Thursday, March 31, 2016

You Can Take The Girls Out Of Ohio...

... but you can't take the Ohio out of the girls.

Let's talk about how much I love Ohio. On a scale of 1 to 10, it's a solid 10. I'm not necessarily going to recommend making a stop there on a journey across the Midwest, but my little heart does start to pitter-patter when my own semi-annual trip to Ohio is on the horizon.

I love Ohio and my hometown, and Cleveland Indians baseball games, and Mentor Headlands,  and Taco Bell. But what I really love about Ohio is all of the people who have adventured through life there with me. 

Melissa and I lived through the awkward high school years together, which included but wasn't limited to, marching band and our spring break trip to Disney as well as theater and winters spent sledding. I have never claimed to have been cool in high school. Since becoming friends, Melissa and I have lived through TEN YEARS of awkwardness together. TEN. YEARS.  It was horrifying to tell this to my students and have them say "Oh my gosh, I wasn't even alive when you guys met!" 

And I was sharing this little tidbit of information with my students BECAUSE MELISSA CAME TO VISIT ME FOR A WEEK!

After a year and a half of life in Rio, I finally had my first visitor. Well, the first visitor who flew to Brazil with the specific intention of visiting me. (Shout out, Grams and Taylor.)

Always representing our home state. 
We packed a lot into a week. Not only did she get to experience Rio de Janeiro, but we also traveled to the state of Bahia in the Northeast of Brazil to play tourists in the little town of Salvador. 

We made three wishes and tied our bracelets onto the fence at the Igreja do Senhor do Bonfim. We ate the best ice cream in all of Salvador at Sorveteria da Ribeira and it was pretty great. We swam at sunset at the Farol da Barra and danced to Olodum on the painted streets of Pelourinho. We almost sweat to death in a town that doesn't have enough air conditioning for being so darn hot. And then at the end of a nice three day weekend, we flew back to Rio where the adventure continued. 

Salvador, Bahia, Brasil
Upon arriving in Rio, we spent Easter morning hanging out with JC at Corcovado. We brunched with the gringo fam. We sipped coconut water on the beaches of Ipanema. We watched the sunset from the top of the Sugarloaf and then wandered the streets of Copacabana in search of good eats and fancy souvenirs. We played Heads Up until way too late and ate authentic American made tacos. We wrangled 38 rambunctious 4th graders on our field trip to the science museum. We stayed up late reminiscing about the old glory days at Chardon High.

Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil
And then after 7 days of Brazilian adventures, we had to say goodbye.

Saying goodbye is always difficult and its something that I have a lot of practice in. I would love to be able to look forward to the future and know that one day I won't have to say goodbyes anymore. Unfortunately, I know that isn't the case because I've chosen to build friendships all over the world and I'll always be missing someone.

And saying goodbye to someone who knew you before the you that you are now always seems to be more difficult. They may not be living the same current experiences as you are now, but they know what you went through to become the person you are now. And it's hard to say goodbye to someone who knows you that well.

For seven short days, I felt like a cooler version of the awkward girl who joined high school marching band because all of her friends were. The tough goodbyes are always worth the feeling of being with people who know you, always worth that moment when you can hug someone from home.

Ms. Melissa, you are always welcome in Rio de Janeiro. Please come back.

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