Sunday, August 17, 2014

O Brasil no meu coração

I write from my apartment in Nashville, thousands of miles from the beauty of Florianopolis and the total wonder of Brazil. As I readjust to life in the US, I reflect on the amazing trip I was opportuned to experience this summer. I have been welcomed each day by complete strangers, and offered myriad lessons in Portuguese, scientific research, and life, all wrapped into some of the best days of my life. I am forever grateful for those that have impacted my life in ways they may never know. My lab family at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina has been a reliable net of fun and productivity throughout my stay, offering up tutorials in lab technology or a strong cup of cafe just when I needed it. My days would not be the same without the shared laughs with members of Dr Beth Linder and Dr. Eduardo's lab. I am indebted to the Florianopolis mentors who all took time out to ensure our well-being and progress while in Brazil. I thank God for every stranger-turned-friend along the way.

A few lessons learned:

  • Make time to truly have lunch, or almoçar. It's the perfect break in a busy day. If you can, do it Brazilian-style, even in the US. That is, pile it high with plenty of variety.
  • When learning a new language, speak as if you know what you're doing. It's convincing, but always insist that native speakers correct you, even though they probably won't. 
  • A cup of café, or the unexpected excursion, are seldom to be turned down. Their effects will be keep you going when things are slow.
  • Be good to your lab rats, although they may not return the gesture. Digestion waits for no man, or researcher. 
  • Age is largely inconsequential, in matters of leisure and fashion. One can continuously grow more fabulous long after maximum height is reached. That being said, reserve your comments next time you scope Gramps in a barzihno
  • Make each day an adventure. Even if it means simply taking a bus to a part of town you have no real business in. You will find exciting new sites, and yourself in the process.
These and many more I have gleaned while in Brazil. This has been a truly remarkable year in my life, one of self-discovery and boundary-pushing. There have been so many firsts experienced, friends made, and memories shared. I can say that the love and energy of Brazil has spear-headed a new bold chapter in my life. As I now drown in saudades, I remain hopeful of my return. 

Do fundo do meu coração e além,


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