On Sunday, I went to a barbecue hosted by my sponsor Rotary district: 5450. It was for all newly inbound students (the people for the other districts around the world that are living in Colorado for their exchange year), their host families, outbound students (people like me from d.5450 going to different parts of the world for their exchange year), and rebound students (people who are also from d.5450 but they went on their exchange in previous years and have returned).
I was talking about going to this barbecue with my mother and she offered to go with me. I was kind of nervous. I wouldn’t really know anyone, except for Rotarians and one other outbound student beside me. So I was happy that Mom was going to come with me. But then I realized that I was about to leave to a country that I know next to nothing about without my mother to hold my hand. So I told Mom that I was perfectly fine and I would go to the barbecue alone.
I put on what I’m starting to call my “Brazilian face” and pulled up to the park and went up to the first ground of people I was and introduced myself.
It turns out that this was the first time all the inbounds had met each other, too, so I wasn’t the only awkward person who was unsure of what to do and talk to.
I have to say, I am soooo happy I went to this barbecue. I met so many nice people, including three girls from Brazil. I already knew two of them virtually, but I didn’t know that until I got there and started talking to them. One of them, Mary, is from Natal, the city I am going to once I get my visa. I also met a boy who went to Brazil last year – one of the rebounds. Sydney was also there. She is one of the three of us girls from Colorado d.5450 going to Brazil still waiting for her visa.
I asked the Brazilians what I should bring with me to Brazil. What item was so simple that they all know what it is but I have no idea? It turns out the answer is… wait for it… Mac n’ Cheese!
I’m not kidding. Like, Kraft Mac n’ Cheese. Now I am the proud owner of two five packs of Kraft Mac n’ Cheese that have been carefully placed in my suitcase, ready for the trip to Brazil.
I also spoke to Kimberly, a bigwig in Rotary, during the bbq, and she told me that the girl going to Turkey from d.5450 received her visa and was out of the country within twenty four hours. The kids exchanging in Turkey were having just as much trouble getting their visas as the kids exchanging in Brazil. And now she’s there! Wow! So apparently I need to be packed and ready to go!
And that’s not even the best part! On Monday, Sydney texted me saying that she had just gotten an email from the travel agency telling her that she had been approved for her visa. The travel agency would overnight it to her, along with her passport, and she could leave to Brazil any time after Wednesday. She left yesterday! As in Thursday, August 27! YESTERDAY!
I submitted for my visa about a week after Sydney submitted for hers. I am very hopeful that I will get my visa early next week then. Fingers crossed.
Right now I have one suitcase packed, and one full of things that I need to put in an orderly fashion so I can close it when I receive word. Unpacked is about a week and a half’s worth of clothes that I can fit into a suitcase that can be carried on, so I don’t need to worry about packing it last minute. I am driving Paige, my sister, crazy, since our room is completely trashed. All of my winter clothes have been placed in boxes and put in storage because the next time I will need them is going to be in Ohio 2016. I’ve taken all of my posters off from the walls so Paige can use the wall since I’m moving out for five years except summer (for the foreseeable future, at least).
It seems like my adventure might actually be close to starting. I can’t wait!
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Getting scary-close! Eeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
This former Rotarian salutes you and your family for embarking on this great adventure. Stay safe, stay brave and let us know what strikes you as compelling when you reflect on your day, your week, your month in Brazil.
So excited for you. Have a wonderful time! Can’t wait to hear your adventures in Brazil!
So many great adventures lie ahead!