The northern star guides me not.

Nothing – no book of theory or literature, not even my undergraduate or graduate days when I studied American literature and culture, least of all my many trips to America or even my marriage to my American husband – prepared me for the actual impact of moving to America. I now have the distinct feeling of being different, in many ways an outsider. To be honest, being different here suits me well in some senses and I hope I will continue to cultivate my differences, while making the necessary cultural adjustments. But when I look at the sky and despair over the fact that my stars are all upside down, when I struggle in vain to spot the Southern cross, when the Northern star guides me not, and the constellations have no place in my foreign sky, it’s still to the great literature written in America and the thriving music that I turn to find my bearings and make some sense of this strange land.

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Up close and Personal.

I have always been marked by a sense of fatality, which means that I do not view life as a sure destination, as a guaranteed event. Even when life smiles benevolently at me. Exactly because of this, I always try to live intensely: between the same (my comfort zone) and the different, I almost always choose the different. It is true that the different offers one more opportunities, even though it often revolutionizes everything! But who said life should be easy? I am incurably curious about a variety of subjects, and I pursue knowledge stubbornly. I am tenacious and, I admit, stubborn. The sentence in my childhood that I was a physically weak child (my nickname was Olive Oil!) and intellectually mediocre was radically transmuted. I finished two marathons and several other races. I got my Master’s degree and then my PhD. In order words, do not doubt me! Paradoxically, I remain insecure and incurably shy. I fight my restlessness and worries, with frank, informed and intelligent conversations, with good reading, yoga, meditation and writing. As far as possible, I keep my distance from negative thoughts and people. Aging is making me even more reflective, but now in a less combative and more welcoming way. Maybe this is good?

Sempre fui marcada por um sentimento de fatalidade, o que faz com que eu não leve a vida como um destino certo, garantido. Mesmo quando a vida me sorri benevolente. Exatamente por isso, tento sempre viver intensamente: entre o mesmo (a minha zona de conforto) e o diferente, quase sempre opto pelo diferente. É verdade que o diferente oferece mais oportunidades, embora muitas vezes revolucione tudo! Mas quem disse que a vida deve ser fácil? Sou incuravelmente curiosa por assuntos diversos e  vou atrás do conhecimento obstinadamente. Sou tenaz e, admito, teimosa. A sentença na minha infância de que eu era uma criança fisicamente fraca (o meu apelido era Olivia Palito!) e intelectualmente medíocre foi radicalmente transmutada. Eu completei duas maratonas e várias outras corridas. Eu obtive o meu Mestrado e depois o meu PhD. Ou seja, não duvide de mim!  Paradoxalmente, continuo insegura e muito tímida. Combato a minha inquietação e preocupação, com conversas francas, informadas e inteligentes, com boa leitura, meditação e escrita. Na medida do possível, mantenho distância de pensamentos e pessoas negativas. A meia-idade está me tornando ainda mais reflexiva, mas agora de uma maneira menos combativa e mais acolhedora. Talvez isso seja bom?