I vaguely remember who I was before I left home 11 months ago. I was normally happy, fairly stressed out every once in a while, and I was a nervous worrywart. But the question isnt 'who were you?' it is 'who are you?'... Who am I?
Well my name is Aletha Rose Duchene, I am 19 years old, I have 2 sisters and 1 brother, and I am the daughter of Mark and Theresa Duchene. Simple enough..? No. I am also the filha of Suedir and Ederly Ribas, Carlos e Márcia Scholz, & Nildo and Maristela Queiroz. I have 2 irmãs and 5 irmãos. I have no permanent residence. I fluently speak Portguese and English and sometimes I find myself using Google Translator to translate words to english so I can speak with my friends and family back home. I am excepcionally happy, always. I am the gringa. I am more adventurous than I have ever been. I have stopped worrying and have started putting my faith into things. I have tons of friends from all over the world. I am from the United States of America, but I feel like my soul is half brazilian and always was.
When I left for Brazil and while I was living in the States, I had a very set idea on life, where I wanted to go, what was wrong and what was right, and I had very little tolerance for people I deemed hoodlums. Everything has changed. My point of views on things that I had given no wiggle room, are now things that I understand and that I have even put into practice. For example, I used to think it absurd to stay out past 1:00 a.m. because it didn't make sense to me, I mean what good comes about at that hour. I believe that the past week I have not been home before one, and if I have it has been an early night. There are also other items where I was more tolerant back home and now it just seems ridiculous to me now.
I have changed a lot, and I will be the first to admit it, but in some ways I haven't changed at all. I guess that is all part of growing up, but I also feel like it has such a deeper level to it because not only was this a year of growing like any normal young adult, but I also did it in a completely different culture. I don't know how to explain it, but I know that it would be IMPOSSIBLE for me to return home without having changed at all. I can't begin to imagine it. My eating habits have changed, my hair and nail care habits have changed, even my idea of fun has changed a little bit.
Overall, I don't think i'll be the most recognizable person when people are getting to know me again, but I'm sure they'l find me just as pleasant as before, or so I hope. I am happy with who I am and the process it took to get here, and I wouldn't change anything for the world.