Today marks the halfway point of our trip. Back home I thought that at this point I would be tired, maybe a little cranky, and possibly ill. I hate to admit that I was a little skeptical about my first trip abroad.
After being here for a little over a week, I have found that my skepticism was unwarranted. I have been having the time of my life and as I realized that today marks a week left with our host family, I wanted to reflect on all of the great moments we have had with them in such a short time. My roommate Bri and I have grown so close with our family here that the thought of leaving has left me wanting every day to last just a little longer.
Our family has taken us on adventures, had many laughs with us, and bonded over the universal “Uno.” They have taken care of us as their own and loved us like we’ve known them for ages.
One of the many adventures we have gone on with them was to the botanical gardens. When they told us we were going, Bri and I were expecting a warm glass building with some pretty plants inside like we would see in the States.
To our surprise, the botanical garden was actually an entire outdoor park that consisted of palm trees, natural water springs, and monkeys in their natural habitat. Our host family loved showing us around and sharing with us one of their favorite places.
Our family has also taken us on a picnic. They planned a meal, prepared it, and even brought a picnic blanket along to show us one of their favorite parks. We bonded over the fact that “picnics in Brazil and America, the same.” We rented bicycles, saw some beautiful graffiti, and watched some people doing skateboarding tricks.
Speaking Portuguese has been a bonding experience as well. Using lots of Google translate, we have had our share of fumbles and giggles at the mishaps of translation and the robotic voice that pronounces our sentences. Our family has been sitting in tears as we laugh together, trying to understand one another. They’re beautiful moments of confusion and joy.
This past weekend when our class was gone on a tour of São Paulo all day, my host mom took my laundry from my room, washed it, hung it to dry, and folded it for me. It is such a blessing to have the opportunity to get to know these loving and selfless people.
As we have been adopted into our new Brazilian family, we have all grown more comfortable and shared so many precious moments together. Our host sister has even called us her sisters. I could not imagine a trip to Brazil without them and I feel so blessed to have been able to get to know them and be accepted as a part of their family.
“Family might be defined as a group of people who are related to each other, but it’s more than that. It’s a meaningful connection, an experience.”
I owe it all to them,