Monthly Archives: February 2011

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Sunset from Galipán, Venezuela

Being a writer is like being a born-again Christian. Everyday, you have to rededicate yourself to the overall endeavor. Sometimes, especially in the face of temptation and distraction, that rededication takes mountains of faith. So here I am, faithful and rededicated – again. Let’s see how long it lasts.

Writing isn’t the only endeavor that requires rededication, however. Moving abroad hardly ever turns out to be the endless vacation envisioned upon first visiting a place on vacation (try to say that three times quickly in succession). People who seemed proactively amenable to assisting with any need suddenly disappear. Things that were supposed to cost one price end up being double with unannounced taxes factored in. Offices keep strange hours and functionaries take four-hour lunch breaks. The paperwork alone is a bitch. There’s the isolation that comes with local holidays when everything’s closed and everyone’s with their families. There’s the lack of understanding from people who don’t get that just because you live overseas, it doesn’t mean you’re not working a 9-5, or have shitty co-workers, bills, traffic, and overall fatigue to deal with. There’s the anxiety that comes with being unsure if you’ve made “the right” decision – the “right” decisions – since there’s no playbook; you’re the trailblazer, the rebel, so you have no one else to blame if you fuck up.

And that’s when the faith steps in. Faith that I’m not making the “right” decisions, but decisions that were the best I could make at the time and being okay with that. Faith that, through the bureaucracy and hassles, through the isolation and disappointment, through the fear and anxiety, I’m living where I want to live, where I’ve wanted to live, for the longest time. Faith that, in spite of anything and everything that might happen, I’m leading an interesting, extraordinary life. A life nothing short of adventurous.

Be adventurous. And know that it’s never too late to rededicate yourself to any endeavor.

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Júlio Boaro/Flickr

Last summer, Wallpaper* magazine published its “Born in Brazil” issue, a 210-page design-focused exposé on the established names and up-and-comers in the realms of Brazilian work and play. Along with the print version, the magazine included on its website this beautifully-shot, beautifully-scored look at the remarkable energy – and traffic – of São Paulo, as experienced by some of its most high-class inhabitants.

On the other side of town, documentarians Outros Filmes captured, in brutal clarity, life centered around a boxing gym underneath an overpass in the city’s gritty Zona Leste. While both videos portray valid, authentic environments in São Paulo, it is this film that shows the types of spaces that most of the city’s 20 million people inhabit.