In our age of digital distractions, we sometimes forget how important it is to simply - Be.
Being married to a Brazilian isn't easy - two totally different cultures (the South and South America), two sets of families who live in completely different continents and two different languages.
Being affluent in verbal expression and comfortable giving my opinion on EVERYTHING, it's incredibly challenging to sit on the sidelines while everyone around you speaks their mind in another language.
I suppose it makes sense that I was nervous to take my fourth trip to Brazil for Christmas and New Years this past year. I had been before, and knew the ropes. I knew how to deal with the heat, the meat-heavy meals, the totally different concept of time - I just wasn't incredibly excited to sit on the sidelines - again- while all of the other women in Caio's family spoke their mind, made jokes and tattled on their husbands/boyfriend's ridiculous habits.
But this time was different and it wasn't because it was less hot than in 2013. What was different was my perspective (and my inlaws' unwaivering patience and support to understand the language I struggled to pronounce and understand).
Have you ever looked at something for a long time and didn't realize what was wrong with it until you took a step back or took a break and came back to it? You see things differently, read differently and understand differently - not because you're suddenly smarter than you were before, but because you're not trying so hard to figure it out.
This year, I took the time to embrace the void of communication and just be apart of the conversation, without really trying hard to understand, but just apply the knowledge I had to communicating what I wanted to say.
Taking a step back from the conversation is like growing up blind. Because you can't see what's around you, your other senses are strengthened. You appreciate the smell of food, the sound of birds and the feeling of a dog's soft, wet tongue or the luke warm water of a pool.
For the first time, I could actually understand what everyone was talking about, because I quit trying to understand - and just was present. I felt apart of the family, which meant more to me than spending Christmas by the beach (although that was pretty incredible too).
Brazil is an amazing country, filled with friendly people, outstanding food and, best of all, a pretty awesome Borges family.