Written by: Thiago Negrão Chuba
Only a New Beginning
The last day as Youth Ambassadors. The last day as a group. The last day as a family.
Definitely, it is hard to write about our last day together. It was not as sad as I thought it would be – it was the opposite: the group union makes me believe that in a short time we are going to be together again ready to do everything one more time.
Today it all started on the plane, on the Miami/Brasilia flight. Some of us slept, other wrote down memories and many people enjoyed the moment to the maximum. As soon as we arrived in Brasilia, approximately 10:00 AM, and went through the Brazilian Immigration and Customs, we were welcomed by Carla, Susan and Conrado, amazing people from the U.S Embassy.
At this point, one by one, it was necessary to say goodbye. All the flights to the different cities were distributed all day long, so some people had to go sooner than others did. I took my plane somewhat late: my flight was scheduled for 06:50 PM. It was almost 8 hours together – and we enjoyed this time to laugh a lot.
In the evening, Marcia Mizuno arrived in time to see some of us, which was amazing! We really need to say how grateful we are to that amazing woman that helped us to make our dreams became true.
Finally, it was time to me say goodbye. I had to check-in and go to the boarding gate. The hugs were warm. Unique. Most of those I am never going to feel again.
The tears we shed were sincere.
I left, without enough courage to look back. One of the most important lessons that I learned was that it is impossible to move on without finishing what we are doing. This means that we need to complete this experience before starting the next one. Furthermore, we never say goodbye to people that you really care about: you just say, “See you soon”.
To be a Youth Ambassador does not only mean going to another country to represent Brazil to learn more about the foreign culture and after that to share our new knowledge in our communities. It does not only mean visiting amazing places and meeting people that you are never going to forget. All those things are truly important, but more than that, to be a Youth Ambassador is to transform and to connect with yourself. We are not the same people who left home one month ago. We have evolved, we have improved ourselves. We made very strong friendships here. That is why this experience cannot be compared to any other.
When I arrived at Curitiba, I had a big surprise awaiting me: an entourage of my family and friend came to welcome me! I have no words to describe that moment. A lot of things to say, a lot of things to share, a lot of pictures to show! This is going to take some months. Maybe the memories are going to stay for a few years. However, the changes in myself are going to last forever.
That is why the last “See you soon” is not the final phase. It is only a new beginning.
The last words? Paul McCartney already knew those. The name of the music, curiously, is “The End”:
And in the end,
The love you take
Is equal to
The love you make.
Written by: Sara Cantarin
Saturday, the last day of the program. We woke up exhausted because we spent the night packing to return to our beloved country. Early in the morning we had breakfast and went outside of the 4H for a closing ceremony. We made a circle and tried to light candles, but the wind and cold were too strong. Each young ambassador said what he was feeling at that moment, and how great our participation in the program was. I loved being involved with other cultures and other people, loved learning, and certainly from that whole experience, my life was completely changed.
We finished our closing ceremony, and we picked up our luggage. On the way to the airport, we had lunch at a mall near the Pentagon. We spent two hours at the mall before heading to the airport. Those were our last minutes, our
last moments together.
We went to the airport, we checked-in and made a queue to say goodbye to each staff member, who accompanied us on the entire program. They were the best in the world, the hottest, the most creative and certainly will make young people feel ambassadors miss all this joy.
We said goodbye to the whole wonderful experience there, at the airport, and left to travel all night. But I cannot deny that we are preparing for a new beginning. Thanks to the Youth Ambassadors Program, we are able to begin a new life.
Thank you all,
Sara Cantarin – Bebedouro Sao Paulo
Youth Ambassador 2013
Written by: Michel Souza
Today was our last full day here in Washington, D.C. before we go back to Brazil and it was such a perfect day!
First of all, we all received a gift from Heaven when we woke up this morning because everything was covered by the snow of the night before! And I became really happy because when I went to my host city, Tulsa, I didn’t see snow!
