We left São Paulo this morning, and my suitcase is already a lot heavier than when I arrived.
Our host mom had to teach late last night, so Lauren and I joined Camryn’s host family for our final evening in São Paulo. Camryn’s host dad, Israel, made me the best “burger” I’ve ever had—even though without the meat it consisted of nothing but a toasted bun, caramelized onions, and homemade green mayonnaise. Don’t ask me how it’s possible for such a “burger” to taste so good—I doubt I’ll ever know. After dinner, Lauren made mischief with Israel’s kids, but Camryn and I stayed around the table to talk with Israel and his father. It was one of those “eternal moments” my home pastor is always referring to.
“I don’t think, when we get to Heaven, that God is gonna be like, ‘Wow, man! You had a really nice car back there!’ Or, ‘That was such a nice house you had!’” Israel shook his head. “When you die, you don’t take anything with you except your investments in the people around you. A ‘How was your relationship with your parents?’ or ‘Who did you invest in?’ might be more likely.”
I thought about all the stuff I’ve accumulated over the years and here in Brazil, and how much heavier my suitcase feels now that I’m leaving than when I arrived. It is stuffed full of gifts from all of the people who have impacted me here in Brazil. But the weight of my suitcase can’t even come close to the weight of my heart, overflowing with care from all the people who’ve invested in me. Between the burgers and bite-sized coxinhas, I tasted a bit of home. Not the home I was born into, with the family that will always be most dear to my heart—but home, nonetheless. “You’re family now,” Natacha, Armando, and Israel all told Lauren and I.
I’ve been thinking about home a lot lately–since I arrived in São Paulo, actually. At first, everything just seemed so different—the birds that woke me up in the morning sang different tunes than the ones I was used to, strangers greeted me with unfamiliar phrases that I struggled to understand, and I even had to adjust to a new home and family for two weeks. At first? I really just missed home.
But we left São Paulo this morning, and I already miss hearing the birds upon my early rise and meeting with Israel and Vanessa at the school while eagerly anticipating our next adventure. I miss our new home.
It hurts to leave a new home so soon after finding it, but that’s how it seems to go, isn’t it? I take comfort in knowing that my heart is only heavy because it’s filled with love and investment of eternal value. Having the same Father, “goodbye” can never mean more than “até logo.”