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Where in the world is Monkey?

By Alex Wesenberg
posted May 26, 2011

These last few weeks I have found myself at a stressful and emotional crossroads where I am feeling the responsibilities of my life in the United States take hold, while at the same time desperately trying to hold on to every waking moment that I have left in Brazil. Now that I have officially passed the 40 day mark in my countdown-to-takeoff, it seems that I have fallen into a violent tug-of-war.

The difficult reality is that in 40 days, whether I am still yearning to be in Brazil or not, I will need to begin my life in the United States. That calls for millions of e-mails between me and Mr. Navis, trying to make sure Im ready for my senior year. It creates a need to drop subtle hints to my Oshkoshianite friends, reminding them that I will be expecting a coming home party (that there was one of the subtle hints). It means signing up for volleyball camps and scheduling college tours. And all of this needs to happen while I am, at the same time, trying to fill up every moment with my Brazilian friends.

When I started this exchange, I thought that being forced to create a new life in an unfamiliar environment would be the hardest experience I would ever endure. Now that I have (not-so-gracefully) leaped over this first hurdle, it is obvious to me that I overlooked another obstacle of the exchange experience that is even more difficult leaving that new life behind. Imagining my fellow Londrinense classmates graduating from high school in December without me is now just as painful as when I looked through homecoming pictures in October.

I never imagined that I would become so strongly attached to any part of this exchange. Arriving in Brazil, I was missing my friends from Wisconsin and wondering how I would ever find my place in my new school. As I prepare to leave Brazil, I am already missing my friends from Londrina. Although it took me eight and a half months to accept it, Brazil (along with its culture and people) has slowly crept its way into the very person that I am today.

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