We also had the honor of visiting the Brazilian Embassy here in United States and it felt like home because there was Pão de Queijo and Guaraná that all of us Brazilians were missing! Meeting some Brazilian diplomats and the Brazilian Ambassador was the best time because it inspired us to think about what we want to do in the future and most of us became interested in becoming a diplomat some day!
Then we realized that this emotional day had only just started! We went to the World Learning office where we talked about our action plans that we’ll start in our communities when we go back to Brazil. People who were really interested in us and our program came to watch us present and it was amazing!
After this we received our certification from World Learning that recognizes our struggle and responsibilities as Youth Ambassadors and it was a touching time that I really enjoyed!
And then we went to a Brazilian restaurant called ”Grill From Ipanema” and we again felt at home because we were already missing Brazilian food!
It was already evening when we left the restaurant and came back to 4H where we had a little Talent Show that everybody participated in and then we exchanged gifts with each other and sang Happy Birthday for the birthdays that we had here in The United States!
That was our last night, I was supposed to be sad, but I’m not! I really enjoyed today and I’m ready to go back to Brazil and to make the difference that I can make! It’s not the end, just a new beginning!
Written by: Thaina and Waleska
This morning we had dialogue. We talked about our experiences with the volunteer work we did in our host-communities and how we were feeling.
Then we went to Lafayette Elementary School. We had a great time. We were very well received by the students, went to the classroom, and made a presentation on Brazil.The 10-year-old students were very interested. They asked several questions, and then we got together and danced. It was really fun! We met the whole school and then went to have lunch with the students.
We returned to the 4-H and we were very happy to have had some free time to rest, because we were very tired.
January, 30th was one of the most special days in the U.S.A. and also busy and tight. Being Youth Ambassadors has led us to many places we had never been before. We finished our breakfast and went to one of the most expected places in Uncle Sam’s country.
You cannot imagine how great the White House is. And guess what? We got to go inside it and walk through the beautiful rooms each one with its particularity and where president Obama talks to the public. The interesting thing is that each room – blue, green and red – is representative of some people that are a part of U.S. political history. Even though we could not meet any of the highest U.S. authorities, we should keep in mind that even some American people have never had the opportunity to go and spend a little time there like we had.
After that, we were driven to the Department of State building in order to spend an amazing time with diplomatic people. We could share our expectations about the trip and also help them to get to know us. As souvenirs we brought some napkins and plastic cups from the DOS building.
At the World Learning office, we had lunch and then there was a video conference with YALE university that let us know about the Young Global Scholars Program for sophomores and juniors at high school. In the afternoon, we met the White House Brazil Director and definitely we had such a great time with him. He told us about his job, how things work between Brazil and United States’ government and also about the relationship between president Rousseff and president Obama. Many questions were asked of him and the best thing was that he answered them with clear and understandable words. Also we realized that if you want to succeed you have to show creativity and new ideas in everything you are doing.
Last but not least, we started thinking about our Action Planning preparation. The staff wrote on the board the four subjects we can pick to be our project theme. We have had the chance to put our ideas out and look for similarities among the others in order to try to make connections and make it easy and better. Fortunately, most of the group has a project already in mind; some of them will keep working on their current projects and the other will try to make new ones.
After a tiring day we went back to the 4-H and had a Chinese dinner. Everybody was hungry and really exhausted after we had experienced many amazing things in one day.
Written by: Jonatan Augusto and Yasmin Gomes
We had a long day of activities on our return to Washington as a group.
We started the day with an exchange of story telling about the experiences of each group, each team reported a bit of what happened in their host cities.
After the exchange of experiences, we took the bus and the metro to downtown where we had the opportunity to see the Smithsonian Museums, with really great exhibits (including the one which inspired the movie “A Night at the Museum” —- * *). After the visits we walked up to the Lincoln Memorial where we gave our speeches inspired by Martin Luther King. To conclude the day’s activities, we walked to Georgetown neighborhood where we had a nice dinner.
