• Marie Tattiana Aqeel

First Day In Brazil

First things first- I LOVE the way Brazil treats its children. I've always loved that they have a Children's holiday in addition to Mother's and Father's Days and they actively give priority to people traveling with small children and pregnant women I have seen men give their sons affection and it seems more natural for children to be attached to their parents. As in most of Latin America, Brazilians value family and so, it seems, they pair off easily and start families younger (and perhaps easier) than Americans normally do.


Secondly, this feels natural to me. I'm eager to see the morning in Surubim from my sister's phatass house. The air is humid as I love. The food is pretty much everything I always want to eat but I do have to actively find greens and other vegetables to add to this high starch, meat, and dairy diet. I'm not tryinna have the gut I had growing up, nor the joint pains or crazy feeling depression. Feel me?


Thirdly, I am getting more excited about being here for 6 weeks and working. I know it's just my first day but I'm already thinking that I would probably stay for the year if offered the opportunity to. I don't know yet what to expect from Mestre Conbrinha's capoeira-permaculture farm, but I have my intentions set to soaking in the sun, the work, the vibes, learn a lot, and I pray to break through the fears and sadness I've held onto out of habitual comfort in traumatizing situations. I don't need chaos to know I'm doing well. I'm trying to change my mindset to know that and not just believe it. I hope that this trip helps, and even helps by giving me the space and/or activity from which I can make firmer choices about what my next steps in life are. I have a plan but I'm starting to see that I'm thinking of committing to too many different things. Simplifying things will be necessary. Once again I am learning that lesson.


Fourth, relationships are on my mind because I still feel them. I know that this trip is for me to work through some if not most or ALL of this. I don't expect miracles, but I know what catharsis does- releases. And it's release that I want. Before I left I had an urge to contact my ex that I think I'm still in love with, but my body, like my internal self wouldn't allow it. I didn't want to set myself up for an expectation upon my return. We're not talking now and although I'd like to be cordial, we don't need to be friends. If we are to be, I'd rather let it happen totally naturally. Forcing our relationship always did more harm than good. As for my most recent relationship, I still love them, I still think I may want to marry them, I'm still open in that way, but I also totally want to be single now. And so do they. Who knows? Maybe in 3 more years I'll totally be over it and enjoy our friendship more than I did our partnership. Time will tell.


Fifth, started the Ta-Nehisi Coates book Between The World And Me today on the plane. Cried. In the first few pages. I cried at the truth of his observations. I had not heard them said like that before and somehow it dug into me deeper than the usual twitter-length phrases about violence against Black folx. If you haven't read this book, whether you consider yourself Black or White, please do. It is about facing a history which informs a reality that we all take part in. It is a strangely freeing practice of acceptance.Sixth, My portuguese sucks but it's so fun to HAVE to use it!

My sisters and their children, minus one, Jessica, who's not pictured

My two sisters brasileiras


Three sisters



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