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Jessica's Brasil Experience

Jessica's Message

In Brasil, they have a specific word for a final goodbye – they call it a “despedido.”  Strangely, we do not have a word for it in English.  Since my despedido in Brasil, I have enjoyed every minute of time with my family; I have been thrown into the beauty and bustle of the holidays; And I have begun to readjust to the excesses and the strange familiarity of my country, my city, my home.  I also miss Rio immensely.  There is another word in Portuguese that we don’t have in English:  “saudade.”  It means a deep longing, a nostalgia.  I have great saudades for my people in Brasil.  I miss the community there.  I miss living in the ‘hood.  I miss working among the poor and loving on the least of these.  I miss having a great sense of purpose to my day.  I miss experiencing Jesus in unique ways.  I even miss the hot Rio sun.

Being back home, having some time to reflect and debrief, I have realized just how much I learned while in Rio.  I learned what it is to live with simplicity and compassion and grace.  I learned to live flexibly, moving with the Spirit.  I learned what it is to live the life of a pilgrim, a long-time traveler.  I learned what it is to wait patiently, about "the wonder of waiting, the tingle of anticipation and the deepening of longing, the hope of imagining the improbable."  I learned what the difference is between doing and being and that being is so much better.  I learned that "the One who calls you is faithful."  

Just for fun, my 10 Favourite Things about Rio, in no particular order:

  1. R$1 abacaxi (you can get a pineapple in the hood for one real, which is like $0.60)

  2. "Tia" (this is Portuguese for "aunt" but it is used as a term of respect and endearment for a female friend, volunteer, or passerby...I miss hearing the kids call out "Tia, tia!"

  3. Pipas (kites - the boys in the ‘hood fly kites from the roofs of the houses to pass the time...it is a blast to watch and a beautiful ornament for the sky)

  4. O mar (the sea - enough said.  I love the sea.)

  5. "Beautiful-zinha" (a nickname my Portuguese teacher and friend gave me...a combination of English and the Portuguese diminutive, which has been adopted by my whole community here, essentially meaning "little beautiful one")

  6. Cóco sorvete (coconut ice cream - delicioso!  The best ice cream flavor here!)

  7. The Sisters and volunteers of Missionaries of Charity (they are a crazy crew when you get them together, but I love them dearly and miss the moments of love and grace)

  8. Havaianas (I refer to Rio as the Flipflop Capital of the World...Havaianas being the number one choice of flipflop, worn by rich and poor alike)

  9. Brasilian hospitality and greetings (there is nothing like the warm embrace and friendly welcome of a Brasilian, even a stranger... they greet with a hug and a kiss on both cheeks, which I grew to love.)

  10. The Projeto Ester mural (it was an honor and a privilege to complete a mural at the Ester Project...despite some water damage, it turned out beautiful and the ladies of the project love it.  I could not imagine a better way to leave a bit of myself in Rio.)

Foto's of Brasil