Reflections of the Journey..

Was it really only just over 48 hours ago that we left Porto Alegre? We were all sitting in the airport, pretty much all of us were feeling ready to return to our own lives, to see our families and friends.  Sure we were going to miss all our new friends, the experiences that we'd had... the eight days in Brasil had altered all of our lives.  Some of our perceptions had been changed, we'd realized how alike we were even though we were half a world apart, after our time there, our differences were so much less.





On our last morning, we'd had breakfast and left our mark in the Hostel, our group had been there and we wanted to be remembered.  Most of us had slept little the night before in hopes that we would sleep on the almost 10 hour flight that was coming up as we flew from Rio de Janeiro back to Atlanta.  There was air of sleepy, anxious and sadness all around.  We'd had an amazing adventure...

We went and had a final lunch at the ACM, some of the kids were tired of rice and beans... me?  I came home and found a recipe to make them... 



After one last walk through town, back to the hostel we left for the airport... it was time to bid Matheus and the ACM's of Porto Alegre good-bye for now.  The airport has a statue where we were able to get a final selfie as we got ready to go home. 




The flight to Rio de Janeiro was quick and we managed to get checked in without our translator, thank goodness we'd picked up enough to muddle through and for English speaking Brazilians.  After checking in, we had some dinner and waited... almost five hours later... it was good bye Brazil.






Boarding the plane bound for Atlanta our little band of travelers were starting to look so tired, ready for the journey to end.  Clad in our matching white Y shirts, we definitely made an interesting sight.  Yes we stuck out!

The trip to Atlanta had us all sleeping as much as we could and arriving so tired!  But getting more exciting by the minute, even with the adventure of customs and yet another trip through security, we'd never left an airport, but had gone through security three times at that point.  After breakfast, walking up and down the terminal, freshening up as much as we could in an airport sink with limited wrinkly clothing in our backpacks we were ready to go home!  That last few hours lasted as long the second flight... it seemed it would never be time to board the plane that would take us home. 

Most of us slept the final almost two hour flight, we were ready to be home and were so tired from the restless overnight flight.  As the wheels touched down in St. Louis, leaving Porto Alegre far behind, we were ready. 

It was so hard to keep our little group together for the final walk, everyone ready to meet their parents, their families.  As we cleared the secure area we were met by a small group of parents anxious to get their "babies" back.  I was proud of the ones who's parents were waiting a bit further away by baggage, they smiled and let pictures be taken before their own desire to see their parents overwhelmed them and they were ready to go. 





I understood their feelings, I was anxious to see Hubby too.  And as a parent, I know the incredible amount of faith, trust and prayer it took for each of them to release their babies to us to go on such a long journey. Especially as they'd hardly gotten a chance to know me personally before we left.  I was simply the pinch hitter brought in at the last minute to watch over their precious children. 

I am thankful they trusted me, I will always cherish this journey.  I loved the time with this group of kids, they are amazing and have wonderful, loving parents to thank for that.  They will make a difference in this world, I loved the late night conversations, hearing their plans for the future, what they were taking away from the experience we'd shared together.  

It was beyond incredible to listen to these young people that wanted an opportunity to return in the future. To continue to be a part of the Y world wide mission!  I don't know why I was chosen to participate, I do know that I will be forever grateful!  We are planning to get together for lunch before they all head off to college or their final year of high school.  I am pretty sure it won't have rice or beans on the menu... 

This morning as I woke up in my own house, my own bedroom with my boys near me... I was in awe how fast it all feels like it is fading... I realized it'd been almost 48 hours since I'd heard that sweet Portuguese language, since someone had said Bom Dia, since I'd uttered the last Obrigado...



This morning it was walking my boys in the steamy mid-western summer morning air.  It was watering my own mini-jungle... This morning was an early morning ride on the back of our Harley Davidson to enjoy my own country with the freshness that comes from returning from somewhere so different that home seems different. 

The connections aren't gone... I got a message from one of the kids on Facie Bookie this morning... this time in English, not Portuguese... "I enjoyed meeting you and I want to talk to you"... my heart jumped at this. It reminded me of a quote from one of my yearbooks decades ago... "If miles were measured in smiles, all the friends would be together in this world."  yep... I think so...

Tomorrow my world will return to normal. Today, I get to savor the sweet memories, miss our little group and shift back into my real life...

Popular posts from this blog

finding magic...

Counting blessings...

defining success...