We returned to the 4H afterward to rest and receive some of the best news on the program: Tomorrow we will go to the WHITE HOUSE! There was excitement among all the Youth Ambassadors!
Written by: Fábio Ricardo Araújo da Silva
Hello people!! It’s Fábio. I’m here again posting for the last time… Today we went back to Washington D.C.. It was so sad to say goodbye to our host families. We had become used to seeing them and suddenly, we have to go. But, after hugs, kisses and tears, we took the airplane to DC. Six hours traveling plus three different time zones later, the Seattle team arrived at 06:10pm and met the other groups at the airport. Despite our sadness to have left the host families, we got happy to again see the whole group. We all went to the 4H Center and had some pizza – except the Bozeman team, because they had some troubles and are going to arrive at midnight. Now we are having some free time to make our “I have a dream” speeches. Goodbye readers!!
Written by: Igo Pinheiro Lopes
The day all started a little sad, because we had to say goodbye to our host families, it was hard work. At first, everyone was afraid that they would not adapt to living with host families, this fear turned into tears at the end, we did not want to leave them. The “strangers” had become family, with truth to the meaning of the word FAMILY!
We left Bozeman at about 9 am, we arrived in Denver at around noon, hence comes the big news, 4 hours waiting for the flight to Washington DC. Did we feel bad? Of course not! What was lacking was not our willingness to explore all the souvenir shops of the airport, we also listened to violin playing! Our coordinator, Quena, plays super well! Besides being relaxing, it was superb to hear it!
We boarded our flight to DC at 6 pm, the plane had to delay for a bit because it was snowing and the road was not in good conditions, we had to wait for security personnel to check and clean the aircraft and the flight track so we could take off. 12:35 am, this was the exact time we landed in Washington DC, after a full day of waiting, we were all tired and hungry. Glad we had a lot of pizza when we entered the 4-H,we all ate, heard final instructions and then … BED!
Written by: Paulo Abrão
Today was a very sad day. It was the day to say goodbye to our families and head back to Washington DC to see the other Youth Ambassadors. It all started early in Charlotte, we had to go to the Olympic High School where our last meeting happened. Saying goodbye to my family was the hardest thing I’ve done on this program. Being with host families and friends for twelve days created a bond among all of us and to say goodbye was not a piece of cake. We were aware that this day would come and that it wouldn’t be easy, and it wasn’t! Crying was inevitable, that was a tough time, leaving people behind without knowing when you will come back is so sad.
After all this sorrow, the happiness showed up for a while, the moment we saw the other Youth Ambassadors from the other States at the airport in D.C was fantastic! We all ran and hugged each other, that was speechless.
This was a day I will never forget, the different feelings during the day were really awkward and hard to describe.
Now, we are back to Washington, DC. At the 4-H Youth Conference Center and ready for a full week!
Written by: Davi Oliveira
This day was the saddest for me in the program so far. The night before we packed up our bags in preparation for our trip to DC. We woke up early and did one last checked of our bags. My Host Mother’s boyfriend had to go early; he had to go workin’. After he left, we all went to the living room to wait for our trip airport, Julie (our host mom) called Kelvin and me into the kitchen and gave us two T-shirts of Tulsa and some snacks for the trip. It was a really cool moment! We hugged tight and I was already missing them.
Soon we arrived at the airport, we found all the other Youth Ambassadors and their host families. It was hard to say goodbye, hard to leave all the friends we have made during the program and even harder to say goodbye to those who have been our family for 12 days. Almost everyone was crying; the tears falling down my face were uncontrollable.
My host brother had put a song on in the car last night and it was perfect for this situation.
It went like this:
The waves that hit his face
Marked the past
And the farrows on his skin,
On how time goes fast.
And we are far from home but we’re so happy.
Far from home, all alone but we’re so happy.
After every sunny day
Came a stormy night,
That’s when finner would say
“keep your heads held high”
And we are far from home but we’re so happy
Far from home, all alone but we’re so happy.
