I figured I would set aside some time to give everyone an update since I’ve been MIA recently. I’d like everyone to know I’m alive and well, if not a little worn for wear.
To say I’ve been busy and overwhelmed with work would be an understatement lately, but ask and you shall receive right? I can’t even complain about it because one of my greatest fears about coming here was that I wouldn’t find work or enough work, at that. FEAR NO LONGER, humble friends. I have all the work I can handle (and then some).
I have 3 groups a week and about 8 individual students as well, at every level imaginable. This means I have to prepare classes from about 6/7 different books. Yikes. This has been the most challenging part of the whole thing. I’ve been brushing up on and conquering my English knowledge and feeling confident I can yell “Preposition!” or “Definite article!” at the drop of a hat and know exactly what I should be hearing from these people.
My students ages range from 14 to 65 (ironically these two are in the same class) and overall I enjoy most of them. I have beginners where it is a constant fight in every class for them to not use Portuguese and then on the other end of the spectrum I have a higher level student where we discuss the current political situation in Venezuela, in perfect English. So, you can see how I have my hands full, right?
My coworkers have turned out to be quite lovely people, but out of the 7 teachers I trained with, only 5 remain. The seasoned teachers have come to call me their “Walking Dictionary” and I’m in love with that. The hair-brained 18 year old American girl is gone and I’m back to my reigning position as #1 American, so I can’t really complain (neither can my ego).
So all in all, I’m in a good place. A tired, exhausted when I get home place, but albeit, a good one.
I made that promise when I first set my thoughts in writing on this blog over a year ago and I have been trying my best to stay true to it.
I don’t want people to think I don’t have doubts, because I do. Constantly.
Sometimes I wake up and physically ache with homesickness. There are moments in the quiet where I could swear that I’d give anything to be able to just sit with my mom for a minute. Just to be in the same room as her and watch an episode of Law & Order that we’ve already seen about 4 times. Wishing I was under a pile of blankets laughing while we sing along to the opening credits in weird voices.
There are times when I wish I could call my dad to ask if I could swing by the house, just to say hey.
I persistently think about how much I miss my dog and how I just want to run her ears between my fingers as she falls asleep in my lap.
So yes, I definitely have moments where I wonder if it’s all worth it. If these downcast days are a shadow of something more. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to terms that you have the right to be sad at times.
I have the right to almost mourn my old life, in a way. Because it was the end of a chapter and when I go back (whenever that will be), it will all be different. People will have moved away, changed, or moved on to their next chapters and I’ll have to accept that, just as they accepted my new adventure.
So what I’ve learned is that I can not only accept, but embrace these feelings when they bubble up at (usually the most inopportune) times. I will forever miss these people who were constant anchors in my life and it is perfectly normal to ache for them to be near me.
Being homesick is just realizing that home was an incredible place with irreplaceable people and for that I’m thankful.
Sometimes the only breeze you can get on a hot day is the exhaust from the bus you just missed.
It seems I’m stuck in limbo here. Politically and governmentally speaking, I’m neither Brazilian or American. Every agency seems baffled as to where to place me and each one seems to have a different solution. Go here, go there, run around the block 4 times and then you’re a real girl, I don’t know. I just want to work and it’s proving to be difficult. It’s threatening to send me into a full blown identity episode. (Why don’t I belong anywhere? Who am I? Who are we? What are people? You get the picture.)
After a trying day filled with jumping through bureaucratic hoops to get my workers permit, I have to admit defeat. So now I’m taking a breath and enjoying some açaí at a local juice shop.
Sometimes you have to accept those off days just as you accept the good ones, with a pinch of salt and a smile.