Right now, we are about to graduate from Global Citizen Year (actually just a few minutes away from the deadline hehe), the program which decided to send us to Brazil (instead of Ecuador) – a decision that shaped our gap year with samba tunes, children’s happiness, and teachers’ struggles. I hope we still can feel the taste of feijão, that stuffed up fish host mum used to cook during the weekends, and pão de queijo. When we close our eyes, do we still see Santo Antonio’s grace and the smiles of many familiar faces?
As I was writing this now, I was trying to remember how it was 8 months ago – those nervous feelings of seeing my host family for the first time, the fear of them not liking me and the headache from trying to speak Portuguese. I was nervous but excited still wanting the time to stop for a moment.
Would I ever feel ready?
Throw yourself, Ida, head first, into the fear.
Looking back, the fear was there on many occasions – the first bloco practice, trying out forró, going by myself to that women conference, saying yes to hold a university lecture,…
“Going out with Ida means bumping into people she knows”
Towards the end, we had friends all over the town. People of all ages. Literally from kids to that crazy old, but powerfully and beautiful, samba singer. Where did those nerves go? Those nerves that were trying to tell us;
“He wants something from you. She looks like too much… You are too much yet not good enough.”
They never went away, though, I learnt that those thoughts are not me. Instead, we started conversations which lead to friendships and great memories.
Dear Ida, we had downs and ups. We saw differences and similarities, injustice and demonstrations. We learnt about the Brazilian school system and the importance of education. Do you remember? We wrote down a lot in that blue notebook, the brown one we bought there, and of course, our diary.
Today, I wrote in the same diary – I miss Brazil, my 2nd family, the school, my community, the bloco that reserved me a spot at the chocalho for next carnival. I miss walking to the centre of Santo Antonio to paint, eating my lunch at the café where they know that I prefer not to have the little plastic stick, and hanging in the museum with my host family.
Look at us now. By the age of fourteen, we were dreaming about living and studying abroad. Now, by the age of 20, we already lived in three different countries which will be four by September as we start at IE University in Spain. In SPAIN, another dream we are ticking of the list. We kicked that glass-roof above us, Ida, we kicked it.
At all times, and above all, appreciate the experiences and people throughout life.
Thank you – notes <333
Abby Falik and the Global Citizen Year staff, Shelby Davis for the scholarship, Chris for being my team leader and my cohort fellows. Thank you, Brazil, Florianópolis, Santo Antonio De Lisboa, my host family, Ari, Paulo Fontes, Bete, Aninha, Freguesia Coffe Bar, the language club, Boi De Mamão de Santo Antonio de Lisboa, Bloco Gambáxeroso, and many more. Thank you all who supported me during my fundraising – Mother, Father, Sister, aunt Johanna w/ family, aunt Jeanette w/ family, aunt Matilda w/ family, the Bladfält family, Magdalena Hessel, Frowin Winkes, Björn Evbjer, Emelie Rosén, Charlotta Hjälte, Gun Eva Tønder, Håkan Johansson, and Sofie Hansson! Thank you all who have read my blog posts and following my Instagram – the support and belief are what drives me and gives my curiosity courage! Like all trees, we need water and nourishment to grow.
*Clapping myself on my shoulder*
We made it. We graduated from Global Citizen Year. I am proud of us.