“Young Ellie: [Ellie opens her Adventure Book to reveal to Carl a “Life” magazine with Charles Muntz on the cover] You know him.
Young Ellie: Charles Muntz, explorer. When I get big, I’m going where he’s going,
[pulls away the magazine to reveal a map of… ]
Young Ellie: South America. It’s like America, but south.”
Up (2008, Pixar)
Update: In less than a day our bank returned the stolen money! Shout out to Lake Michigan Credit Union for being so helpful and expedient.
As I write this, I am waiting for the bank to open in the states. Despite our best efforts to be mindful of our credit cards, some Brazilian person, clearly in need of money, skimmed our card number and stole a significant amount of money from our account. This comes on the tail of an exhausting travel day yesterday (where I nearly got sick and passed out in the grocery store).
Not many people speak English in Rio so there have been significant challenges in terms of services. This is wholly and entirely on us as travelers. We should have spent more time practicing Portuguese. After all, it is the language of the country we are visiting.
Even with this, the adventure has been incredible. The beaches here are the most beautiful I have ever seen. And, I was able to explore the rain forest. We made friends with a number of monkeys and saw toucans. We saw one of the Seven Wonders of The Modern World: Christ the Redeemer. We spent a day with a wonderful tour guide, a local man, that loves this city very much. He took us to places we would not have been able to go on our own. He shared, with great emotion, his love for various parts of the city and its history. I loved being able to see this world through his eyes.
Today, after we sort things out with the bank, I am on the hunt for a capybara. I told a local man that I wanted to take one home as a pet (I communicated this using a Portuguese app on my phone). I’m not sure what he heard me say but he strongly encouraged me not to take a capybara as a pet, noting with his hands, that they have large and sharp teeth.
It’s challenging for me to capture in words the experience of being in a different part of the world. It forces me to stretch my perspective and see things from a different angle. I think that although the experience of stretching is exhausting (as it is growth) it is worth the gift of a different perspective. There is no choice but to learn when you are exposed to people and places that are so different from what you know and believe.
I did not expect this trip to be easy or effortless. I knew there would be challenges. These challenges are what add dimension and depth to the experience. I am extremely grateful for my in-laws (Love you Rik & Kathy!!) for always being there when we have, what seems to be, an inevitable travel emergency. I think one of the necessary requirements of travel is to always have a go-to person back home that can help you solve any problem.
But, really, we had our identity stolen not long ago back home and it could have just as easily happened when we were in New Orleans in the Fall. The difference in these situations is that it is much easier (and cheaper) to handle at home than away.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am on the hunt for the capybara!