This is a little about Celebrate Brazil and about me and how I came to create this site!
I am an American, born in rather humble circumstances, (not at all cosmopolitan or well traveled!) and I first learned about Brazil when I was 17 years old. Now, that was quite a while ago, before the days of the internet or computers.
If I wanted to learn about something, I walked for 30 minutes to the local library and carted home a stack of books which I would promptly devour and return in a day or two for more.
That's how we learned in those days!! :-)
My First Brazilian Friend
Anyways, when I was in high school I met a Brazilian exchange student who was studying in our judo dojo (school).
Yes, even in my humble hometown we were blessed to have martial arts training! I saw a judo demonstration at the high school and I felt drawn to study.
One of the great things about judo was all the great people I met, but I never expected so meet someone from another country!
His name was Giovanni, and he was so warm and friendly and open-hearted, not at all like the folks I was used to in my home town. We became friends immediately!
Giovanni was my age, and a bit gangly, not at all the typical muscle bound athlete. He was quite smart, but had no need to show off.
I found it quite amusing to watch him on the judo mat, as he was quite good, but you would never know it at first.
His gentle and unassuming manner fooled his judo opponents into relaxing their guard.
I remember the surprised look on their faces as he went on to demonstrate some very advanced judo skills that eventually won the match!
Giovanni was my very first friend from Brazil, and one of the best introductions I could have received to Brazil culture. I was not surprised later on in life when my heart and my spiritual path called me to travel to Brazil.
My First Visits to Brazil
In my early thirties I experienced a series of rather miraculous events that led me to discover a spiritual healing community based in Brazil. There I met people that I felt a deep spiritual connection with, and my life changed forever.
I first visited Brazil in 1990 where I lived for several weeks or months at a time in Rio de Janeiro, Viconde de Maua, Florinopolis. Later I traveled to a remote region of the Amazon rainforest that was several days canoe ride from the nearest town in Amazonas.
Having grown up in a rather reserved and quiet family, it was refreshing and more than a little challenging to find myself in the midst of the exuberant Brazilian culture! This was a great experience for me!
Even though it was all new to me, some part of me felt instantly at home in Brazil. The first time I arrived, I felt a sigh of relief. It was as if my whole body said "ah, I'm finally home!"
I visited and lived in Brazil on several other occasions, and I know I'll return again! I expect to live there at some point, when God guides me to return.
I studied Brazilian Portuguese for a while before I traveled, which was a whole experience in itself. I am so glad that I knew a little of the language before I visited Brazil.
If you're planning to travel to Brazil, I highly recommend that you take a little time to learn a little of the beautiful Brazilian Portuguese language. This will add so much to your journey because you will be able to communicate with so many amazing, beautiful people. This is truly one of the highlights of Brazil culture!
I've returned to Brazil several times since my initial visit, and Brazil is now a part of my everyday life. I speak the language regularly, and have fallen in love with Yerba Mate tea, an energizing morning beverage which I first tried in Brazil.
I now have many friends both in Brazil and in the U.S., and we are connected by our common desire to bring healing to the world. I hope you will join me for this adventure as I begin sharing my experiences on this site!