All Over The World Is How I Feel Right Now

Unexpectedly, I didn’t feel as if I’d really arrived in Brazil until the second day I was there. I’m unsure if it was jet lag or general exhaustion — I didn’t manage to sleep between Tuesday morning and Wednesday night, and spent almost every moment of that either traveling or working, which was as overwhelming as it sounds — but the end of the first day in São Paulo saw me essentially collapsing into sleep, too dizzy to be able to focus my eyes and minutes away from getting up to be sick after making the mistake of drinking water from the tap because I was so dehydrated. Everything felt surreal and skew wiff; I knew I wasn’t home, but it didn’t really feel like I was anywhere, if that makes sense.

The second day was much better. It wasn’t just that I had slept, although that helped considerably. I woke up and worked, because that’s the job, literally. But after I’d hit the deadline that was looming scarily in front of me, I did the thing I’d wanted to do since landing and hadn’t had the chance: I went on a dérive, wandering through the streets around the hotel with no plan or direction (Well, a mild plan to go get some breakfast, it’s true). Basically, I walked out the door to give in and let the city tell me what it was like.

The city is… I don’t know what to say. (I’m writing this while still here, so I don’t have the necessary perspective yet, that’s true.) The city is alive. And at once more green and more urban than I expected. It feels as if it’s been put together haphazardly, in the best way possible; the layout, the types of buildings, the uses for the buildings, all seem to have little rhyme or reason to it.

There’s a lot of traffic, and a lot of noise in general. There’s a street, a few blocks over, where it seems as if everyone walks their dogs. There are lots of tiny little storefronts within a few blocks, selling almost everything you could want, open onto streets filled with people and newsstands, God, I love the newsstands here, filled with newspapers and magazines and comics. It makes the city feel like a place obsessed with reading. How better to win my heart?

I’m writing this literally midway through the trip, and I feel grounded here now, but also… comfortable…? This despite not knowing Portuguese and basically reduced to communicating via hand gestures and goodwill. I needed a day to arrive properly, but now that I’m here, I feel like the world has opened up to me again. That alone makes the 18-hour travel worthwhile.

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