Saturday, May 22, 2010

Brazil - Prelude

Yesterday I started to write a bit about this adventure-of-a-lifetime undertaken earlier in May. Here's how it transpired.

Last year in either March or April, during the time I was completely buried in preparing to move, I got an email from a perfect stranger in Brazil, Palmiro Torrieri Junior, a PT who teaches Mulligan* in Brazil and elsewhere in South America. He invited me to consider travelling to Brazil to participate in a Manual Therapy Congress scheduled to take place over a year later in Fortaleza.

I do not get these kinds of requests. Ever. Except... apparently Palmiro had tried to invite me two years prior and I had replied, "I never travel." I do not recall this - a lot of email comes my way that just gets automatically deleted or else ignored: it may well have happened - my memory has been pretty faulty, and, if the story is true, Palmiro is remarkably persistent besides being a gentleman and a scholar.

I told him I'd think about it. I did think about it. I also checked him out to make sure he was for real. He was. I told him I had no credentials other than a diploma from 40 years ago and no presenting experience, just a lot of self-study, a set of convictions based on neuroscience and biology, and an online presence. He said, no problem. I talked it over with my set of online PT friends - they all thought I'd be crazy if I didn't go. So, in the end, about a week later, I agreed to go.

Me being me, immediate self-doubt set in. Who did I think I was, anyway? I didn't linger for long with the self-doubt because I was too busy getting myself uprooted and moved away. And besides I had an entire year to come up with something. I didn't have to go out to work until long after it would be over with. I had enough time to come up with something, surely.

Palmiro was great - whenever I had a doubt or a hesitation about the trip he was right there in my inbox, with "No problem Diane, I will look after that." He had a translator. Everything was going to be paid. I would teach a 2-day class in Rio. He would organize the whole thing, find all the students. He would schedule my time so that I would have rest days between gigs. He would look after all the arrangements from the second I got off the plane until the second I got back on. He sent me a detailed itinerary of what we would be doing each day I was there. By email and later by Skype, I found his English to be really quite good (way better than my non-existent Portuguese), got to know him better and decided I would trust him.

Eventually the details at my end were all sorted and a visa, shots, new luggage, some tropic-appropriate clothing were obtained... I had learned to make slides, had put in many many 18-hour days reading and learning and sorting and thinking. I still wasn't satisfied with the presentations but they were as good as they were ever going to be and it was time to make the trip.

Next installment: Rio.
* Mulligan (named after its creator, in standard ortho guru style) - a weird ortho combo of biomechanics and skin stretching, which I do not happen to find unconscionable because its over-arching emphasis is all about not creating more pain for the patient

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