(From Finner, Of Monsters and Men)
We said goodbye after a lot of crying, a lot of hugs. We flew to Atlanta and after Washington was our target. Once we arrived, we found other groups from the other host states, and at last we could see again the faces of our other friends.
Written by: Aschiley Matsumoto
Last day in Seattle … last day, that was my first thought on Sunday morning. What awesome and fun times that I spent here, not to mention the beauty of the city that doesn’t exist only as a simple backdrop. Now that I was used to practically everything here, more familiar with my lovely host family, the time to say goodbye was coming. It seems rather a sad thought (and it is), but I tried to make the most of what I could, and as it was the weekend, I managed to spend the last hours in Seattle as I wanted with my host family.
In the morning I was at a friend’s host house, I had breakfast, I contacted my family on the internet and had a good time playing some games. Soon after, I headed to a football game where my host sister would play. It was raining and windy and she was in the midst of all the cold, this is the passion for the sport I guess (haha). I was there to watch, and even with a very thick coat I felt the very low temperature. After that I went shopping in a store where I could find some “Seattle things”, it was so fun and made me want to buy almost everything, so I spent a lot of time only choosing.
Anyway… nightfall. We bought a goldfish in a petshop and returned home. Dinner. Time to pack up. Time almost over. Last photo session. Good evening. Good night host family. Good night Seattle. Nice to meet you. See you some other day.
Written by: Elton Passamani
January 27th we had a great free day with our host families. My family took me to the Yellowstone National Park, which is beautiful and has landscapes that I really don’t know if I’ll be able to see again. Luckily, I could see animals in cages such as wolves and cubs!!!
Always creative, my family invited me to watch a movie about the history of the park. It was very interesting and wonderful!!! Then, we had lunch at a restaurant that is reminiscent about Route 66, with a lot of neon lights, drinks, motorcycles, and music of course!
When we arrived home, we went shopping (a thing that we love to do here). I bought a lot of stuff! After that, all the Youth Ambassadors from Bozeman were invited to a closing dinner at one of the host families homes. There we ate yummy food and received our certificates! But it wasn’t enough for me. As I was the first to finish my Scavenger Hunt (that we received in the beginning of the program), I earned a box of chocolate! Awesome!
At last, we went home and had to start packing, because that was our final amazing day in that amazing city.
Written by: Davidson Menezes Sicsu
I had a funny day with my host sister and Caroline´s host family. Caroline and her host mother picked up Brittany (my host sister) and me at about 9:00 a.m. at home. We went to a Mexican restaurant with a wide variety of food. I tried some sweet chicken and shrimp. Also I had rice, beans, corn and ice cream. We talked a lot in the restaurant. It was really nice because we made a prayer before lunch.
After lunch we went to the house of Caroline´s host family. We played an interesting game called JUST DANCE and we danced a lot and we had some fun. After this we went to a auto show where we saw different and interesting cars. We danced forro and to some American songs there. I loved the auto show. Also, we went to Walmart and Caroline´s host family bought some gifts for us. We visited a pretty cool place called TRAMPOLINE CLUB in the South Carolina, a place with lots of trampolines, interesting machines and games.
Around 9:00 p.m. Brittany and I were home. I washed my clothes and organized my things in my backpack. I was a little tired and went to bed early.
Written by: Alessandro da Silva
Finally, it was the day, we all met and were really excited; it was a long drive, and we spent the time singing and laughing. When we were close to our destination, we could see beautiful mountains and snow around us. We could feel, for the first time, the snow falling from the sky – amazing sensation – that’s how I describe the feeling to be living in realized dream.
We didn’t waste any time beginning to throw snowballs at each other! We went to a few spots in the mountains, we took a lot of photos and saw people skiing, sledding and more. I’m sure we all had a lot of fun, drank some hot chocolate, of course, and this was an unforgettable experience in our lives.
