It was a quick message on Facebook a few months ago, asking me: “Hey, when are you coming back home? It’s been 25 years since our college graduation and we need to celebrate it!”
I had just gone to Brazil in February for carnival, it had been a quick visit and it seemed like it was not enough time spent back home. My heart was aching, looking for an excuse to go back again, and the 25 year reunion seemed to be the perfect reason to stop, change gears and set a new direction for my Christmas break.
I left Rio 25 years ago arriving here in Ohio to stay for a while, thinking that “a while” would be something like 2 years or so. I had nothing and at the same time I had everything. I had two suitcases, a portfolio full of art work, a promise of a job and $200 in my pocket. Yes, really!! You gotta do what you gotta do when you want something. My mom once tried to explain to me how she viewed me: “Simony, when you want something you will not stop till you get it”. I guess she meant: “Simony, it’s extremely hard being your mom, you scare me!”
I had everything I needed, I had courage and that fearless young spirit that was, and still is, always ready to dive into new adventures, take risks and learn with the process. Being optimistic 90% of the time and believing that everything will be ok no matter what, really pushed me forward. This behavior may have scared some people who watched me, may have left them sitting on the edge praying for me when I didn’t even know they were doing so. Adulthood was a collection of responsible risk taking, it was getting up again after each fall, wiping scratches, acknowledging each body or soul piece that went missing in the process, and starting over. I earned every sunshine I woke up to, every cent I made and every smile I carried.
During these past 25 years of adulthood I learned to jump from high altitudes and learned to fly as I was going down. I created a family, found love, lost love and found love again. Created a career for myself based on the profession that I wouldn’t and couldn’t let go. During these 25 years I learned everything that nobody teaches at school.
As I think about this big celebration, I start to get excited about seeing all of those friends again. We now have a story so different from what we lived during college years. Who moved? Who got married? Who changed profession? Who had kids? Where are they now? The amazing magical world of people! One more time I will pack, it won’t be the last time but I feel that a part of me never left Rio.