I was asked by one of my friends why we stayed so long in Joao Pessoa. We've been here for almost 5 months. We traveled here to visit one of Ernest's cousins who said it is paradise, only Adam and Eve are missing. We've been looking for a warm climate that we would love and feel at home. This city is not overwhelming. It's population is a million people, small by Brasil's standards. We love the layout of the land, its people, how unspoiled it is, the beautiful beaches and how they love God. We can walk to most things. The sun shines every day. When it rains it's also very beautiful. It's peaceful and a very happy place. This is a community that engages in exercise and I love that about them. Right outside of the airport is the biking and walking trail and people use it.
Being in this type of environment, I've felt the least amount of stress out of any country I've traveled to. Using the patio to work and exerise with the view of the turquoise beach in front of me makes any worries I have melt away. The urgency that I felt in North America to get things done does not exist here. I get it done early without feeling the pressure of a deadline and rushing.
My favourite times of the day are always when it's time to enjoy coconut water or coffee at the beach as well as watching the 4:30 am exercise crowd appear to do their exercises on the beach, street and square. I also love love love the evening time here and how the people gather together to enjoy life. Children are free to ride and run without anyone telling them "No" or putting boundaries around them. It's a joy to see kids being allowed to be kids. All kinds of people come out in the evening from very young to very old. Families are together, there are couples, friends, dancers, cyclists, skateboarders. People walk around, sit or just relax and enjoy the line of street vendors selling boiled or roasted corn, cotton candy, soups, snacks, toys, ice cream and games. There's always someone with a bubble wand to cover the square in bubbles which the children love to run and catch. The blind lady who comes out to sing almost every night is an icon. The people here are always happy! The different levels of military police will appear for awhile and leave.
Some people will come around to ask for money or something to eat. The Brasilians give what they can. It's rare to see them turning away someone. Being here has helped me to understand poverty and hunger more.
I can't forget the music. As expected, it's happy music. The kind that makes you want to dance when you hear it. It puts me in the right mood. I love that people pray openly and anywhere. During my visit I have seen people in stores form a prayer circle and engage in prayer, after exercising there is prayer, walking on the street people pray over one another and God gets the glory at major events we've seen in the square.
Its proximity to other main towns and up and coming tourist towns are another reason why we love it here. All of the places we've enjoyed the most are within a 2 hour radius of Joao Pessoa. Although we didn't make it to the Amazon on this trip, we thoroughly enjoyed Joao Pessoa as a huge gift from God. We are very sad to leave here but we know our stories and journey must go on. God willing, we will be back.