Friday, August 27, 2010

The Sound of Silence

Simon & Garfunkel have a song entitled "The Sound of Silence." I don't listen to their music much, though I do enjoy this song and it makes for a good title. Since I arrived in Brazil a month ago "silence" has taken on a new meaning to me. Clearly I am not talking about the noiseless kind of silence--the kind when you literally can't hear anything. I think Brazil is probably the loudest country I have ever been to. Around the city people are honking horns and yelling across streets greeting each other. In school it is a constant chatter that slowly increases in volume throughout the day. At home it is the sound of Nikelodeon in Portuguese. No, I am certainly not without noise in my life. This is how I discovered the new kind of silence--the silence of hearing all this noise, but having no idea what any of it means.

You don't realize how many thoughts actually go through your brain in one day until it's the only thing you have to listen to any more. Unfortunately for me even my thoughts tend to be in translation mode the majority of the time. However, when I am not being spoken to, or not trying to pay attention to a conversation around me, my mind begins to wander away as I sink into my newly found silence. I find this happens the most during school. While the teacher lectures away and my classmates yell across the classroom to each other, I sit back in my silence and think.

I do a lot of thinking these days, and I am beginning to feel slightly schizophrenic. A couple of weeks ago I was walking with my family through this nearby hilly park and I distinctly remember having a minor conversation with myself. I think I was exclaiming over something bizarre I had seen (though I don't entirely remember) and I didn't know how to translate it into Portuguese, so I just said it to myself instead. When I realized what I had done, I just laughed. I had to break the silence.

Communication. You take it for granted until you can't share your snide comment with someone anymore, and start talking to yourself in parks. Though I am learning more Portuguese by the day I am still immersed in my own little silence, and my desire for a good, long conversation can only be satisfied by a Skype conversation across the world.

That all sounds a bit depressing, doesn't it? It's actually not as bad as it sounds. Though I could do without the schizophrenia, I have had quite a bit of time to think over things I haven't had time to think about before. It's interesting, and I kind of like it. However, I really do look forward to the day that I will be able to join my classmates in yelling across the classroom in Portuguese.

Tchau gente. Beijos.


  1. Well said Carly, it's soo true on this end to! Hope you are doing well!!

  2. i can totally relate to how loud everything is! when i get to school at like 7 in the morning everyone is like screaming in portuguese and i have no tolerance for it hahah. but when i wake up a little its ok. dont worry, the schizophrenia will get better with time :)

  3. Damn Carly, that was a perceptive observation. I totally agree. I don't know which is louder, India or Brazil, but I'm pretty sure they are comparably overwhelming. I know exactly what you mean.

  4. haha thanks Ted :) Yeah, I bet India is VERY comparable. It's so ridiculous, but it's growing on me....except not at 7 in the morning, Beret, I agree!

    Hope you all are doing well, beijos de Sete Lagoas :)

  5. I can totally relate to the silence thing, but Denmark is nowhere near as loud as Brazil, or India. I tend to kind of drown out the danish when large conversations are going on, and then my mind just wanders...
    I like to read everyone's blogs during school to fill my silences though :)

  6. Carly, you have it point blank! I really liked the "you can't share your snide comment with someone anymore, and start talking to yourself in parks" line. I know from personal experience that jokes are not funny unless you've got the delivery down.