My friends, I am leaving in Brazil in a week. I feel tremors. I feel like I am breaking up with my lover at the height of a great romance. It’s a strange feeling to have my energy simultaneously pulled Northward while still trying to remain here and now. Brazil as I have said, is a beautiful mess. It’s dirty, dangerous, and difficult. It’s also so beautiful that my heart swells and I can feel my starry-eyed self, falling deeply in love. The waterfalls, beaches, mountains, and jungles are beyond breath-taking. Note: I have included many pictures from my months in Brazil.
In an effort to help me with the transition, I made a list of things that you and I can do in our daily lives to be a little more Brazilian.
Brazilian food is difficult for my taste buds can be. There is little variety and almost no spices beyond salt and garlic. Everything is fried and there is a heavy reliance on meat; lots and lots of meat. I have amplified by health by eating Acai, the south American super fruit every day. Acai is served as a frozen sorbet. It’s amazingly healthy and delicious (If you are in Rio, go to Big Poli’s in Leblon or Amazonia Soul in Ipanema). Acai in North America is sold freeze dried, powdered or in popsicles. Get some today and feel your body thrive. It saved me.
Wear less clothing
Rio is a naked place. It’s partially because it’s so dang hot and also because people love to strut their stuff, regardless of their body shape. It’s empowering to see multitudes of proud people on daily parade. In an effort to be more sensual, I invite you to wear less clothing this summer. Feel the soft, warm wind touching your skin. Delight in your unique curves and beauty. Take long strides, tip your head up, push your shoulders back and give it a slight wiggle (and giggle). Now who’s sexy?
Kiss in public
Brazilians are lovers. They are deeply affectionate and demonstrative people. It’s hot. I love checking out kissing couples of all ages (without being pervy). There is something so wonderful about taking your lover, regardless of where you are and giving them a long, hot, passionate kiss. Toronto, my home city, is known for many things; being a sexy, hot, romantic city sadly isn’t one of them. Tonight, feverishly kiss your lover and tell them that it is your inner-Brazilian shining through.
Make Juice every day
Juicing is an amazing way to jive up your health. Brazilians tend to stick to one fruit at a time as opposed to North Americans who like to mix up to ten different fruits and vegetables; I see the value of the simplicity. My friend and photographer, William taught me the secret of how to make perfect passion fruit juice. Add one teaspoon of honey and just enough water (roughly 1 passion fruit to 3 cups of water), blend and strain for passion fruit perfection. Note: I found a passion fruit tree in my backyard today. Pure joy.
BBQ with friends often
Churrasco is holy and sacred in Brazil. Every Sunday, families and friends gather together for the all-mighty BBQ surrounded by meat, music and beer. It is really lovely to be a part of this tradition. BBQ brings people together and gives them an opportunity to unwind. Be a little more Brazilian by inviting some friends over. Put down your phone, make some yummy food and connect. We could all use more of that.
Brazilians love to celebrate and celebrate often. I got caught a couple of times by unexpected National, state or local holiday only to find everything closed. Celebration is a national pastime. While I did flee for the jungle during Carnival, many love and appreciate the collective, drunken revelry. There is a levity to life here that is often lacking in the seriousness of North America. Go sip some luxurious champagne today, just to celebrate living.
Work out often
Rio is an active place. Every Sunday on the road beside the beach, car lanes are closed down to traffic. In its place, thousands of people run, bike, and skate board. On the beach, people work out, surf, swim, slack-line and of course, hula hoop. There is so much activity, everyone is almost expected to move and groove. I am firm believer that physical fitness helps in every aspect of life, including creating positive endorphins. Shake your money maker today and get one of those undeniable Brazilian bodies.
Brazil is a poor country. With exploding inflation (due to the World Cup and Olympics), most people are surviving just above the poverty line. What is lacking in material wealth is totally made up for in the happiness quotient. People are generous, open-hearted and eager to help out a lost and confused gringa. It feels like they are all in it together in one big, messy, loud family. The humility and grace I have witnessed is a refreshing change from the sometimes materialistic, fast-paced North American world. Practice being OK with less and grateful for what is.
Stay close with your family
Brazilians love their families and make a point of connecting with them on a regular basis. It’s endearing (and somewhat foreign) to witness such tight family bonds. I find that a lot of North Americans have a cool or even a slightly removed version of family togetherness. There is always something floating around Facebook on ‘How to survive the holidays with your family’. I don’t see that Brazilians have the same family angst. Perhaps we can get past the family gunk to appreciate those we are born into. It’s Mother’s day this weekend, call yo mama.
Lighten up and Chill out
In Canada I have a super food, high vibe lifestyle. I only eat organic and I am fastidious about what I put in and on my body. Brazil forced me to chill out! It wasn’t easy but it was necessary. Organic food is emerging (I just found a great organic farmer’s market on Saturday) but not totally available. Water comes from a spring but is held in plastic bottles. What I gave up on in terms of my healthy lifestyle, I was able to make up for in startling beauty, ocean air and an amazing quality of life. Life is always about balance. Brazil has opened me up to another way of living. That being said, always bring a nut milk bag.
Wish me luck on this transition. I can hear murmurings of excitement for my return. It feels good to go back to so much love, friendship, family and my dog. I have some really wonderful things in the works for the next six months with the creation of the “Be the Flower” book and some new workshops planned. I can’t wait to share them with you.
So, what did you learn on vacation that you brought back and implemented into your life? With acai-stained lips and fragrant flowers on my desk,