Você Sumiu

“Você sumiu”, meaning you disappeared, is a phrase that I often hear when I haven’t seen someone for a while. I want to point out that it is a part of the language, a part of the culture, and that I am trying to get over my ‘beef’ with this phrase.

Ever since I started living in Brazil and learning Portuguese (2010). I have had a problem with people telling me “você sumiu”. Sometimes I deserved it, like when I stopped going to meetings that I had faithfully attended or if I started skipping class. But, most of the time, it has nothing to do with me…and that is the part that drives me nuts!

I know it isn’t meant to drive me nuts, but it feels like a passive aggressive way of saying: “I haven’t seen you in a while, why haven’t you made an effort to see me?”. To which I want to turn and scream “IT TAKES TWO!” because obviously I don’t want to take full blame for not seeing that individual. It isn’t anyone’s fault and for this I seethe silently, but it is a phrase that I have never gotten the hang of.

In all fairness, the translation is more tied to “What have you been up to? I haven’t seen you in a while.” or “Long time, no see”. At least…that is how it is used, but my mind can’t get over the traps that come with direct translation and the guilt I feel being imposed on my lack of seeking them out and explaining my absence in us seeing each other.

Sometimes, I just want to respond:

“I did not “disappear”, I was on winter vacation and we only see each other at school.”

“I haven’t stopped going to the gym, I have just been going at a time when you aren’t there.”

“I HAVE BEEN BUSY. I’M AT WORK LATE. I DON’T ANSWER TO YOU, YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW MY SCHEDULE. YOU COULD HAVE MADE AN EFFORT TO SEE ME TOO.”

…But those are all over reactions because it isn’t them or their nosiness…it just feels that way. That’s the problem of second languages. That’s where miscommunications and cultural differences are most difficult. So, I apologize for being offended, but I won’t bite your head off because it really isn’t you…its me.

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