Wry Exchange

Brazil Saudade
07-30-08, 1:05 pm
Filed under: Culture, Exchange Students | Tags:

 I think the first step to understanding Brasilians is the Portuguese word “saudade.”  We don’t have an English translation for the word or concept.   It’s longing, yearning, nostalgia, and much more.  I think it’s a romantic word, but I don’t mean that in a man/woman romantic way.  It’s emotional, not stoic or practical.

From Wiki-feeling of nostalgic longing for something or someone that one was fond of and which is lost. It often carries a fatalist tone and a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might really never return.

 The most widespread, famous definition is from an 1912 book called In Portugal. authored by AFG Bell.  The famous saudade of the Portuguese is a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present, a turning towards the past or towards the future; not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness.

Here’s a great blog post about saudade. Although in those sources that I pointed the sad aspect seems to arise more relevant in the concept of saudades, in my perspective, this feeling encompasses a balance of negative and positive aspect.

I’m probably completely wrong, but to me it’s a ‘past, present, future’ type of word.  Wry’s def “something was wonderful, now it’s missing, and I hope/need to see it again, even though I know I might not, and it’s ok because I have wonderful memories.”

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