New Year Resolutions

Erica Gonzales - Brazil


December 31, 2015

January is approaching. Four months have gone by, and I only have three months left. Three, very short months that I should be taking advantage of.
But the past two weeks, I’ve desperately been trying to stay present. My mind has only focused on my upcoming travels to explore other areas of Brazil. After booking my flights and researching the places I want to visit, I only thought about this adventure. I’m anticipating the gorgeous views I will witness, the wonderful people I will meet, the invigorating discussions I will have, and those precious aha moments that will make me a little wiser. My wanderlust then worsened, and it led me to determine that I will go backpacking in the Philippines after Global Citizen Year to discover the country I came from and thus research potential places in the country to visit. As you can tell, this distraction is taking away from my experience. I’m forgetting that right now is an adventure, and I should be soaking up each moment into my memory.
With this upcoming New Year, I’m determined to turn around my Global Citizen Year experience and finish it with a bang! The following are my Global Citizen Year New Year Resolutions:
1) Hang out more with Brazilian friends.
I’ve made Brazilian friends from my apprenticeship with SESI, neighbors, other host families, my family’s church, capoeira, Portuguese classes, and the gym, but I realized I haven’t actually gotten to truly know these people. I want to know their stories, their perspectives, their dreams, and I want to learn from them. I will make an effort to spend time with them outside of the places I usually meet them.
2) Talk more.
I’m a naturally quiet person. If even with English speakers I’m quiet, then imagine how I am with Portuguese-only speakers. People either think I’m really shy (which I am sometimes) or that I can’t speak Portuguese (which I can, albeit sometimes grammatically wrong or slow). Each individual in this world possesses a gift that is their own knowledge, and the only way to receive those gifts is to talk to people.
3) Spend more of my afternoons outside my house.
 
Between 1:30 PM and 5 PM is my free time, and I keep them free because that is when I spend time with my family and when I reenergize. However, if I’m not trying to bake a sobremesa with my host sister Manuela, working on college applications, trying to complete Global Citizen Year assignments, visiting a beach with my host family, or walking around centro historico, I’m either taking a nap, daydreaming as I listen to music, or reading articles about social issues and travel. I can use this time to engage with and learn from my community, and I can only do that if I’m outside.
 
 4) Learn a new skill.
 
I recently discovered that there’s a casa cultural in downtown that offers free classes on various things such as learning how to play a guitar or how to draw. After my travels, I will check it out, and hopefully learn a skill that I can bring back home with me. Spending time at this cultural house will also help me achieve the previous resolutions.
So what do you think? These Global Citizen Year resolutions are feasible, right?
Happy New Year to all! May 2016 bring you all many blessings!

Erica Gonzales