Tomorrow is the start of Carnaval. I’m exhausted from a long week of school, jiu-jitsu, and running errands around the city. It’s probably been about 4 miles of just walking every day. In that time, I’ve been able to really take in the city and the experience of travelling to a foreign country. And I’ve learned a few things so far, about Brazil, and life in general:

  1. Achieving a goal is not easy, and rarely comfortable.. Even when that goal is just finding your way around. Because of the language barrier and pace of living here, finding my costume materials for Carnaval took a combined 10 hours, where it might have taken 10 minutes in the US to order on Amazon.
  2. People want to help. They don’t always know what they’re talking about, but they are interested in being a part of the solution. It’s been challenging to constantly step outside my comfort zone and ask for directions. It wasn’t at first, but doing it repeatedly takes its toll. It’s becoming axiomatic that I just don’t know as much as I think I do, and I depend on others a lot more than I would like. Thankfully, I’ve found that people here are willing to be depended on – a lot more than I would expect.
  3. Your attitude largely determines the environment you find yourself in. When you smile, other people will smile. When you frown, other people will look away. It’s been weird seeing how much my outlook on life influences the actions of those around me. Things appear to fall into place more readily when I’ve been content than when I’ve been anxious. People have just seemed more, well, helpful. I think the help I’ve gotten when I’ve been happy is because when a person is happy, others want to take part in their happiness. They want to be a part of something greater than themselves, and they want to be a part of a story that they know ends well. When you are truly happy, other people can sense it. And they feed off that, because they want that attitude too.

It’s been really cool learning about the culture here as a different way of life, because at the same time, it’s been teaching me a lot about my own. That’s all as far as deep thoughts go for the next few days. Carnaval (officially) starts tomorrow.


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