Today is June 30th. At 2:35 on July 30th, i'll be flying out of Minneapolis and spending the next ~24 hours sitting on various planes, getting lost in airports, and anxiously awaiting my arrival in Joao Pessoa, Brasil. I've imagined leaving so many times. I can see myself in my minds eye, sitting on a plane, watching the Minneapolis skyline draw further and further away, and probably making whoever is sitting next to me feel very uncomfortable by sobbing hysterically at the thought of not seeing my family and friends for a whole year. But I'm SO EXCITED!
I remember the day I found out I'd be spending the upcoming year in Brasil. It was the day before winter break and many of my fellow outbounds had recieved the letters informing them of their host country that day. There was no way I was waiting through the entire rest of the school day and my basketball practice to find out where it was I would be spending the next year of my life, so I skipped out of English class, drove home and opened the letter. I remember feeling dizzy, elated, and THRILLED when i read the word Brasil. I've definitely retained the excitement I felt that day, but now that my departure is so close its so much more of a reality than it ever was. Now I'm scared, too. But I should be. I have to expect parts of this year to be the most difficult times I've ever experienced, but I'm confident all the hard parts will be totally worth the overall amazing year I'm sure I'll have.
Everyday I think to myself how lucky I am to be going to Joao Pessoa. Rotary assigns each exchange student a host district, so we don't really have any say in where we go in our host county. However, if I myself could have hand-picked any city in Brasil to live in, there is a good chance I would have picked Joao Pessoa. I think its a good thing that I'm already so in love with my city, but I also don't want to have extremely high expectations...but Joao Pessoa is so much fun to just talk about! (which probably gets a little annoying for my family and friends...oops). Joao Pessoa is the eastern-most city of the Americas. It is 4 time zones away from MN and only 2 away from London, to provide a bit of a reference point. The neighborhood where I'll be living is right along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, and there are many beautiful beaches. I really want to take surfing lessons! Joao Pessoa is also the second greenest city in the world, after Paris, in terms of undeveloped forest land. Its a very tropical area as well, so the temperature consistently stays above 70 and below 90, which coming from MN sounds amazing. Although Joao Pessoa's population is 700,000 people (which seems fairly large to me), I've heard the city itself is pretty calm and safe. I've been in touch with a couple of my host siblings as well, and they are so nice and welcoming . I couldn't have asked for a better situation. I've just been waiting for something to go wrong! Anyway, I was going to try to keep this short and sweet, so....tchau! Let the adventure begin!