Every year on my birthday I would cut a cake with my family and best friends, you can sort of say it’s like a tradition in my household. However, within a stir of event’s this year was totally different. I would have never guessed I would be turning 18 in Brazil, but all of a sudden it was my reality and I wasn’t sure how to feel. The only thing I knew was that I missed the warmth of being around my family; I missed the loving embrace from my parents and how they would passionately say a prayer to celebrate and bless me for another year on earth, and my childhood friends who added comical and playful energy to the atmosphere. I could go on but those little things set the tone for my birthday immensely and each year it never lost that magical momentum. Now that I was in Brazil I felt as if there was going to be a major discrepancy but to my surprise it wasn’t, all that love and warmth did not disappear. My birthday week in Brazil is something I will never forget.The day of my birthday (October 30th) strangely enough fell on the day of our Catch 3 meeting, so I decided to take initiative and volunteered to be the leader of the day because I wanted to meet my birthday with a challenge. I’m not good at speaking and articulating myself in front of an audience so I was filled with nerves throughout the day, but thanks to Sophie she reminded me to relax and lent a helping hand when I was unable to do so, and I really appreciated that. Near the end of the schedule, Sophie and I were asked to reflect about how it felt to be the leaders of the day and that was when I announced it was my birthday, and that I wanted to be the leader of the day to meet my birthday with something I wouldn’t normally do. After that many fellows wished me happy birthday and congratulated me on my bravery. This made me feel better about my situation, even though things didn’t go the way I planned it to my intentions were in the right place. Later on, I was surprised with a birthday cake from the Brazil staff and everyone sang happy birthday to me it was really heartwarming. I honestly didn’t expect for the day to end so beautifully but it did and I am so grateful for it. Fortunately, it doesn’t end there, after Catch 3 my host family planned a birthday party for me and invited all the fellows. I felt so loved and accepted by them that day, it made me settle down and washed all the fears I’ve placed upon myself of not being perfect them. My 18th birthday turned out to be so much different from what I expected, I was so stuck on what I’ve lost that it made me disconnect with the potential of my reality and how it can manifest beautiful surprises. So with that being said, I’m very grateful for Brazil and the blessings and lessons it has bestowed on me so far.