Saudade. Say it. (sah-ooh-dah-jee)

Today as I sat in parent-teacher conferences, I imagined what it would be like if I could magically speak Portuguese. Because I know some Spanish, I can usually get the gist of what is being said, but my heart ached as I longed to tell the parents of my students how much I loved having them in class…..and how much I know I will miss them when I go back to the states.

Though my dream of magically learning Portuguese has not come true yet, elements of the language will stay with me, just like memories of my students will.

Saudade. This is a word I am determined to work into my vocabulary. It is working so far. Saudade does not really have an English equivalent. It means that you miss something so much you ache. Today, as I stood in the teachers room at lunch time, it hit me. I have saudades for the States. Last night, our fridge broke. Needless to say, it was a smelly situation when I opened that baby up this morning. As I lay on my bed in my apartment, trying to think of what to make for dinner, my mind started to wander. This week has not been an easy one. For some reason, I have been feeling saudades a lot more than usual. I have longed for the company of dear friends at home, for a familiar school system, for familiar faces and languages at Church on Sunday. The last few days have been days that make me feel saudades for America, because that is what I am used to. It is where I am from. In America, refrigerators work, familiar faces abound, I know the language, I know the customs. It is home.

Today, as I lay on my bed, I asked myself a question. Do I have saudades for heaven? When the week has been hard, when I do not have the energy and the strength to do what is required of me, when I am broken by the brokenness I see in my students, myself, and others around me, do I despair? Or, do I feel saudades for heaven and eagerly participate in the coming of God`s Kingdom now? When things are wonderful, do I glory in the moment only, or do I feel a twinge of saudades, knowing that Heaven will be even better?

This week, I have been praying that God will do his work through me in the lives of my students. I have been asking him to help me participate in his work here. To love the way he loves. To teach the way he would teach. His way. The way it should be.

As you feel saudades for your friends in other places, (India…Brasil…) feel free to send them packages, and allow your saudades to remind you to long for heaven.

7 thoughts on “Saudades

  1. These are the moments that this time abroad were made for, and the two of you, for them ! God is good to allow you to have a heart and mind that struggles. That daily picks up your cross and follows Him wherever it leads. God is clearly using this season to conform you both more closely to the image of his Son. “Every day is a gift you’ve been given, make the most of the time, every minute you’er living” unto His glory !

  2. Oh yes, sending friends abroad packages would be a good idea. šŸ˜‰

    Girl, I’m sitting here with my baby french press, missing you. Although it is hard, I’m so glad you and David can be serving God in Brasil. I’m confident that the things He teaches us through these experiences will stick with us, and I’m glad that others can be blessed with what you’re learning through these posts. Good work.

    I’m praying for you guys, and eagerly await our next coffee date. And the one that happens the day after that. And the one after that. (Am I too greedy?)

  3. Oh Lindsey,
    what a joy it was to read your update. It brought a smile to my face and a sharp pain in my stomach as I can identify with saudades. Did you know I’m thinking about teaching overseas too? I guess I’m doing more than thinking, as I’ve turned in the first application to Dr. Wrobbel and I find out Tuesday if I have the go for applying to the actual program.
    Just wanted you to know I am praying for you! Also, do you have skype, and if so what is your skype name? If it worked out I would love to skype you sometime and talk to you a little bit about teaching overseas and tell you some RA stories šŸ™‚ Miss you!

    Love, Rachel

  4. To our most brave grand-daughter! What a neat word this Saudades is! Guess what? I can almost pronounce it. :0) Thank you so much for the updates. Although I have not responded until now, we pray often for you and David. Sounds like you have been accepted by a lot of people there. That is good because it makes sharing God’s word easier. Well once you get around the language barrier but it sounds like each day is a working progres. God smiles down at you when you lay your head down each night upon your pillow, that’s His peace He is giving you for you are where you are supposed to be for this moment in time. Continue to grow and stretch and glean all that is there for you. Some day I will share a dream I had of you and ‘gleaning’. Perhaps when you are back home. God’s blessing to you and David. May His umbrella of protection surround you each and every moment of each and every day. Hugs……..

  5. Those irksome broken down refrigerators!

    I remember being frustrated by poor electricity and things in Cameroon only to return and have 2 graphics cards burn out in a “brown out” in Aurora, IL…and hate the police presence/fear only to return to a bomb scare and school evacuation. Btw, the Illinois State Board of Ed was a 3rd world bureaucracy when I got my teaching license…has it improved? who knows. We discovered our fridge here in Iowa quit when we had the pastor’s family over for lunch, and the ice was liquid! Luckily we have a chest freezer for the main contents…and the ease in the US is having Best Buy deliver the next day. But that $90 auction special carried us from under-employment to paying cash for the next one. As newlyweds, you will be facing those budget issues when you return: cars, appliances, home… enjoy your apartment and the rest of student teaching. It is fun when you enjoy it…I’m having a good year so far, too. Hopefully those lessons you present to the kids will continue to teach them after you leave.


  6. Lindsey,

    I appreciated your post, namely, that unfulfilled longings should remind us to long for heaven. Blessings on you and David. (I enjoyed reading your dad’s reply, too.)

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