Travels to Brazil with Schizoaffective Disorder and Bipolar Disorder
My cousin, Tony, has returned from his trip to Joao Pessoa and other cities in Brazil. Our mom’s were born in Brazil and came to the states in their twenties. He had a warm time connecting with our cousins. I remember when I took a trip to Brazil in 2004, I was a Day Care teacher trying to find my life’s purpose. My soul was awakening to something new and wonderful, as I left my insecurities behind. Unlike the cities in the world that I have traveled, Joao Pessoa was my favorite. Discrimination was not a key factor there. I felt comfortable and content to see the faces in the crowd- the one of light tan, dark brown, golden bronze, leathered black, as I walked among this densely populated metropolis. The influences and prejudices had not sunk into the crowds and its culture, and I witnessed a beauty and harmony, which exuded a sense of pride, and health, and peace among the people. It was a unique experience. Joao Pessoa is a Portuguese city, and the second greenest city in the world. It is noted for its green seas, coconut trees, beach huts, and tropical fruit and is a true oasis under the sun, which shines twelve months a year. When I visited in Joao Pessoa, I fell in love with the Portuguese people, the ocean. My cousin, Mick and I went swimming in the turquoise green Atlantic Ocean together. Mick had met me in Natal, Brazil and traveled with me to Joao Pessoa. He was from Seaside, Oregon. In the midst of this magnificent body of water I was unafraid of what was swimming below me. Mick picked up a starfish with his foot and handed it to me. Then his wife Sue, my cousin, Myrna and her family, and I took a ferry to Ilha de Areia Vermelha. As I snorkeled with sun glasses ( imitation goggles), I saw fish that I had never seen before and didn’t know existed. These tropical fish were so extraordinarily brilliant in color, that they seemed to absorb and direct the rays of light simultaneously as it reflected patterns from “kaleidoscopes” bouncing off my arms and legs. I was in paradise. I discovered myself wrapped in the arms of love. Forgiveness, sorrow, pain, had swept from my face and once again I felt a reason for healing and living again. My journey to Joao Pessoa taught me I could overcome old self defeating behaviors of thinking. It taught me that I was a somebody, and I was good enough the way I was . I could forget and forgive the past. I proved to myself that I could take a trip to another country by myself and enjoy the experience of being in another culture, even though I had struggled with schizoaffective disorder.