Giving Thanks… Training Seminar 3

Mariah Donnelly - Brazil


March 21, 2012

Every seven weeks the fellows come together in a unique or an important place within the country that are staying in to discuss different aspects of their gap year and their journey thus far. During the days the fellows usually engage in what we like call “modules” where we focus on different aspects of our experiences and we bounce ideas around to better expand/understand a situation or an idea.  The Brazil cohort arrived on March 1st, 2012 in São Francisco do Conde. São Francisco do Conde is important not only because it has rich historical value but it was also chosen as a location to honor one of our fellows’ host mom who does a lot of work and has given tremendous support to the Global Citizen Year program.  During our training we had three distinct modules:  business enterprise, receiving/giving feedback, and saying goodbye/ giving thanks. To me, the saying goodbye and giving thanks struck me the hardest.

Here we were, all ten of the Brazil fellows in São Francisco do Conde discussing how we planned on saying thanks to the people who have helped us throughout this journey and saying goodbye to our host families and our Brazilian friends. For many of us this module came as a wakeup call. After seven months we finally felt like we were settled and were maybe even feeling like we may have been Brazilian in a past life, and now here we were talking about leaving – it all felt so sudden.  We bounced around ideas on how we planned on saying goodbye: cooking meals for host family, taking them out to a movie, giving out gifts, giving them a photo to remember you by.  But at the same time the saying goodbye part also struck us as obvious. Even though many of us feel quite at ease in our homestays we all eventually knew we had to say goodbye, so the part that really got me thinking and reflecting during this discussion was how to say “thank you” and who to say it to.  Obviously I needed to thank my homestay family and program director that hosted me, but what about other people that led me to where I am today? Our Brazil program director reminded us that they are a lot of people that led us to where we stand today and we need to dig deeper and think more about who really helped us throughout this journey.  After much thought I have accumulated a long list, and have already started thinking of how I want to say thanks to the many people that have helped me.

Being able to have the time and ability to say thanks is a gift. There are many times in our lives, especially in America, we often give “giving thanks” lack of attention just because we feel like we don’t have enough time to say thank you or it just another word that we sometimes throw around. But as I realized from the “giving thanks” module, one thing that I am blessed with right now is time. I have the time to give thanks and do it in a proper way.

On the subject of giving thanks I feel it would be only appropriate to end my blog by giving thanks.  So thank to all that have read this far and thank you to all have helped me create my journey thus far. There are far too many people that I need to thank and owe more than just this small blurb to but for now you will just have to wait for your proper thank you!

Mariah Donnelly