Canvases Painted with Tears

Paulina Jedrzejowski - Brazil


July 31, 2014

In three weeks I will be leaving for an adventure of a lifetime – Brazil. I have always dreamed about going to Brazil but I never thought I would be going there for eight months with a leadership development organization…

Today I was reading through quotes as I do when I am bored or when I want to reflect on something that is happening in my life. During these moments I feel truly alone although I am surrounded by a swarm of people in the middle of one of the most populated cities in the world and my phone keeps on vibrating every two minutes. I read this quote, “Surrender to what is, Let go of what was, Have faith in what will be.” I thought of how closely this relates to what is currently occurring in my life. I have to let go of what I continuously think about – walking in the hallways at Curtis High School, seeing teachers that I have befriended, and friends who were there every step of my high school journey. I thought about how I will no longer have the ability to go to Mr. John Crowdell’s office and ask him about his opinion when I have an academic dilemma or go to Mr. Paul Barrett’s office to ask for help in something. I will no longer be able to exchange my thoughts in person with my close friends during passing. I have to let go of the past. I must also surrender to what is. I must understand that these few moments are the last moments in my life when I know life as it is. They are the last moments I can spend with who I now think are my friends and who I hope will remain my friends after I return from Brazil. I must understand that no matter what I do my life will change and that I can therefore only immerse myself fully into each moment and then have faith that my adventure in Brazil will be worth my friend’s tears.

Two weeks ago my best friend was sitting on my bed and I was telling her that I understand that everything will change and that people must stop reassuring me that everything will remain the same. She began crying and telling me that I must realize no one wants their friendship to change with me and that she does not want to think that she will not be able to see me in person for eight months. She asked me who will listen to our endless dramas. I did not understand her tears and uncontrollable accusations until I went through something similar…

Last week one of my friends who I have become closer with recently told me that it may be the last time I see him before I go to Brazil. It was the first time I was hit with the realization that everything is changing and everything will change no matter how much I do not want it to change. As my friend delivered these news to me, tears started filling my eyes and running down my cheeks uncontrollably. I wanted nothing more but to not believe his words. Yet, I had no choice. I am going to Brazil and it was my choice to push myself out of my comfort zone, away from family and friends as much as it may hurt…to discover who I truly am.

I also cannot believe that I will be parting with another best friend with whom I want to spend every waking moment but it is impossible because both of us work. My best friend has been with me through everything. He has been there when I had bad days in school, when I needed advice, when I received my college acceptance letters, when I graduated…The list is endless. I can talk to him for hours and never get bored. I know that I can act however I want around him and I can share my failures with him but at the end he will always have my back.

It will also be extremely difficult to part with my brother with whom I have an amazing relationship. Although there is a large age gap between him and me, I am a role model to him while he is someone I want to be able to achieve everything he has potential for. For the past few years, he always shared his successes with me. It will be difficult not to see him go through fourth grade and be there for all of his success and when he needs me when he encounters failure. Last weekend I went to Arizona, where my brother is spending his summer, for my cousins baptism. An hour before my flight back to New York City my brother began to cry hysterically. Nothing would stop him from crying. He kept on saying that he would not see me for eight months and pleading me not to go. Seeing him that upset left me heartbroken.

Last night my friend and I went to Pier 26 in Manhattan which has a scenic view of Jersey City. Although I have not been close friends with her throughout most of high school I have become close friends after high school. While sitting on a blanket, eating left over popcorn from the movies she told me that whatever happens when I am in Brazil I have to make sure that the first thing I do when I come back to the United States is call her. She also told me that I have created a blueprint for an amazing future and that she hopes all of my dreams come true.

As I remember all of these moments I picture my teachers giving me advice on the last day of school, “Be Brave. You are an International Baccalaureate Diploma Candidate, therefore, follow your profile. Be a risk taker. You may encounter failure but only those who follow do not encounter failure.”

Paulina Jedrzejowski