When I was asked to write about how it felt to be home from Brazil, I didn't quite know where to start. I thought long and hard about all that I had
experienced in my three months in Brazil. Many things had happened that I did not realize when I was there. Now, as I look back upon my travels and
experiences, I can now understand how significant they were.
Brazil opened my eyes to many new ways of life; things I never knew
existed. It gave me a greater appreciation for all the luxuries I have that I never truly appreciated. Brazil allowed me to see things from a different
perspective. I learned a lot about myself. I learned to test my limits and as I faced many obstacles, I feel that I learned many things and grew as an
individual. I could not possibly summarize what Brazil has given me, but I can say that I would not trade any of my experiences in Brazil. As I read an
email my friend sent me, this poem expresses what I cannot.
Cavafy - "Ithaca"
When you start on your journey to Ithaca, Then pray that the road is long,
Full of adventure, full of knowledge. Do not fear the Lestrygonians And
the Cyclopes and the angry Poseidon. You will never meet such as these on
your path, If your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine Emotion touches your
body and your spirit. You will never meet the Lestrygonians, The Cyclopes
and the fierce Poseidon, If you do not carry them within your soul, If your
soul does not raise them up before you. Then pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, That you will enter ports seen for the
first time, With such pleasure, with such joy! Stop at Phoenician markets,
And purchase fine merchandise, Mother-of-pearl and corals, amber and ebony,
And pleasurable perfumes of all kinds, Buy as many pleasurable perfumes as
you can; Visit hosts of Egyptian cities, To learn and learn from those who
have knowledge. Always keep Ithaca fixed in your mind. To arrive there is
your ultimate goal. But do not hurry the voyage at all. It is better to
let it last for long years; And even to anchor at the isle when you are old,
Rich with all that you have gained on the way, Not expecting that Ithaca
will offer you riches. Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage. Without
her you would never have taken the road. But she has nothing more to give
you. And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not defrauded you. With the great
wisdom you have gained, with so much experience, You must surely have
understood by then what Ithacas mean.
In late November,
we, the students of the Brazil 2001 term abroad arrived back in the United
States. It took me a while to
adjust to being back in New York City, especially after September 11th.
During the Winter break, I had the chance to see and feel New York
City’s situation after this disaster. Walking
along downtown Manhattan and other boroughs of New York City, I noticed how
patriotic the city of New York has been by seeing American flags hanging
everywhere and on anything. I was
amazed at how the United States, especially New York City was affected by this
act of terrorism. I talked to my
mother several times about it and she would give me extreme details on how New
York City was on September 11th.
New York City before September 11th and after September 11th
is completely different; it is reported that it would take roughly three or four
years to restore New York City.
Besides adjusting to New York City after the terrorist attacks, it took
me a while to adjust to being home. First,
after speaking Portuguese for three months, I had trouble saying a couple of
words in Spanish. I would be
talking to my mom in Spanish and then Portuguese would come out and my mom would
tell me that she did not understand what I was saying.
Other than talking to my mom, sometimes I find myself talking to anyone
The language barrier was something noticeable amongst my family, but by
the end of Winter break, I was speaking more Spanish.
As a person I noticed that I appreciate my mother and family more,
because being away from the people you love for a long time can affect someone.
I always knew that I was better off than others in third world countries,
but it completely hit me when I saw how favelados live.
I never saw this level of poverty in Honduras.
Even my mother agrees with me—especially after she saw pictures of the