On January 3rd I completed three years living in New York. “But, already?” Already. I always wanted to live abroad and I remember that I always thought that one year would not be enough. A year would be too little to live abroad. Now I’m living abroad for three years old and I still feel that I have so much, but so much to do … Life goes too fast, time goes too fast. The year has just begun – but do you want to bet that in a blink of an eye we will be at Easter and in another blink of an eye it will be half of the year? Yeah.
Right now, I’m in Brazil. I came to spend the holidays with my family. It had been a year since I’d come for the last time – and it was the longest period of time that I spent in NYC without visiting to Brazil. In these three years living abroad, there have been many trips to my country (I am from Santa Catarina) and just as the smell of home and the food of my mom don’t change, neither changes the anguish that tightens my chest every time the day to go back is approaching. I even talk to those friends who have been away for a while longer to see if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. “Over time, it gets easier,” we think. But then the friends inform you that no – it does not matter if you live abroad for 5 or 10 years – saying goodbye to the family will never be easy. To help, it seems that the clock decides to walk even faster in the days before boarding and your heart can’t stand tightness feeling. It tightens so much that you have to let it go – it has to put out, you can cry hidden or at the waiting room of the airport.
I know that at this point, at least half a dozen of you are already thinking that “you’re lucky” or “girl, you’re going back to New York” or “take advantage because Brazil is worse than worse”. I really feel privileged because of the opportunity I have to live in the United States, in a city as wonderful as New York. This path that I have traveled to here has brought me many good things: a change in the focus of the blog that only gave me good results, a wonderful network and so many projects and jobs that I have developed over the years – not to mention all the experiences I had, places I could visit and even the dishes I tasted. Living abroad opens your head for so many things and your worldview expands in an incredible way – I think everyone should have this chance, even for a month in life.
I have said many times that, like everything in life, living abroad also has a bad side. You’ve probably heard a lot of success stories about foreign people living abroad, but you can not ignore everything that is faced to achieve that – and not everyone who lives abroad achieves their goals. The language barrier, prejudice, xenophobia, cultural differences – living abroad is to win small battles every day. From being able to answer the intercom and understand everything the person is talking about until you can communicate with the doctor and explain what you are feeling, find out the equivalent of that product in the supermarket or even help someone who is lost in the subway. All these situations would be very normal if I were in Brazil – but not when you are in a different country. The truth is that as life abroad is very intense it is necessary to remember that life in the place where you use to live continues. People die, people marry, celebrate birthdays, celebrate their graduations. And you will miss several of those moments. Of course, you will also create other situations – you will have celebrations moments with people who have crossed your path and will also welcome these friends in your home to celebrate Thanksgiving. You will begin to cultivate that feeling of being at home more and more. But there is always a little bit left in your life.
2016 was very cruel to the world. We saw so much bad things that happened, so many episodes of intolerance, so many lives that were gone in the blink of an eye. That’s why I value these moments in Brazil, close to my family – and the friends I left here. And the flight tickets for this time were very expensive. But for certain things we should not save money. We have the habit of thinking we have everything under control. We planned our week, that trip that will be in two months, we already thought about the next Christmas, we schedule a lunch for the holiday, we imagine the life for the next 10 years. But the truth is we don’t control anything. I think it’s good for the human being to think that he’s in control – after all, you can not live predicting the future either, but – it’s good to have a little toe on the floor. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and think about my parents and it hurts, it hurts to know that we are not close. It hurts to know that there is a distance. Obviously everything is easy because technology, but of course Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp do not replace hugs. I have a relationship with my parents – especially my mother – that may not be the same as many people have. And then we live these days in Brazil as intensely – as it was before leaving Brazil – that each farewell hurts, as if you were reliving that feeling of leaving for the first time.
If the feeling goes way? Come on, of course. But living abroad is living eternally with this duality of feelings … It is to live intensely in a wonderful city – but always cultivating that feeling of missing those people who are not close. It is enjoying the most of your time in Brazil – and keeping that love for your home that is far away. I try to balance myself like this …
Laura Peruchi is a Brazilian blogger, author, and entrepreneur. She has lived in Manhattan with her husband since 2014. Since then, she has shared on her blog varied content about the Big Apple. From travel tips, including unusual things to do, shopping tips, etiquette, restaurants, and a lot more, her blog has become a reference in Portuguese (also available in English) for anyone planning a trip to New York City.