Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Almost A Year Ago

Today is December 1st. I've been thinking lately that a year ago I was getting excited to go to the Country Fair and District Interviews and get one step closer to my exchange year. Now I'm here and I still have a hard time believing it. It all seems so unreal and yet so normal at the same time. As I've been thinking, I remember the night before Saturday December 5th, 2009. It was my birthday so my family and I were eating our traditional homemade chicken noodle soup and Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake. I don't remember if I had candles on the cake or anything, but I do know that before I went to bed, the only thing I wished for was that my interview would go well and I'd be on my way to any country that following summer.

When I woke up, I don't remember being nearly as nervous as I should have been. We loaded up in the car–Mom, Dad, and me–and I remember Mom and Dad asking, "Are you nervous?" and I told them, "Not really, I should be, but if I'm not the type of person their looking for I'm not that isn't going to change now."

This seems so much truer now. The interviews people are about to have this Saturday aren't like a chapter test where you can cram the night before and pass with flying colors. It's not even like a final where if you put in a good two weeks effort and you do almost perfectly. These interviews about being yourself and who you have been for the last 15-18 years of your life. Of course there are better ways to speak to people and treat other people, but there is no reason to be nervous. We'd all been training for this day, without knowing it, just by being the type of people we'd always been.

My life here isn't something I could have prepared for. Of course I learned a little of the language, I made myself aware of some of the customs, I learned a little bit about the history, but I couldn't prepare myself for how I was going to interact with the locals, how I was going to deal with people that dislike me, or how I was going to represent my country. Sure there are times when I am more aware of what I am saying and doing and I do it more correctly and politically correct, and of course I could always fake liking people, being happy, and being perfect. However faking things tires after about a day, imagine a year.

In the end, by being here, I've realized that I'm still me, I still get frustrated by the same things. I still put my family (new and old) before just about everything, I still am horribly optimistic, I still like to do things independently, I still procrastinate too much, and I continue to make the same faces at friends sitting across the room from me. There are somethings I've adapted to, but there are some things that I can't change in the blink of an eye even if I'm aware it's a bit of a problem. I guess it's becoming more about who I was and that becoming more prominent, than some big dramatic change of being for me. I'm noticing some of the characteristics I've always had and I'm becoming happy and comfortable with them.

So I guess what I'm thinking as I think about a year ago is that I hope you guys don't get too nervous, it's not a big deal. Be true to yourself, because Rotary isn't looking to lecture you on your values, but they are looking to see if you would make a successful youth ambassador and have a successful exchange. Imagine passing every interview and orientation and arriving in a new country and not enjoying yourself because you just weren't ready as a person. Everything is going to go great and picture it: in a year, you'll be in a different country, excited for, yet slightly envious of, the people that are about to start their exchange.

Good Luck!! Boa Sorte!!
I look forward to hearing where you are all going next year!

p.s. Brasil is by far the best country... soo, put it as you're #1. Just saying. :P


  1. Crazy! That seems like yesterday :) Hope all is well, it sounds like you're doing just fabulous!
    baci :)

  2. Aletha! I miss you! It's crazy that you have already been down there for 4 months!

  3. aletha! i miss you making faces at me across the table! :( :( :( :(

  4. don't worry i see grace and mary all the time and there making faces at me. and i also remember how fun the interview was.i never worry i knew you would do find. love u.s.a. dad