Based in Houston, Texas, GEV is a blog by The GreenEyed Venuist. Her posts explore travel and photography through her green eyes.


When I was in Brazil, I heard the word "Saudade". Saudade is a Portuguese term that is a common fixture in the literature and music of Brazil but has no direct translation in English. Portuguese writer Manuel de Melo described it as: "a pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy."  Ain't that the truth....

On Wikipedia, it states that "saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing may never return." 
Anyone who knows me knows that this is the perfect way to describe how I feel about Rio de Janeiro. This definition is so real to's literally like the words were taken out of my mouth only...evidently, I didn't really know the words to begin with. 

The feeling described above is heightened every time I see the word or read the's like it touches my soul. And it's a welcome surprise whenever I see it because the word itself just makes me smile. Then when I look at all 500+ pics I snapped while I was there....I swear it nearly breaks my heart that I haven't yet had an opportunity to return (yes....I took over 500 pictures in one week...there might even have been more). The people, the sights, the beauty of it really left a more than lasting impression on I wasn't able to fully express until I learned the true meaning of this word.  

I met a guy on my last day in the airport, one of the more beautiful men I'd ever seen, working at one of the passport checkpoints. But since I met him at the airport in Brazil as I was heading back to the states, I had no expectations because in my mind I was thinking that I would never in a million years ever see this guy ever again. Nevertheless, he emerged from his booth with this grin, we exchanged Facebook information and we've kept in touch ever since. This was over a year ago. He chats with me on Facebook in Portuguese, which requires the help of Google translate to understand, but it's fun and he's incredibly passionate. He speaks as if we spent more than 10 mins together....but we didn't, it was probably less than 10 mins actually....ha. Anyway, he's always using this word saudade in our conversations. For example:

Eu estou com saudade de você quando é que você vai vir ao brasil

Here, he's telling me he misses me and asking when I will return to Brazil. At the time, when I would enter the sentence into Google, there was no definition for saudade so it translated all the other words and left saudade as saudade. So, I didn't fully understand what he was trying to say and it was getting frustrating. It was one of those things though, he used the word so often that I had to figure out the meaning. Once I did it was like this light bulb went off in my head and I got exactly what he meant. I felt the same way about Rio. I learned that it wasn't just that he missed me but that he longed for me and it pained him...or at least that's the line he was using lol. 

Wikipedia also describes it as, "the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again. It can be described as an emptiness, like something (e.g., places, things one used to do in childhood, or other activities performed in the past) that should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence. It brings sad and happy feelings all together, sadness for missing and happiness for having experienced the feeling." <---- Isn't is poetic? I really couldn't have said this better myself. I'm not sure if my friends felt the same way but as soon as I stepped off the plane, I felt this intense connection to the place. It's like I understood the people and their lives. All their sentiments about the World Cup and the Olympics, their angst towards the government, the poverty, the culture, the music....whatever I experienced in the brief time I was there, I got it and it was in my heart. Obviously, it helped that the locals thought I was one of them - even boosted my ego a little. Since that trip, I haven't felt this way about any other placed I've traveled to. I'm not sure I'll ever feel the same way again. That's not to say that I'm not still dying to see tons of other new places....I simply mean that in my heart, no place compares to Rio.

I am confident that one day I will return to Rio. Recently an opportunity presented itself and I was crushed that I was unable to take advantage. Both fortunately and unfortunately the plan fell through so there's still some hope for the future. I also know that the Brazilian people have a far greater understanding and sense of saudade than I do. I just like to think that whatever small understanding I do have is like a unique and personal bond that I have with the country.  

It's funny...even though I've discovered this beautiful word that most accurately describes my feelings about Rio, I'll never be able to fully express how amazing it was to be there and experience it for myself. I gotta get back there one day soon. Here's to making that happen.

**There's no where to go but get going! ~ The Green Eyed Venuist

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