Monday, March 17, 2014

Week Ends

Monday, March 17, 2014
We're back home, settling into our digs with our new items like vinyl records from stores, vinyl records from the farm, my favorite chocolates from Brazil, musical instruments of the area, perfect penguin pitchers of Buenos Aires, and yet, weeks later, my suitcase is still packed. 
From South America I brought back something that didn't fit inside of my suitcase, and that couldn't be claimed at customs as a "souvenir". But what else is a different point of view if not a souvenir of a place you've just visited? I brought back an astounding sense of humbleness. I loved the fact that in South America they don't all need the latest phones and the greatest computers, they were happy to connect with the rest of the world in whatever way that they could. 
Their way of life is just so much more appreciative of the natural world than our way of life. My grandparents lived most of their lives in Manhattan, working and living their American Dream. When they retired back to Brazil, they didn't find the need to install the fanciest air conditioning system on the farm. Instead, they take advantage of the direction of the house, having the patio shaded from the afternoon sun, having windows placed just right to create the dreamiest draft through the house so it would feel cool inside while outside the sun was blooming the soybean crops. They didn't need to upgrade their kitchen to have the shiniest appliances. Instead, my grandmother wanted a simple bread oven, that would rise doughs and crisp pizzas. 
The longer I have been back in the U.S. (3 or 4 weeks now?) the more I lose the humbleness I brought back with me. I'm feeling more and more like I did before I left, and I want more than nothing to have that appreciation for simplicity back. I don't want to get into the sense of self that Millenials have, but it's completely different than South America and quite distasteful the older I get. Here, we love talking about ourselves. There, it was never that. It was talk about life, history, culture, a shared enjoyment. Here it's, let me tell you about me
We visited our parents town when we came back to gift some souvenirs and to share our travel stories. My dad used his penguin pitcher for wine that evening, my brother slipped his new wooden chimarrao key chain onto his keys, and I shared captions photo by photo with my mom. It was nice to take part in simple rituals of turning pages of an old-school photo album, to share stories over a hot dinner and a long table. Those are the kind of humble actions I want to keep. 
My grandmother sent us home with some seeds to grow like a pepper plant, as well as a tree related to the passion fruit. With this beautiful weather, the seeds are in soil on our porch and some inside by the window sill. My mom even shared some plants with us, extras that sprouted in her garden like basil seeds and morning glories. 
We're even attempting to propagate a cutting of a fiddle leaf fig tree that we got. It's our first time using rooting powder, which promotes root growth on cuttings from other plants, so we're hoping to have this tree grow successfully. Spring is the perfect time for it to thrive. Mornings on our porch are shaded and windy these days. Then in the afternoon, our plants soak up the sun. By dinner time, the sun has gone down and the breeze is back, making it just right to enjoy drinks or dinner out there.

16 comments :

  1. i think you've brought home the best souvenir ever!
    i dream of living in the country side one day and not worrying about air conditioning .

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    1. ever since this trip, i could definitely see myself living the last half of my life in a natural land, whether it's surrounded by trees or surrounded by rollings hills - that would be perfect with open windows. for now, i need a little city in my life so i can safely say i've tried it all :)

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  2. I really enjoyed this post. You put into words a feeling that I often struggle to explain. As a mid 20 something it's like you're speaking to me. I feel best outdoors, lounging on a porch in the summer twilight and just being and breathing. Yet, everyone seems to be on their phones/computers/tablets all the time now.

    Whatever happened to good conversations?

    Thank you for sharing and good luck with your fig tree. You'll have to share with us how it grows through time. I hope it can be a reminder of the humbleness that you're afraid to lose. Lovely post and thanks for some calming inspiration this morning.

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    1. it was such a hard feeling to explain! for weeks after i came back i struggled with how i was feeling - unsure how to describe it, but i knew i liked it and it felt good, just right.

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  3. Such a moving post. I feel this more and more each passing day. A desire to be connected to the world around me. To be disconnected to the media around me. To connect with friends and family and time and the breeze on the air and the sound of birds in the yard. Neel and I talk about downsizing more and more, and part of the leap I want to make is to be better connected to nature. Dreaming.

    This is probably a bad time to try to enable you to go ahead and get that 35mm lens! ;)

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    1. i'm so glad you feel it too! it's a fleeting feeling that i do not want to go away, and the more time i spend "back in reality" i feel it slipping unfortunately. it's a struggle to keep it afloat and at the forefront of my mind. and yet - that 35mm is still on my mind too! catch 22 :)

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  4. What a wonderful post, Yelle. The thing I love about travel is that a part of me changes every time. I feel like I grow so much more during my days away than years spent doing the same old thing. I know how it feels to slowly slip back into old habits despite wanting to capture that magic you felt while away. I'm sure the humbleness you felt won't leave you completely - it's probably just a matter of figuring out how to integrate it to your life in the US.

    As always, thanks for sharing our story :)

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    1. I too love the change that travel brings - even if the change is just a weekend trip and a dip in your routine, it's so refreshing!

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  5. this is such a beautiful post. i feel the same as you. i am definitely old enough to remember life pre-internet and cell phones and while i love today, i miss those days too. i think it's why i have this part of me that longs to move someplace else, a bit like you describe, where the latest isn't always the greatest and being in touch with your surroundings, relationships, nature are the more important things in life. because they are. and i think having so much of my life dependent on the internet i really long to be in a place where that could be left as work and a little less as everyday life. good reminder xoxo

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    1. It's so hard for me to imagine not having social media and computers because they were in my home my entire life, always there. But traveling to places a little behind, it is so humbling, it makes me wish I had a little more of that in my life being that I never did.

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  6. SO glad you left a comment on by blog, because now i found yours and i have a tingling sense i will read all of your posts from now on. :)
    what you mentioned about that farm in brazil already developed into a beautiful image in my head, only to find so much more about it here on your blog.
    a wonderful post....
    luka

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    1. Aw thanks Luka! It was a trip I won't forget, and after all, what remains but memories, right?

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  7. This is a wonderful piece of writing. I am glad you found something that special to bring home with you x

    ps best of luck with the plant :)

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    1. Thank you Jai :) the memories of my trip to Paris years ago still linger with me every day, and I hope this trip will do the same.

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  8. You know, it's tough holding on to that simple way of living in these parts. But something tells me, you will always hold on to it in your heart. And wow, those are some serious gardening projects!

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    1. I do hope to! I've already started the simple things, like less mindless tv and more books before bed. The next habit to kick: my Pinterest morning sessions!

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