February 7, 2017
This morning, when I received the email from Belkis, my team leader in Brazil, asking me to fill out my travel plan back to Shanghai, I was shocked. When I first embarked on this journey, 8 months seemed like forever; I never gave a thought about going home. But now I’ve officially entered the last phase of my home stay in Florianópolis. I will be back in US exactly two months from today.
After spending more than 4 months with my host family, I am now very settled in my community. All the little friction and discomfort are gone. Even though I still don’t speak Portuguese fluently, we can now converse smoothly. However, not everyone in my cohort has had such a positive experience with homestay. Hearing about other people’s stories and complaints during Training Seminar 2 made me realize how blessed and lucky I am to have a host family that loves me and truly cares for me. Once I arrived home from my week long travel with my program, my sister complaint about how quiet the house was without my presence. I almost cried when she said that because it’s something my mom always says. Whenever we Facetime, she always tells me how much she misses all the noises I make at home and how she is so unused to the quietness even after 6 months of separation. I don’t know when it all started but I’ve stopped feeling like a guest in my host family. Instead of being the international student on a temporary stay, I’ve become the daughter to my host parents and the little sister to my older siblings.
I already know that saying goodbye will be so hard 🙁