I am here. I have arrived. By the grace of god and/or by my own shear-force determination, I managed to move my life and my career to Brazil for the winter. I will be teaching Aromatherapy and Hooping, doing massage and energy work and a revealing a big secret reason very soon. I am currently in a friend’s apartment in Botafogo (which has similar energy to my home base in Riverdale) in a bikini and short shorts. It is hot, humid and sticky and only 9:10am. For the record, I am not complaining.
My first impressions of Rio are honestly still forming. I only got here on Friday and I am still working through jet-lag, fear for my safety, culture shock and resting from the ridiculous cyclone of energy it took to get here.
Rio is lush. Flowering trees, tropical plants, acai stands and coconut trees are everywhere. A wide variety of multi-coloured orchids grow out of trees. It’s swoon-worthy. Rio is a city that formed out of a mountainous jungle. Gigantic verdant island-sized boulders jut out of the sea and provide amazing contrast to the endless turquoise horizon. The jungle permeates everything (as noted by the gigantic red cockroaches that come out at night). The deep, wild energy is here and is alive. When I went into a supermarket on Saturday, I could feel a vital, magnetic pulse coming off the mangoes, papayas, pineapples and jabuticaba. It felt like mother love welcoming me home. I have always felt most at ease in the jungle.
Rio is fit. In just about every park, apartment or beach, there is exercise equipment being put to good use. People are constantly pumping up, running or cycling to parade their beach-ready bodies. I like it. Healthy surf bodies are an added bonus to the visual landscape.
Rio is stunning. With 500 year old churches, gigantic botanical gardens and amazing architectural detail, Rio could easily be confused with the great cities of Europe. Christ the Redeemer stands proud and blesses the city with different coloured lights (depending on the night). However, it’s important to not get lost in the beauty- it makes one an easy target.
Rio is thriving. I went to Parque do Flamego for the equivalent of Cherry Beach Sundays (without the sketch). Families were celebrating with birthday picnics, slack-liners were competing with silk aerialists for tree space, and I participated in my first Rio hoop jam (It felt so good to hoop barefoot and outside in December). There was even a 50 piece brass band practicing for Carnival with buoyant, joyful enthusiasm. I love breezy Sundays in a park, especially if there is an ocean nearby.
Additionally, Rio is hosting the World Cup in June and the Olympics in 2 years. Rio is under construction and that only contributes to the insane traffic that congests the city. Getting anywhere can take 15 minutes or 2 hours. It makes being on time rather impossible.
That’s the good stuff…
Rio is dangerous. I am not one to ruminate in fear however everyone has a story of how they were mugged, sometimes at knife or gun point. One of the hoopers broke all her front teeth after running away from a gun shot battle and losing her footing. It’s scary stuff and always present.
In my 20’s I traveled as an international journalist around the world. I think of myself as a pretty good traveler and an aware person in general. As I walk around Rio with my friends, I see that I need to sharpen my awareness and fast. In two instances, friends saw potential dangers long before I even noticed. Please continue to send light and good juju. I feel it and appreciate it. I am breathing and staying balanced.
I also feel (and have felt) that things can turn from glorious, peaceful, gentle to a dark and menacing in a heartbeat. It keeps me on my toes and forces me to tune in to the light for protection and strength. It’s big work to not succumb to the fear, and also to not be dumb and sloppy in my actions. Canada is a great place (despite the agonizing cold).
Rio is Portuguese-speaking– exclusively. I am working on my language skills though right now there is a lot of pointing, smiling and trying to not be too obvious that I am a foreigner. Brazilian Portuguese is a mouth-full experience and Cariocas (people from Rio) speak with a very specific shh shh shh accent. I think it is beautiful, soft and oh so romantic. It reminds of the beautiful Brazilian men with whom I have shared special moments. Sigh… I will be starting intensive lessons as soon as possible.
So those are my first thoughts with way more to share. I plan to blog a couple times a week. I do believe the best is yet to come and so far, it is pretty freaking awesome.
Sending light and sparkles to you from a hill in Rio with Christ the Redeemer looking down.
Beija-flor y Cachoeiras (hummingbirds and waterfalls)
Sensual lover of life and the glorious beauty that abounds!