Monday, October 5, 2015

How Do You Measure A Year?

It's been exactly one year since I started calling Rio de Janeiro home.

At the risk of sounding a lot like a popular musical melody, how do you measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets? In midnights, in cups of coffee? In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife? In five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes? How do you measure, a year in the life?

(Don't worry, I'll be here all night. )

But really. In school days, in late nights? In roommates, in caipirinhas? In meetings, in field trips, in laughter, in tears? In thirty three thousand, nine hundred and three frequent flier miles? How do I measure a year in my life?

One year ago I woke up on an airplane, cried my way through customs, got carsick on the way to my new home, and made an awesome first impression with my roommates when I walked out of my bedroom and said "Hi, I'm Caitlin. Do you have bowl or something that I could throw up into?"

(Seriously. I used to cry every. single. day. before school and usually at least once during school. I used to throw up almost every morning and would then usually stand in the bathroom at school thinking about throwing up. Every. Single. Day. To say that I was a real joy to be around is a serious understatement.)

Thankfully, exactly 365 days later, my morning started off very differently. I woke up in my bed with my pillows and my blankets, hit the snooze button way too many times, spent far too long deciding what to wear, and then ate a breakfast that wasn't served off a cart with my friends before being greeted by hugs from my students. (Because, you know, two days is a long time to be away from your teacher.)

Life has become excitingly average. In a good way. I don't wake up with the fear that I would throw up before the 8am bell rings and stepping into my class doesn't cause my eyes to fill with tears. I feel comfortable with my decision to be here and I am confident that it is where I am supposed to be right now.

Has this past year been easy? No. Has it been an adventure? You betcha. Would I do it again? Absolutely.

Because despite all of the struggles and all of the tears, I really do love it here. I love my students and their crazy stories. I love my friends and their insane ways of making me laugh every day. I love the food. I love living at one of the most famous beaches in the world. I love that 70 degrees is considered cold. I love all of the hugs that I get every single day. Mostly, I love knowing that I did what was right for me even when it wasn't what I wanted to do and it actually worked out. I love knowing that I pushed myself so far outside of my comfort zone and still ended up on the other side. I love the person I became because of the struggles that I went through.

I wish I could say that I came up with this idea, but I actually got it from a friend.

A lot can happen in a year. A lot of sunsets, a lot of laugher. A lot of mate on the beach, a lot of tears. A lot of growth. Definitely a lot of growth.

Also can we address the irony that is me begging someone to buy me a plane ticket to Rio exactly 365 days before I landed here again?

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