by author Ana Crespo
Considered by many to be the most beautiful word in the Portuguese language, Saudade has no literal translation to English. Saudade is what you feel when you miss someone or something. Saudade is what I feel for Brazil.
(Photo: Rio seen from Corcovado by Ana Crespo)
I love the United States. Every year we travel to many U.S. states, having visited 34 of them by car, plus Hawaii. The United States is a beautiful country with wonderful people. However, there are certain aspects about the place you grew up that always bring you comfort.
(Photo: Leblon and Ipanema Beach seen from Mirante Dois Irmaos by Ana Crespo)
For me, it’s the cold waters of Ipanema beach. The refreshing breeze of the ocean as you walk on the calçadão. The coconut water. The Brazilian rodízio restaurant right after a morning under the hot sun. The bits of samba and bossa nova on the streets. The Feira Hippie. And, most of all, the family and friends.
It’s Saudade, more than any educational reason, that encourages me to share the culture and traditions of the place I come from with my kids. That makes me search everywhere for the right ingredients to make pão de queijo. That makes me drive over an hour to eat coxinha. That makes me listen to Brazilian music in the car. That makes me read Brazilian children’s books. It was Saudade that motivated me to write The Sock Thief. Saudade is a big part of who I am.
(Photo: Sugar Loaf seen from Corcovado by Ana Crespo)
September 7 is Brazil’s Independence Day. I imagine Saudade has a hand on the many Brazilian Day celebrations happening this month everywhere around the world.
Author Ana Crespo is originally from Brazil and has lived in the United States for 15 years. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two kids. Her two latest picture books, which are part of a new series, My Emotions and Me, published on September 1: J.P. and the Giant Octopus and J.P. and the Polka-Dotted Aliens.
What is it about your hometown – in the US or not – that makes you feel Saudade?