Living abroad is always a complex process of adjusting, or in my case readjusting, to a different way of life. I've been debating if I wanted to write this blog post, because after months and months of bitching and moaning to come back to Rio, I felt almost embarrassed that I was even the least bit homesick. Yet, here I am - sitting in my bedroom in my apartment in Botafogo, writing this post, and opening myself up once more to the people who read my blog.
Before I left for Rio, I knew and anticipated that I would, at some point, become homesick for NYC, my school, and my friends. I decided to put it in the back of my mind and leap into this journey with a fully open heart and mind. Up until very recently, my life in NYC wasn't on my mind at all, but about two weeks ago I woke up one day and felt entirely blue. The honey moon phase was over and suddenly the daily thoughts, insecurities, and anxieties of daily life were occupying my mind again.
As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer I find myself longing for my life in New York, where the days are getting shorter and the weather colder. There is some quote I often come across and it has something to do with the fact that once you have traveled, you never feel completely at home anywhere ever again, because you have so many connections in so many places. I understand and know this to be true - two months into this journey I still love being back in Rio but there are things that I absolutely miss about NYC that Rio could never make up for, and it's the same when I am in NYC i.e. no where is the perfect place, at least not for me.
It started out as me missing the small things:
24 hour bodegas
A subway that runs all the time
walks around the village after class
bagels and iced coffee
Now I find myself missing the things that made me fall in love with NYC - being able to wear a crop top or a flannel skirt to class without anyone blinking an eye. This seems like a shallow reason to miss something to most, i'm sure, but for me it means so much. I've spent my life repressing myself when it comes to how I act and dress, and when I got to NYC, in the words of my Queen Ariana Grande, I "broke free" and wore whatever the hell I wanted and was not only accepted but sometimes even celebrated for it. I love Rio, but I don't feel comfortable expressing that side of myself here. I could chalk it up to cultural difference, but lets be honest - there's nowhere quite as weird as NYC.
In a more academic sense I miss the incredibly stimulating classes at The New School that are taught by amazing professors. I miss being a part of a like minded community of radical, forward, inspiring, thinkers all feeding off of one another. While my social life in Rio is way more interesting than it has ever been in NYC, I miss the educational aspects that I'm so privileged to take part in at my school.
My love for Rio and New York are so entirely different because these cities and the vibes I pick up from them, serve two completely different parts of my being. New York gives life to the busy, ambitious, flamboyant, side of me - a side of me that is able to wear a crop top, short shorts, and a bandana to class without fearing that someone will punch him in the mouth. Rio serves the mellow, creative, thankful side of me. At the end of the day both cities continue to inspire me to be the best version of myself, going about that process in different ways.
I find it interesting and also frustrating that I miss NYC at all, as I spent much of my year there depressed and lonely. It was only an amazing therapist, a school I passionately love, and the thought of coming back to Rio that kept a smile on my face for most of it. But, I do miss it and in the words of my dear friend Zac "It's nice to miss things". It's true, wouldn't it be worse if I were dreading going back to New York? So I guess everyone who loves New York isn't crazy after all, or maybe we are? I'm not sure, but even with it's trains that break down daily, a winter that never seems to end, skyrocketing living expenses, and faux miserable people, I still miss it.
Please don't read this and think I am spending my days crying and lamenting my current situation because I'm not. I'm still overwhelmed with gratefulness to be back in this amazing city, but in every situation there are pros and cons. Just the other day, I found myself shedding a tear at the peak of my homesickness, but as my bus passed by Praia da Urca, I glimpsed the setting sun and it's streams of light passing over Corcovado mountain, and I thought to myself "This is exactly where I am supposed to be." Being abroad is a learning process, sometimes an uncomfortable one, and i'm learning more about myself everyday.