So I've been in Brasil (in this post I insist in using the Portuguese spelling for my country, as perhaps I should always do) for many weeks now. And I've felt at home. Let me explain, I SHOULD always feel at home in my home country, but the last time I came (Dec 03- Jan 04) that was not so clearly the case, I felt almost the opposite.
Let me backtrack a bit. I have lived in the U.S. for almost 9 years. We never intended to stay that long. In the first few years, I would arrogantly answer to any Brazilian acquaintances or friends that asked whether I like living in the States that no, I didn't like the U.S., that I loved Brazil, and would definitely go back. That was in part a reaction to the prevalent attitude of Brazilians: they are genrerally fascinated by the U.S., they all want to come live in the U.S. and when they do come, they criticize Brazil a lot. I've always hated that, and I wanted to shock everyone by going the other way. And love Brazil I did, with all my heart. Year in year out I tried to keep the flame alive, listening to Brazilian music, coming to Brazil every year or so...
But slowly but surely, life in the U.S. started to seep into our lives, and we got used to it. The language had never been a problem to me, and my husband's English got better and better. We would sometimes have loooooong conversations in English, and mix both languages constantly.
(see - I wrote Brazil with a z -- I said I wouldn't but I did)
But everytime I came to Brasil, my heart would warm up. The very first time we came back, 1 year and a half after we had left, I cried and cried as the plane flew over São Paulo and landed.
I saw my friends (yes, I never had the same kind of friends in the U.S. and I missed them terribly), family, ate the food, saw the green -- everything is so GREEN here, especially when we travel in the winter -- and felt I would readily come back. Except that last year I didn't feel that way. It seemed that something precious had broken, that I no longer felt completely at home here, but felt at home in the U.S.
I was curious to find out how I would react this time... and I feel I could come back all right. But I'll never be the same. I've spent way too much time abroad. Happily, I do feel comfortable in the U.S., but I still don't have those friends... they're here, and they all have children now, and I'm missing all the conversations we could have had about our children, and seeing them play and grow together.
I feel divided again, as I hadn't felt for a while. But I think I will never be whole. Oh yeah, that's pretty much a certainty, I'm divided... torn between two countries.
Will my boys be divided like that too? Is it cruel to have my 3 year old be monolingual (he speaks only Portuguese so far...) and living in the U.S.?
I don't know, I wish I did...
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