Press play for the full effect:
SLIM AND I ARE GOING TO RIO
WE ARE GOING TO RIO
WE ARE GOING TO RIO
WE ARE GOING TO RIO DE JANEIRO
WE ARE GOING TO FREAKING RIOOOOOO
WE ARE TO MOTHER FREAKING RIO DE JANEIRO
RIO RIO RIO RIO RIO
HERE. WE ARE GOING HERE. WE ARE GOING TO RIO.
WE ARE GOING TO PARTY IN RIO
WE ARE GOING TO JUMP INTO THE OCEAN IN RIO
WE ARE GOING TO SURF IN RIO
AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH – Me and Slim
Yes. While the rest of the world is at home stuffing their faces with turkey and cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving break, my roommate Sungmoon AKA Slim AKA Slim Jim AKA Slim Shady and I will be in Rio de Janeiro stuffing our faces with Brazilian steak and açaí.
But wait. There’s a story here.
Flash back to Fall of 2012. My baby sister Michaela (truly a baby at the time) invites me to watch the animated children’s movie “Rio” with her. Knowing I really ought to spend more quality time with her and less time doing so much gosh darn homework, I agree to the “just-the-girls” movie date. We pop popcorn and press play.
I went into the theater having never felt any particular draw whatsoever to Brazil. Neither its culture nor its language had never been brought to my attention for longer than one turn in an elementary school geography bee before I was invited to attend to this cheesy little kids movie about two birds falling in love. And somehow, when the movie was over, something was different. A switch had gone off in my brain. Something had clicked.
Within the next week, I borrowed every Portuguese children’s book I could find at every library within a 15 mile radius from my house. (So, like, 8 books.) I began spending my free time outside of school and extracurriculars drilling Portuguese vocabulary. I downloaded a ton of Brazilian music, went to Brazilian film screenings in Chicago, and made friends with the Brazilians– okay, the Brazilian (singular)– student at my high school, with whom I practiced my Portuguese for an hour after school twice a week. The first item on my Christmas list for Natal de 2012: Brazilian Portuguese for Dummies. My bible.
I must have watched “Rio” at least 6 more times that winter. I watched it in Portuguese, in French, in Spanish– over and over until I could recite every line in any language you asked. And at night, after I had watched the 96-minute catalyst for my Brazilian obsession, I dreamt about one day packing my bags and traveling to Rio de Janeiro for myself. I had been passionate about travel, culture, and language before, but clearly this time something was different.
I imagined digging my toes into the warm sand on the beaches of Ipanema and playing volleyball with cariocas on the courts of Copacabana. Standing at the foot of Christ the Redeemer and soaring above the mountains in the railcars at Sugarloaf. Sipping água de coco under the sun in Leblon and flirting with Brazilian boys at the bars in Lapa. Many a diary entry were dedicated to these fantasies, and for each of them, a night spent lying awake in wanderlust.
Fast forward. Week 3, Fall Quarter, Sophomore year. Slim asks me if I’m going home for Thanksgiving break. I say nah. Is she? Also nah. What is she doing? Not sure. Me? Not sure. Cool. Cool.
Fast forward. 12 noon on Tuesday of Week 4. I come home from class. I’m starving. It’s sandwich day. Hell yes. Slim is on the patio outside on her laptop. “Dude,” she says. “Wanna go to Rio?”
Wanna go to Rio?
Some context: Slim is really good at finding cheap flights. (Really good.) She spent all of last summer traveling solo around Asia on her own dime. (She high-key inspired my solo trip to Montréal this summer. Read all about it here.) I trust her 100% when it comes to travel planning. (Definitely more than I trust myself.)
Basically, Slim had found two ridiculously cheap roundtrip tickets from LAX to Rio de Janeiro for Thanksgiving break. But here’s the catch: We’d have to book them ASAP.
“Like, today,” Slim explained. (Apparently, these mega-cheap fares don’t last very long.)
The planning was far from perfect; we’d have to figure out how to get to and from LA, and we’d also have to stop for about half a day in Panama each way. Additionally, we had no place to stay in Rio, and I’d still have to apply for a visa and PRAY that it arrived on time. But the tickets were there. They were real. So, I decided to take a leap of faith. A very, very, very big leap of faith. I grabbed my wallet, whipped out my debit card, and watched Slim’s pretty brown eyes light up like fireworks.
In 30 minutes, the tickets were booked.
Holy freaking crap.
I’m going to Rio.
Finally, I’m going to Rio.
After how many nights spent lying awake questioning how I could so long for a place I had never been?
After how many times attempting to explain this strange longing to my mom, who could only run her fingers through my hair in an attempt to console my tears?
After how many Pinterest boards, and journal entries, and pages in my Portuguese notebook?
After all the efforts I’ve made to try to bring Brazil to me, I can finally go there for real.
For real, for real.
This is my real freaking life!!! Holy crap. HOORAY for spontaneity! HOORAY for leaps of faith! HOORAY for the Chicago Consulate of Brazil, who processed my pretty little visa on time, just like they promised! I’M GOING TO RIO! In less than one week, I’m going to find my heart in a place I’ve known it’s always belonged. And I get to go do it all with one of my most dearest friends.
Good goodness, God is good!!! And I am so freaking, freaking happy.
P.S. Eu sei que CiC tem alguns DRs que moram no Brasil! Se algum leitor brasileiro vai estar no Rio durante a semana que vem e gostaria de juntar com Slim e eu, POR FAVOR me manda um email! Seria legal demais conhecer algum Dear Reader no hemisfério ao outro lado do mundo. Beijos! Xx