Day 37: The Little Things in Life

By Daniel Duchene. Respond on Twitter

Day 37: The Little Things in Life

I came to Brazil looking for something that I was missing. Now that I found it, I realized I might be better off without it.

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The World Cup is officially over for the Seleção and our journey has reached its final stretch. The time of reflexion begins, as most of us start to look back at this past month, putting in perspective all that we have accomplished, professionally and personally.

Well, that time has come for me. I write this in the heat of the moment, just after Brazil suffered its third harshest defeat in history, falling short of the 3rd spot only a few days after a humiliating loss against Germany. Though, I still believe this to be true.

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Personally, I came to Brazil looking for something I was clearly missing since I left the country 12 years ago. I had no idea of what it was, but I imagined it would have something to do with finding happiness in the simplest things in life. At least, that is what I hoped it would be.

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As I traveled across my entire country during this adventure, reconnecting with my people, over and over, I couldn’t help to notice one thing: how out-of-sync I had gotten from them. I say that because when younger, I always strived to represent Brazilian people. Being blond with blue eyes and attending a French school made me feel like I had to work twice as hard to prove that I was Brazilian, and nothing made me prouder.

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In Manaus with Raimundo’s friends and family.

Dani with Taylan watching the game in Salvador

In Salvador with Taylan and his family

Daniel and Lucien in Lagoa, Rio

With Lucien in Lagoa, Rio de Janeiro


Still, after this whole time here, I didn’t know what made me so different. Of course, living abroad and being exposed to other cultures made me different, but how exactly? I knew it weren’t many things. I couldn’t have changed that much.

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Today, as I watched our chances of redemption slowly fade away against Netherlands, it finally hit me. It had been pointed out to me many times during this trip, and during my lifetime, but it never made as much sense as tonight. Brazilians are sufferers, from the Portuguese word “sofredores”. Historically, Brazilians have always suffered, and in the most unfair ways.

From the colonialists, to slavery, to the indigenous massacres, to dictatorships, to World Cups, to the refereeing tonight, the Brazilian people have been stepped on during their entire existence. Why isn’t Brazil the greatest country in the world? It is large, beautiful, benefits from the richest natural resources, and has the nicest people I ever seen. Why isn’t it the greatest country in the world?

The truth is, that this suffering, inflicted so early, has turned into a vicious cycle where the population gets stepped on, and then grieves. This grieving affects morale and confidence, which diminishes ambition. With no ambition, nor confidence, the people get run over again, and the cycle goes on. It has been going on for over 500 years.

 

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This World Cup, will go down as one of the greatest sport events of all times, but in reality, it was one more occasion to take advantage of the Brazilian people, and leave them to suffer. The people of this country saw all they had be invested in an event that everybody benefited from it, except for them. Who could have expected that even its players, certainly traumatized for the rest of their careers, would also succumb to such suffering? After the humiliating defeat in the semifinal, Brazil’s captain David Luis sobbed during his interview: “I’m sorry… I am so sorry… I don’t know what to say. I just wanted to make my people happy, my people who suffer so much.”

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For who is the World Cup? Occupy the Cup” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

So, I finally discovered what I was missing: the suffering. It affects you constantly, your emotions, your personality, your decision making, your professionalism, etc. When talking about identity to one of my oldest friends still living in Brazil, he said: “You can’t consider yourself Brazilian anymore, you don’t have to deal daily with what we deal with here”. Perplexed and hurt by this comment, I replied: “What do you mean? Do you have to suffer to be Brazilian ?“. He couldn’t find words to respond.

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On the other hand, you can say that Brazilians appear to be the happiest people in the world. Most of us would answer you that we smile only to retain the tears from falling down our faces. So maybe, since I haven’t lived in Brazil for a little over a decade, I have forgotten how to suffer, and therefore it affected my way of dealing with life, it made me less Brazilian. But frankly, I don’t think I want this suffering to be part of me. I feel free without it, able. I guess that finally, whatever I was missing is, indeed, related to finding happiness in the simplest things in life, because when you live in Brazil, that is all you have left to appreciate, unfortunately.

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