“People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”
– Marilyn Monroe
Incidentally my favorite quote does a great job of explaining how things have been going the past 5 months. After leaving In-Country-Orientation in Capão, in Bahia’s deep Interior, I took a 7-hour bus ride that would leave me in my new home, Feira de Santana. It was advertised to me as a mid-sized city with promise. I would not be in the bustling, hectic city of Salvador or the more alternative Lençóis–it was perfect for me. I arrived in the evening, and I remember my heart beating really fast all I could think is, this is it there is no going back now from here on out im on my own. I was greeted by a beautiful woman holding a beautiful bouquet of pink flowers. She goes, “Hi, I’m your mom.” I’m given a warm embrace then proceed to quickly pick up my bags say goodbye to the remaining Fellows and be on my way.
Things were great for the first two weeks. I was bonding so well with my host mom I would wait for her to get home from work every night and greet her with a “Oi, como foi seu dia?” (Hello, how was your day?) we would spend hours sharing details of our days over dinner, taking about what we believed in, what we liked, and who we were. I grew to have a great bond with this woman until one day things began to change.
People change so that you can learn to let go.
It is naïve to think that when taking a bridge year everyone is going to have a perfect host family experience. We have to stop and remember that before we came, our host families lived lives of their own filled with laughter, tears, fights, arguments, good days and bad days, and just because we come along does not mean their problems go away. Unfortunately, after a while it became clear to me that my host mom had issues of her own she had not dealt with which lead to her changing, becoming more distant and often being upset. It felt there was little I could do. This is something I had to accept. I understood that I had to let go and let her fix things on her own. Today, unfortunately, I can’t say she and I have a good relationship; however, that does not take away the fact that we had some amazing days and I walked away from Feira learning so much from her.
Things go wrong so that you can appreciate them when they’re right
Looking back on the past five months, I must say they have been the most difficult five months of my life. There were times I felt like everything that could go wrong was going wrong. I will not go into detail of all the things that went wrong: I refuse to write a blog solely filled with complaints. While things did go wrong, now they are right. Five months into my bridge year I was moved to Lençóis–yes, the same small, alternative town I previously thought I had no place in. Being here has shown me that everything I went through was for a reason. I appreciate the small things like being able to walk to places, and to meet people I can call friends.
You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself
During this bridge year there have been many days where I have felt completely vulnerable. Being in a different country where you start off not know the language or understanding how the people live, you are often left lost and confused. All you can do is take in every bit of information and on your own time sift through it, figuring what to believe in or not. Even though I did not have the best experience for a long time, I came out of it learning so much and learning that I need to trust myself because often I know what I’m talking about.
And sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together
I hold no grudges against my time in Feira–in fact, in some ways I have come to realize it was exactly the challenge I wanted. I was able to see how things could go completely wrong and learn from it because of it I am a stronger person and am doing everything I can to enjoy every second I have here in my new home. At the end of the day, I appreciate everything I have been through. There were times all I could feel was anger and sadness but today I am in a better place and have never been happier.
I believe that everything happens for a reason. I was naïve to think this bridge year would be perfect. Looking back on everything I have been through, I know I am ready for anything that is to come.