Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Hardest Part: Saying Goodbye

The complete MHIRT Floripa '13 team with our mentors;
by far some of the most amazing people I've had a chance to know.
After nearly 24 hours of traveling around the world, I've finally made it back to my hometown (Cullom, Illinois), and the shock/realization of being back is starting to hit me. Once I got over the beautifully surreal nature of Floripa, it started to truly feel like home. From taking the buses and going to lab, to relaxing on the beach, eating pasteis, and speaking Portuguese, I realized how difficult it was going to be to leave at the end of our experience. 

Last week, with the help of my labmates, I completed my research project with Dr. Padua Antonio Carobrez. Over the course of the summer I was able to learn and conduct my own behavioral studies, after having learned the stressful surgical technique of stereotaxy. However, my experience in my lab extended far beyond simply conducting experiments. I had the incredible opportunity to learn about all aspects of Brazilian life from my labmates: Frank, Cris, Camila, and Karina. From going hiking and marching in protests, to having lunch and wandering through parks, my amazing labmates helped make my experience once-in-a-lifetime. 

Saying goodbye to all of the awesome people I met in Floripa was harder than I ever imagined. In such a short period of time, I managed to create amazing friendships that I'm sure will be able to withstand the distance between us. I also realized that someday, without a doubt in my mind, I will return to Floripa (once I learn a little more Portuguese). 

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