Belonging and Saudade

Quick link: Saudade, a Song for the Modern Soul


I didn’t know what saudade was, had never heard the word until Marilyn Gardner and Ute Limacher introduced me to the term. Right away I understood it and right away I felt understood.

Ute quoted Dicionário Houaiss da língua portuguesa:

“A somewhat melancholic feeling of incompleteness. It is related to thinking back on situations of privation due to the absence of someone or something, to move away from a place or thing, or to the absence of a set of particular and desirable experiences and pleasures once lived.”

Here is an excerpt from my essay at SheLoves about saudade, my first attempt at handling the word with my own words.

“I grew up with a paradoxical sense of belonging to many and to none at the same time. It is an interesting type of “belonging,”… resulting in a subtle sense of saudade flavoring my life’s journey.” Karen Noiva

I struggled with the word “belong” this month. I don’t believe in writer’s block but I do believe that my creative writing abilities suffer when I experience jet lag, culture shock, and the overstimulation that generally accompanies visits to the United States. So it came as no surprise that in the London Heathrow airport as I tried to fill the time by getting work done, my brain froze.

I turned to my daughter Maggie, and said, “I’m supposed to write about belonging. Help.”

She said, “Write about home.”

Click here to read Saudade, a Song for the Modern Soul. (even if you can’t read, you can at least enjoy the photos)

*image via Flickr