I enjoy hearing the stories people are willing to share. One never does know what direction a conversation will take. The most important part is to have an open mind and allow it to pull you into whatever waters the current rips the conversation. Now that I think of it, that’s a pretty good philosophy for life as well. Regardless, I find this especially true while travelling. My daughter and I were invited to spend time with friends while we were visiting Rio de Janeiro. I was overjoyed to have an opportunity to travel through more of Brazil and see friends who live 9,000km away. However, what was truly marvelous was how I was humbled by the warmth and generosity of their welcome.
We had opportunities to travel to Saquarema (unofficially Brazil’s surfing capital) and deep into the highlands to Goiânia. My daughter and I were welcomed as part of the family and as such, we were invited to stay within each family’s home. The genuine kindness we experienced was inspiring and demonstrated the importance of family in the Brazilian culture. Whether a trip to the beach, feijoada at a family member’s home or an impromptu 3 hour (each way) trip to the World Heritage Site of Brasilia, we felt at peace staying with our friends.
My daughter appreciated the relaxed feel. It was a nice break from the action packed streets of Rio. She had a memorable experience in Goiânia as she fell in love with Scooby and Mel. Two stray dogs that had been adopted into our friend’s home. Scooby was shy but quickly developed an understanding with her. Mel, on the other paw, had a large dynamic personality for her little body on three legs. My daughter’s love for animals knows no boarder!!!
I enjoyed the conversations most of all. We had conversations about politics with everyone, political corruption with a state prosecutor, animal disease relationships with a veterinarian, domestic education with university faculty, art and culture with actors, prison conditions and police corruption with a defense attorney, and on and on. I was fascinated! Everyone I spoke with had a genuine passion for his or her work and enthusiastically shared experiences and opinions. It was almost overwhelming at times because I felt like I had so little perspective to offer in return, on so many of these subjects. So many questions and never enough time.
All of the friends we visited in Brazil embraced us as family. That isn’t a light statement! How often while travelling have you felt the warmth, generosity, safety and inclusion of family? My daughter and I couldn’t have been welcomed deeper into our friends lives and culture. I think Brazilians have it right! Muito obrigado e até a próxima. Tchau, tchau!!!