Being Lost

Erica Gonzales - Brazil


September 15, 2015

“No expectations. Stay in the present. Curiosity before judgement.”

I recited this mantra in my head as all the Brazil Fellows prepared for the reveal of our final placements.

We were practicing mindfulness. Eyes closed, we focused on the moment – what and how our bodies felt, what we smelled, what we heard. As the minutes passed by, unexpected fear manifested inside me.

When I was accepted to Global Citizen Year six months ago, I said “yes” to this opportunity without any second thoughts. Though others thought their decision through, I didn’t. I was fearless entering the unknown.

Or so I thought.

When I took the sticker off my back that confirmed I will be living in Paranaguá for the next 7 months, I was excited, curious, then fearful. The questions I had about Paranaguá preoccupied my thoughts.

I googled for pictures, but they all looked the same.

I checked Google Earth, but the aerial view was blurry and didn’t provide much details.

I spent an hour watching the capstone videos of previous Brazil Fellows.

I then spent two hours reading the blogs of the previous Brazil Fellows, keeping an eye out for one that mentioned Paranaguá.

I wanted a glimpse of what I will encounter. I was searching for reassurance that I will love the city and the community and life in Paranaguá.

Finally, I gave up. This might be Global Citizen Year’s first year in Paranaguá, since I wasn’t able to find a Fellow who said he or she lived there. Nevertheless, I shouldn’t waste my time wondering what’s in my future when I should focus on the present.

On my first blog post, I wrote that one of the reasons I chose to go on a bridge year was because “I crave adventures.” I mentioned how I’ll probably get lost (which I did, several times). Right now, I’m lost – but not physically. I’m mentally and emotionally lost.

There are only two facts I know about my future: 1) I will live in Paranaguá and 2) My apprenticeship is with Colégio SESI, where my main role is supporting the school staff.

I don’t know where my path is headed, but I’ll just keep reciting my mantra, “No expectations. Stay in the present. Curiosity before judgement.”

 

Erica Gonzales