Reflections on Repatriation

It has been more than 8 months since I returned to US soil. A messy spate of suffering and melancholy are as Carmen Miranda would put it, “uma garoa no meu coração” — a drizzle on my heart. Since getting back, something just doesn’t feel right; it feels like I’ve taken a step backwards by coming “home.” I have a bit of bitterness towards my own people, a kind of unjustified bitterness fueled by my discontent at being here. To me Americans are just too THIS (cold-hearted, serious, straight-laced, fake nice, uninspired) and not enough THAT (warm, kind, funny, spontaneous, hospitable)… I’ve dug myself into the rut of “the grass is greener” on the other side (of the pond, in this case). What I need to do is see the world, the reality of this country for what it really is as opposed to grafting my illusions upon it and calling the bastardized version of reality “real.”

And then there’s this critical feeling that I don’t belong in this country, this tattered, shaky amalgamation of states – disparate, increasingly bankrupt, and with problems increasingly irreconcilable. Although this place is still the belly of the global capitalist beast, and although that fact and my history here compel me to stay and join the resistance, a part of me feels like something is missing.

This must have to do with being a full-fledged dual citizen, one who’s spent significant amounts of time in both countries… There’s another variable however, which is the feeling that my destiny is to go to Brazil. Maybe not to live there, but most certainly to go. It’s not so much a desire as a dream, less a want and more so a compulsion.

Thus far, my life has not taken the linear shape of a career; linearity seems right now a most unappealing existential approach. Spontaneity is the rule of the day, however there are very real demands on my being, such as paying back copious student debt and getting by in one of the country’s most expensive regions.

I’m all but overjoyed to be done with undergrad, and all of the years prior, for that matter. For so much of my first 5 years of university I felt lost like a kid in a candy shop. I felt surrounded by brainwashed, careerist, pro-capitalist and juvenile people who were just trying to play the system to get as much benefit (good grades) as possible. But on the other hand, High School Take Two is a trying time filled with rough growing pains. I must be more compassionate. Five years of studying, simultaneously discovering some of what I Really Wanted Know About – for which I didn’t even necessarily have the proper vocabulary to articulate – post-colonial studies, de-growth, Marxism, alter-globalization, local living economies, and social justice, to name a few.

It was a lot of money spent… With enough fuck-ups that I’m led to believe I just wasn’t mature enough or in the right headspace to do undergrad when I did. But so it goes, eh? I was ushered – fast – by the rapids of American culture to enter college just so I could get a piece of paper just so I could get a “good” job (see: wage slavery. See: lifelong capitalist servitude. See: soul crush).

In any case, before I turn 30 I have a couple of languages to sharpen up on, namely English and Spanish, and a couple more countries to check out (“how you doin’, Brazil? And you, Spain? HBU, Puerto Rico?! 😉

In any case, there’s a lot of what’s been on my mind of late… For posterity’s sake.

Thank you for reading :-j.


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