By Pedro de Freitas ’19
December 23, 2015
I’m here in one of the biggest airports in the world. I have to admit I got lost again in this place that looks more like a city than an airport. I’m still impressed by the differences from home – and mom, I’ve got to tell you, everything here is really different. The size of portions is still huge, vending machines that sell iPhones are still scary to me, and the train that transports people between gates impresses me. During this 4-hour layover, anxiety has taken control of my mind, again. The time doesn’t seem to be passing – so it seems like a perfect time to reflect on my experience from this semester.
Dear mom, don’t expect the same me. When I get home for the break, it will be shock for both of us. When I left Brazil 4 months ago, I had no idea what studying abroad really meant. As expected, language was a huge barrier. Getting to the US for the first time and not understanding what people said was extremely challenging. At that time, I wished a thousand times that when I opened the door of my dorm you were there – just to tell you about how tiring adapting to the new environment was. Mom, I was able to spend almost a month without understanding English. I didn’t freak out. I didn’t even consider giving up. I didn’t think I would never learn. I believed I was capable, just like you always told me I was, of overcoming this obstacle – and now I don’t accept it when anyone tells me I can’t do something.
Right now, I still wish you were here, but for other reasons. I want you to see how I evolved from a lost guy to an independent one in just a semester. Of course I still haven’t excelled at taking care of my house chores. And I think you will never understand how difficult it is to keep my half of a 9 square meter bedroom clean and organized and my trashcan and laundry basket empty. I definitely failed at that. But you would be impressed by how I changed my ways of facing problems. Optimism has become an important word in my vocabulary. Now I see the best side of every problem. For example, now when I see I’m way older than others in my class, I can only think about good facts about it – I can buy legal beer, I can make more well thought out decisions and I also know better what I want for life. When I saw that, in the first weeks, I decided to drop my CS class because it was too much for me, I can only see that it made it possible for me to take French – and this reminded me how I love studying languages. Even the distance from you has some bright sides.
When I get home for break, it will be all about news. I will tell you every single detail about the academics, social life, trips, and friends. We will go to the beach probably more times than we ever did. We will definitely appreciate family time way more than we used to. I will also bring new perspectives about what happiness means to me. And I am extremely positive that family and friends top this list, possibly followed by speaking Portuguese 24/7 and our amazing culture.
Now I dream that we can share more of these moments together. I look forward to the day that you will come visit some of the places I’ve been to and be part of more moments with me and our family. I’m really excited for this break and I’m looking forward to hugging you all!
Hi, my name is valdelino Lourenço. I’m a guy from Brazil too. Man, I loved to read your post. It was motivating. The point is I would like to go to US some day. I’ve been looking for scholarship programmes since the biginning of the year. I hope I can realise this dream.
Great text! ️️You are a great writer! Looking foward to reading New posts of yours!
Heartfelt, honest, relatable. Thanks for sharing, Pedro.
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