Last Wednesday I came home from Garopaba, and I started to think about whatåÊa friend and I spoke about on the bus going back home that night. The fear of leaving behind childhood, the fear of entering the unknown world of adulthood. This year is important – I made a significant break in my education but I can actually distinguish the changes that occur between high school and college. For the past eighteen years of my life I have lived with my parents, people who care for me. For the past eighteen years I had stability in my life. This is the first year there is almost no stability – the tiredness that occurs when I do not know a language,åÊtheåÊlonelinessåÊthat sometimes occurs when I have to live with a family that I only know for a month, and theåÊdistruståÊthat occurs when I have arguments with anyone who I have only known for a few months. I must remember that this year will be hard at some points but at the end all of these challenges will make me into a better and stronger person. As I want to go home sometimesåÊor want to have certain people in my life – I must learn – there is no home anymore. I will return to my parents home for four months and then I will go to college. After college I will most likely not return to my parents home but create my own home wherever I decide to settle. Therefore, I am not the recipient anymore but the creator myself. The only thing that will hold me back is fear and anxiety, effects of complexity. I therefore must not be fearful or anxious but make sure all of my days are worthwhile and that I am getting closer to reaching my goal of creating a better life. At this time I must also understand that time has already come or will soon come to say good bye to important people in my life. When I was little I lived in a type of utopia where I was forming friendships and relationships without understanding that there will come a time when I will have to say goodbye to these people who I hold close. There will come a time when I will only have memories with some people and I will want to relive those memories so much that it will hurt. I have already experienced that but as I age I will experience these moments more regularly. In Brazil, the thought of my grandparents death has gone through my mind many times. My grandparents…people who I have relied on in many situations. I can remember living in their house when I was little, baking goods with grandma, and especially those days when after sixteen hours of school and extracurricular I went to their house and there was already a prepared bowl of hot soup for me on the kitchen table. I remember my grandpa who instilled the passion for math in me when I was little, with whom I would go to the doctors and then McDonalds, and who like no one else knows what I am thinking at a given moment just through my body language. These are my grandparents and I know that without this time away from them I would not be able to understand how special they are. When I return home I will not be the same – I will be different, perhaps a more mature person, in the same body. People around me may not be able to understand what I think and why I am thinking that way. I must take these next five months to accept who I am, what I have already learned, and how I will change. Accepting myself will allow me to more easily accept the change of others upon my return. I must remember, right now I am on an adventure that will influence my future. My heart has been touched at least once on this trip because this is how true beauty is manifested. I have sometimes failed when talking Portuguese. I have met people that love my culture. I have met people who disrespect my culture. I have learned how to control my feelings. I persevered, followed my curiosity, learned how to focus on the present, used the power of imagination, made mistakes. lived in the moment, and learned about my values. Now I must use my previous experiences to create a better future. I must believe that what is unrealistic is realistic. Await the dreams of the future with an open mind. Know that where I have been in the past will help me persevere in the future. I and no one else is in control of my future. Sometimes there will be surprises in the future but they will come into my life as presents. Just as presents sometimes they are things that I like and sometimes they are things that I do not appreciate as much. Yet, this unpredictability of life is what makes life precious. I am unsure of what will happen tomorrow, I am in control of myself but not in control of all the other forces that affect my waking life. Each day has a magical moment that helps me to change and sends me out to make my dreams come true.
A few thoughts from Paulinas desk
About Paulina Jedrzejowski
Paulina is passionate about learning how the growth of the economy in developing countries affects social problems within these countries. Paulina has been involved in her community through preparing food for the homeless with the Global Kids Organizations, leading workshops and conferences on Sexual Health Education, restoring a rundown bus shelter, leading the largest student run conference in New York City on Youth Activism, petitioning for the Arms Trade Treaty, and interning at the Council on Foreign Relations. Paulina is also the President of the Dreamers Club through which she advocates for the passage of the Dream Act. Paulina wants to learn about Brazilian culture and leave an imprint on her community. Her favorite quote is the following: "To come to know everything, do not want to know something in nothing. To come to have everything do not want to have something in nothing. To come to be everything do not want to be something in nothing" - Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II)