Welcome, constant and casual reader. My dear follower. Friend. I’m about to share with you the most precious and life-changing experience I’ve ever had.
No fiction, no otherworldly occurrences (well, this is subjective), but true to life witnesses. I’m going to disclose what I saw, experienced and felt through my skin and deep into my bones in a land that few of us, mostly living in First World countries, know and read about. I spent three years in inland Brazil after marrying and leaving my home country, Italy. I met my wife there, in that little and traditionalist country who’s always afraid to take a step forward, the home of Emperors like Fellini, Paganini, Rossi and Rossini and so on… crossed the ocean and at some point started to see a green land beneath me. But there was something different. The color green was not the one I used to know from nursery school; it was another kind of green. It was brighter, deeper and seemed to move, just as if the earth was a live being itself.
This is just the beginning of three long but very fast-paced years, in which I saw and experienced more than I had ever had in my first thirty-three years of living.
Now I’m going to ask you a question, my kind ones; how much do you know about Brazil?
Sure you heard about soccer (“futebol”, as they call it, an adaptation of the word football), and the Carnival of Rio and the infamous favelas. That’s what I had heard too, but never was eager to know more. I have never thought of Brazil as a destination, nor I had ever wished to marry a brazilian woman. God, I never wished to get married! Let alone having kids.
But in two years I engaged, married and had three beautiful kids. Two girls and a boy. Intense, huh? I had it all there; the wife and the already fully grown kids: fourteen, ten and eight years old the moment I met them. I had never been neither a husband nor a father and suddenly I was both. We were a little more than two months in our romance when my girlfriend travelled to Brazil and brought over the children. It had been her plan all the time, even before me. My family never believed this. Especially my mother.
The early days under the same roof have been hard and sometimes painful, mostly because of the culture clash. The very first thing I realized above thousands of others was that they had nothing to do with me and the people I had always known. They were different. Not worse, not better. Just different. I looked at them playing with other kids, italian kids and you could see the difference right away. No malice, no swear words, no gossiping and no quarrelling.
“Where do you all come from?” I heard myself saying.
“You haven’t seen nothing like this, have you?” my soon to be wife asked me.
I just shook my head and she smiled the way only she could. That smile reunited compassion, understanding, happiness, pain, fear, strength and awareness. I omitted some, but in a word, I guess I could say that was the smile only experience could draw. The kind of experience we couldn’t even dream about. And suffering. Yes, a very big load of it.
“You would be scared to see how simple and humble are the people who live where I’ve grown up.” my girlfriend said.
She let those words float in the air we shared and left me pondering. Yes, I was about to see life from a new perspective, maybe the true perspective, the one I had always missed.
I didn’t even imagine that that was just the beginning of a new path, where I would shed the old version of myself, to uncover the real one underneath and deep within.
And now, what about you, my kind friends? Are you curious to know the rest? What lies ahead and what changed my view of existence and my heart altogether? Please feel free to share your thoughts. Much love and thanks.