As the summer comes to an end, I look back to the amazing summer I’ve had and I feel so blessed– so blessed to have been able to see good friends from far away, to have made new friends from all over the world, and to have witnessed so many different places/cultures.
I know how very lucky I am to have had the incredible experiences I’ve had.
From showing Morgan, Zane, and Dave around NYC, getting to walk at graduation with my best friends/ shawts, spending a few days at the Outer Banks with people I shared 4 years with, having Chris drive 8 hours to come pick me up, finally meeting his sweet girlfriend Rachel, learning how to teach yoga in India (thanks mom and dad!!!), spending a much-needed week with Erisee, seeing Dave and Olivia at the Jersey Shore, and of course to falling in love with the beautiful country of Brazil with my grandma– I have made life-long memories this summer that will stay forever in my mind and heart.
I’ve always thought of traveling as the best way to grow and learn and this summer I’ve learned so so much: that I really need to work on my patience, that sometimes you have to let people who drain your energy go because you can’t change them, and that what is meant to be will be if you let them. No matter what, always be positive (or at least try) and also always have an open heart. When you are calm, a sense of peace and tranquility will follow you wherever you go– no matter what situation you’re in. Others can pick up on your vibes and will in turn reciprocate your energy; when you are kind to others, others will be kind to you (the golden rule we all learned in grade school is still valid!!).
Before heading to Brazil, I got kind of worried; all of the horror stories I heard about– people getting robbed and girls getting raped– I was going to one of the most “dangerous and violent” cities in the world, where most people do not speak English, with my 84 year old grandmother.
But it is because of this trip that I now truly believe in guardian angels. Every person Lao and I met had the purest of souls and the biggest of hearts. From the flight attendent who could speak a bit of Chinese (who’d of thought) that walked us to the correct bus stop we otherwise would never have found, to Ron– the amazing owner of the aprtment we stayed at in Rio who went above and beyond, answering all of our questions, pointing out must-see spots, and making sure the favela tour took extra good care of my grandma, to the spunky, outdoorsy couple who invited me to join them on a beautiful 6 hour hike on the little island of Ilha Grande, to the small group of travelers who made Mango Tree feel like a home, and (take me back!!) to the gorgeous guys on boats who hooked it up– giving us free desserts and carrying our bags– all of these people proved the rumors I’d heard about Brazil to be false.
The list doesn’t stop there: the adorable couple who met studying abroad in Philly now living together in Brazil and their sweet friend from Germany paying them a visit who offered me amazing tips and showed me that teaching English in Brazil is a viable option. The first Brazilian friend made in Brazil who showed me what Chopp was and bought me a banging bowl of Açaí. The fun radical lady and her friend who took me to a late night Samba dance party held in a wine shop . The world-traveler from Argentina who confirmed that if you have the passion for traveling you can do it for life… or at least until you get sick of it (as if). The kind old man who I could not understand at all who was trying to tell me I had dropped 50 Reals. And the list goes on!!
Not only were we blessed with encountering only the best kinds of people, Lao and I lucked out on blue skies, summer heat, and crisp air even though it was Brazil’s winter. Everyday we spent in Rio was glorious and the views from atop were all so spectacular. The sun cast the biggest rainbows over the magnificent Iguazu falls on both the Brazilian side and Argentina side. The turquoise water of Paraty so clear as it was illuminated by the rays of sunshine on our boat tour. The sight of a shooting star in the twinkling night sky while over-looking the marina at Ilha Grande was the cherry on top of my 2 weeks (because my wish came true)!
Continuing friendships from different continents and keeping these memories close to my heart makes my desire to go back to Brazil that much stronger.
But for now I have to finish up my last 2 classes which I’m actually pretty excited for! I’ve started an internship with Urban Yoga Foundation– a non-profit yoga organization that introduces the benefits of yoga to the Harlem community, a waitressing job in SoHo at Wild Ginger– a Pan-Asian, all vegan resturant, and hopefully another internship as a social work intern with South Bronx United– an after school program that uses soccer to inspire at risk youth. Through visualization and not letting others tell me my goals are out of reach, I am proud and satisfied with what I have achieved. I’m ready for my last 4 months of school EVER… and I know for sure I would not be where I am today without the support and love of my family and friends so THANKS EVERYONE!! ❤