If you look up or type adventure in a dictionary, you’ll find the experience as a synonym, and travelling to another country with a different spoken language can be one. I was born and raised in Mexico City; I’m one of the 400 million Spanish speakers around the world, the primary language of most of South and Central America.
But for unknown and pretty obvious reasons one of my best friends decided to celebrate his 30th birthday in Brazil, the fifth largest city in the world, famous for its Carnaval, good-looking people, cultural diversity and romance language, Portuguese.
So, before taking a 16-hour flight to get to the heartbeat of the country, São Paulo and Rio, I decided to learn the basics with the help of some books and the 100% free and world’s most popular way to learn a language, Duolingo.
Erasing the tricky barriers to learn a new vocabulary once you reach a certain age, I was nominated as the official translator for the trip. A situation that for two weeks required mimic and drawing skills.
But the unexpected happened on a bus ride to see the Selaron Steps, a set of colorful world-famous steps in Rio de Janeiro, when in the middle of whispers and confuse looks we started to ask ourselves: Where the &%^! are we?. Enough tourist behavior to catch the look of a lady sitting two rows behind us.
Without hesitating, using her hands and a slow syllable pace, the Brazilian woman started talking to us and offered to walk us to our destination.
With a big genuinely friendly smile, she took the time to show us the Lapa and Santa Teresa neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro. She even extended her hospitality by asking us if we have a place to stay writing down her address and phone number.
At this point, we already knew that Brazilians were purely sociable and welcoming, but to come across someone that is willing to take a detour in her day to make you a priority can change your day,
As a traveler it was a reminder of the importance of being kind and sympathetic to others, no matter where we you are, what your language is or where you are from. We all are in the same type of adventure, life.