Right after Christmas 1993, I left Brazil with the firm, but slightly far-fetched idea that I was not going back. Many things made my departure hard. A marriage. A lovely home. Toby, a dog I was crazy about. I could only take two pieces of luggage with me. Everything else was left behind. Books, dishes, pans, photos. But, much harder than that, family, friends, and the safety of a job at the best university in the country.
At the time, I had no idea whether I was making the right decision. I left São Paulo at the height of the summer, I arrived in Paris on a very cold night, a few days short of New Year’s Eve to face months of loneliness like I had never experienced before. I quickly realized I was fully unprepared for it, but giving up and flying back to Brazil was not an option I was willing to take. My former husband at some point told me: the struggles you are going through today, one day will be like invisible medals you will be proud to wear on your chest. Wise guy.
Twenty years flew by. I cannot express how fortunate I feel for taking that risky first step. I do not mean this as advice, it’s rather a personal observation: the only way to move forward is to take some risks, and to accept the idea of being very uncomfortable for a while. So, when in doubt, take a deep breath, and dive into your dreams!
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
(opening line of a favorite book, read in Paris, March 1994).