søndag 30. mai 2010

What is love about?

"Only when love is a duty, only then is love eternally secured against any change, eternally liberated in blessed independence; eternal and fortunately protected against despair."
Søren Kierkegaard

According to Scriptures we must love each other as we love ourselves, even our enemies. I spent a long time wondering how could that be possible. Now, I understand it: love is not about feelings, is not about sensations that come and go. It is a decision you make and a decision you choose to keep every day of the rest of your life. Or not.

If you choose to love your enemies you will do whatever you can to make their lives better, even though you do not "feel" afection for them. I think this goes in the same way with a relative you are not a big found, but you know you have to show some respect. Or, when your mother-in-low is a pain in the ass, but you know she is important for someone you love so you choose treat her with the same respect you treat your own mother. I believe this is real love.

When it comes to love between men and woman it is hard not to think about the Prince if you are a woman. The only problem is that princes are great in dreamns, but in real life we just have to get used to the idea that they do not exist.

Romance is good and I love it. I love when my heart despares because I forgot to breathe and the palms of my hands get wet with sweat just because the prince of my dreamns is entering the room. I just love when I realize his eyes are searching for me and when his lips form the most beautiful smile I have ever seen becase he has found me. I love the way he greets me and I really love the way he says my name.

The first time I met the prince I was 15 years old and he became a frog after I discovered he had found his princess and the princes was not me. But I met other princes after that and the sensations were always the same, and the dreamns didnt change so much. The only thing that kept changing was the prince, even though each new time I was sure that I have found the right one.

Im not 15 anymore. Im about to become a 23 years old woman and I still dream about the prince, always trying to make people fit into the image I built when I was still a kid and dint know anything about commitment, love, or duty.

What I like most about the prince is the way he makes me feel about myself. He really makes me believe I can be somebody else. The person I wish I was, but Im not. He makes me fell that the wolrd is mine and that all my childwish dreams will one day come true. He also makes me believe that I am his entire world and that he will live his life in order to please me.

But the truth is that this prince does not exist and love is far more then dreamns. Love is commitment, is hard work, is decision and requires a lot of pacience and sometimes we also have to give up of our own individual dreams so that the other person can keep walking with us. Love is not easy, because even when the feelings are not there, you still have to deal with a second person that still wants be loved and cared.

When Kierkegaard says that when love is as a duty it can free us from dispair I keep wondering if this dispair has to do with the fact that the human heart is selfish and is never happy. Is this dispair related to the fact the we always want to follow feelings? The kind of dispair that can make us forget about values and duties and keeping chasing dreams that will never come true? Because when they finally come, they will not be dreams anymore, which means we have to start chasing something else...

Can the way I love my enemy be the same way I love the person I intend to spend the rest of my life with?

fredag 28. mai 2010

Even though the jorney is long...

Two weeks from now Im gonna be home. Its been a while since Im counting the days down and is not a secret that Ive been homesick. But the weird thing is that now I am missing Trondheim more then Brazil and when I think about my life back home is like thinking about a strange dream while Trondheim would be my reality.

I went too deep in my cross cultural experience and now that is over I feel like I have no ground and I dont know who I am or what Im gonna do. The last year was the hardest of my life, but also the best. Ive learned more in this last year then in the last 5. And now that is over I strugle with the fact that I will go back to the exatcly same life, place and activities from before, even though I feel like an intire new person. That is hard.

At the same time that I cant wait to be back home I also dont wanna go and Im scared. Even my relationship with God has been weird in the last month. I feel like He is miles and miles away from me and not being able to feel Him or listen to Him scares me even more. I feel lonely and hopeless, almost desesperate. I fear that my life is never gonna be normal again and that I will spend the rest of it willing to be in somewhere else.

But at the same time I know for sure that feelings are only feelings, which means that they do not correspond to the reality. And no matter how far God seems to be, I know and I belive He is here by my side. I also believe that He brought me here to renew me and refresh me and give me an intire new perspective of life and even though I feel hopeless now, I know He will renew my hope.

For now it really sucks and hurts and makes me sad and mad and anti-social and skeptic. "But after all that Ive been trough, I finally realize the truth that I must go trough the valley to stand upon the montain of God."

onsdag 26. mai 2010


Yesterday I left Trondheim again and for once. It is not funny to say goodbye to good friends knowning that I might not see them in a while. Im already msissing them and that is painful. In the other hand is very good to know that I was sorrounded by those great people in the last year. People that were kind and carry with me even though they dindt know me, people that taught me so much about hospitality, charity and care. So thats it. Im a blessed person...

Blessed and full of gratitude.

"We dont make friends, we recognize them."
Vinícius de Moraes

mandag 10. mai 2010

My heart is divided...

In 31 days I will arrive in Brazilian soil after 10 months away from home. Then, I will have the chance to hug the people I love most in these world again! I have been missing them so much! I have been missing Brazil so much...

I miss my dogs, my house, my beautiful city with its beautiful and warm weather during most part of the year. I miss to drive. I miss brazilian barbecue, mandioca,vinagrete, rice and beans, guaraná antártica, fresh fruit juices, pastel frito, salgadinhos and even traffic! It is very good to think I will go back to my nornal routine among my beloved people in one month..

