Things Draw to a Close

by Gabriel YerdongabeMy seventh month in Brazil is drawing to a close. When I look back to our orientation at Tufts and arriving in Brazil to meet the other Global Citizen Year fellows, it seems like a lifetime ago. I am having trouble grasping the fact that in two short weeks I will be leaving my host family. I will walk out of the gate and look back at my Brazilian family and my quaint little house, probably never to see either of them again.

During my time here in Brazil, I have often thought about what it was going to be like to go home, but now as that time approaches, I find myself lost in my feelings about it. My life has completely changed to fit into my Brazilian experience, becoming a completely different entity from my American life. How will I just jump back into my old life? Will I have changed too much to be able to slip back into the gap I left behind? Just thinking about leaving my host family, boarding a plane and finally seeing my family in the states has my stomach flipping.

As I ponder on the short time I am left with here, I think about how I can get the most out of it. This Saturday my host-mom is having a mini ice cream party for me as a send off. In return I hope to make a full course meal of American-only foods and desserts for my host-mom and host-brother. I also think of my family back in the US and am trying to find interesting presents for them, perhaps to try to share this otherwise inexplicable experience with them. Then I start wondering if I have explored enough of the island which I live on and start to plan additional exploratory beach trips nearby. Amidst all of these thoughts and apprehensions are thoughts of home in the United States, my family, my dogs and friends and how ecstatic I am to see them all.

I also am afraid of forgetting the things most important to me and my experience here. When I go into my volunteer placement at the wildlife rehabilitation clinic, I cannot help but wonder if I will be able to imagine the vivid colors of the macaws and the human like expressions of the monkeys ten years down the road. I have learned about such a great variety of wildlife here and have been able to take such great satisfaction in playing even a little part in their recoveries. Will the baby howler monkey I have built a relationship with remember me months from now? Because of this I have the urge to document everything I care about here before I leave, so that when my memory fails me, I will have pictures to help me recall the amazing time I had here. Here I am worried about forgetting Brazil when I haven’t even left yet. I think this sums up my experience fairly well. I have been various levels of excited to come home while in Brazil but I know how much I have enjoyed my time here because I am worried about losing this amazing experience even while it is still here around me. Leaving will be bittersweet for sure.

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