Spending 7 weeks in Rio de Janeiro was really something else. So many things going on at the same time and that overwhelming feeling just keeps getting stronger. I came up with a list of things I love about Rio de Janeiro, or better yet, my first-hand experiences in this crazy beautiful city:
- Rio de Janeiro is such a diverse city. In a span of 4 days, I managed to meet more than a dozen people with different nationalities but the surprise of them all were the Germans and Swedish. Talking to these people and listening to their stories are just one of my favorite moments so far.
- Best feeling ever: Meeting solo female travelers who finally understood what you are going through and what you are about to dive into.
- No matter how overrated Copacabana and Ipanema are, they still remain to be two of the beautiful beaches I’ve been to so far. Not to mention, the 10-min walk from the hostel to the beach made it more awesome.
- Watching shirtless guys playing football by the beach at any time of the day. Enough said.
- Exchange of languages. It makes you more excited to be fluent in Spanish or Portuguese or maybe both.
- How living and doing work exchange in a hostel can push you beyond limits and beyond your comfort zone.
- In a land where it’s mostly populated by Latinas and Europeans, Asians definitely stood out. And it’s a good thing.
- How no one really knows me here, no past to identify me with. Not that I’m running away from someone or something. It just feels good to have a fresh start, a clean slate.
- How plans can easily change and lead to something better and sometimes, even bring a good surprise.
- How the phrase “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer in the world of wandering souls.
Of course, the time I spent in Rio was not all smooth sailing. There were times when I had difficulty finding a place to eat because each restaurant I go to was expensive, or that the 11-hour time difference makes it hard for me to connect with friends and family back home, or enduring the rainy cold weather, putting myself at risk of getting sick and making it hard to walk along the beach and around the city.
Basically, everything is a trade-off and choosing to see the good in every situation does make everything else lighter, more bearable and a lot more enjoyable.