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Monthly Archives: April 2008

“…And Rebecca played very well, she is at a turning point…”

The compliment in front of the group went something like that. Mestre Yoji told the rest of the capoeira group about my grant and at that moment, when they were all clapping for me, sweaty and exhausted after a really good roda, I realized just how much I’ve grown in my connection to them. I’m fighting quicker, playing better, transitioning more smoothly–my game is stepping up. I felt so proud, really. That’s a big thing for me right now.

(*Author’s note: While I wrote this post maybe 9 months ago now, and in that time, my game has jumped all around from one week to the next,  turning back walk-overs one day only to take a nap the next, I still stick to my thoughts about how beautiful it is to be a part of such an amazing group of people. Even if my own capoeira playing shifts, reflecting what is going on in my life outside of it, it is this “family” of beautiful people connected to this art that remind me of what community means. Sappy but true.)

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It hasn’t even been a week yet since I got the letter saying I’d won a Fulbright. It’s still surreal, trying to place myself (in my head only) in a country I can only imagine. I’m going to Brazil.

Someone had asked me, “Why Brazil?” Now that I think about it, I can think of so many reasons now  that I’d like to go and learn there, but in thinking about why I wanted to be there when I applied over 9 months ago, it is more difficult. I just know that there is “something” there. Of course, I’d like to learn Portuguese, but that’s not the only reason. I mean, going to Brazil–no, moving to Brazil–is one of the scariest things I can think of that was already in my radar of possible things to do. If that makes sense.

I don’t often admit when I do things that scare me, but it’s almost because of being scared that I decide to try. Honestly, I have a lot of work to do. If I want to make change, I have got to be committed to challenging myself so that I may, in turn, challenge others. Not many people want to listen to–or believe in–words of change coming from someone that has had a very comfortable and unchallenging lifestyle. No, if I want to take myself seriously, I have got to do those things that scare me. Being a street photographer already requires an amount of fearlessness, but now Brazil is going to ask even more of me.

I smile to myself. This is exciting.