By Aberdeen Bird
Growing up in a family of six, with three siblings, I thought I was accustomed to being a sister. What I couldn’t have known was that Brazil would bring me a younger sister. I knew it was a possibility but I hadn’t contemplated it that much. Biologically I have an older sister, an older brother, and a younger brother. Now, experientially and host-family wise I have a younger sister.
The experience of having a younger sister is entirely new and I’ve entirely loved it. She’s weird, funny, supportive, smart, annoying (if I hear the song “Dear future husband” sung one more time at top pitch I might pull my hair out), fifteen, beautiful, and one of my best friends. She’s all that I could hope for a younger sister to be.
Upon first arriving to my homestay we were strangers, now I find it strange that she was ever not my sister. In fact, I’m sitting on her bed writing this post. Having a younger sister is much different than having a younger brother. From my new position I’m seeing lots of my past self appearing in her actions, her worries, her every day high school experiences. I never expected our sisterhood to be such a reflective period of my life. I now have a better understanding of perhaps what my older sister has experienced watching me grow up. Sometimes you can give the best boy advice in the world, knowing that it won’t be heeded, watching as the situation goes up in flames, and all you can do is just shake your head and be ready with open arms.
Every day I am astounded by how mature my younger sister is and how much wisdom she already has. She is often the one giving me advice. She helps me with Portuguese, we terribly sing Abba at the top of our lungs, we have movie nights with popcorn, we walk to town, we’ve done a lot. I can’t tell you how many dishes I’ve washed by her side this year followed consequently with fights to the death by flicking wet dish towels at each others’ legs. There is no way I can express my gratitude at having a younger sister. All I can say is that she’s been an integral piece of my experience in Brazil and that even though we aren’t connected by blood, we are just as close.