Colson, Outbound to Brazil

Alright so the time has finally come, I’m gonna write my third and final journal. (I meant to do like at least 2 others this year but I’ve been busy and I apologize deeply). The time has also come for me to say goodbye, it’s my final month and everything is coming to a close. We all went into this experience with some expectations, some were met, and others weren’t. But we’ve all come out on the other side with a new understanding of ourselves and our little world we call home.

This week I said the first of many very hard goodbyes, my dear friend has gone back home to Denmark and started the process of shrinking our friend group. In the coming weeks other exchange students I care deeply about will board their planes and say a final “see you later” for the time being. In 23 days I’ll be boarding mine and leaving behind a life I built from the ground up. It’s strange to think about this because I know exactly what I’m going home to, but it’s almost as terrifying as boarding the plane to take me here.

I learned a lot this year, to be quite frank I learned more than I thought I would. I learned the obvious things, Portuguese, Brazilian music, and Brazilian culture. But I learned a lot of things I never expected. I learned about the existence of a tiny country called Timor Leste, I learned random phrases in countless languages, I learned how to make friends with people who seemingly have nothing in common with me. I learned how it’s all the little things that we take for granted, we know how things are and don’t even think of how they could be different, because it’s just how it’s always been.

Making friends truly is the best and worst part of doing an exchange. They bring you so much joy and make everything go from good to great. But this is what makes it so sad when you have to say goodbye. I’ve bonded better with people in 10 months than most people I’ve known since I was 5 years old. They say an exchange students heart is always broken because it’s spread around the world, and it’s true. But it’s the best kind of broken because I know that my friends will always have those parts with them and our bond we’ve formed was forged in fire. We’ve been through each other’s highest highs and lowest lows, and that’s what’s so beautiful about this year abroad, our friendships.

But all good things come to an end, that’s what we all know going into an exchange, one day we go home and start up our old lives again. I have to go to college and get a job, that’s reality and I’m not looking forward to rejoining it. But an end doesn’t have to be the end of everything, with friends in the four corners of the earth the idea of traveling has become much simpler and more attainable. I know I have many homes that will be open for me in brazil always, but also in Germany, India, Indonesia, Denmark, Timor and many others. My friends all know that the same deal is available for them in the Sunshine State itself. I’m excited to enter this new chapter of my life where the world really is my oyster.

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