Written by: Ana Furtado
Yesterday all of the Youth Ambassadors and their host siblings were invited to sleep at the Green’s home so everyone woke up together. I did not have coffee with the YAs because my sister had soccer practice so I went home to have breakfast with my family with her. I spent the morning with my parents and brother; the days with my family are ending so I’m enjoying every second with them. In the afternoon I went to the Tulsa Zoo with my sister and there we met with the rest of the group. The visit was very fun, whenever we meet it is a party, and even more so in a place that everyone was eager to see.
In the evening I went to dinner with my family at “Brownies Hamburgers” – it’s always nice to be close to all the family, sitting down and talking together with American food is very good. Then we went to a theater called “Tulsa Spotlighters”, it is a play house, and inside it is really amazing. I attended a presentation called “The Drunkard” and “The Olio”, it was fun and interactive with the audience.
We are now at home watching television, making a snack and chatting. Every day I love my family more and I feel loved by each one of them too. My heart has already starting to get tight with longing so I enjoy every moment I have with my family. It is easier when you have Skype and Facebook to keep the nostalgia at bay, but what really counts is the affection, love, memories and especially: my family has grown forever! Thanks for having me Bollinger family; welcoming me with open arms and taking care of me. LOVE YOU ALL !
Written by: Augusto Santos
Today was a great day! I had a free day to be able to walk around and enjoy more of my host city. In the morning I went shopping with the staff and later went ice skating! I fell a lot, but did not let it make me give up, I had a good time. Then I went strolling through downtown Bozeman, it was great, there were wonderful shops and places where I could find more souvenirs to take to my family and friends. At night, I went to dinner at the home of a very cool couple, and soon after made a poster presentation of my project, where I showed all my ideas and initiatives of volunteer work to do when I return to Brazil. Today was really cool!
Written by: Caroline Syperreck
I think today, Saturday, was the first day in Charlotte when I could afford to wake up late. This doesn’t mean the day was not tiring; this is very good, because if it was tiring, it’s because we enjoyed it a lot. There was a party tonight and I was very excited to see the other Youth Ambassadors and their families. We had lunch outside and then we went shopping, this was the last opportunity in Charlotte that I would have to look for gifts.
I saw Rawanderson (another YA) and his host-family at the mall; it was funny, because later we would be in fellowship at their home. The house is wonderful! Really beautiful. My legs were frozen outside, before we got in the house – dresses were mandatory for girls. The party was great! With all styles of music from Brazil, from the U.S., and even from Central America! Each one was teaching others how to dance his or her traditional dances. More perfect than that, Lara announced the delivery of certificates. It was a wonderful moment, a moment of “mission accomplished”.
We were thrilled with the music that Lara composed for us. At this time, our feelings started to take a different turn. The happiness we were felling started to be hidden by sadness: we needed to face that the time to leave was approaching. Most of us started crying, and we gave and received many hugs. At that time there was no cultural differences, we were all children.
The first time I wrote for this blog, there was not much to say. I was embarrassed by the small amount of text and photos that I could send. It was our first day in Charlotte and we had just met our families. Today, there are many issues on which I want to share … A million sensations and emotions, but, unfortunately, there is no way to write much about them. There are times when the best picture, the best feeling, the best story, is only really good in our minds; to try to describe them can erase the shine they have. These are feelings that cannot be expressed by words; they just begin with happiness, and finish with gratitude.
Written by: José Inácio Junior
The 25th in Tulsa began very pleasant with temperatures around 0 º Celsius. All of the Youth Ambassadors and their host brothers and sisters gathered at Old School Bagel for breakfast with much fun. All of us had bagels, which is a kind of sandwich but made with a bread that looks like a donut and is stuffed with onion, lettuce, chicken, etc..
After breakfast we went to Tulsa University or TU where we took a tour learn about the school and we also had the opportunity to meet Laura Brina Semenow who is Brazilian and lives in Tulsa. Semenow told us about graduate education in the United States in a general way emphasizing that it is not easy for Brazilians to join an American institution but it is not impossible, and it can open a lot of doors and ensure great opportunities. Then she told us the cost of studying at TU; it can exceed $44,500, she did note that TU also offers many scholarships.
