What do you say when your boyfriend has a business project in Brazil and asks you to join him there for the next 5 months? You say yes. So I did, and now I’m here in São Paulo, my second of the many trips we will be making back and forth.
I would be lying if I told you this trip didn’t initially scare me. In actuality, traveling to Brazil is one of the more intimidating things I’ve taken on in my 24 years of being alive. I’ve never been a big risk-taker, but I’m also not one to sit back as the opportunity of a lifetime passes me by. And that’s exactly what this is, the opportunity of a lifetime.
I would say my life was pretty average before I met my boyfriend Nate nearly two years ago. I was doing what many people who are fresh out of college do, I was working a monotonous job that had nothing to do with my freshly earned degree and I was going out as much as I possibly could, spending money I didn’t have.
If you’d told me then where I would be today, I would have laughed at you. That girl from two years ago is a homebody who has anxiety walking the streets of Boston alone. She likes the security of her friends, her family and her steady paycheck from her unchanging job. That girl does not take risks.
And now here she is, in São Paulo, Brazil. Round dois.
If you know anything about Brazil, you know that it isn’t exactly what people consider a “safe” country. As a matter of fact, as I was packing my bags for my first trip back in November, a friend of mine said,
“In Brazil, if you have something that another person wants, many times they will just kill you and take it.”
First I laughed, then I started sweating… Not the most encouraging send-off message, but in many cases the truth. I knew that safety would be a concern, but hearing it put so bluntly made it that much more real.
Then came the fun part…what to tell my parents, my friends, my family. I couldn’t help but anticipate the line of questioning, and I wasn’t disappointed with the results because I’d asked myself the same things:
“But what about work?” “What will you DO there?!” “Aren’t you afraid?” “What if you get ZIKA?!” “Have you ever even studied Portuguese?”
Despite the mental prep I’d done, my answers to these questions hardly put anyone at ease. That being said, I couldn’t be stopped. Recently freed from my job, I had nothing to tie me down in Boston. I was going to Brazil whether people approved or not, and they knew that.
In retrospect, I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but that was the exciting part for me. This is the furthest I’ve been outside of my comfort zone, but something about it was all too intriguing.
I was afraid, but I was more afraid of the regret I would feel by playing it safe and staying behind.
For the record, Brazil is a BLAST. The food, the shopping, the people, have all exceeded my expectations- but you’ll have to stay tuned for all of that.