a Janela de Marcia Bed and Breakfast

Bed and Breakfast Canto da Lagoa – Florianopolis – SC – Brazil

Posts Tagged ‘Santa Catarina

The Beginning of Janela de Marcia

Raindrops are tapping the window panes of Janela de Marcia today. Carnaval is over now. The tourist season is entering its last lap. The tourists have mostly gone home, taking the summer heat with them. Life is returning to normal. I feel the need to look back at the long path that led me to this moment, to retrace the steps that led me to starting Janela de Marcia, and see how my grand plans have played out in reality. The spark of inspiration that eventually led to my creation of the Janela de Marcia actually took place thousands of kilometers away in the French Alps in July of 2008.

I was at a crossroads in my life, at the beginning of a new era for me. I had to find a new way of life.

I was staying at the villa of a friend in a small French town. It was a beautiful house with so many bedrooms. The idea came to me suddenly: wouldn’t it be interesting to own a bed and breakfast, to meet all the interesting people that would come to stay with me, to hear their stories, to get to know them, even if only for a while? I have always loved entertaining, showing hospitality, opening my home to others. Then it emerged again the next year, 2009.

I had been invited to a Meeting of Elders on the Hopi-Navaho Reservation in Arizona. I was honored to be invited and also proud to be acknowledged for my heritage of the Arara people of Acre in the western Amazon. It was a closed gathering and the elders spoke about the need to connect the older generation to the younger generation. They also spoke about the growing divide between the head and the heart. It was a subject I’d been thinking about for a long time.

I had always tried to bring people from Brazil to the United States—so that “people of the heart” (Brazilians) could meet “people of the mind” (Americans). I had been thinking of returning to my native Brazil for some time and then it struck me, perhaps I could bring people from the United States to visit Brazil, so that they could experience the warmth and generosity, the spontaneity and liveliness of Brazilians. The idea of the bed and breakfast shone in my mind once again. What if I could offer people a chance to know the real Brazil, the Brazil of samba and Carnaval, the Brazil of joy and bliss?

The idea lingered and quietly grew inside me. I wanted my children to know Brazil, to know Latin culture, to know a world beyond America. Together with my dear friend we sent our children to an overseas programs in Nicaragua and Costa Rica and they returned with a much broader understanding of life lived in other countries and the experiences of people whose lives are completely different.  I resolved to return to Brazil. I packed up my home in Austin, Texas and was gone within a couple of months. That’s just how I am. I love to travel. I’ve seen so much of the world and feel at home everywhere. So where easier to move than back to my own country?

In Brazil, in Florianópolis , I could breathe again. The air was full of the scent of trees and forest, the soil, the earth, the ocean. Everything was beautiful and everything was alive. I was thrilled to be home again, playing maracatu with my group in Lagoa, dancing and having fun in the way that only Brazilians know how. I wished that my American friends in Austin and New York could know this joy. The idea of the bed and breakfast resurfaced once again and I knew it was time to make this vague fantasy into a practical reality.

I quickly found the right place to launch Janela de Marcia. Soon people began to appear and accept the hospitality that I was offering. It has given me great satisfaction to see the smiles on the faces of these visitors to the island of Santa Catarina and, in quite a few cases, to give them the first-hand experience of the joy of life in Brazil.

One pair of guests stands out in my mind: a young couple from Ireland that came to Florianópolis for Carnaval. I saw this as an opportunity to open the doorway to the real Brazil, to the party that Brazilians wait for all year long. I took them with me to a performance of the maracatu group I belong to: Grupo Arrasta Ilha. There are about fifty of us drummers and when we all began to drum together, as one person, I saw the faces of my Irish guests couple light up. This is what they had come to see. This is what they had wanted to be a part of in Brazil.

Later I took them to drink beer in the little boutequim—or bar—just off the park. It was just a simple place, but the sort of bar where Brazilians feel at home, let themselves unwind, relax and enjoy one another. Other friends from the samba school joined us there and we drank and talked and laughed and cracked jokes until the early hours of the morning. After all, it was Carnaval! It was time to celebrate. Afterwards, my Irish guests glowed with happiness. They had found what they had come to Brazil to find. The long journey, the expense, the uncertainties of travel, had all been worth it.

Now the summer is ending. The rain drops are tapping at the window, turning into tiny rivers that run down the glass pane. I feel that my moment of unexpected inspiration in the French Alps has become reality. I have been able to show my guests the way into Brazil—the real Brazil of boutequims, samba, and felicidade geral!

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Written by mpirmez

March 4, 2010 at 1:28 am