Although the title is certainly referring to who I am (and who I aspire to be more authentically in Brasil and in general), this pre-departure list definitely can apply to anyone who wants to take on Brasil with good vibes, an open soul, a brave heart, and a prepared attitude.
So here we go:
1. Say all the good-bye’s and see-you-later’s. Yes, it gets old and a bit tiring to be in a constant state of saying bye to familiar faces and folks you love, but I genuinely think you will not be able to give a full welcome to this new stage in your life without a proper adeus to the present/past stages of your life. (also ya’ll liked that casual Portuguese use! Duolingo taught a girl some thangs!)
2. This one is both practical and pseudo-spiritual, pack what you need so you can come back with that and more. I mean this literally with clothes, shoes, necessary items, but also with places you know you want to grow. Pack the good energy. Pack your lucky undies and lucky dollar. Pack your hopes and expectations, but leave room for things you might find along the way that you were and were not even expecting.
3. Bring something that will help you process along the way. LAWD, culture shock is real and so is homesickness, so bring something that will assist you in thinking through your adventure as it happens. Do not leave it all to the end to think about and process, that will definitely be way too much and unfair to you! I’m bringing my camera and journal to document, to reflect on what is happening, how I felt, and how I can handle experiences better in the future.
4. Do not forget your realness at home. I think a lot of times when people travel abroad everyone tells us to have THE. BEST. TIME. OF. OUR. LIVES. by doing everything and anything, and being extra wild because this is our temporary home pero it is important to be real about who you are and what you’re about. Yeah, you should have some adventure and feel brave to try new things, but if you would legitimately would not do something at home then maybe you should not do it abroad. Remember that this is an adventure for us, but Rio de Janeiro is people’s home. We do not want to disrespect that space and exoticize it. So be real with ya’self. BRING THE REALNESS.
5. PATIENCE. PATIENCE. PATIENCE. Practice your breathing because if you are like me with no real knowledge of Portuguese and Brazilian culture, things might get a little daunting and frustrating. And that’s A-okay. It’s how we’re going to handle it that matters most.
6. Be ready to do some homework. Forreal ya’ll we have been on vacation for almost 2 months! Do you know how difficult it can be to get back into the swing of thangs! But also, do some homework on Brasil and Rio. Look up politics, racial climate, poverty, cultural histories! Give yourself an opportunity to take a holistic lens into where we’re going!
So I hope this helps prepare me and you for your trip and next couple of months! Tomorrow I fly off! Stay tuned!
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<div>I'm a student, a friend, a naturalista, a budding activist, a writer, a wom@nist/feminist, an intellectual, a Tupac-lover, a New Yorker, and a person in process all wrapped in one. I'm living on the hyphen of many identities that allow me to see the world in a critical, refreshing way; and at the intersections of many struggles and journeys that I would love for you to join me on. :)</div>