Thank you and goodbye

Caroline Smith - Brazil


August 22, 2017

It’s a comfort, but not a surprise, that Rosetta Stone has drilled the words “obrigada” and “tchau” into my brain. A culture’s language has a way of revealing what that culture values, and in the face of so much change, it is comforting to know that gratefulness and a fond farewell are as important in Brazilian culture as they are in the States. I am learning in my preparation for my Global Citizen Year how to say goodbye, as well as just how many people it takes to set an experience like this in motion. So before I leave what I love to find out what else there is to love, I have some obrigadas and some tchaus to say. 

Obrigada to my hometown for the accepting nature and hippie attitude. Never was I asked, “But don’t you value education? Why would you delay college?” Instead I was met with, “I wish I had done that. You’ll get a whole new world perspective,” or, “I spent a year in India/Ecuador/Israel before college and I’d love to chat about the experience if you want!”

Tchau to my favorite coffee shops, my hostessing job at the local diner, and the obscene amounts of peanut butter I eat every day. 

Obrigada to those who have donated to my fundraiser. It’s so important to me and it’s an integral part of this program. Generosity helps insure that people of all backgrounds can afford to become global leaders!

Tchau to North Carolina beaches and driving with loud music and walking my dogs through pine trees every day. 

Obrigada to my parents and siblings for loving me enough to let me go. I promise to come back, and I promise I’m yours. 

Obrigada for the logistical help in organizing my vaccinations and visa, and for the reality check when I said I didn’t think I would need to check a bag (I’m a chronic under packer). I promise I’ll wear lots of sunscreen if my little brother promises he won’t be taller than I am when I get back!

As I look forward to the year ahead, there is not an emotion on the spectrum I do not feel. The first lesson of many to come this year is that in order to say olá to so many new experiences, new friends, and new family, I first must say tchau to things and people I love. I expect (despite trying to let go of expectations for my bridge year) that in the year to come, I will find there is room in my heart for both my Chapel Hill home and for my Brazilian home, wherever it may be. 


Caroline Smith