In the other hand my heart gets sad when I think about saying good bye to Norway... I will miss bluebarry yogurt, brown cheese, kjotkakker and melksjokolade! I will definitly miss the joy of go trough 4 different and amazing seasons. I will miss leaving in a millenar city founded by vikings. I will miss Hald and the best teachers I have ever had. I will miss the amazing Norwegian landscape and most of all, I will miss the friends I got to know in these part of the globe. It is hard to say goodbye to them and Im already missing the ones I left in Trondheim almost 4 weeks ago. It is sad and painful to miss people but it means that I have some valuabe people around and that is a blessing!

It is going to be a relief not having 3 languages in my mind anymore and being able to use the one that can express myself better - I cant wait to understand every single world people are saying around me without a huge concentration effort! In the other hand it is sad that the Norwegian language is not going to be a part of my daily life anymore and what I learned is gonna be placed somewhere in my brain and probabily forgotten trough the years.

After 9 months I have realized that Norway could be home and I could be happy here. However, Norway is not home, for God has planted me in the tropical country called Brazil and I will live there until He calls me to somewhere else and to my real home with Him.

Now, what I can do is to tank Him for the chance He gave me in another culture because this year was magical and the most extraordinary year I have ever lived so far. But is about to end now and I have to move to next step in my Earthly life.

While I wait for the moment to say good bye to Norway, I listen to my delicious Bossa Nova songs, the kind of music that says so much about this beautiful tropical and complex country I was born and makes me feel like dancing in a warm beach!

Norway, I will miss you!
Brasil, eu te amo!!!!!

søndag 2. mai 2010

Somethings I have learned about Norway so far...

Talking about my conturbed cross cultural experience to my Hald friend Kristina, I admited how far I am to say that I am adapted to the Norwegian culture, but, in the other hand, how much I have learned about Norway in the past 9 months.
The truth is that I have been struggling with cultural shock during my intire time in Norway and was not humble enough to admit it once I wanted to believe that I was super women enough to face a first abroad experience with any kind of misunderstandings :)
But in fact, I have been loving and hating Norway at the same time and now I see that the reason is that my very "not-used to another culture" mind was not prepared to face so many differences for such a long time at once. Hopefully, according to Kristina, in the next time I decide to spend some time away from Brazil, it is gonna be easier, becaue my mind will be prepared after a previous experience. But of course, I have to be humble to accept that in a new culture, I am indeed a child and it requires some time to grow up and to understand why people are behaving in such a different way then the one I am used to.

I was also telling this good friend that Im a little frustrated to leave Norway in the moment I started to understand the cultural codes and the Norwegian language and the wise Kristina gave me a very good advice: she suggested me to write about what I have learned about Norway so far, to make my life easier if someday I end up in this country again.

Even though I dont have any clue if I will come back to Norway I decided to accept the suggestion because it helps me to organize some of the things that have been in my mind for the last months. I will start in this post, but probabilly continue in after posts in the following days or months. And this is because Norway had became relevant in my life afterwall and I can not express my gratitude for this experience. Hopefully, I will be able to share part of it in a constructive way in my own context... lets wait and see!

So, here we go:
Norwegians in general are really concerned about equality, this is a common value: "dignity for all", which means that there are no people making hard work and being less payed because of that and there are no people to wash our clothes, dishes or houses. Everybody has to do what is necessary and if that means cleaning, everybody helps and the responsabilities are shared.
This equality is also econonomical, in the country considered as the best place to leave in the world, the resources are shared among the population and is not good to earn much more then the others. Derfor people would rather burn their houses or cars instead of boasting themselves about their well faire. I think this goes on the oposite way in the brazilian context.
The equality between the gender is also very important and respected. Men are still being more reconized in public functions, but is getting better each day more. In the Norwegian Parliament there are 10 male ministers and 10 female.
In the domestic life, men should help to keep the house cleaned and organized and also to raise up the children. In of of the kindergartens I have worked there was this guy who had taken the year off his job to take care of the two year old child. The mother had done the same thing in the year before.
Derfor women have a very active voice and are respected as men are. This is something I will miss for sure. Never in my intire life I felt so free to be a women and not pretend Im fragile because of that.

This lead to another very Norwegian way of life: what is pratical and objective comes first than the desire to pleasure the other person. Im not saying that people are rude up here, it is just that they wont bother thinking about a polite or nice way to say something just to pleasure the one listening. They will offen say what is needed and what is truth, even if is not the truth that the other one wants to listen.Example: I bought some very childish plates for my best friend birthday in order to have fun and create a relaxed atmosphere. However, with my brazilian way of thinking I asked him if it was too childwish. I knew it was, but I wanted him to say that it was ok, that he didnt bother. However, what he said was: "Yes, it is, if you asked I think you wanted me to be honest." hahahhaha

Another topic is that Norwegians really respect the time and the other people time, which means that they are ponctual for work, but also in social activities. Of course they can be late, but, if it happens, the expected is to send at least an sms to the other person leting he knows how the late the second person is gonna be. And is not so good if is more then 15 minutes.

Another very important aspect to understand the Norwegian culture is called Janteloven. It is not "allowed" to believe in yourself and even less to say it aloud if you do. Spending a weekend with another friend and talking to her parents about something I think she is really good in, I realized that they had the oposite atitude that my parents would have if someone had make a compliment to me. In instead of getting proud and start saiyng that they know their daughter is clever, they were giving excuses for her exit while she was blushing because of my compliments.
Stupid Erica...ok, maybe it is not gonna happen a second time :)