While the host was showing me everything, a cold wind hit me in my stomach and all I could think of was what all these people were thinking of me, how to memorize where the kitchen was, the bathroom, the bedroom and still understand everything that would be my job responsibilities!
The tour now over, I soon offered to do the job no one wanted to do: cut onions. I sat in the kitchen, volunteers suddenly popped up and we quickly had several helpers to prepare the evening dinner!
With eyes brutally burning, I began to chat with the people as they arrived to sit around the table. Bit by bit I understood their names and their stories as they presented them to me, but in the face of my own nervousness and the amount of info I was receiving, I could no longer retain one more piece of information!
I gradually began to understand that I was not the only new-comer, the only one that felt lost, much less the only one that was confused. My greatest sigh of relief came when a Brazilian introduced himself and promptly offered to help me! I asked him my questions and doubts (having arrived 5 days before, he already knew everything) and I breathed much easier.
I discovered that there were other Brazilians. I discovered that the non-brazilians would also open their arms to me. I smiled when they offered me a place at the dinner table (I was feeling very lost, like a kid who arrives in the middle of the semester at a new school).
I willingly offered to wash the dishes of a person waiting in line for the sink, and was met with a genuine smile of thanks! I met a very friendly English guy that energetically showed me how he did his job as a cleaning helper. I observed, I asked questions, I understood!
My Brazilian friend called me over to buy beer and I didn’t even think twice. I needed a beer after so many emotions! We sat with our English friend and soon the table was full. Fear was replaced with an indescribable joy! Misery disappeared with the first smile. Desperation was destroyed with a strong sense of confidence that this was the start of an incredible adventure!
We drank beer, played pool (I pretended to play, but they went easy on me), we played that little game with the stick that nobody knows the rules to (we made them up and changed them every second, leaving our English friend very confused), I had fun, met incredible people, breathed easy, I took a (lets just say - much appreciated) shower, and now I’m going to sleep… because this was just the small beginning of the huge adventure that is to come!
Will you join me?