Confusing emotions

Alondra Quiles - Brazil


November 27, 2016

I’m stuck between the feeling of mourning and the wanting to jump up and down with joy.


It’s been a week since my host grandmother passed away and at the time it was all happening, my Brasil cohort was preparing to leave for TS1 in the town of Guarda de Embau where all fellows of Garopaba and Floripa would finally reunite after two long months of separation. At first, I wasn’t too excited to see everyone because I, too, was feeling the loss within my family. I had grown to love my host grandmother although for a short period of time. Yet, suddenly I was in a helpless position. I couldn’t stay home for moral support and instead I was leaving for a mini-vacation.


Reuniting with all fellows in the end proved to be exactly what I needed which at first I was unaware of. It was the feeling of finally speaking English with many other fellows that filled an emptiness that I wasn’t aware of. To spend Thanksgiving with other “Americans” on a holiday that back home meant absolutely nothing to me. Now meant so much. It was a little piece of home that I had been searching for. And on that same night, I ended up speaking to my family on Facetime. No I didn’t really feel as though I missed them because back home Thanksgiving wasn’t really celebrated and here at TS1 I was experiencing this holiday in a different way. A way that made me proud to be embarked on a journey with others because I am making life-long friendships and learning more about myself than I had anticipated.


The following day, TS1 was over and we were returning home. But imagine my luck when I wake up to the news that a baby was on the way. The last thing I was expecting because my sister was not due until the end of December.


I couldn’t keep my composure. This was the baby that made me want to uncommitted from Global Citizen Year. This was the baby that I wanted to be there for, as well as my sister because this is her first child and her first experience into motherhood. But I stuck through and I wouldn’t say that I regret pulling through with Global Citizen Year.


Now I’m back home in my community. Ethan Lorenzo was born and my sister and him experienced complications throughout the labor. Thankfully, they are well now and going home very soon. Yet, I’m here. Last night, I attended mass for the first time throughout my stay in Brasil. Seven days after someone’s death, families unite and attend mass to pay respects to the member of the family that has passed. I’m going to be honest. I have no idea what my position is right now. How should I feel? Is it wrong for me to be so happy yet so sad? To feel the loss of a beautiful, strong, nurturing woman that never failed to lighten up the environment but to also feel the beauty of life. I wish I could be home because I feel so out of place right now but I know that I can’t. So what do I do? I feel as though I am no longer in a state of comfort nor stretch rather just stress. I feel myself falling apart with uneasiness and a lack of clarity.


Alondra Quiles