NAU MAI HOKI MAI KO TAKU CHAOS BLOG AHAU! Welcome to my Chaos blog. Enjoy!
My pre-arrival plane thoughts:
“Currently on the flight over and am feeling a mix of emotions. IDK what it is, but I’m happy, excited, nervous, and unsure, but feeling completely blissful. Partly because I’ve had two full glasses of red, and I’m just super, like, in this surreal bubble of living right now. I’m really just taking it all one step at a time and hoping for the best. No expectations, just really excited. I’m also so ready to be in a different country and learn new things about indigeneity that is entirely different from my way of living. New country, new language, new accents, people, views, the whole thing, I’m just in a fricken trance. I’m nervous, hahahaha cheehoooo!
Brahh…. We made it:
30+ hours of flying done. Back, sore. Eye bags, bagging. Mind, in another universe. Spirit, Nervous. Heart, surprisingly calm. Expectations next to none, except the eagerness to explore something new. Once baggage was claimed, customs was cleared, and I took my first step outside into the similar mugginess of Aotearoa, my child-like excitement finally kicked in. I felt like the five-year-old in me again on a new playground. Hopped on the bus, and it hit me. “IM IN F***** BRAZIL”. Peeping out the bus windows, smiling ear to ear, looking at my new kainga for the next 4.5 weeks. 20 min later, the excitement settled, and in creeps the jet lag. We get off the bus and approach our hotel, the dopamine wakes me again, and I’m ready to go.
We were welcomed with a beautiful kai. Out of this world good, holey hecka. Being greeted with traditional dishes was a beautiful way to connect to this country. AND MANS LOVES TO EAT! After that meal, my māori tummy was happy! I can’t wait to explore the kai! After lunch, it was safe to say the deliriousness kicked in, and I could hear my bed calling me.
The next few days consisted of exploring São Paulo. I’ve never walked so much since year 10 PE camp, lol. By the second day, I was already missing my car, hahaha. Subways, local markets, Kai, Graffiti murals, and taking photos of everything and anything that remotely sparked my interest would accurately sum up those days.
Week 1.5 Special mentions:
Capoeira workshop- It was beautiful to engage with some movement early on in our trip. I’m a professional dancer, and a studio setting is my home. It’s my safe space. Being able to settle and release some energy on the floor felt comforting. Whilst acknowledging and learning an art form indigenous to Afro-Brazil. I was able/forced by my peers to ‘play’ (The word Capoeira uses to share movement in space) with the Capoeira master. Hesitantly, I accepted the challenge and gave it a good go. Fun, nerve-racking, and grounding would be how I felt. Luckily, my dance practice kicked in and was able to pou myself to the moment.
Immigration Museum- This was our first visit to a Museum that was also in a lower socio-economical area of Brazil. On our way to the Museum, we walked passed a homeless shelter of people lining up to get in, which was the first major culture and reality check since being here. Once we were in the Museum, the energy of the museum felt thick. Later find out that this place housed the first immigrants to Brazil. Then reading all the stories, and seeing the artefacts, especially the beds, made it all very real. It all felt very Tapu. As Māori, I’m deeply connected to the realms of spirituality, and this Museum was emoting so much Mamae and pūrākau of those who were coming to Brazil and promised certain things to get here and that not be their reality. From this moment, I realised that I’m going to be exposed to many stories and experiences that were going to disrupt and challenge a lot of my personal beliefs, but to hold firm onto my values and cultural, spiritual identity.
Ubatuba- Ubatuba is a small beach town on the southeast coast of Brazil and, Without a doubt, was my favourite time and place of this trip. At this point, it was day 11, and I was feeling the homesickness crawling up on me, and my Hauora was craving water. This could not have come at a better time for me. Water is my bending element, plus born and raised up in Rotorua, surrounded by natural water lakes, awa, and beaches only 45 min away. Ubatuba made me feel so zen and transcended me to the feeling of home while being totally aware of where I was. It was an out-of-body experience.
We visited our first indigenous community, one of many Guarani people villages. There they shared many of their chants, art, knowledge, and ways of living. My spirit felt safe in the prayer whare, which is equivalent to our marae back home in Aotearoa. We were able to ask questions and exchange cosmological stories from our māori culture and their Guarani culture. A moment that bonded our experiences as indigenous people of our lands. We then swam in their stunning freshwater awa. This was everything to me. My spirit felt free. My bones felt connected. And my energy felt cleansed. A feeling that can only be felt and not told. Not to mention our hostel was gorgeous. Paula, the owner, was a true god sent, like, the world doesn’t deserve such a pure, beautiful human. It had a pool, so best believe I was in there every 10 minutes. If I could have slept in there, I would have. The beach was a five min hikoi, and I was there like three times a day. I got to cook! Cooking is another ritualistic thing I love to do that calms me, so that was another blessing. Honestly, Ubatuba is a blog post on its own, but I felt very happy there. Sad it was only three days, but it’s a time I will cherish forever and hopefully bring my kids to.