Before I went to Brazil, I worked in an acai shop. There acai was sold as a healthy treat for the hard working hikers and bikers of the touristy Sedona, just $12 a bowl. It was topped with fresh fruit and hemp seeds, vegan protein blended in, and sprinkled with yellow bee pollen that popped in instagram photos. I remember the name of one bowl, “brazilian”, topped with tropical fruits and coconut oil. I fell in love with this food, the way it was, and finding it in Brazil was… actually disappointing. The first bowl I bought was $3. How could it be any good? When it was placed in front of me I saw white powder, and banana slices with seeds. That's all. The acai I could actually taste, the white stuff was powdered milk, and the banana was everything that I'd always thought bananas were missing. Not mushy and blandly sweet, but slightly tart and delicious. Before long I was addicted. I used to claim that acai in my hometown was better but how could I uphold that lie when I was purchasing it 3 times a week in Brazil? I ate lots of amazing food there but acai was my favorite, which I thought meant I was lucky. Because you know, some foods I'll never find in Arizona, like farofa and coxinhas. So the first thing I confidently purchased, back in the US, with the punctuation correct, was acai. The picture showed acai, the description said acai, but what I received can only be described as a strawberry banana slush. It was light pink, not rich purple, and sickly sweet. In Brazil I would have taken it back, asking what it was in broken Portuguese, but in the San Francisco airport I simply sat. And thought, the realization hitting me that I miss Brazil, only a few hours out, but things are never going to be the same. Some mornings I wake up and I'm surprised to see my weather app not based in Armação, or I smell fried fish but I don't even want it, knowing it won't be as good as my host mother made. I'm not even home yet, but I already know I don't want to be there. I miss my family, and driving, and beautiful sunsets, but there's so much I don't want to go back to. What can I do? Make the best of it. Find edible acai and focus on the next opportunity to challenge home as I know it.
About Makenzie Leigh Meacham
Makenzie is passionate about environmental protection, food, and writing. She is involved in club soccer and has multiple jobs, her favorite being at a bookstore. She is accustomed to working hard to achieve what she desires, and intends on focusing that drive into her future career. Her most important goal for this year is to discover where her deepest passion lies, by allowing the outside world to influence and give shape to her untraveled soul. "For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream." -Vincent Van Gogh