“Saudade” is what is left

The 2016 Rio Games just ended, but Brazil is already feeling “saudade.”

Celebrated during the closing ceremony, “saudade” is a special word in Portuguese.

To me, it’s the most beautiful word in our language.

There is no literal translation in English. The closest you can get is “to miss somebody or a place.”

Some experts even say there is no literal translation to this word in any other language spoken in the world today.

“Saudade” is so difficult to explain or translate because it’s a combination of feelings and a product of Brazilian culture.

“Saudade” is love in the first place. We can only feel “saudade” for people or places we love. When we are not around those people or are far away from those places, we feel empty.

That’s why some people have described “saudade” as the presence of absence.

So “saudade” is also nostalgia.

It’s the pain we feel when we can’t fulfill that emptiness. It’s the tears we cry when we think of the past and feel a vacuum.

But this word is much more than that.

It’s also remembering the good moments shared with people we love in places that are close to our hearts.

It’s the joy of having lived those special moments with special people in special places.

It’s the smile that takes over our faces when we think of the past.

“Saudade” is happiness.

It’s also the longing for seeing the people and places we love. It’s the hope that this moment will come faster than fast.

But it’s also the anguish that this moment may never come or that it may end sooner than soon.

“Saudade” is feeling and living the past, present and future simultaneously.

It’s the mix of all these contradictory feelings that produce a beautiful example of what Brazilian culture is.

Brazilians get close to other people very fast (like I mentioned in a previous blog post). We don’t just like to talk about ourselves or learn about other people’s business in a short amount of time. We get attached.

So we feel “saudade” really easily. And for those people who have been in our lives for a long time, we feel “saudade” intensely.

So honoring this word in the 2016 Rio Games closing ceremony couldn’t have been more appropriate.

Brazilians welcomed the world and promised to deliver a great event. And the general consensus is that we did.

Now, what is left is the memories.

What is left is “saudade.”

And I feel the same way.

It was great to be back in Brazil and relive great memories. It was great to make new memories.

And as I leave the city that gave so much to the world in such a short amount of time — as I leave the country where I was born and raised and where most of my family and friends still live — I can’t help but to also feel “saudade.”

Sent from my iPhone

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Arthur Takahashi
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Arthur Takahashi

Arthur Takahashi is Digital Media Coordinator at Augusta University. Contact him to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706–446–5128 or atakahashi@augusta.edu.

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Arthur Takahashi Written by Arthur Takahashi

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