the process of settling down again, then hitting the road again

I’m in Sāo Paulo, Brasil. There could be no more anonymous thing to tell you, than that I am in this enormous bustling city.

I come back once every two years, unfortunately my visits have been becoming shorter and shorter, mainly because so far I haven’t been summoned to do any work here. Sāo Paulo isn’t looking for qualified aid workers the way Haiti, Sudan, Timor Leste and a host of other countries are. They’ve got things pretty much under control down here. So I satisfy myself with occasional holidays. And this is a fabulous place to holiday – good food, lots of fun cultural activities… on this visit I’ve been especially fascinated by exploring the architecture in the older neighbourhoods of town. But I grew up here, and I miss coming for long stays, just living life and being. After all, there’s not enough time to see a fraction of my friends on such short visits.

And, it feels like a setback in my process of settling in.

The overnight flight already throws me for a loop. These days it takes me a lot of sleep to catch up from an overnight flight. On the other hand, the change in language and culture is so seamless, that it serves as a slighly painful reminder that I’m really really good at travelling and moving around. Waiting for my flight in Heathrow felt like coming home from my house, which is supposed to really be my home. The immigration queue, getting my bags, trying to be a good houseguest… all of these things are so natural that it scares me to think I’ll never really master the art of settling in.

So, as much as I’m loving being here, a big part of me wishes I were still working on my London project: the project of learning how to live somewhere.

I’m still not taking any photos, buying postcards, looking for souvenirs… none of those things people on vacation do. I feel like if I were on vacation I wouldn’t be travelling. My life is, indeed, topsy-turvy.

So, all that is to say, I’ve seen a lot of really fabulous, fun places and people in the few days I’ve been back, but so far I have no interesting blogs to write on the topic. Give me time, though… I’ll come up with something before I leave!

In the meantime, here are some photos of fabulous local food that I’ve eaten in the last few days. Photos are from the internet – credits are in the links! If nothing else, I hope it persuades you of the value of Sāo Paulo as a vacation destination!

Pāo de Queijo - Cheesebread

Caipirinha - national cocktail!

feijoada - national meal!

café com leite - coffee with milk. I've had A LOT of this in the last few days!

Pizza with catupiry - a creamy cheese only found in Brasil

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