Brazilian Girl in the UK – some impressions.

     I left home on the 18th of September, and arrived in the UK on the 19th. It’s been six months and a half now. Six months and a half of growth, many challenges, many things learnt, many dreams come true. My life here is a blessing, for several reasons – I have good friends, get to travel a lot, feel much safer walking around the streets, and, to be honest, I love the complications of doing life on my own.
However, this is a text about one very expected reality shock.
     Leicester, in spite of being the home town of the future champions of the Premier League, is also considered to be the most diverse city in the United Kingdom, and that is by no means a lie. I suspect that, amongst the people of my acquaintance, I handle people of at least 20 different nationalities on a daily basis, from immigrants to people born british, but raised in their family heritage. I go to university with people from Pakistan to the Baltics, always chat to the owner of the Costcutter next to my student court, born and raised in India, and my british best friend, Hannah, is half chinese, half mauritian.
     Hannah herself was the one who told me with the proper words about the impressions that I had been been collecting over the past months, of how there is so much diversity around, but so little mix, in proportion. In fact, she said that mixed races couples only became an actual reality from her parents’ generation, but, still, we see the division between different people. There are very strong boundaries, like, for example, between chinese people and indian and black people; and, inside the universities, most would rather hang with other students from their own fellow country. The biggest division, though, is still between english people and non-english people.
     In this crossfire, I, one always considered white enough not to suffer with racism in my home country, have found myself caught.
     The title of this text connects my three realities – as a a girl, woman, as a brazilian citizen, and as someone who currently lives in Europe. These realities are the source of these restlessness and frustration that have convinced me to write tonight.
     As a woman, chauvinism in society paints me as an object all the time. As a brazilian woman, I carry several different heritages in my blood, amongst Portugal, Spain, Cape Verde and indigenous people. As a brazilian woman living in Europe, I am always evaluated under the specific stereotypes designed for my country, whilst still standing with the rest of the non-european foreigners as mixed-race, never good enough as those whose veins carry blood subtly called pure (I assume no one has been reading Harry Potter with the right approach).
     Working in pubs across the city, it was never that hard to understand that most of english boys would rather buy drinks from my english friends. I’ve heard the most absurd comments, such as “how brown” my eyes are, and, once, I was asked twice if I was asian. Actually, they so eagerly ask about the heritage of non-english girls, as if there was a checklist of different races to be tasted.
     The current impression is that, in their eyes, regardless of how sucessfully we could fit in their society, we would still carry the badge of foreigners. Exotics – that innocent word that turns people into objects to be appreciated. The ones who leave their countries to steal jobs and husbands from others. Samba dancers, carnival. The girlfriends their parents would not approve.
     My refuge, in this frustration, is being sure that God is the One with all the answers that I need, and this subject is not an exception. My life, my destiny, my paths, everything has been surrendered to the Almighty. And my citizenship is in Heaven, as Paul said in Philippians 3:20. As long as I’m on Earth, I will always be a foreign. Long live us pilgrims!

 

 

Welcome to the New

     Já foram 44 dias de Reino Unido e, apesar do layout estar pronto já há vários meses, não havia arriscado escrever nada ainda. 2015, na verdade, foi um ano muito parado, apesar de todos os planos que eu havia feito. Ninguém mais usa blogs hoje em dia, alguns diriam, mas eu continuo mantendo o meu, mesmo que às vezes fique tão abandonado. Casa é casa, e, no fim, a gente sempre volta. 
    
     Engraçado porque, no momento, tudo aquilo que eu chamo de “casa” é novo, diferente do que era 45 dias atrás. Agora, já estou bem estabelecida, correndo pra viver meus sonhos mas, acima de tudo, os sonhos de Deus pra mim aqui. E, mesmo sabendo que eventualmente a vida vai me levar de volta pra casa, o tal do choque cultural não me pegou. Nenhuma dificuldade me fez chorar e sentir tanto a falta do lar que eu quisesse largar tudo e ir embora correndo.
    
     Se você é alguém que já me leu em outros momentos, sabe que sempre fui muito apegada à dor, em parte por acreditar que ela constrói, muito mais que destrói. E isso é bíblico, na verdade – “melhor estar na casa em que há luto que na casa em que há riso”. Não que eu não ria aqui; rio muito, o tempo todo, pelos bons amigos brasileiros que vieram comigo, e pelos bons amigos que estou fazendo no ambiente um tanto hostil da universidade e na igreja tão aquecida pelo amor do Senhor que encontrei. Mas, para alguém que sempre ponderou tanto sobre solidão, nunca deixa de faltar a ponta de dor no coração quando se lembra de que tudo que já conheceu até hoje na vida está muito, muito distante.
     
     Tudo ainda é lindo, até a neblina que cegava a vista da minha janela hoje de manhã, os ternos e gravatas dos rapazes se preparando para apresentar trabalhos de arquitetura, as árvores despidas de outono, a mistura de sotaques de todos os dias. Poderia ser deslumbramento, mas é um pouco mais que isso. É gratidão.
    
     Uma gratidão bem mais funda, que consegue se regozijar no domingo perdido lavando roupa, no quarto bagunçado, na falta de família no Natal, na ausência de caronas num dia de chuva inesperada, na falta de colos e mimos quando algum mal ataca o corpo ou, tão fortemente, o coração. Muito mais que feliz por morar na Europa, no Reino Unido, em Leicester – essa cidadezinha tão mal compreendida – , estou feliz por estar construindo minha história e poder contar com esse ano tão privilegiado.
     

     Por trás de toda compra feita com dinheiro trocado hoje pra não faltar amanhã, existe um propósito muito maior, que foi orquestrado com amor pelo Autor da minha Fé. Estou cumprindo meu destino. Nada pode ser mais gostoso que isso.