So we've just finished our first week of working with our Brazilian students and let me just say: It's been so amazing.
I mean, how could it go wrong when 10 of your students show up at the airport wearing homemade tshirts that spell out "WELCOME CINDY"?!? Turns out they walked to and from the airport, in the middle of a Saturday, in the hot sun, to greet me. It seriously made my heart pitter-patter more than it has in a long time and I thought to myself, "If I ever, for one second, ever feel unloved or sad in my life, I just need to remember this moment". Because what a hello. There were so many hugs (and some tears of joy) that I felt like I was going somewhere I'd already been. I have felt such a lack of adjustment here because I felt like I just walked into a place my heart already knew, because of the people I've been preparing to meet. It was magical.
Since then, my week has just continued to remind me of the power of human kindness and unfaltering love. I went to church on Sunday and was encircled in arms of love. The language barrier is real, but it's amazing to see how speaking the same language isn't vital to communication.
Monday we had an opening ceremony for our program, where the students had prepared and made videos of us (which required a lot of serious Facebook stalking), and performed a variety of songs and dances they had been working on for weeks. I don't understand how all Brazilian humans know how to dance starting at such young ages, but they can move their bodies wayyyyy better than I can and I'm slightly ashamed and mostly embarrassed.
Classes started on Tuesday and it's been a whirlwind since then. The students are eager to learn and have reopened my heart to teaching in the best way possible. They are sincere and funny and fearless and I have been inspired by their commitment and their joy. They also get excited about their free snacks and so we have a lot in common. We really do just get each other.
Also last night we went to a motorcycle rally and white trash just really translated well into Brazilian culture.