É sua primeira vez no blog? Leia antes o post "Uma Introdução" (em português).*
How do I feel about Carnaval? For a long time I thought of it the way I thought about prom. It’s all you see in the movies and books and season finales; it’s supposed to be the high point of the year, something you’ll remember forever. Personally, I kind of resented prom’s symbolic hegemony. Why should a high-school dance, that most odious of events, become the defining event of my secondary-school experience? They couldn’t make me go. But, on the other hand, how could I not go?
I did the same sort of mental dance around Carnaval for a long time. Vem cá, gente, é “o acontecimento religioso da raça”, não tem como perder. And yet I am not a huge fan of large crowds, my dancing is subpar and making costumes stresses me out. Really, it’s the sort of thing I should be steering several hundred miles around. But it’s Carnaval.
The problem was sort of resolved for me by the fact that I went to study in Argentina this semester, so I’d be missing it anyway. Then my carioca friends started reminiscing and counting down to Carnaval, and everything went to hell. I study both Portuguese and Spanish, after all, so I’m technically supposed to be throwing myself into Borges and Victoria Ocampo and tango right now. But let me explain my delinquency.
When cariocas told me stories about Carnaval, it was always with decidedly mixed emotions. Glee and irritation; disdain and nostalgia; but always with a sort of wonder. “The whole damn city stops.” “There’s just a sort of happiness in the air.” “It’s when the masks come off.” After a couple hours of this, I was completely broken down. At the very least I wanted to see the transformation of the city I’d come to know and love. And, more than anything, that’s what drew me back to Rio. (I am missing classes in Argentina right now, for the record; this is the most irresponsible I’ve been in several years.) This could be a very bad idea. Carnaval will be better than prom, though, that I can guarantee, because my high school’s senior prom was Las Vegas-themed. There’s nothing worse than a badly-executed Las Vegas theme. Trust me on this.
I missed Rio ferociously while I was away; anyone who had a casual conversation with me during the past six weeks can attest to this. And I had enormous difficulty believing that the city continued on in my absence. I could read the papers, sure, but it all seemed highly improbable (buildings falling down out of nowhere?). For me, Dois Irmãos was frozen in a December sunset. Then I made my apologies to the study abroad program and hopped from Ezeiza to Carrasco to Galeão. Carnaval. GO. (Then back to the tangos.)
“So do you like this sort of thing?” the driver said as we came back from the airport.
“I don’t really know,” I had to confess. “I guess that’s why I came.”
[As always, Carmen expresses my own feelings more eloquently than I]
* Flora voltou ao Rio de Janeiro para o Carnaval e manterá o blog até a quarta-feira de cinzas