Soon after we enjoyed some Angolan and American students in a Portuguese class at TU where we introduced ourselves, we shared a little about our volunteer work and our life paths so far. The teacher also asked us to speak in Portuguese for all presentations and conversations so that students could practice the language a bit. Then we went to lunch with them and with other Brazilians working at TU, where we had the opportunity to have some feijoada, pão de queijo and even brigadiero, all typical Brazilian food.
Then we met again, this time to answer a questionnaire about our stay in Tulsa, our family and also about some positive and negative points. After that quick meeting, we were led by our always excited van driver Angie Moore to visit the Gilcrease Museum, a amazing museum. That museum collections include 300,000 prehistoric artefacts and still contains some rooms with sliding glass shelves for display of artifacts and a system database to help find several pieces, which you can access on any computer around the halls.
At night we still had energy for a small farewell party at the home of one of our host brothers because each day has been very special and significant for every Youth Ambassador’s life!
Written by: Nil Everton
Another day is coming to an end here in Seattle. Today the day was great, we went to Chief Sealth International High School, we had the opportunity to tour the school, attend a lecture about a project called Water World Week, we had the opportunity to talk with the school principal and finally gave our presentation on Brazil. It was great, the students asked questions and we taught them some dances from Brazil.
In the afternoon we went to the World Affairs Council, there we had some closing activities, we wrote letters to the places that we visited during the 12 days in Seattle, we gave our feedback to Rachel who is a lovely person. Then we had some free time; we went out of the building at the World Affairs Council, took pictures, had fun and enjoyed the beautiful view of the lake from Seattle.
Then we went to Roosevelt High School, there we had our last ceremony of the program in Seattle together with our host families and friends that we met there. We recieved our certificates and then we gave a short musical performance, we sang the song Girl from Ipanema and we taught to our host families some dances from Brazil.
At the end of the day we went to a dance party with Brazilian music with our host families, it was great, we ate and danced a lot, we had so much fun. Our host families took the time to teach us some American songs and dances also. Unfortunately the day ended, they all went to their homes and this was the last day of formal activities in Seattle. It was getting near the parting of friends and host families that marked the trip and made it even more special than it already is.
Written by: Leo de Oliveira
Today was a day extremely crowded and full of news. For our last scheduled day in Bozeman, we had the mission to make our last and final presentation about Brazil as well as to present our posters produced during the program in Montana.
During the day we spent plenty of time in the library of the city of Bozeman (our presentation’s place) preparing our slides together so that we could convey our message in the best way possible and as synchronized as we could. But, unfortunately, problems happen and we lost all of our power point slides and their formatting that was done at the last minute – all because of a computer crash! This was the time when, despite the difficulties, we had to show our strengths and enforce the responsibility assumed by us as Youth Ambassadors.
The presentation was fantastic! Despite the problems, we learned to do the most important thing: work together by supporting each other and showing the best about Brazilian culture, our gladness.
And the day did not end there, after we had the opportunity to meet all the Youth Ambassadors’ host siblings and parents for a wonderful Pizza Party. The moment of fraternization gave us the opportunity to, once again, present Brazil: dancing, teaching expressions in Portuguese, telling stories, and most importantly, eating pizza with lots of ketchup!
Written by: Gemakson Mikael Mendes
Today was lovely. We visited two very interesting places that made us travel in space and time in our minds. Our first stop was at the Duke Mansion. A historic mansion and a wonderful garden with sculptures and amazing natural beauty.
After the tour of the Duke Mansion, we went to On Imagine Library, a place like no other I’ve seen before. Full of sculptures, dolls, artwork, and a library, it charmed everyone with its structure. returning us to our childhood. There, we played, we dressed up in costumes, and even shot a video. We made an animation, sang and spent an unforgettable morning there.
We left On Imagine to go to lunch. After lunch, due to a hailstorm that was being predicted, we had to go back to our host-families. Although the activities had to end early today, they were all very good, useful and worth the day!