Em, Outbound to Brazil

As the days tick down, faster with each passing day, I wonder where all the time has gone. In retro-spec, the past 279 days, has had the same amount of time in years past, but on exchange, time seems to go by even faster. I look back on these past nine months and see all the ups and downs and how I have changed and learned from these situtations. I now see the world differently from when I left.

Two weeks ago, I was in the Amazon with Kennedy and 65 other exchange students 20 different countries. This was by far one of the greatest experiences in my whole life. From meeting full-blooded Amazonian Indians and small communities (where we got beat in a soccer game 2-0) to holding different animals like sloths, crocodiles, anacondas, giant spiders, and so much more. We slept in the rainforest one night and, of course; it rained at 2 a.m. and my hammock was soaked. The 9 days (actually 10) I spent in the Amazon are ones I will never forget, especially the last 2 days. The last night we slept (slept is the keyword) was spent camping in the rainforest with the huge thunderstorm, so everyone only got about 2 hours of sleep that night. The next night was spent at the airport, which we arrived there at 9 p.m. and my flight wasn't supposed to take off until 4 a.m. A lot of people had left before us, so we had pretty much-said goodbye to everyone except 5 people (not on our flight) when we went to board, the flight was delayed because of weather and then an hour later it was canceled when the flight that left after us still took off on-time... So, 4 people from my district and 16 people from a Santa Caterina district were stranded. We collected our luggage and went to wait in a VERY long line to figure out what was going to happen next. When we finally got to the front of the line, the guy said that we needed to stay another night in Manaus (understand that it was only 6 a.m.) and that we would have a 3 p.m. flight to São Paulo the following day and we would have less of an hour layover in São Paulo. We had to wait at the airport for another 2 hours for our taxi because we couldn't check-in before 9 a.m. and it was an hour drive to the hotel (the best hotel in the whole city). We were 30+ hours of no sleep, alone just the 4 of us in the Amazon. Our inbound coordinator told us not to worry and to get some sleep, so that's what we did.

The next day, we got on our flight and arrived into São Paulo, and we almost missed our flight to our city, but we made it just-in-time, right at last call when they were calling our names. I got home at 11 p.m. when I was supposed to be home at 2 p.m. the day before.

I learned a very valuable lesson from this. I learned that sometimes you cannot control everything, that some things just don't go the way you want. But you can't let that ruin the time of your life you just had. Like on exchange you'll have some bad days, but that doesn't mean you had a bad exchange, just look at all the great times you had. Also, with the end of exchange coming up, I can't let me not wanting to leave affect the end of my exchange, because I have some amazing things coming up real soon. All good things must come to an end so that we are able to look back and remember and enjoy all the memories we made.

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