There is so much more good in the world than bad. I feel stupid saying that I was afraid to enter Brazil. I was afraid of Southeast Asia and all of South America, I was probably even afraid of Europe the first time I went. I can’t help it. I hear the bad, I fear the worst, but everytime people are better than they are worse. In BA, we saw a young guy steel a woman’s bag. He ran by us and I could have reached out and grabbed him or tripped him, but the woman didn’t seem concerned, she was in shock. I didn’t know if it was her son playing a trick. One man chased the kid down the street, two others stopped to help. Mike and I watched the kid run back and pointed as we ran toward him. Another man grabbed him and held him while a couple more helped. All in all, there were 8 good for 1 bad. In Porto Alegre, 4 people told us to be careful, no people assaulted us. When we got to Florinopolis, we didn’t know where we were going or how to get in touch with Vivian, since our bus was 2.5 hours late. The taxi driver took us to a hotel to check our email, explained to the front desk guy what we were doing and allowed us to do it for free before driving us directly to her house. He never once tried to rip us off even though we thought he was at first. We never communicated in the same language and the entire time he was patient and helpful. Vivian, a girl we now call by first name was a complete stranger who let 3 travelers stay with her for free. She has taken us around and shown us her life here. People want to talk, they want to hear about your life and they want to tell you about theirs. Where there is communication there is peace, where there is understanding, there is acceptance. I cannot say enough good things about these homestay programs. I can’t even begin to explain how much understanding, compassion, and knowledge I have gained from traveling.
Each year I get these three months to stop my life and figure out how I have grown in the past year. I can insert and rearrange the things that I have learned and use this time to practice the things I want to get better at. It is like a very long New Years resolution. This year I see a definite transition from the self-consciousness of my earlier years, to an acceptance of the way I am. I think that goes along with our age group no longer being the future. As before there was a perception that I had to do something amazing with my life and that our generation had so much untapped potential that needed to be utilized, now I can just sit back and tap as much or as little potential as I want and let the kids have all the expectations put on them.