Looking back on my first blog, my fears at that time were real and they eventually did come true. Language barriers, sharing a house with parents, not making friends and so much more that I hadn't even expected... What was most surprising, though, was the joy I would find in overcoming all of those fears. Living with Ro's family for the first year of our life was tough - but without them I wouldn't ever have learned to speak Portuguese (at least at the level I speak it today). I'm so grateful for that experience because it brought me closer to my husband - I was able to understand his family, his upbringing... be an actual part of his family. It's pretty amazing to have a true second family who think of you in that way too.
I didn't expect the amazing relationships that would come after the bumpy part of my solitary life. I needed to experience that time alone so I could appreciate even more when the friends eventually came. I will miss those friendships incredibly. Unlike any connection I've had - we bonded over our common experience of being a foreigner. And then we bonded over deeper things. We learned to be more open to different people in our lives. We learned to explore our own cities, and each others' cities, together and venture outside of our comfort zones. We learned that it's actually not so scary and it's 'cool' to be different.
What I complained about so much I know is all part of Brazilian 'charm'. How is it that what you once hate you grow to love? Even 'Brazilian honesty' just became a part of life and in the end, I appreciated it more than the alternative - silent opinions and insincerity.
Today I'm changed. I'm going home the same woman and an entirely different woman. More love in my heart, eyes much more open to the differences in the world, an incredible appreciation for family and my 'home'. The truth is I feel like we have two homes now. I feel a deep need to keep the Brazilian connection strong once we arrive, just as I worked to keep my Canadian one alive during our time here.
After all, I literally have something that is half Brazilian growing inside of me.
I guess what I have ultimately learned at the end of this journey is about creating my own happiness. There are moments (sometimes really really long moments) that seem to just drag you down and work against you. We all have the strength to get the hard times and the other side is often so much brighter. I've also learned that despite all of our worrying, things ALWAYS work out.
Because as the saying goes,
"Everything works out in the end... and if it hasn't worked out yet, then it isn't the end."Happy travels to you all! Thank you for all of the love and support each of you has given me. I couldn't have done it without you.
.... stay tuned for my new blog 'After Brazil'...