The Start of a Journey to the Unknown

(this is my first report for my sponsor rotary club and district about my first 2 weeks in Brazil)

Setting foot at the NAIA was actually a huge wake up call for me that i am actually about to embark on a journey that is completely unknown and far away from everything I am used to be which i call A DREAM. It’s scary thinking that I have now to make decisions all by myself, but at the same time, it excites me, for the wonderful adventures I am to make in the future, for sure.

My journey of a day and a half to Brazil was too painful for me to think. I couldn’t bare imagining what wrong might happen in the airports, how I might feel unwell during the travel, and how lost i will be in the places i will go, and thinking aside being left by my plane, but when I got there in the situation, I really didn’t expect the turn of events because they all went out well and smooth for me except for the language barrier and baggage problem I had at the Guarulhos Airport. But staying focused and keeping calm all the time was key to the successful travel I had. Thanks to the advice of many, because it did work. I met a lot of people along the way, and the ones i will treasure the most are the 5 Taiwanese Rotary Exchange Students that I met at the Hong Kong International Airport and became my travel companions until destination, Sao Paulo, talk about the Rotary blazer’s magic and luck too! They provided me with a much needed reassurances that i am not alone by purpose amongst strangers.

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Hong Kong – Sao Paulo Amigos!

At one point, I couldn’t help myself not to feel worried and nervous at the thought of meeting my host family when landed, but the tiredness and discomfort for lack of proper sleep and a shower was overcome with great relief seeing in the flesh behind the photos and mails my host mother, Renata. The self-doubts all turned into calmness the moment i set foot at the Uberlandia Airport and into the reassuring smile and warm welcome of the first known person to take care of me in the hospitality of her home. Yet surprisingly, another unkown factor to hit me as a stranger in another land is the “winter” wind that blasted on my skin and down to my bones. Just as i got out from the airport, the chilly welcome alienated me as it caught me by panic in my “un-thermal wear”. Thankfully tho, i was checked in a hotel room to myself so i can unnerve me colds away, and since I arrived 1 in the morning and me and Renata wanting to take respite. After the short-but-enough-to-travel-again-rest, my first long roadtrip on Brazilian soil was awesome. The 3 hour drive to Araxa, my hometown for a whole year, is a wonderful experience in itself. I had lots to anticipate for having a glimpse of a different but interesting environment away from the country i lived in for the 18 years of my life. And when finally home sweet home at the apartment of my host family, my 2 siblings, Valentina and Arthur, greeted me like i’m one of their own. I could never ask for another little sister and a brother who is sad to say, will leave by the end of August as a RYE student to France, yet i am happy for him too that he may experience the same journey into the unknown that i am taking but in the long run will make him a better person as i am finding out for myself sooner than i expect. The initial awkwardness is a fleeting feeling as a genuine familial relationship became all at once a cozy work in progress with them. I’m just so grateful to belong in a community filled with a joyous and giving spirits. Brazil seems to overflow with a friendly atmosphere that feels like home away from home.

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Arrival at Uberlandia w/ my host mom, Renata

I was here for a week and a half already and everything is going from awesome to amazing. I get to take a tour of my beautiful city, had cinema, met the other inbounds and outbounds in Araxa, met my 3 other host families, ate lots of Brazilian foods (Filipino foods are still the best though!!), bonded with my host family, met lots of new people, and other overwhelming stuffs that enriched every minute of my stay here. I’m aware and reminding myself I still have to make some few minor adjustments to their culture, especially to their time since it is an eleven hour difference where i came from. I am just too ready and raring to go challenge myself further. There was a bit of a culture shock too because where i grew up, we are raised to be very conservative and soft-spoken in contrast to the Brazilian lifestyle of being straight forward and a bit loud, expressive and demonstrative people. But I am absolutely loving what i am discovering of my new environment here, they just make it easier for me to adjust faster because i don’t need to second guess how i should act or what to say. Everything falls into place even before i can entertain doubts and another culture shock attack.

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My First Host Family, the Almadas

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Some Inbounds and Outbounds of Araxa

This journey may be a completely unknown path for me to travel, but with such easy camaraderie and openness, i will definitely get to the destination where everything unknown to me will all be very familiar and feels like a second home. I may be lost sometimes, but there’s nothing to fear for Rotarians are always there to help me achieve our goals! So again, thank you, District 3820 and my Rotary Club of Lucena Circle family, for the endless support and guidance you all are giving me. This journey is ours to embrace and learn from.

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Send Off Party

Hello again folks! So right now I am just waiting for my guarantee form to arrive because it contains some of the important details about my exchange in Brazil like the date I should arrive there and other things that personally excites me like my host rotary club and my monthly allowance of course Hahhah but yeah, it’s the truth!

Story Time:

Last May 26, i attended a send off party for the 6 lovely exchange students here in my district. There were 2 from Spain, 1 each from Canada, France, Brazil and Switzerland which are all girls btw. And after i heard that the two guys from France didn’t stick it out to the finale and demanded to go home early for reasons like falling ill and the second wasn’t much happy with how things turned out for him. These are some of the set backs you don’t actually wanna hear because it makes you afraid of what you are about to partake. Honestly, there just comes a time when you overthink things, re-evaluate whether you made the right choice, and lastly, question yourself on how the effin’ F you got in this exchange in the first place because once you are getting much closer it just gets much scary and scarier (more than seeing my own selfies, so just imagine how horrifying that is), but there comes a time too when you just get so bored and can’t wait for the exchange thing to really happen, especially when your district or host family or fellow exchange message and contact you, so it’s much of a rollercoaster situation actually.

This is getting long and really boring buuuuutttttttttttttttttttt…

Sharing Time:

This Rotary Exchange Year, there will only be 3 of us outbounds. The two other girls, Zainnah (left) and Marielle (right) will be going to France. Marielle is more of like a party saver, as NOT expected, the party is kinda awkward with my not so outgoing personality, but i promise, I tried my hardest, some things just don’t work all the time. Marielle and I are actually from the same city and kind of have known each other for a long time, so it’s good that I have already someone to talk to throughout the whole party.

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I just stole this photo but heyyy it’s the 3 of us!

 

For the inbounds, there will only be two of them since the other outbound doesn’t have any counterpart. (sad, I know, but at least they will be in the same city and school) So it’s a French girl that i don’t know and a Brazilian boy who is my host brother actually. I dont think i will get a chance to meet him tho since we will be flying to our destination on the same date (from what i’ve heard only) but really wish to meet him, i’ll update you with that soon when we figure it out already.

Congratulations if you reached this far because i am not getting so motivated to write so who knows, maybe this would be the last?? —— ha! You wish. Get ready for another long and boring blog about my upcoming district-i-dont-know-the-event but i think we’ll cook so thumbs down! (because i dont cook) and thumbs up because i have another thing to write about.

 

Soon again,

Dome

Here Comes The Boom!

Hello Peeps! So i got selected in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. This August, I’d be flying to Brazil as an exchange student and live there for a year immersing myself in Brazilian language and culture. With this blog, i am planning to write and share everything i can regarding this very exciting chapter of my life. Besides, it’s a good past time to battle my 4 and a half long summer vacation here in the Philippines since our school year 2016-2017 closed in the last week of March.

I already have plentiful of information regarding my great Amazon to my Northeast Dream Trip adventure. I know about my host district and the city i’d live in, the school i’d be attending, met my first and second host family through the virtual world (who i am very excited to meet in person already!!), and talked to my district’s co-chairman where i learned quite a few of my activities i’d be participating with together with the other inbounds of the same district.

That’s all for now, writing you some more soon!

Tchau,
Dome