I was reflecting a bit on where I was 10 years ago – the beginning of 2000. I was 15, a year and a half away from graduating high school, and right smack in the middle of my “I don’t wanna grow up” phase, refusing to even look at a college brochure (oh, my mother could tell you stories).
The past decade has not “flown by” – no, it has passed slowly and sweetly, each year full of infinite learning experiences.
There was a fantastic senior year of H.S., a great soccer season, and “I Hope You Dance” ironically played at graduation (my H.S. was not allowed to hold dances). Four years at Hamilton, during which I fell in love with capoeira, found unforgettable friends, did some of my most fulfilling work as a tutor, had my first taste of Brazil, and learned more advanced organic chemistry than I ever thought possible.
Graduation was followed by one sweet summer at home, during which my parents truly impressed me with their ability to relate to me as an adult – even when I called at 4 AM to inform them that I was still out.
Then 15 months in Brazil, when I said goodbye to the lab – turning down my spot in grad school – and hello to capoeira angola and a new business opportunity. I still remember exactly how my family looked when they picked me up at the airport, after not having seen them for over a year.
Three frustrating and aimless months at home, dozens of unfruitful job interviews, and then the opportunity to live and work in NYC jumped up out of nowhere. New York! Apartment-hunting on craigstlist, running to catch subways, and GOOD bagels every Monday morning. FICA-NY becoming family. Developing professional skills, gaining work experience, and helping with kids’ capoeira projects. A serious relationship… the best I’ve had so far. Several major turning points in my spiritual journey, and some deep experiences of God’s grace. Two years in New York held all this and more.
But Brazil drew me back again, this time for 6 months. Mind-blowing capoeira… 4-5 rodas per weekend… Sao Joao, forro, lots of rice and beans, washing clothes by hand and sleeping on the floor. More work with kids – teaching computer skills, capoeira, and English – and coming home from even the bad days in Coutos thinking “This is worthwhile work, and I love it.”
Coming back to NY, I begin to think that maybe I really should pick a place to live and stick with it. But I still hop on a plane to Berlin the day after Christmas… on my way to Israel. The last few months have brought a number of closures… the aforementioned relationship has ended, I’ve resigned from my full-time job, and separated from my business partner.
What’s next? Deus que sabe!