Good morning, everyone!
Yesterday I finally got the last document that I needed for my visa application (I should publish something somewhere about the Norwegian police and the two months it took them to print my criminal record certificate…), so I will be able to go to Brazil next Friday as planned! I bought my ticket in November, three weeks after starting the process of getting my criminal record certificate, and I thought it would be perfectly fine, but the only reason it worked out was because of the very, very, very friendly and helpful people at the Brazilian embassy, so OBRIGADÍSSIMA!
Anyway, as I’m leaving in a week my expectations are starting to build up. That makes me a little scared because I think that the expectations I had to my exchange in Portugal were part of what made me not like it (at first). I thought it would be like Brazil and of course it wasn’t, and I was disappointed. Once again I’m thinking that my exchange is going to be like my stay in Salvador (the Brazilian city I lived in during the second semester of 2013) and that can possibly make me dislike this new experience. São Paulo is definitely not Salvador, at least that’s what people say. When I say people, I mean everyone.
Salvador, August 2013
Expectations are a bad thing. We all have them, but we have to try not to depend on them. That will only make us disappointed and sad. That’s pretty much what I tell teenagers who are going on exchange with AFS (AFS Intercultural Programs, the exchange organization I used when I spent a year in Chile in high school). I’m an AFS volunteer and I’ve been volunteering on many, many camps that prepare exchange students for spending one year of high school abroad. The first step is to be aware of the expectations we have and then start to think that there’s nothing we can do to control what’s going to happen. Your expectations might be wrong, or right, but the safest thing to do is try to forget them and just live your experience. Maybe things won’t turn out the way you thought they would, but maybe that’s ok? In AFS we love to say:
It’s not bad, it’s not good, it’s just different.
It sounds like a terrible cliché, but it’s so right! Some aspects of this new exchange of mine might be exactly the same as they’ve been before, some might be completely different, others might be new.
From this moment on I will stop thinking about how everything is going to be and just enjoy my last days here in Norway with friends and family. Things will turn out the way they’re supposed to no matter how much I think about it and try to imagine it, so I will try to just let it all happen and then I will make the best of it, whatever it is. I promise. Stay tuned for my (new) Brazilian adventure!