Our year in Brazil was very tough. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, relationally, mentally... I was so anxious to get back home, but more than that, I was anxious to get out of there. To leave the toxic situation we were in. I don't know how many times I tried to convince Peter to leave before the year was out. Now that I've been back in the States for half as long as I was in Brazil, I can't believe it was only a year. SO much happened. So much stress, so much anxiety, so much loneliness. But also so many adventures, so many new friends, and many fun experiences (and soooo much food).
After we got back I couldn't write about it for awhile. I couldn't think about it. I needed time away to process. Life in Brazil was very difficult. But I should clarify that many of our frustrations were caused by the Americans Peter worked for, not Brazilians. Not Rio. Of course we had our general annoyances with the bureaucratic idiocy of that country, but we handled it and moved on.
Rio is a beautiful city, full of so many fun things to do. And actually, I didn't mind speaking Portuguese every day. In fact, I loved it. I loved learning a new language and getting actual, practical experience with it.
As much as I love our families, I loved living far away from them, especially during our first year of marriage. I loved that we had the freedom, the necessity, of making our own decisions, of growing as a newly married couple, of having to rely on each other more and more.
I DIDN'T LOVE
Having to take Peter to the emergency room twice for stress-related illnesses.
Not being able to work a job that I was promised because of completely avoidable visa problems.
That our rent was higher than we
That our apartment was under construction for a month, during which the only room in the apartment I could use was the bedroom (not even the kitchen), and finding out after that they "fixed" the wrong thing and the original problems still existed.
Working exactly opposite schedules of my husband and hardly ever getting to see him (he worked days, I worked evenings/nights).
Feeling isolated and unwanted by the people that should have been my friends.
Knowing said people were gossiping about me behind my back (I found out by accident...).
The utter loneliness and sheer boredom I felt for most of the year.
That I was able to meet people from all over the world.
That I was able to get involved in our church and help start a children's ministry to the favela kids.
That we lived so close to the beach.
The city of Rio. It is beautiful, stunning, exciting, and extremely unique. I loved exploring Rio and all the adventures the city offered.
My English student, and every Brazilian I met, for that matter.
Connecting with other expats all over the world through blogging. It has been so fun and has warded off many a lonely afternoon.
I finally feel like I am having more rationalized, objective thoughts about our time there. I can think about the frustrations without getting worked into a frenzy. I can remember the good times without the bad times overshadowing them. And I can finally think about moving back some day.
I think the entire year can be summed up in one word: intense.
Was it rewarding? I don't know.
Was it worth it? I don't know.
Would we ever move back to Rio? Yes. I think we would.