From Rio to Wuppertal
The main reason why I have made the shift from Brazil to Germany is freedom. Especially the freedom of movement- walking on the streets safely. But it is not that I have lost touch with my home country, rather the opposite. It determines me very much and allows me to bring the positive aspects of Brazil to my everyday life, wherever that is (at the moment to Wuppertal).
Germany, Western Europe
Content Warning: This story contains mentions of sexual assault and violence that can be upsetting for some readers.
I came to Germany for one main reason: freedom. Life has value here; it counts—not like in Brazil, where in 2017 alone, 63.880 people died because of crime. In Germany, it seems like there is more value to life. You are not killed here because of the shoes you are wearing; rather the opposite.
For example, there is a homeless person I pass by on my way to work in Wuppertal (Germany), to whom I always give a bit of money. The other day I didn’t have cash with me, and said: “Sorry, today I don’t have anything with me.”. A moment later, the man ran after me and wanted to give me all the money that he had collected that day. He thought I was the one needing money that day.
I am from a working-class neighborhood in Rio, and as a child, I never imagined leaving Brazil. I am very close with my mother, my home and my neighborhood. Yet, when I was around 19, I went to a Ballet School. This confirmed for my neighbors what they already suspected: I was gay (although in my view I fall in love with people, no matter the gender). At that time, I lived alone with my mother in a house. One morning, someone tried to break in. He said he wanted “the most valuable thing from the house”: he wanted to rape me.
My mother screamed. She saw the neighbors passively watching so she screamed their names until they felt guilty and came to help. The intruder pretended he was just drunk and started to leave, but when the neighbors left, he turned around, looked at me, and said: “I’ll come back and get you.”
My world was falling apart. I was scared to walk anywhere. This went on for several months, until one day, a very dodgy character from our neighborhood took a liking to me. When I told this man about the intruder, he said: “Don’t worry, I will take care of it.” I did not understand. A few days later, he came with a car and killed my attacker, during the day, in front of everyone. Yet, I still felt I needed to escape.
During this time, I learned about “Ausdruckstanz” in Germany. I attended a workshop with two German dancers. They told me that I had true potential, and I should go to Germany to learn Ausdruckstanz. Two years later, when I was 27, I moved to Germany, to learn contemporary dance and experience a “freer life”. I have found in Germany a place where individual lives are valued, and where I feel safe—worlds away from my childhood in Rio.
But, I have not “left” Rio for good. I keep the tie to my home country, visiting frequently, and staying updated about politics there. Although progress is slow, I have hope that Brazil is improving. People have had enough of government corruption and injustice. Furthermore, Rio lives within me, in my dance and art. For me, dance and art are an expression of freedom: a means for people to transcend politics and oppression whether in Brazil or Germany.
 Expressional dance
How does this story make you feel?
Do you have any questions after reading this story? Do you want to follow-up on what you've just read? Get in touch with our team to learn more! Send an email to [email protected].
Talk about this Story
Please enable cookies to view the comments powered by Disqus.
Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter
Stay up to date with new stories on Correspondents of the World by subscribing to our monthly newsletter:
Life Can Suddenly Change
A story by Salum Ndezi
Finding A Foreigner Language (2)
A story by Salum Ndezi
I Wish Home Was a Better Place to Live In
A story by Noosha
Immigration is difficult. Being away from family and friends, learning a new language and always being a second-class citizen (especially if you are from the Middle East). And if you get old, starting again from nothing. Read more...
Explore other Topics
At Correspondents of the World, we want to contribute to a better understanding of one another in a world that seems to get smaller by the day - but somehow neglects to bring people closer together as well. We think that one of the most frequent reasons for misunderstanding and unnecessarily heated debates is that we don't really understand how each of us is affected differently by global issues.
Our aim is to change that with every personal story we share.
Correspondents of the World is not just this website, but also a great community of people from all over the world. While face-to-face meetings are difficult at the moment, our Facebook Community Group is THE place to be to meet other people invested in Correspondents of the World. We are currently running a series of online-tea talks to get to know each other better.