While talking on the phone with a very dear friend who, like me, is also experiencing life on another continent other than the one we were born into, I managed to identify some elements that are no longer part of me as it once did when I was in Brazil. I try to see it very naturally, after all, maturing is just like that. I also noticed many things that I never presumed as characteristics I would ever embrace – and a lot of them crossed my mind. Although I miss some things very much, I feel like they just fell deeply asleep, but they are still somewhere within.
I, who previously saw myself as an extrovert and unable to stay away from my diverse and beloved circles of friends, found myself so introverted that I surprised even my closest and oldest friends with my “new” way of being. Which does not mean that I am shy, but that I choose to be with myself most of the time and that it brings me peace and happiness. The delay in finding myself in a cycle of friends in a new country and culture may have helped with this process, but it was certainly essential for me to be able to see beyond my pre-conceived borders, before this whole mess of living abroad.
If that was a good discovery, it came with another not so good one. Whoever knew me in Brazil certainly knows a peculiarity of mine that is not so easily hidden. I often laugh so hard that I cry laughing every time the situation catches me. Yesterday I realized that it has been a long time since I last experienced the pleasure of a delicious and contagious laugh as I used to do. I am not sad, I am not bored, I am very well. But laughing the way I laughed, carefree, relaxed, feeling a little embarrassed and not giving a damn about it, has not happened as it used to since I left my country. I remain the same silly friend that my friends know, that hasn’t changed. What has changed, I feel, is within me.
In times of quarantine and coronavirus devouring society in its deepest fears and perverse panics, I found the opportunity to be, once again, alone, looking inside and trying to find myself without ever getting lost. I miss laughing.