lu: (Smile)
Ok, so, I've decided I've had enough: I need to go back to the world of Live Journal, after all, this is my favourite place on internet, and I can't keep on neglecting you people.

My summer vacations were excellent, and I still have twenty days to go.

When I said I was going away, I went to Ituverava, this little town north of São Paulo, where most of my father's family lives. I spent quite a big amount of time with my two little siblings (Miguel is five and Clarice is one and a half), which was excellent, since I don't see them much. I've grown really attached to them, and miss them like hell, already.

I've also dedicated myself to my family, and really enjoyed it, even though it can sometimes be exhaustive. Read some books, watched some movies, talked to my cousins (eight boys aged between 9 and 20), and was happy to notice they are growing up, even though it's a slow process.

Christmas was, as usual, amazing. More than fifty people in the party, everybody hugging each other and crying, and I was just plain happy to be there, and to have a big family. I missed it, since it had been four years since my last Christmas there.

During the party, I spent a long time chatting with a gay cousin of mine, who is around forty, and, when I came back to my grandma's house, I have to say I felt a little bad. Everyone in my family loves him and all, but I've never even seen his boyfriend, and I realised that, as much as my family loves me, I will never be able to bring a girl home, and see them treat her as if she were a member of the family, as would be the case regarding any boys I brought there. Hopefully, until then, things will change a bit more, and they'll accept it in a better way.

My parents are a proof that, between generations, things can change one hundred percent. They've known all my girlfriends, supported me and were extremely kind to them (my mother going as far as keep on calling them after we've broken up -- which isn't a problem, since I'm in good terms with most of them).

After Ituverava, I got back to São Paulo and, for two weeks, went out with my friends from there. My parents traveled and they practically camped at my place, partying everyday, chatting, listening to music, playing cards, and, well, being the great people I've learned to love during those two amazing years I've lived in São Paulo. It felt like I had never gone back to Rio in the first place.

I made new friends (like [ profile] jbusko), grew more attached to other friends I was acquainted with, but didn't really know (like Berê), and relived old, rocky friendships, who are finally at peace, after much arguing and discussion (like with [ profile] stheh).

New Year's Eve was amazing. Twenty people at my place, sixty beer cans, three champagnes, two vodkas and some wine. We saw some fireworks from my apartment, that has a great view of a part of the city. Everyone was danced, sang and was just generally drunk and happy.

On the 7th, after my father's return, he took me to the airport and, after a quick check in and a bite, dropped me off on the gate, beyond which my amazing trip to Tanzania began, and ended only three weeks later, when I would return to Brazil on the 29th of January.

I will not narrate all the things that happened to me in Africa, for that would be a true novel, and this post is already far too big compared to my usual posts. I will say, though, how I felt about it, and how I believe it changed me, in many ways.

I think I can honestly say a part of my heart was left in Tanzania, where the people are so kind, so nice, so eager to help, and, to my big surprise, so happy. All of the Tanzanians I've met not only loved their country, but wouldn't trade it for any other in the world. My Safari guide told me something that put a grin in my face, and a thousand thoughts in my head:

"You know, on television, people show Africa as a continent where there is only Civil War, people killing each other, hunger, sadness. Tanzania is not like that. We've never had a big war, we are peaceful, we love living here, and, we may be poor, but we're not hungry. People here respect each other. Think of this: in a world where there is war because of religion all around, there is a country in which half the population is muslim and the other half is Christian, and nobody has a problem with it."

That pretty much sums up what an amazing country that is, and showed me that, indeed, it's greatest attractive, are it's inhabitants -- which is something I would say about Brazil. Brazilians are indeed the best part of this country. In many ways, the two countries are alike. The weather (though it's a little hotter there, compared to Rio), the food, the way people treat outsiders... Tanzania is poorer, that is true, and was colonized by British people (they have tea with milk, and all) but, essentially, there are many similarities.

One of my greatest experiences while I was in Africa, besides all the amazing things that usually comes with cultural shock, didn't regard humans, but animals. As a big fan of the Lion King, I was mesmerised to go to the Safari and see it all (even lions, cubs and elephants) really close by, running absolutely free on the Savannah. I must say, it was one of the happiest days of my life, and all the time I was singing Circle of Life over and over in my head.

Fernando, son of my cousin (in whose house I was staying), was there coincidentally at the same time I was. He is a little bit older than me, and showed me around, which was great. We made some friends there that took as out clubbing. I have to say, it really taught me something I desperately needed to learn: to go out with straight people, to places not gay-friendly at all, and still have an excellent time; I enjoyed it very much.

This trip has also taught me patience. Taught me to listen to others more, and talk less, to behave appropriately according to the place one is (there were a lot of formal receptions we attended to, even one in the home of the American Ambassador), and to love life even more than I already did. To know that though you may be in a bad situation in life, being positive is important and praiseworthy, and not just a form of accommodation.

All in all, I loved it, and I need to go back. My cousin will be there for three more years, so, who knows? Maybe I'll convince mum or dad to go, and we'll have a great time together. I couldn't stop thinking how much they would love that place, and the comments my dad (my usual companion on trips) or my mum would make regarding this or that.

Coming back to Brazil, even though I loved Tanzania, was great. I missed my friends, especially those from Rio, since I hadn't seen them in forever. Pratchett once wrote:

"All this traveling and seeing things is fine but there's also a lot of fun to be had from having been. You know, sticking all your pictures in a book and remembering things. (...) The important thing about having lots of things to remember is that you've got to go somewhere afterward where you can remember them, you see? You've got to stop. You haven't really been anywhere until you've got back home." - Words that came out of the mouth of the first Tourist of the Discworld, Twoflower.

After a quick stop in São Paulo, a small early birthday party, I came back to Rio, to my mum and to the city I started loving more and more during the course of last week. João came back with me, and, him being a tourist from São Paulo himself, and a student of architecture, made me start looking at my city in a different way, and find it more beautiful than ever.

My 18th birthday was great. I had breakfast with my family, went to the movies, played pool with some friends and went out clubbing at night -- an amazing day. Now I have to finally learn how to drive (this time for real), and deal with other things I had to do when I turned eighteen, like bank-related issues. College will start soon, and I can't wait. I managed to be selected to the Ancient History class, and that, along with Latin, made me just plain happy.

I hope you are all well, and, today on, I will go back to my friend list and to the communities in which I used to be active. So, any posts from now, I will do my best to read and comment.

Au revoir.

Post scriptum: Today is [ profile] _annabel_lee's birthday. One of my best friends for more than four years now, she will always be the Jenny for my Shane, and I'll always have a hell of a lot of trouble putting down in words just how much I love and care for her. Happy Birthday, Dona. =*

Post scriptum II: Congratulations to [ profile] deadcinderella and [ profile] magnun for being admitted on three of the best Universities in the country! So proud of you two.


You like bowling, don't you, Montag?

If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. If the government is inefficient, topheavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of 'facts' they feel stuffed, but absolutely 'brilliant' with information. Then they'll feel like they're thinking, they'll get a sense of motion without moving. And they'll be happy, because facts of that sort don't change. Don't give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy.

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