughter this is home. She was a baby when we arrived, and many of her “firsts” have happened here. She asked me if we could take photos of her favourite places. This was before she knew we were leaving. I agreed. These are our everyday places and she was the director. These are her loves, and what she finds beautiful. She sang during our session and she was filled with joy.
I am happy share these images with you. Enjoy!