2023-24 Annalina OB Brazil Oct 2023

Oct 20, 2023

Hoje, 19 de Outubro officially marks my 2 months in Brasil! With this, I’ve learned two extremely important lessons:

1.) If you do not understand something, it is not your fault; you simply don’t understand.
2.) Just go for it.

If and when you do not understand something, ask questions. There is no harm in asking questions and this was something I was struggling with terribly. Presently, I still am, but I am making an effort to be more considerate about it. Me being a person who hates to be embarrassed, I never wanted to take the time and ask about a word or phrase I didn’t understand in Portuguese and I would simply smile and nod(this tactic is amazing sometimes, but seriously don’t do this), and this led to misunderstandings with both friends and family. Asking questions makes me so uncomfortable however in the end you get something good: an answer.

I believe my host brother and I have a great relationship, we treat each other as if we are real siblings which is awesome! In the first month, nonetheless, he asked me a very scary question, “Do you want to come to the gym with me?” At first, I was absolutely distraught. Me? At the gym? With strangers who speak an entirely different language? I’m horrified and that is a hard pass. What I was really afraid of, however, was being judged by others and/or have teenagers crack jokes about me because I didn’t perform a workout correctly. Knowing how gyms are with women back home, it was drilled into my brain that this was how the people in Brasil were going to be like as well. This in fact is NOT the case. Yesterday, I finally built the courage to say yes to his offer and all I could think about in school was, “Crap, why did I say yes?” Turns out it was the best decision I ever made. First of all I conquered my fear of being judged, secondly, everyone there was extremely friendly, and third of all, I made a memory with my host brother. Saying yes to this made me realize that fear can control you, but if you have ambition this can help you control fear.

Learning these life lessons has made me open my mind and resulted in my exchange becoming more delightful! Even my relationships with friends and family have gotten stronger! Furthermore, I have been having the most memorable time and in the span of two months, I already have wonderful school friends. What I adore most is that they do their best to include me in activities, and sometimes I feel like a true local. I would have never imagined that I would be spending my time after school hanging out with kids from Brasil. Even to have Brasilian parents and siblings feels like a fever dream too. It’s still hard to grasp the fact that this will be my life for one year, I mean how bizarre is that!

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