Saturday, 26 January 2008

On Holiday

Time is ticking fast. I am in my last week of holiday in my home town of Florianópolis, southern Brazil. Last time I was here was in early 2005 and I spent only two weeks so there wasn’t much time to chill out and just enjoy the holidays.

Well this time around things were different. I am not trying to make anyone jealous here but my days have been consisting essentially of waking up early to beat traffic, driving to the beach and staying there till noon, having lunch at the waterfront, bumming around or going shopping in the afternoon, taking the dog out for a run, and going out with friends or family at night. Go to line 1.

It’s good to be back, that’s for sure. Florianópolis, or simply Floripa as it’s often referred to, is the home of good seafood, low cost of living (by NZ standards), hot summers and late afternoon thunderstorms, crowded beaches of fine yellow sand, and a warm and friendly people. And of course (I just have to say it) pretty girls sporting very small bikinis.

But there’s also something about being back here after so long which makes me feel uneasy. For one thing, I feel stupid about asking for directions in my own home town. Or not knowing which bus to take, or even forgetting a word or two in Portuguese.

I also don’t know where home is anymore. When I am here I feel like New Zealand is home but when in Auckland I feel like Brazil is home. I suppose that means I don’t really feel like I belong in neither country anymore.

People who have left their countries say that the minute you leave you lose home forever because as a result of being away and assimilating other cultures you change in a way that the people who stayed back didn’t, and this will never allow you to feel completely at home anymore. You will always be a stranger wherever you are.

But there’s the fun side as well. Being a tourist in my own home town makes me look at things with different eyes. And go places I had never been the 25 years I lived here. It’s also fun having friends coming up and asking stuff like “So how’s life in Australia?”, or thinking that I go bungee jumping every other week because “New Zealand is the land of radical sports, right?” Because now I do after all, to South American eyes, live in a very exotic place.

So maybe I do have two homes now.


Gypsy said...

Once I left Hong Kong, I never feel it's my home anymore. We don't even have a house (well a flat actually) there. When my parents go back, they live in motels, I live in Nicholas' parents' place.

Maybe we have lost our roots.

André Meurer said...

Thomas Wolfe wrote a book called "You can't go home again". I'd like to read that sometime. Maybe it is true that you can never go back home...