After almost five straight months of being in Rio, I arrived back in New Jersey this past weekend.
I was ready.
It’s a hard situation. Of course I want to be with Gustavo 99% of the time. However, over the past year and a half, we’ve discovered that I’m just not a big fan of living in Rio. Plus, I want to maintain my primary residence in the United States and see my family.
I’ve found that my limit for staying in Rio is about one to two months. After, I start getting hyper-focused on all of the things that I don’t like, to the extent that it’s hard to see the forest through the trees. Five months and counting, I’m ready to cry at the drop of a hat. I even shed a tear in the middle of my training when someone moved my bar without asking. Seriously.
As I was packing to come back to New Jersey, it suddenly hit me: I don’t have a winter coat. Sure, I have scarves and transition jackets. Sweaters and sweatshirts. Even boots.
March is always one of those unpredictable months in New Jersey. It’s either an early spring that’s abnormally warm or the last blow of winter. Of course, after all my time in the summer of Hell de Janeiro, March decided to go with the latter option this year.
Only three days after I landed, and it looks like this.
It’s funny, too, because I keep sharing photos and video, particularly with Gustavo. Even though I’ve known this for years, it still blows my mind that he has never seen snow. Snow, and blizzards, were part of my life every single year for the past thirty years. I can’t imagine never having experienced it.
When I was in about 2nd grade, I remember a friend of mine moving to the US from India. When our class went on a school trip to the beach, she was so moved. My mom started talking to her and she said, “This is the first time I’ve seen the ocean.” We were both so surprised because we had spent every single summer on the beach our whole lives, both my mom and I as we each grew up in New Jersey. We were also taken aback by how lucky we felt to have the opportunity to so regularly be in contact with what is, essentially, one of nature’s most beautiful marvels: the sea.
Snow, I always tell Gustavo, is a pain in the ass. It’s heavy, it’s cold, it makes everything wet and icy. It stays pretty for about an hour and then there’s dirt everywhere. You have to clear your car and driveway, which makes you sweat and shiver at the same time. It kills your back and you’re always sore the next day.
But it’s also the cause of so many fun memories as a kid, with snowball fights and sledding. Hot chocolate after sweating in my snowsuit, playing with my friends who lived on my street. Endlessly trying to get the dog to sit in the sled as we went down the hill. Building snowmen and making snow angels.
Not to mention the silence that you can hear when there’s a blanket of snow padding everything. Rio, if anything, has taught me to appreciate all the things I never knew I cared for before.
And that might even include – dare I say it – winter.