And just like that, I’m back in Nashville. My last week in Rio flew by with less than a blink of an eye and before I knew it I found myself packing my bags, saying goodbyes to the amazing people I’ve met, and boarding a plane back to the states. With as quickly as the time went during my last week in Rio, I was still able to enjoy some pretty amazing things and make some lasting memories along the way.
Early this week we took the kids to the Museu da Vida, of the Museum of Life. We are able to explore hands on, interactive science exhibitions, participate in group science experiments, learn about wildlife conservation programs in Rio, and explore an exquisite laboratory where vaccines were first invented. Although trips and topics like these are well outside of the subject and purpose I came to Rio to teach, I really enjoy getting to tag along with my students on these kinds of trips. It allowed me to get to know them better and be exposed to other ways that they learned. And, I won’t lie, it’s fun being the art teacher that the kids want to show the science lessons to.
As the week neared an end, myself and another volunteer started to plan some activities for our last day. You see, my friend Sheila and I have been working with the same bunch of kids for six months, and while we didn’t start on the same day, we were ending together. That being said, we only thought it appropriate to throw a small going away party. So, come Thursday we gathered with all the different groups of kids and program directors throughout the week. We made crafts, played games, ate Brazilian food, and just enjoyed each others company. Its hard to let go of a group that you have been working so close with for so long, but at least we all went out on bellies full of good food, laughs, and smiles.
The rest of my week was spent with the good friends, both old and new, that I’ve made along the way in Rio. We went to parks, hung out at the beach, ate good food, and stayed up way to late laughing. I’ve always been the one that had to say bye to everyone else. After all, I have been the “senior” in the house for quite some time. Saying good bye was always tough, but I still had Rio, I didn’t have to leave just yet. But there I was, Saturday afternoon, and I was the one actually leaving. It seems like six months would never end, and then all the sudden I was staring at a taxi waiting to take me to the airport, with bags in hand. While I’m home, I haven’t come to terms with my departure yet. I can imagine it will take me a while to adjust and settle back in. So much of my journey still lives vibrantly inside of me, even now at home, and I will find ways to integrate it in with my life in Nashville so as to not lose it. In the mean time, I’ll be working on getting back to life in Nashville and I’ll be back next week with one final update on how I’m adjusting to being back.