Manoel Bandeira, a renowned Brazilian poet (1986-1968) wrote a well-known poem called "I'm leaving for Pasárgada". In Pasárgada, Bandeira explains, "I'm the king's friend." In Pasárgada I will ride my bike and bathe in the sea, and lay by the river side. In Pasárgada life is an adventure.
As I get ready once again to leave the familiar and move to a new place (my family and I are moving to Des Moines, IA in the Summer) I think of Pasárgada. I think of a place where once again I do not know the king or the queen. I remember my arrival in the United States some seventeen years ago.
When I arrived in Ohio as a newly wed, I had no idea I had just arrived from Pasárgada. Do you need a job? Your sister knows someone at company X and I hear they're hiring over there. I call company X, find the connection, secure the interview. The interviewer smiles and asks me if I know so and so Mello e Souza (my full name is Cristina de Mello e Souza Wildermuth). I don't, but it doesn't matter - the connection has been established. "Must be your cousin," the interviewer suggests. Then he asks where I had gone to school. I tell him I studied at the Santo Inácio high school and PUC University. He knows both institutions, of course. He even has friends from Santo Inácio and thinks PUC is an excellent school.
I didn't necessarily feel priviledged in those days. My family was not rich. I had my share of crappy jobs and crappy bosses. I worked hard for what I had. What I didn't understand then is that one's network is invaluable. One's network opens doors. One's network is like a set of trump cards.
Then I moved to the U.S. - and the trump changed. The Mello e Souza name was not only unknown, it was hard to pronounce and sounded foreign. Colégio Santo Inácio? What in the world is that?
Losing my network made me realize that no one - and I mean no one - can win it all alone. We get support from family, friends, and loved ones. We get help from our school name, from our Alma Mater, from the Church group. We get help from our mom's friends and from dad's cousin George. We get help from our look, our accent, our place of birth. We connect.
Losing my network also made me stronger. I had to learn to rebuild. I found new connections and new pathways to relationships.
Now, as I move once again, I'm ready. Life will be an adventure in my new Pasárgada.