I have moved from my hometown, Belo Horizonte, to Indaiatuba, a much smaller city in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo. It wasn't by necessity. It was by choice. After only four days, here are a few thoughts I've collected from the experience so far.
I am not too crazy
I am just crazy enough. I had some good reasons to leave my city and, though the moving process happened very quickly, the decision didn't come out of the blue. It's something I have been planning to do for over a decade (which makes me think I am kinda slow).
Since I came back to Brazil from living in Germany, in 1999 - and after many opportunities of seeing how the World works elsewhere, I could never fully appreciate my own place again. To the risk of offending some of my fellow locals, my city is ugly, dirty, badly organised and not very business friendly, although it's much improved in the last years (as is Brazil in general).
The main issue for me though, is violence. This is a big one and, if I had to pick a single reason to leave, that would be it. Belo Horizonte is one of the most violent cities in the World. In fact, it ranks 45 according to this study by the "Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal", from Mexico.
To give you some perspective, Belo Horizonte and Ireland have about the same population, which is almost 5 million people. In Ireland, there were 56 homicides in 2011. In Belo Horizonte, 1,680 people were killed in the same period. It's more than half of the entire homicide rate of our neighbour Argentina (the entire country), which has a population of 40 million, or nine times more people.
That freaks me out. And we're only talking about homicides, which is a big thing (since it kills you), but it's just one piece of urban violence. We still need to deal with daily issues like robbery, traffic conflicts and general stupidity.
Better places are better
My choice for a new hometown didn't happen by taking out a random number during the Bingo. Indaiatuba is a small city (200 thousand people is considered small around here), peaceful, prosperous, very organised and sits in a part of Brazil where development happens in a much faster pace. Besides, the region is a logistics heaven, close to Sao Paulo and served by the best roads in the Country. It's a better and safer place to live, develop a business and raise a family.
People can be nice
It might be the case that I am seeing things in a different and hyper optimistic light, but people here are way too nice. The first time my new neighbour saw me (I was still taking boxes out of the truck) he invited me in. I got to see his beautiful home, met his wife and their two adorable girls (one of them will probably crush my 11 year old son's heart at some point). This sounds trivial and normal, as it should be, but is not something I would do myself to anybody I just met. I get the same impression in restaurants and shops. People treat me well. Not just because they have to, or because they are trying to be nice. They do it because they are, indeed, nice. I was missing that back home. I think this will be important for me, as part of my own growth here. I don't think I am nice to people. But I'd love to learn how to.
I own so much crap
Apparently I've developed some ninja skills to buy stuff I don't need and I have been practicing. I feel like half of the things I have I could just throw away. And maybe I will. It's amazing how so much of our culture is driven by the process of accumulating. At some point I was sucked into this black hole. Luckily it's not a real black hole and I can turn back.
It's good not to be alone
I might be a mad man, but I am not alone. Some people are crazier than me. So much that they chose to follow the same path and I am so glad they did. My wife, Patricia, my kids, Melissa and Davi, our studio's designer Alysson, his wife Lea and Lucia, designer and studio manager. They've all embarked on this boat. With the same will to risk it all (why not?), the same spirit of adventure and quest for a better life.
By bringing home and office, we're carrying on with a dream to start something special. Our work will not replicate what we used to do back home. We want it to be better. And we will make it happen. Unless we fail, which is always a possibility for those who try. To them, who were not afraid to face the odds, I thank with massive amounts of admiration.
To the future
I don't believe in the afterlife. For me, this is it. This is the life we have and when it's over, it's over. Of course, with that logic, when life ends it's no big deal, since the knowledge of its end expires with it. However, since I know I am here and my brain is populated by thoughts, feelings and aspirations, I am glad I've taken a step to change the course of my life.
I can't forecast anything. Life could be a lot better from now on just as well as I could get run over by a mad cow or something even less likely. The one thing I know is, I am glad to reboot reality somehow. I actually wonder why I didn't do this sooner. And I hope I have time and strength do to it again a few times before I check out from this planet.