Friday, March 30, 2012

Two Months In, One Month Left.

"The world is an open book and those who do not travel only see one page."

I cannot believe that I have officially been living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for TWO MONTHS. Last Friday we went to the Copacabana vendor fair with Lacy, Jordan, and Ruth. As we were walking around Lacy asks " Are you ever walking around trying to live a normal life and then you realize that you are living in Rio de Janiero, Brazil?" Yes, yes I do. Almost every day.

I cannot believe that we have one month left. Exactly a month from now, at this time, I will be flying from Texas to Ohio. Or just about to land in Texas. I will have completed my adventure in Rio de Janeiro and will be headed back to good old Ashland, Ohio.

I have mixed feelings about that. Part of me is excited to go home and see my friends and family. I MISS everyone. I miss running across the hall to go talk to Tracy or Andrea. I miss seeing my ECE girls every day for eight hours a day. I miss hanging out in my apartment with my roommates and doing the most ridiculous things. I miss the 7:00-8:00pm hour watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. I miss seeing everyone in Convo every day. As much as I never thought I would say it, I miss Alpha Delta Pi. Lip Sync was last week and ADPi won-- I was soo excited for them, I can only imagine all of the hard work that went into it, but I was sad for me. I missed my last Lip Sync. Formal is tomorrow and I won't be there. Senior Retreat is coming up soon and I can't go. I miss everyone in the States.

But then another, maybe bigger, part of me is sad to leave. I am in love with this country, with this city, with my class. Every day my students say or do something that makes me laugh out loud. They are FUNNY, they have huge, vibrant personalities that shine through each and every day. Their imaginations run wild and they are more than willing to give me a glimpse into the workings of a first grade mind. They are wild and crazy and leave me totally exhausted, but I love them. I have never been in a more dynamic class and truly cannot imagine leaving them here.

I love this city. Never before have I lived in a city and I love all of the freedom and options that it provides me with. I love being able to catch a taxi or hop on a bus and going wherever I want. I can go to downtown Rio or I can go to the beach. Rio really does provide everything that you need. I love the welcoming atmosphere. I love the opportunity to expand my horizons-- meet new people, learn a new language, become a part of something that I hadn't realized existed outside of the States. On a totally superficial level, I also love the juice bars that I find on every single street corner. Life in the States isn't like life here in Rio at all. It's different; not better and not worse. I know that wherever I end up in life, I will not find another environment like that which exists in Rio.

I love Brazil. It's a wonderful country filled with beautiful people and breath-taking natural creations. It makes me so sad to think that I will be living this incredible country soon and not knowing when I will return. I have been able to go to the beach and a tropical forest all in the same day. This is NOT something that I am able to experience in the States. Throughout my time here, I have further solidified the idea that the best things in life are free. I haven't paid for a beach sunset, I haven't paid to hike up the Sugarloaf and feed a monkey.

Being in Rio has changed me. I am dying to see the rest of the world, to experience things that I would not be able to see while living in the States. The world has so much to offer and I would miss out on so many incredible places, people, and experiences if I do not go out and see them for myself.

I go back and forth on how I feel about going home. I am happy, yet I am sad. But in the end, I know that I will look back on this trip with nothing but fond memories. Rio pushed me farther outside of my comfort zone and proved to me that there are lots of things that I CAN do. I've met many wonderful people here and will leave with memories that will never leave me. I am happy to return to the people that I have known for years, but will be sad to leave these people who I have only know for three months yet have changed my life forever.

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