After five days staying in Olinda with my new Brazilian friends, Milena, Martha and Ale, it is time again for me to carry on. Although I am a bit sad to be leaving what has been my home away from home, the road calls, and I am ready to be on the move again. Five days is the longest amount of time I have spent in one place so far along this trip, and today when I packed my backpack and put it on to head out the door, I felt the rush of excitement that comes with moving on to a new and different location.
This trip has reinforced what I already knew about myself – that movement is so central in my life. Whether this is just a restless phase or I truly have a wanderer´s soul, I´m not sure, but I do know that the rush I get from being on the go is undeniable. I love the sense of freedom that comes with moving. For example, when I am running or on a plane or bus ride I get a surge of emotion that makes me feel alive – I don´t necessarily always know where I am going or what I will do when I get there only that it will be something new and different. This idea of uncharted territory combined with the physical high I get from motion has been a constant component in my life for the past month that I have been traveling, and I have been missing it since I have been here in Olinda. Although I have been trying to leave this town for the past couple days so I could continue on my journey, some invisible force apparently wanted me to slow down for a couple days. So I did.
This is what the past few days have looked like for me: I have been staying in the house of the three Brasileras that I mentioned above. I ended up with them in a spontaneous turn of events: I was waiting at the bus stop after staying one night at the youth hostel in Olinda. My plan at that point was to move to another hostel in neighboring Recife when they passed me on the street. I apparently looked like I needed help because after warning me in passing to be careful for thieves, they doubled back and asked me if I was lost and if I wanted a place to stay. Although I wasn´t exactly lost, I didn´t have a certain destination in mind, so I went with them to their house.
They welcomed me with abundant hospitality which has proven to be the norm in this country. On the way to their house, we stopped at a store to pick up some food and they insisted on buying me a pair of Havaianas when they found out I didn´t own a pair. (For those of you who don´t know, Havaianas are the trademark brand of sandals in Brazil. Every person in Brazil, rich or poor, old or young, wears them. Up until that point, I think I was the one single person in the country without.) We arrived at their house, new Havaianas in hand, and they insisted that I shower and eat. Then Martha did my hair before we went out for the night.
The next two days we spent with their friends. We went to a club that first night and danced the night away, and then to the marina the next day where their friend owned a jetski. So we beached the day away and then went to a samba club that night where the dancing resumed. The following two days we rested. We cooked a big lunch and walked around the streets of Olinda the next night to listen to the carnaval bands that parade through the streets every Sunday night. And yesterday I wandered the town looking for options for a bus out of town which I finally procured.
So now I am here at the bus station, waiting for my bus to leave for Feira de Santana and reflecting on the past few days. My first thought is that I am glad that circumstances forced me to stop for a few days. If I would have gotten my way and found a ticket to get out of town on Sunday, I would have missed what turned out to be a great couple of days. I got to know the city of Olinda which really is a spectacular place. I had the opportunity to rest and cook and do laundry and read and nap – all of which evade a person who is living life constantly on the go. And most importantly, I got to know some great people. The girls came to be friends of mine and living with them for a few days provided me with the opportunity to experience their day to day life. My Portuguese is much improved after five days of constant practice (and a good deal of entertainment for them, I must add.) And now I am rested and ready to continue my journey. What awaits me, I´m not sure, and oh what an exciting feeling that is.