While driving to campus yesterday, it felt as if my mind was going blank. It didn’t feel real that I was about to fly to a different continent and stay for three weeks. I expected this trip to be challenging, especially since I consider myself a “homebody” and I went to a college 30 minutes away from home. As my parents talked on the car ride to school to drop me off, I was silent. Completely unsure how to feel about this big trip. The nerves got worse once we said our goodbyes, and it felt like they were dropping me off at college for freshman year a second time. Luckily the nerves did not stay long. We drove from Roberts Wesleyan University in Rochester, to Toronto, Canada to catch our flight to Brazil. On the bus ride to Toronto, the nervousness turned into excitement. I knew this would be an experience of a lifetime. Crossing the border to Canada, hoping my bag was under the maximum 50 pounds, and going through customs came with some anxiety. Still, everything went smoothly to pave the way for a fantastic trip.
Once we got to Universidade Metodista de São Paulo, the university we will be studying at, we stopped at the dining hall for a quick bite to eat. This is where the rollercoaster part comes in, since I have celiacs disease. This means I am allergic to gluten, which is in everything. I quickly grew anxious as reading and communicating the menu options was difficult, so I was worried about finding food that was safe for me to eat. However, I ended up getting a cinnamon cappuccino to tide me over, and it was delicious. Walking around the campus was also so beautiful. I thought about how it must be nice to be a student walking to class amongst the palm trees.
Joanna, our host mom, picked us up from campus and brought us back to her wonderful home. We drank tea, ate some fruit, and took a few selfies.
After, we had lots of downtime to recover from our long hours of travel. It was stressful because this downtime allowed us to think about how long this trip is, and the differences between Brazil and home. This trip is completely out of my comfort zone, but I keep picturing it as a rollercoaster. When I look at a rollercoaster from the waiting line, it looks big and scary, then on the ride there may be a few parts that are uncomfortable, but then once it’s over, I’m full of energy and ready to do it again. That’s how this first day has been and how I imagine the rest of this trip will be.