Shoot, man, my year in Belo Horizonte is officially over. To start this final post, below is a typed outburst of my glass case of emotion just before boarding my flight from Rio to Miami. After this beauty, will be a brief reflection on Reverse Culture Shock and what-not.
But first, to give you an idea of what my emotions were like just before leaving terra brasiliera, here’s a .gif of Ron Burgundy’s famous glass case of emotion:
This is take two of my departure blog. I wrote one before I entered the airport, and I have to admit that it really doesn’t hit you until you are in the airport. Word of the wise, if you ever spend a year away from home, don’t plan your return flight itinerary so that you have to spend TWELVE HOURS ENSEGUIDAS IN THE AIRPORT. Trust me, don’t.
I would have ventured out in the town, but I was anxious to get home, a little low on money, and Rio wasn’t sunny today, which probably means that Rio was sad I was leaving Brasil too.
Before I left for the airport, I’ve just been in a daze, like I explained in the previous blog, contrariada. Sometimes I would feel an overwhelming sensation of sadness, pura tristeza, because all of the sudden I had to depart from a culture, language, and people that I’ve grown to love. The classic Portuguese expression would be “O que é isso?” or my personal favorite “Como assim?” (they both mean how can this be?/this can’t be so!).
Before you know it, my friend Ana is taking a taxi with me to Pampulha Airport and we wait for the Conexão Unir bus to get to Confins Airport. We hug each other “see you later” and I enter that bus sozinha, just like how I arrived, only filled with many unforgettable experiences and hopefully a touch more of sabedoria (wisdom).
Suddenly, I’m here in Galeão about to board my plane looking at my departure Brasil Federal stamp in my passport. Side note about the Brazilian stamp, they need to make it prettier because Argentina’s and Chile’s is the BOMB.
For my last supper here I ate Bob’s burgers, which I don’t recommend eating before going on a nine hour flight because I ate too much and am a tad gassy…Luckily my plane’s pretty empty so I won’t be incomodando other people. During dinner I was almost crying, because I suddenly realized I will no longer speak in Portuguese 24/7. I suddenly realized that I can no longer eat pão de queijo every day. Suddenly realized that I can’t easily make a comment to someone standing by me without it being a “big deal” or without it being “awkward.” Seriously amurrricans we get a ‘lil too sensitive about awkwardness.
But then, I got thinking. I don’t need to be like this. I don’t need to sit here and freak out because all of the sudden I’m leaving a country I fell in love with. Why you ask? Because, claro, I’m about to return to another country I love, Amurrrrrica. USA. Boom. Pow.
My year away from the States in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil, have given me a better appreciation for the US. Not in an imperialist sense, but in a patriotic one. We amurricans actually do have culture believe it or not.
Yeah, believe it or not, we Americans have culture. We are super patriotic. We love joking about not taking showers…maybe that’s just me…and we’re super loud and sometimes sarcastic…sometimes we’re a little too politically correct…sometimes we love our donuts and fastfood…and my personal favorite, we actually do love bacon.
Like I said, that post is a bit arbitrary because it was simply written in a moment of extreme emotions in a sealed glass case. I’m happy to admit that despite my inner conflict, I was able to look at the silver lining and still be excited to return home, which brings me to my next topic, BEING HOME (which still faz parte of my glass case of emotion).
It’s been about three weeks since I’ve been home and fortunately was able to successfully surprise my younger sister, Sarah. For those of you who may be wondering, Monica, why on earth did you leave Brasil just before the World Cup? Well, it was to surprise my sister to attend her high school graduation (family first). It was totally worth it.
As for being home in general, the weirdest part is that nothing has changed. NOTHING HAS CHANGED. It’s as if I had never left, which is a key sign for anyone who is interested in studying abroad, especially those who want to for a year. Since there’s a slim chance to none that things at home will change, and that includes UW-Madison (I just visited this past weekend), you have nothing to lose.
And that’s how I reflect upon my year sabbatical. Yeah, I called it a sabbatical because it was a break from American culture. I spend a year away, change a lot, and come back home only to discover that I hadn’t really missed out on anything here in the U.S. My studies abroad in Brasil was a chance to acquire fluency in a different language. It was a chance to travel and meet people from around the world. And, most importantly, it was an opportunity to grow and mature. I have, if you can believe it, matured a lot during this adventure. I have developed an interest in literature, the arts in general, and just language over-all. How crazy is it, that some people in this world naturally speak, think, and write in Portuguese? How much I would give to be a native Brazilian Portuguese speaker. It’s beautiful and just unique and very expressive. Not to mention, Brazilian culture in general. Brazilian culture makes me so happy. You know, if Brazil and the United States combined all of the good aspects of their cultures, we would have one amazing culture and group of people, which…ahem…is obviously me*: genetically Amurrican and Brasileira de coração, my blood is red, white, blue, yellow, and green what whaaaaaat (which ironically includes Green Bay Packer colors and Cruzeiro’s, Go Pack! Nós somos loucos, somos Cruzeiro!).
That sums up my glass case of emotion. Very full of love for both countries, Brasil and USA. Very much full of eternal saudades whether they be for Brasil while I’m in the U.S. or for the U.S. while I’m in Brasil. The way I see it, is that now I have two homes-that’s lares in Portuguese, people!-I can’t help but forever share my experiences with friends and families for the years to come, because the fact of the matter is that my year abroad made a huge impact on my person. Thank you so much Brasil and brasileiros for helping me feel at home and showing my the liveliness of your culture. Brasiuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.
P.S. I’m choosing to deny Reverse Culture Shock because I dramatize enough of my life, so in that regard, I’m cool as ice and j chillin’ 24/7 until August 10 when I start my next adventure as a House Fellow. Go Badgers!
*Obviously I don’t think I’m the best person in the world, but just a forewarning: if you do study abroad or spend a long time in another country, you can’t help but become a better person.