Saturday is the two week mark of being home.
I know I have so many things to write about in regards to Petrolina and Brazil and all the many beautiful and wonderful and hilarious stories from my time there, but tonight I want to get out some of the more raw feelings I've had since returning.
Every time I've gone abroad for any extended amount of time, I come back disheveled. The adjustment upon returning is always more difficult than the adjustment when leaving, and I'm only now starting to understand myself enough to acknowledge the feelings I'm having and why I might be having them.
The 2014-2015 school year was one of the tougher years I've ever had, with insecurities and realizations hitting me harder than I was expecting, and knocking me down more than I wanted to admit. It made me question myself in ways I never anticipated, forced me to prove myself in less than ideal situations, and ultimately led me to say goodbye to students I love with my whole heart. It chewed me up and spit me out. My spirit was broken, my future uncertain, and my heart bruised.
Then Brazil came along. Brazil was beautiful. Brazil reopened my heart. It took me in its arms and held me fervently. It allowed me to return to my truest and purest self. It reminded me of why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place. It introduced me to powerful and loving humans who continually inspire me with their goodness and light. Brazil gave me new best friends-some of whom, yes, might be in high school in Brazil-but when you genuinely love and support each other, friendship happens. Learning happens. Connections are made and the cushion of their love makes you wonder how you ever lived without them. Fears subsided because you knew they would be there to catch you. Brazil was there for me, accepting of my mistakes and encouraging me to keep trying.
It was everything I needed at just the right moment. I don't doubt the timing of this gift.
Which makes coming back to reality a little more difficult. I want to talk about my new friends, my students, and my experiences all day long because they changed me. I want to pretend to know Portuguese to hold on to memories of sitting and talking to friends in the hotel lobby for hours on end. I want to shout from the rooftops when I see people taking risks because it is hard and they are doing something hard and it reminds me that we all can do hard things (even me).
But I also want to keep moving; keep progressing. I came back and immediately started a new job, tornado-ing me back into the game without much breathing room. I am constantly reminding myself that I need to take time to savor moments-both my memories from Brazil and the new memories I'm creating every day.
It's getting to the point in time when it all feels like a dream. I ask myself if I really did it...did I really do it?!
I did it.