I should have known I’d lose my heart.

My sojourn in Brazil is nearly over.

Last week, we finally wrapped on Project TALK.  After six weeks of cultural presentations, group discussions, and partner banter, we threw a two-day Global Village wherein there were…more cultural presentations and banter.  World War What-Number-Are-We-On was in full force between Ciarán’s UK and Matthias’ Bavarian Germany, whilst Klára and I, the neutral powers, handed out local sweets from our countries (dried mangoes from me and a veritable smorgasbord of wafers and cookies and candies and cola from her).

Global Village was quite a bit challenging for me, since I had to compress six weeks worth of presentations into a ten-minute (or so) spiel on “Why you should choose the Philippines.”  I managed, with help from a playlist full of Mikey Bustos, Apl de Ap, and of course some lovely videos I ripped from the official Department of Tourism Youtube account.

My voice is still run ragged from my vaguely palengkera antics (“Bili na, suki!  Sige na, bili na!”) at the GV, which ranged from calling people over to listen to my presentation, to singing Hinahanap-hanap Kita over and over, to performing “live tutorials” on Filipino soap opera conventions and photobombing methods.  I even got my Shamsey Supsup on with a demo on the Philippine Beauty Queen wave and what I could manage of her infamous “tsunami walk” (I definitely looked like a natural disaster.).  All’s fair in the name of love for country though: as long as I got some interest in my 7,107 islands (with its virgin beaches and amazing food, two of the most popular selling points), I don’t really care if I made a fool of myself.

…which I probably did, really.

After the last day of Global Village (last Thursday) and before the semi-long holiday in honor of Mothers’ Day and Maringá’s founding, we had the first of a steady stream of goodbye parties that stretched out over the weekend.  The Brazilian flags the co-intern Family and I had purchased, with help from Wilson, a few days before had their moment in the limelight, getting passed around and signed and really, it’s taking all my self-discipline not to start reading all the messages already.  Thays, our boss, hasn’t signed it yet, though: she’s saving her messages for tonight, the final goodbye party before Dad, Mum, and Ciarán hightail it off to Rio without me.

#laslaspulso (For my international readers: #slashwrist)

I’ve probably consumed the most amount of food in the past couple of days than I have in the last six weeks, owing to all the farewell parties.  When it comes to desserts, I usually get my sweet-toothed brother to split with me, but with food, well, let’s just say I become a true Filipino.  It doesn’t help that this weekend all four of us were invited to not one, but two family meals: a barbecue at Santiago Querol’s house on Saturday, and a Mothers’ Day dinner at Magda Salin’s on Sunday.  Meeting the families of our students hasn’t helped alleviate the growing feeling of sepanx (‘separation anxiety’)–everyone was so warm and obliging, and Magda’s grandmother even said goodbye by swearing she’d adopted all of us as her own.

Speaking of SepAnx, I think I have the worst case of that theatrical tradition ever, more so than the last time I spent six weeks (well, eight) on a project: Paris 1832, four years ago.  In many ways, Project TALK felt a lot like a show run: six weeks of being thrown together with complete strangers who, by the end, feel as close as you can get to an actual family without being actually related.  The feels are so overwhelming that I’m constantly afraid of crossing the line into outright soppiness, though the amount of times I’ve ‘daughter-hugged’ Matthias probably gave the game away ages ago.

We had our last official “family outing” yesterday, at Expoingá, the county fair to celebrate Maringá’s founding.  It was more like a trade expo than anything else, but there was an amusement park for us “kids.”  We ended up standing in line for two hours just to ride the most terrifying theme park attraction I’ve ever gotten on in my life (chosen, of course, by my daredevil brother), while Dad filmed the whole thing.

Best soundbyte?  Mum: “Frankie doesn’t look so excited.” Dad: “She looks really happy!”

I’ll probably post a video blog featuring that footage really soon, but for now, most of my time’s taken up in spending as much time with Dad, Mum, and Ciarán as possible, which usually entails consuming an unhealthy amount of food (we’ll be going out for cake at 2PM) but then again, a family that gets fat together, stays together.

…Or not.  Since, you know, they’re all leaving tomorrow evening.

*sigh*

In hindsight, I guess I should have known I’d lose my heart, at the very end.  You can’t practically live with a bunch of people for six weeks and not have some degree of connection with them.  My time in Brazil has been a pressure-cooker for friendships.  In some ways, the people here know more about me than quite a few people back home (with the exception of Maman, of course), some of whom I’ve known all throughout uni.  Maybe it’s the over-sentimentality that comes with a girl’s first time traveling the world on her own, but I’m really going to miss this experience: the places I’ve been, the things I did, the sights I saw, and the people I came to know and love.

I’ve made a home for myself here.  I really have.

Well, I’ll not say more.  Instead, here’s an AVP I made for the final Global Village: a sort of retrospective on the last six (well, technically seven) weeks we four interns spent in Brazil.  I’ll let the pictures and video clips speak for themselves.

Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to go break out the Kleenex and bawl.

~NC

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