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  • Writer's pictureLannie Neely III

Tchauzinho, Brasil

I’m leaving Brazil soon. In a few days. Right now there’s a thunderstorm, incredibly cool and breezy and the lightning is striking close to the neighborhood with quick pulses like a strobe light. Marina is napping in bed. The house is almost empty—or at least it feels a lot emptier. And there are things I will miss.

The thunder storms. Of course I’ll miss the thunderstorms. Tropical thunderstorms are so harsh and wild, they split the day into pieces. The first part of the day is wet with perspiration from the heat, the second is an endless flood of like jumping into a pool except the pool jumps into you. The third is milder, muggy but not overbearing. The dark from the clouds moves and invites the dark from the setting sun.

Another thing I’ll miss is the tropical plant life. The tropical biomes in general. Living in the city is bleak, but tropicality is still close at hand. Like Hawai’i and Costa Rica, Brazil has deep green, savage plant life that never stops fighting to grow. Trees look like more than trees, they look like countries in themselves. Mutations of multiplicity, of other plants gripping like sloths and holding other, stranger plants. Long, gummy trees that drip down into the ground like the cheese stretching from a bite of fresh pizza. 

The beaches, then, I’ll also miss. I do love the sand. And the nudity of it. The ability to be wearing almost nothing, and feel the water and wind and sand, and it’s fine. The sun is also good there. Hot but good.

I’ll miss the food. In Hawai’i, there were some places that sold good food, especially vegan stuff, but I never got to enjoy the taste of Hawai’i in general. Maybe too much fish? But Brazil has pastel! Flaky pastry pouches with cheese or palmito or whatever you like, deep fried. The rice and beans and couve combo, with a fried egg, some farofa... holy hell. One of my favorite dishes. Maybe a little banana on the side if it’s made at home. And a little hot sauce. Oof. I even finally had a coxinha, and it was good! I’ll miss that too.

I’ll miss Perdizes as a neighborhood. I didn’t like wandering the city much, but Perdizes was cozy. Store nearby, local bars. They mostly shut down, but for a peak moment we had a lot of great options, and sometimes used them all for a pub crawl. That’s very convenient.

In the same vein, I’ll miss Cervejaria Artesanal (CASP), Lisa’s bar. That used to be a place, it really did. A second home in Sao Paulo, sort of. I’d walk there, or Marina and I would drive or even walk ourselves. I remember walking home one night majorly drunk with her and picking mulberries. Other times I’d stop by by bike after classes, and we’d have the “frat assembly” thing and just split a bunch of beers to sample with Eric and Joao and whomever else was available.

Biking in Sao Paulo was hectic, but I liked that too. I have good memories of the big hills between CASP and home, or the shortcuts around the Rua Wisard area. A few times I walked my bike through Beco de Batman and felt very touristy and enjoyed it.

I’ll also miss the graffiti. There are some amazing pieces all over the city, many of them changing over and over. I think I’ve taken pictures of some of my favorites, but the rat saying “I Heart SP” is nice. The one behind our block of an ugly Mariyl Monroe has memories as being ugly, and was painted over shortly after I moved in with Marina. There’s the guy sitting on a bunch of philosophy books reading a pamphlet on how to get rich quickly. There’s “Dogao,” which was just a big dog head painted in several places. There are a few images of a person looking up with a smile I saw all over as well. And of course the giant bike by Kobra.

I’ll miss the apartment, despite any gripes. It has been a home, for sure. I know the whole place, I know where it is and how to navigate it. I know it has a wonky piece of hard plastic on the toilet button to help it flush. There’s a cat carpet on the wall, bigger than any art we have, that the cat can use to climb but doesn’t. And there are so many stories in this place. Like our little Halloween party with the rice balls where everyone showed up late so Marina and I got too drunk beforehand and she started burning things, corn starch beet juice all over her as fake blood. Or just the first day I came to Brazil. And Marina brought me inside. And we watched a bunch of Adventure Time while I fell in love with her. And the times when she was working on her doctorate, and her papers were all over the floor as she studied for weeks and weeks. All the little plants we killed on accident. All the times we’d look out the window waiting for the perfect moment for the sun so we could go to the pool.

I’ll miss the coffee plant out in the front of the apartment. Always there, cycling through dry stick-y phases and fruiting phases with bright red berries like holly.

I’ll miss Turim Pizzaria. Half broccoli and alho and half margherita or half four cheese where Marina made sure they used gorgonzola.

I’ll miss Avenida Paulista, and just walking down it. So much to do and so little. We’ve watched bands, gone to the little park, eaten at the stalls.

I’ll also miss the feiras. I never went to them as much as I should have, but I liked them. The chaos, all the veggies and fruits. The pastel places.

I’ll miss Parque de Agua Branca (Chicken Park) and all the chickens and ducks and cats and peacocks and animals that just wander around. I had some physical training there which was nice, walking 30 minutes and then running around, trying to get my knee better. Or just going with Marina for whatever reason—just to be there.

Or how about my in-laws? If nothing else, I’ll miss the opportunity I already feel I missed in being able to talk with them. But in general, I’ll miss them. Ricardo is always so quiet and contemplative until he strikes a mood in a conversation, or some idea, and he’s boisterous and sincere, like a pastor almost. “LyAN-nee!” I can hear his voice saying my name in the same operatic way every time. And Amanda, very smothery, but in the way I like after and before the smothering. And Mariana, who is always so cool I sometimes don’t even know what to say around her. I feel like I have nothing good enough to say, nothing interesting. She just chills and smokes and looks around like a baroness, and it’s comfortable because she’s also very motherly. She has a little chuckle she does: he-he-HE, each “he” going up half a note in the same way like a little song.

I’ll miss Amora. What a pup. The puppin-est pup who ever pupped. So skinny and cute and sproing-y. And even though it was only recently, walking Amora has been great. Long hours out in the sun along the beach, she and I in perfect synchronicity, her snoofing, me hoofing. Her little wiggle-butt as she pretends to sit while she begs. Her baby nibbles when you give her some food, like she’s shy.

The beach house itself has many memories. I love Marina too much, she’s perfect, and imagining the beach house really just makes me think of her and the fun we’ve had. I remember her giving me tickets to “Wicked” for my birthday in a secret hunt. Or us playing Danganronpa and Stardew Valley. I like sitting on the balcony reading in the nice wicker chair in the warmth, and walking down to the beach to sit in the sand or order a watery caipirinha. I remember the time I used some weird spice in the fridge and accidentally ruined our meal because I used too much. I remember us ordering the world’s greasiest pizza, almost soaking through its own box. I’ll miss the little marks we made in the wood of our heights.

I’ll miss all the good and bad times Marina and I have had. This is the city where we fell in love, the bedroom where we decided to get married, the house we came home to every day with Eunice meowing at the door. It’s important and good and I’ll miss it.

I love you, Marina, and I can’t wait to miss more things together.


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