I believe in many different experiences. Experiences being each extracurricular event I participated in high school, every time I made a mistake and even the time I went to Europe. Each of these events has given me just a little more information on how to live my life happily. One experience that has recently made a difference in my life was being a Rotary exchange student in Brazil. Going to Brazil and being in a different culture and learning a new language showed me how new experiences can show me something I have been missing in life.
One night I was sitting at the dining room table of my third host family’s house with a group of my friends from high school. We had just been working on a project for our physics class. We needed to make circuits, using miniature light bulbs and wires. It was just a bunch of girls sitting around trying to figure out this project. As we were wrapping up and chatting as girls do, all of a sudden my friends broke into song. “Hoje eh um grande dia!” “Today is a grand day”, was what they were singing. Brazilians loved to sing, it came to them naturally, and the words just flowed together. They were just singing and that was when I realized that I was in Brazil. That was when it finally hit me; I had been in the country for over eight months and just then was when I knew the experience was real. I had learned Portuguese and was able to speak and understand Brazilians well. These girls had showed me what it was like to be Brazilian and I became so comfortable. When they were singing on that ordinary day, I realized that it all just happened in less than a year. I did not have any idea of Brazil before I got there and I was there. I had become so close to them and now only had three more months to enjoy listening to them break into song. I just sat at the dining table facing all three girls as they swayed back and forth taking in the spirit. I just smiled; that was how I would remember my exchange.
Brazil is a place with spirit, a place where I can go and just soak up life. I can picture my friends at that table every day now and remember I was there. Going to Brazil is just one of the experiences that make up who I am. I believe in experiencing as much as possible of any little thing.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.