If there are words for the impression Brazil made on me I’m not able to find them yet.
There are words for moments. Moments when all we did was dance until I could have taken my shirt off and wrung it out we were sweating so hard.
Moments of wide brown eyes looking my way. They came with the sudden realization that I’m a role model for young girls in this art form that I barely understand simply for my sheer femaleness.
Moments of waiting in cool air conditioned lobbies, on dirt roads on the side of a mountain, and in hammocks stretched through the early afternoon shade.
There are words for the beauty of the country, the smiles of the people. There are descriptions that do justice to the meeting of extended axé family members I never knew existed, or the respect that grew for the leaders of our group. I could talk for what feels like hours about the colour green of the sugarcane fields, of training in open air gymnasiums – our white uniforms covered in the red dirt of Brazil, or of bumpy bus rides when the driver plays North American pop music in the front and we ten foreigners sing capoeira songs in Brazilian Portuguese in the back.
Somehow though, all of these perfectly describable, concrete moments cannot be summarized into something that resembles the whole. When you string these experience together all I am left with is a sense of disorientation and a sadness they call reverse culture shock.