Encountering the Unexpected

By Steven, Tufts 1+4 Participant

Sometimes the best things are those that are wholly unexpected. For me, this doesn’t sit easy. I don’t even like the idea: as a child I would spend countless hours questing to discover the hidden treasures that were my Christmas and birthday presents. I would spelunk in the dark confines of my grandfather’s closet and take a visual inventory of everything in my garage, searching for the gems I knew were hidden there. Sometimes I would find success while most of the time, my plans were foiled. I would discover nothing because my grandfather got smarter, trickier perhaps. But, as he got smarter, so did I: my grandfather would certainly hide the present, but what about the receipt?

So, what does my questing for presents mean? It means that I love knowing and I’ll do almost anything to discover new things – to conquer the unexpected. There’s nothing wrong with expecting a few things or even knowing something. But, sometimes the rewards are so much better when things are completely unexpected.

lab brazil
The lab at IFSC

In Brazil, learning to embrace the unexpected has provided me with some of the best experiences thus far. Never did I expect that I’d be working at a local university called IFSC (Institute Federal Santa Catarina) where I’ve had the opportunity to work in a biotechnology laboratory, to help teach English, and to expand Google maps to places that they haven’t ventured yet. Never did I expect to be living with my capoeira teacher and his family – a surefire way to improve my capoeira skills! Never did I expect that my new host brother would be progressive, open-minded, and excited to help me explore Brazil. Never did I expect to venture to the jeweled crown of pizza places: a rodizio pizzeria (imagine unlimited pizza with never imagined toppings that are magically brought around by servers). Never did I expect to be sitting at a batizado, an epic capoeira event I can’t yet properly put into words, typing this entry. I can’t wait to see what other unexpected experiences I will have.


Now, all of that being said, I’m still going to search tirelessly for these amazing experiences, for the Christmas and birthday presents, I request. However, I realize that along my journey I cannot and do not want to avoid the experiences that are wholly unexpected. Even though I can’t exactly be sure if I’ll check off the few things on my hypothetical wish list, I know I’ve already checked some things off that I didn’t know were on my list. It’s only been two months, but I know that I’m no longer the young man that hopped on a plane to the one and only Brazil. I’m changing not only from the experiences that I expected to change me but from those that were entirely unexpected as well!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.