It was a brief yet intense feeling that awashed me as I alone trod through the crashing waves along the coast of Sao Paulo. The air was fresh and sweet, and it blanketed the mountains and islands till both faded into the horizon. Underneath the morning skies, everything around me was a wet and glistening blue until time passed by me and it was late afternoon: then sky, water, and mountains alike looked as if they were made of soft gold. Treading along the churning sea, I had never felt so compelled to walk steadily into the horizon and not once look back. Before coming to this country, it had been a while since I had felt such happiness and peace. For the past few years I have been in great conflict about what I want my future to be and what my capabilities are. Recently, it has been a delight to drop all of my burdens and walk into a new world in which my preoccupations ceased to matter. Being here I have never felt so free.
It is in fact a wonderful privilege for me to be here in Brazil; this is a trip sponsored by my college and supported by the professors and classmates in this program in which I’ve participated for two years. Here I have been under constant protection. Yet, I believe the reason as to why I’ve felt so liberated is because, despite my deep anxieties about coming here, I chose, with great difficulty, to look over them and take the risk. I have felt so many emotions since then, but the prevailing thought in my head is that I am so glad to have been here.
Brazil has been an insanely fun and amazing trip. That being said, I am ready to return to New York and greet my friends and loved ones. Feeling burdensome upon arrival, I will return refreshed, calmer, and less intimidated; these three weeks have given me confidence in myself and, strangely, have helped me to reflect on the course of my life and better understand how to steer myself through the obstacles that wait for me in the US. I am not sure how to explain, so bear with me, but… absorbing the different environments of Sao Paulo and Foz do Iguacu has helped me see my life in retrospect and realize how high-strung and anxious I have been. Throughout these three weeks I have taken so many risks (things I never thought I would have done) and have felt like I’ve succeeded even when I failed.
After just three weeks, I will miss this country, severely, but the most challenging aspect of leaving is to part ways with my host family. Tyler and I had great fun in Sao Paulo, and so much of it was in thanks to Delmira, Michelle, Jessica, etc.—everyone who took care of us behind the scenes of our trip and provided us with a safe, warm place every night. I am already thinking about when I can return, not only to revisit that beautiful beach but also the many beautiful friends I have developed here. Tchau!