I wanna go home!

The first hint was the oat bran. OK, let me explain…

After living in Rio de Janeiro for eight years or so, I decided to try going back to the land of my birth, the United States of America. Leaving Rio in November probably wasn’t such a great idea, since I was blasted with blood-congealing, knee-rattling snowy weather when I arrived in New York, but I was still determined to give it a try.

I went to Connecticut for awhile and stayed with my sister and brother-in-law out in the country. That’s when the oat bran thing happened. In Rio we have yummy Quaker oat bran, nice and finely ground and slightly toasty. I ate it every morning for breakfast. When I went to buy some oat bran at the supermarket where my sister shopped, they didn’t have Quaker’s. I thought, oh well, how different could it be? It’s just oat bran.

When I opened the box I was suspicious right away. The grains were too coarse. It was too white. I had a bad feeling. I cooked it and it tasted nothing like my beloved Rio Quaker oat bran. I tried putting it in the blender. It was useless.

OK, big deal, you say…it’s just cereal for God’s sake.

But then I moved into my own apartment in Boston. Right away I felt something “off” in the streets. At first I couldn’t figure out what it was, but then I realized that nobody was speaking Portuguese…they were all speaking English! It was really jarring. I found myself missing that soothing, slightly nasal sound of cariocas (Rio natives) chatting at the corner juice bar in Copacabana.

Not only that, I missed speaking Portuguese, too. One day I had a grocery delivery and I knew right away that the delivery guy was Brazilian and I was really excited. I struck up a conversation with him in Portuguese and I just couldn’t make myself shut up. He kept edging toward the door as I rattled on and on…I think the poor guy was afraid he was going to get fired for being late on his route!

Then I caught myself reading the Brazilian newspapers every time I went online, and listening to João Gilberto and Caetano Veloso on iTunes every chance I got.

Most of all, though, I missed people sticking their heads out of their windows and yelling “GOALLLLLLLL!!!!” at the top of their lungs during the soccer games. Sigh. I knew this was never going to work. I wanted to go home. And that’s exactly what I did after being back in the USA for only one year.

When I stepped out of the plane at the Tom Jobim international airport in Rio, I sure was one happy camper. Home at last!



Filed under expats, Rio de Janeiro

21 responses to “I wanna go home!

  1. I had to stop by after seeing the unmistakable Copacabana boardwalk. I was only there for a week in January, but oh how I miss it. Such a beautiful city. We’re heading in to winter here, but I trust that you’re soaking up the sun there in paradise 🙂

  2. Cute post! I am afraid I adjust way to easily when I go back. It is instant. I smell Jersey air and I automatically assume I use the car to go a block to the store, trade in unsweetened yogurt for Dunkin Donuts, and accept commercials on tv every 3 minutes as completely normal. However, when I pop my head out of the plane at Paris/Charles de Gaulle, I must admit, I am happy to be home.

    Keep the posts coming!

  3. This made me smile! Enjoyed reading about your “coming home” experience.

  4. ivpix

    Home…is where your heart is.

  5. Oh! I so relate! San Francisco sings like that all through me! (as loud as a GOOOAAAALLL out of the windows of my heart!) Yes, sloooooowly packing over here 😀

  6. Kay Keelor

    I would love, love, love to live in a treehouse in the rain forest in Costa Rica. it’s been calling my name and my pets’ names for a few months. let’s see what God’s plan is for me….

  7. Merrilee Trost

    What a wonderful story. I’ve always wanted to go to Rio. You’ve aroused that desire in me once again. How could one not love a country that names an airport after a composer/musician?

  8. jennmaire

    I hope being home is better.. 🙂 some times leaving home makes you appreciate it more.

  9. Marlene Curtis

    You are soooooo lucky to be back home, Amy! I wish I could do the same…

  10. styler2013

    making a change is a good way to find out where you really belong! Welcome back home!

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