Oi e bem-vindo a meu diário primeiro!
Hi and welcome to my first journal! I have been in Brazil for almost a full month now. It feels crazy to say that, in just these past few weeks I have already experienced some crazy emotions. My first weekend here I stayed in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, for my Inbound Orientation. Although I was supposed to arrive around late July, I experienced some visa issues and ended up arriving September 6th. During my first weekend I was able to meet all my fellow Inbound students and create some amazing memories.
I arrived after a long 30-hour flight schedule and never had much time to rest. My second day, September 7th, was Brazilian Independence Day in which I woke up at 05:30 to get ready for a parade starting at 07:00. The following day we went to a cachoeira (waterfall) called Itiquari. I had never seen such a massive waterfall in my life, and I was so in awe by its beauty. Our final day of the orientation we got a tour of Brasilia, which is quite an interesting city. It is shaped as an airplane and was only founded about 60 years ago.
After my fantastic weekend of tourism, I flew up to my official host city, Araguaina. There I arrived in the single room airport and was on my way to my first host family’s house. Now I attend school every day from 07:10-12:10 and have been living as a typical Brazilian teenage.
Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed myself, but I have been very surprised by a few things. Applying for exchange and going through the pre-exchange process, I had never imagined half of the realities I have faced. You can never fully expect what you are getting, regardless of receiving a country on your Top 5 or not. It is basically impossible to fully know what your living conditions, family, and friends will be till you are there living those moments. And to many that might sound absolutely terrifying, but to exchangers, that is the thrill of it all.
Although most of the time exchange seems like this wonderful, vacation-esque life… it’s not. It is so much more than that. Yes, you will experience many situations and trips that will make you so happy and will be drop dead gorgeous, but there will also be days where all you are going to want to do is cry. I thought I would not feel homesick, but boy was I wrong. Everyone feels these emotions in their own way so there really is no way to prepare yourself besides acknowledging the fact that homesickness will come, and that it is difficult.
Along with homesickness, there will be things you miss that you had no clue you would miss. In my city we have no public transportation, no Uber, no bus, no nothing. I have to get my host parents or siblings to take me to almost everything I do. For me, an 18-year-old, (who has been driving for 2 years) this makes me so frustrated and really miss home. Before coming here, I had no idea I was going to miss my beautiful black Honda Civic 2017 so badly.
Despite all of this we are taught to overcome these obstacles. There are two sayings I constantly remind myself when I am feeling down, “Be a problem solver, not a problem causer.” (Love you dad 😉) and “Blossom where you are planted.” (Love you guys too, Abbie and Paula<3). To me these signify what it truly means to be an exchange student. We are faced with tons of problems on a daily basis, and our success depends are how we handle these problems. Whether it be missing a train, getting lost, or not understanding a conversation; the true test of your strength is overcoming and growing.
When all is said and done, I could not be more grateful for where I am in my live right now. I am so thankful to Rotary Youth Exchange for this opportunity. To my amazing mother and father who unconditionally love and support me, to my amazing siblings who always are checking up on me. To my amazing best friends, Kacey and Grace, who never cease to make me smile even though we are thousands of miles away. To my host family who are bending over backward to make sure I am enjoying myself. To the friends here who pretend to understand me when I am trying to speak Portuguese. To so many spectacular things that help create my unique exchange.
Click HERE to read more about Murphy and all his blogs