For the first eight months, we lived in a city of 26 million people - yet I'd never felt more alone. I spent hour after hour trapped in a tiny apartment on a busy Sao Paulon street. My husband was working 12 to 14 hour days, and I didn't have a car. I didn't even have the internet.
I'm pretty sure my mind has blocked out most of those first few months.
Because of my severely limited Portuguese, I was often afraid to go out. But little by little, as I grew accustomed to the blatant stares I got, I started to plop my then-ten-month-old son into the stroller and "passear" ....
Our favorite destination was a little park, about two miles away. It was a bit of jungle surrounded by skyscrapers, and I loved it.
On one particular day, we headed toward the swings. There were two other moms there, with their toddlers in tow. One was slim, with stunning coffee-colored skin and shiny, jet-black hair. She was Japanese. The other was shorter, with equally dark hair and big, lash-framed eyes. She was Brazilian.
We were all trying to check each other out without letting the others know. Instead we concentrated on our children, smiling and goo-gooing at our posterity, sneaking side-long glances when we thought the others weren't looking. Every once in a while we'd sneak peeks at the same time - and then we'd have to smile awkwardly and blush to our roots.
And then our children began to play together.
Three almost-one year olds patted each other on the face and inspected each other's toes. Giggling. Their immediate friendship broke our lingual barriers.
I grinned at the Japanese lady, my eyes crinkling in acceptance and scrunching up my shoulders to show I was amused. She looked heavenward, smiling in response, then question-marked her eyebrows and pointed at my Little Prince. I held up ten fingers, then looked at the Brazilian, mirroring the Japanese's question. She held up one finger and grinned to her ears - he was one.
We spent the next hour laughing and talking about our children - their messes and their triumphs, our struggles and our pride.
And we didn't utter a word.
I realized then that while none of us had the same vernacular, all of us spoke Woman.
Womanhood is a language. We speak with our hands, our shoulders - we know that eyebrows can be a much more powerful tool than a tongue. We have whole conversations without opening our mouths. A wrinkle of the nose, a glowing of the eyes, the twist of the mouth - the Woman Tongue is powerful and universal.
Womanhood is the language of charity. Regardless of where we live, women the world over speak it. They speak it every time they bring food to a funeral, diapers for a new baby, flowers for the sick. They speak it in listening, in laughing, in hugs and over cheesecake, chatting in the true Mother Tongue of Love.
They say that the Adamic Language was communication in its purest form. Yet I move that Eve's Tongue is the one we should be striving toward. Through love, let the whole world be filled with utterance. I'm sure we'll never run out of things to say.