You are tired. You just sat ramrod straight for tenandahalf hours - besides the occasional rockingchildbacktosleepinabsolutelynospace, of course. Your tear ducts are so swollen that you feel they may never recover. Your throat hurts from sobbing in short bursts for three days. Your arms ache from hundreds of bone-crushing hugs, trying to pour your whole soul into an embrace - trying to express through the curve of your neck what words can never say.
My last image of Brazil was of a dozen of my dearest friends, each clasping her mouth, trying unsuccessfully to hold back the emotion that we have avoided for months. Agonized eyes. Not knowing when we'll see one another again. There were no goodbyes - opening the mouth would have been highly dangerous.
As we drove away, doubled over the steering wheel and praying that the Lord would help me drive, I wondered why were we leaving again? This phrase repeated itself all through the long night, no room to pace, asking myself why on earth we would voluntarily leave our Brazilian paradise.
And then, standing in line trying to keep Ouro Branco from undoing all the elastic line dividers, I remembered.
It is a video of Americans in bright orange and pink saris with red dots on their foreheads. It is a video of Americans with black mustaches playing guitars and wearing sombreros. It is a video of American teenagers shooting hoops in a courtyard sandwiched between high buildings with reflective windows. It is a video of Americans playing chess in a park, climbing mountains, performing ballet, going to school and eating dinner on the back porch.
And they all say the same thing: Welcome. Welcome to the United States.
This is why we left.
I'm home. Not that that means I have a house - we've been in six states since we moved, living out of suitcases and laughing when people ask where we're from.
I'll tell you where I'm from - I'm from AMERICA.
(I finally have steady access to a computer. and I'll tell you all about our adventures. I've missed you. Thank you for missing me. I read every email with delight and wonder at such good friends. You? Rock.)