Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Real America I've seen...

I don't think I like to start my stories from the beginning...so this one here won’t be any different. I usually pick up the part I most like, start from there and keep wondering with myself whether you will “get me” or not. Anyway...here we go.

If you asked me why, I would probably not be able to give you a rational explanation for this: I have always dreamed of seeing the Mississippi River and washing my feet in it. It was not part of the plan to do that during this trip but sometimes I am just lucky! 

So there IT is. 

And there I was.

My first weekend in America was full of surprises. Abby took me on a road trip to a nearby state, Wisconsin - Chicago is in Illinois - we visited Brownsville, Galena on a Saturday and Madison (capital of Wisconsin) and Dubuque (Iowa), which is where the Mississippi  River is, on Sunday.

The day was clear and it was fall e - v- e - r - y - w - h - e - r - e. Five minutes into our walk through the Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park in Brownsville and we found this...

The yellow-bronze-brown colours decorating the landscape. I had never seen autumn like that before. Maple trees, thousands of yellow leaves everywhere, it was cold and windy but the sun kept us warm enough during our walk... as if it was telling us: “I am glad you girls are here."

In a few words, Midwest America is agricultural, under-populated and beautiful. There isn’t much to see or do driving through Route 61 or the other small routes we took to get to different places; it’s corn fields on both sides of the road, most of them harvested now, followed by miles of nothing then houses in the best of the American style - strong, spacious and decorated with an American flag at the front door. A reminder you are in the land of the free and in the home of the brave just in case you forget. Loved it.

But I believe we make things interesting. They might be the "flyover states" for Americans, but for me it was just goddamn beautiful. I guess you can take the girl out of the countryside but you can never take the countryside out of the girl. Snippets of what might be real American life...

My only regret was that I never took a picture of the pancake I ate in Brownsville, drenched in blueberry jam (Yes, Abby I am saying that! ahaha) No ma'am, I cannot make one like that. In the evening, we stargazed the Wisconsin sky for about 30 minutes until it was too cold and I made a move - followed by Abby five minutes later - she was trying to find the Milky Way. She didn't by the way, not that night.

I thought a lot about L when I was there. He would have loved to see the river and he would have admired the yellow trees as much as I did. He would have fought for the last piece of that pancake and he would have won. I would have let him.

Abby and I, we did have a great time. She has an "Indiana Jones" heart and I love that in her.

At around 4pm on Sunday we headed back to Chicago. The drive was about 2 hours from crossing this bridge near Dubuque. We were quiet for most of the drive, a bit tired. I knew I would visit the US at some point in my life - but I never thought I would go as far as Brownsville, stop at Stockton to watch high school American football (I even watched a touchdown!), visit a dead president home (U$50 bill!!), drive past the tiny Maquoketa or spend enough time in Madison to find Brazilian music in a vintage vinyl shop. Most of all it never crossed my mind that I would see the river.

I wanted to thank the Universe and say that I appreciate it. I am so very grateful. I thought about the girl I was, dreaming about travelling the world and there I was in the river of Huck Finn and Jim.

I also thought about what Mark Twain said: “You cannot surprise an individual more than twice with the same marvel”  - Life on the Mississippi River - but I disagree with him... I think you can.  

Pointing South - to where thousands and thousands of miles away a countryside girl from Brazil was born and she made it all the way to the Mississippi River. 

Yes, sir. You're goddamn right, she did. 

Join the conversation!

  1. Wow, what a fantastic trip. You have made some amazing memories. There are some really beautiful photos there, I'm glad you had such a good time.

    1. Hi there! It was a great trip and I have a lot more to share... I just have to find some time to write it all :) Thank you for this lovely visit!

  2. These photos are so beautiful! They truly capture, I think, life in that part of America. It sounds like a great experience, and I'm glad you were able to fulfill your Mississippi dream. :)

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