It’s already two weeks since I left Jeri. I still have in my mind my last forró, my last day at the beach, my last night on my bed thinking about everything over and over again… Sometimes life catches up with us, forces us to take a decision on the spot, under pressure, right here and right now. And sometimes these decisions are life-changing and they carve a path in life we could have never foreseen to take.
So here I was, flying back to cold Europe, first a stopover in Frankfurt, then 10 days in Utrecht and 3 weeks in Poland. First shock was to land in Frankfurt in my little pink shorts and green nanos, walk around the airport looking for any shop selling something more “appropriate” like a pair of long pants or a hoodie.. walking among heavily dressed businesspeople, so absorbed in their phones and newspapers, I felt so out of place… a stranger among strangers, although this used to be where I belonged. I kept listening to my Brazilian music, again and again the same playlist on repeat. It was such an emotionally intense day, I felt so embarrassed with my puffy eyes, drained after hours of crying in the plane, now waiting for my connection flight among all these people…
I started my journey with tears and I was ending it in the same way. For completely different reasons, two completely different people. The Me of October 2015, scared of getting out of my comfort zone to explore the unknown, and the Me of December 2016 having become more familiar with the unknown, yet coming out of this a bit more broken too.. a whole year of traveling alone. That was tough. Thankfully, I was never mugged, or threatened or felt fear of being where I was. I was lucky in that sense. I was always ‘protected’ and cared for by fellow crossfitters who embraced me and welcomed me in their homes and boxes, or just friendly people who knew nothing about Crossfit, but had hearts made of gold and souls so full of love that could warm up my lonely days and make them a bit better.
Cause, in the end, it was a very lonely year. I did make friends for life, but also realized in every step of the way, that I have to move on alone… again and again… it’s a reality I am still finding hard to embrace.
Back in winter-time Europe, after 11 months in summer mode, at first I didn’t have time to think, I had only a few days to do things that needed to be done in the Netherlands, see just a couple of friends and try to find comfort in this new reality of mine. But days passed by so fast, I was dead tired every afternoon, the cold weather being my worst enemy, a running nose and burning throat the first welcoming gift I received… Then, things started going south in various ways.. little things that made me feel desperate, like losing all data on my phone, like being accused for a bump in the rental car which was not my fault, or forgetting important documents and needing to have them sent back to me… I really could not focus, and still find it hard to. Every single day, every single moment I was in denial. And I still am, I think.
The First World seems so… pointless..? People chasing material things, and me knowing I too will become like this sooner or later. Or maybe not? How deep has this experience been for me? Have I really learned what is valuable in life? Or will I return to the old Me, working a 9-5 job and looking forward for the weekend and 20 days of vacation per year?
And here’s my reality… I sit in the train, listening to my favorite Brazilian songs, I close my eyes, move my head to the rhythm of the music, daydream about the sunshine and smiling people, I go back, even if for a moment in my thoughts. Then I open my eyes, I am surrounded by people rushing about their life without a smile on their face; they all hurry to go to work, wearing their suits and jackets and gloves, everyone is rushing to some place. I don’t feel I belong here, but I know I am not the only one.
I still wake up thinking “what’s the time in Jeri now?”, thinking about the (seemingly) carefree life there, the sun, the dance, the sunsets and every little detail that I never thought would come to mind.
However, the ‘now’ is all I have and life moves on. So must I. There is one major question needing an answer now. Where is home? I realize that the more I travel, the more pieces of me I leave behind. Moving forward brings new experiences and lovely people in my life, but it also always hurts. Seems like each new place can easily become a new ‘comfort zone’, but ‘home’, where is home?
For me, Home is where the heart is, but apparently my body is in Europe but my heart and thoughts stayed in S. America… I need to find a way to bring them back together. I need to find home.
One more new start. Wish me luck!