Sunday, March 3, 2013

Thoughts of Ibiza in São Paulo

I’ve been in Sao Paulo for the last week, more or less living like a tourist at the Fulbright orientation. We have air-conditioned hotel rooms, attend city bus tours, our meals are comped at the hotel buffet. It’s not necessarily my style of travel, but after such a long hiatus from traveling, it has been probably the best transition into new surroundings. 

And the scholars. Jesus, the scholars. These are seriously some of the most brilliant minds I have ever met. It’s fucking ridiculous. From analyzing the effects of Chinese investment in Brazil to exploring the cultural currency of hair texture, these people have managed to develop a theory on damn near anything and have it make sense. People are doing projects on the open-source movement and I don’t even know what that is. I’ve connected with some wonderful minds, wishing that I had more time with them, but I’ll be honest. I didn’t always feel that way. 

If I had written this post a few days ago, I would have said I felt slighted, that there was too much ego and self-absorption floating around a room filled with the highest levels of self-accomplishment. I would have something about how intellect cannot surpass self-awareness, and at most times, it acts as a hindrance. 

The idea started when someone made a comment about Ibiza being nothing but a party destination, having nothing else to offer but drinks, drugs and massive trance parties. I mean, that kinda is true, but it’s not all that there is. Ibiza is a magical place; the party atmosphere consumes maybe 5% of the actual island. There is a significant indigenous population thriving on the other side and it was there I had my first sweat lodge experience, an experience that changed my life for the better.

I was ready to write off everyone who agreed with that comment about my beloved island, ready to jump to premature conclusions of people’s misunderstanding on the human experience. But I remembered what my friend Carolina had said to me before she brought me to the sweat lodge. I made a remark about there being a lack of connectedness in Ibiza, that I thought everyone seemed angry. She told me in response that if I saw that everyone around me was being antisocial, I was the antisocial one, that if everyone else appeared angry, that meant that I was an angry person. She said Ibiza was a powerful place; it had the ability to reflect our true nature.

I thought about that comment as I was busy conjuring assumptions in my mind that night in Sao Paulo. I thought about how if I felt others were slighting me, I was probably doing the same to them. You’d be surprised how much you can learn about a person if you’re willing to admit your faults and donate a smile every once in a while, and well truthfully, in 4 days, there’s really no way you begin to understand the complexity of another human being. 

This past week has more or less been an incubator coddling me before I set out on the actual journey. I already know the first few weeks living in Rio is going to be a giant pain in the ass. The heat, the obstacles of securing housing, and the impending sadness of the absence of those I love sinking deeper into my chest is not going to make for the best coming weeks. But I had some great people at the orientation prepare me for the next step, and truthfully, I’m lucky to have them on my side. I’ve worked through a lot of emotions, and found capacity to be a decent person. I think I'm ready to move on to the second stage. 


Anonymous said...

Good luck man we already miss you. We will definitely have that reunion when you get back.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the hints, Nick! I called my portfolio manager and I ordered him to invest my money in Chinese firms doing business in Brazil. ;)

On a serious note: thank you for the update, man! Keep rolling.


heyjudes said...

NICK, I'll meet you in brazil - i'll be in salvador in april and making my way in the country side near sao paulo to visit a capoeira teacher.

miss you!