Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Returning to Brazil, thoughts on Leaving - by Paula

Well the container is loaded and on its way to the port. Our suitcases are mostly packed, just a few let over odds and ends that need to be stuffed in somewhere or left behind. It's a weird feeling saying good bye to everything I've ever known. 

We have waited over six years for this day. Worked toward it,  sweated over it, wondered if it would ever come and now it's here. Where did the time go? I'm not sure I'm ready for this and yet I've been ready for years.

I know I'm not the only one to ever leave my home country to live in another country but I never realized it'd be so hard. We all have seen pictures and read stories of immigrants, I even know several expats myself. This is something no one ever talks much about.

I could leave easier in the winter I think because I don't enjoy the cold weather much after December. Maybe. But I find myself getting sentimental about every little thing. How sunlight gives off tiny rainbow flashes when it touches the dew laden grass or the joyful chorus of birds as they give thanks for another day. It's like I'll never see or hear these things again, each moment is precious and I try to lock them in my memory forever. 

Yet I know that the country that will be my new home is incredibly beautiful. I've been there and fallen in love with it. There will be new sights to see and new birds to listen to. Winters are not as harsh there and I have important work to do there. I'm excited and scared. What if I can't learn the language? What if people don't like me? What if I become wildly successful in the work I am called to do? What if...a gazillion other what ifs swirl around in my head. The unknown can be so intimidating. 

I don't want to make mistakes, even though I know I will. Somehow, making mistake in my own culture seems less awful than making mistakes in a culture that I don't know. I guess because in  my home culture I can figure out how to make amends but in another culture I may end up making things worse just out of pure ignorance. If I was a child it would be easier because people cut children some slack. They're expected to make mistakes but adults aren't given that grace. We're expected to know how to act and what to say even when we don't. 

But the really hard part is saying good bye to the people who are a part of my life. I said goodbye to my best friend and her family. We almost teared up but managed to put on brave smiles for each other. Then I said good bye to my only son. He's grown now but my mind went back to his first day of kindergarten when he looked up at me with his big blue eyes and asked in all seriousness," Mommy, who'll take care of you while I'm gone?" Geez, I managed not to cry when we parted ways but now I can't stop the tears and I still have to say good bye to my daughter and parents.

I'll be glad when we're finally on the plane and flying over the Amazon. Then I can stop saying good bye and start saying hello to new friends and my new life.