I’m sitting in JFK International, watching the rain beat down on the on the runway. I’m sick of the rain.
Just days after historic floods devastated my home state of South Carolina; here I am again, watching rain out of a window.
No matter, I think to myself, the forecast for Rio is 95 and sunny.
I am going back to Rio for the first time in months. I am as anxious as I am excited. My memories of my time in the cidade maravilhosa are among the fondest memories I own. But it is a tricky business, revisiting memories. What if the present doesn’t live up to the imagined past?
Just as my anxiety begins to outweigh my excitement, the mystery of Brazil reveals itself to me once again.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a bronzed, broad-shouldered man is heading in my direction. He is wearing a Flamengo jersey, my soccer team in Rio. The sight of the red and black jersey for the first time in months makes my heart beat like a batucada de samba.
“Mengão!” I shout the affectionate nickname of the Flamengo Club.
Without missing a beat, as if he knew it was coming, he looks in my direction and says, “É nóis, cara!” That makes two of us dude!
He proceeds to give me the quintessential Brazilian smile and thumbs up and keeps on his way. Damn, Brazilians are cool.
Hi, my name is Foster.
I’m a freelance writer, traveler, and most importantly, a Brazilian enthusiast. For the next few months you will find me here, writing about Brazilian music and culture, as well as chronicling my journey of becoming a full-fledged Brazilian Gringo.
The Brazilian Gringo journey is a life-affirming experience that can open all kinds of doors. Doors you never knew existed. I truly believe that there is something special about this country, something that I still have trouble articulating. It exudes an ineffable energy that I have yet to find anywhere else in the world.
Call me crazy, overly optimistic, what have you, but I really believe if everyone got a taste of Brazil, the world would be a much different place.
Brazil is hard though.
Brazilian composer Tom Jobim famously coined the phrase, “Brasil não é para principiantes.” Brazil is not for beginners.
In many ways, I couldn’t agree with him more; Brazil is not for the faint of heart. It is a complicated, nuanced, bureaucratic, and diverse country of colossal proportions. It could take a lifetime to truly come to know Brazil. Like all good things, Brazil takes time, patience, and dedication.
My mission over the next few months to dive deep into Brazil. I want to better understand its culture, its language, and most importantly, its people. I want to find out what it is that makes this place so special.
It is my sincerest hope that sharing my experiences and admiration for all things Brazilian will help you on your own Brazilian journey.
Valeu, galera.The next time we talk I’ll be back on the streets of Rio.