It’s been a great year! Thanks for… blabla.”

Hello world! As it’s now been officially 2015 for almost two weeks, I thought this belated blog post was long-overdue. I originally intended to write it before new year, but I was so ill I had little strength to do much writing. I got the idea from Facebook’s constant nagging about me publishing highlights from the year. I refused that so I could write something better. (Stuff highlighted in blue are links to some related blog posts or links.)

In many ways, 2014 became an important turning point for me. And I’m not saying this just because it’s expected from social (media) pressure to be all shiny and braggy about recent achievements. I’m saying this genuinely because 2014 became pretty much all about ripping apart and flattening out everything that I had built and become, and start fresh. (Also, my 14-year old Collie and childhood friend, Trico, was put to sleep at the end of January 2014.) Being an 80s child, I’ve amassed quite some baggage already, some of which became burdens that completely blocked my progress. I pretty much started off the year finishing off a year-long visit to psychologists, and my new year’s resolution (if I called it that) became to start ignoring what others think of me and my achievements, and start building a record I, personally, would be proud of. That is really what kicked off my serious focus on Brazil. It was the goal I had striven for when I first started my psychotherapy.

I had also just kicked off learning my sixth language, Portuguese, which was not easy considering it is my first Latin language. I did the majority of the studying on my own, but once a week for a couple of months I followed a course in Brazilian Portuguese, in Amsterdam. I did this more or less in anticipation of being accepted at latest in autumn of 2014. I applied to a university already in February this year, but I didn’t get accepted to that programme/university. In hindsight I’m happy, though, that I didn’t end up there. In May, I applied to Universidade Federal de Viçosa, into which I got accepted and where I am now studying! That was a surprise while at the same time quite expected. I had felt for a long time that Brazil would be my next stop, and being accepted to a university there, complete with scholarship, I know is no coincidence. It was also a tough thing to process, because that meant facing more tearing down and leaving behind. Comfort zones are never easy to leave, especially for people like me with diagnosed social phobia and OCD.

UFV

Personally, however, it was an opportunity to distance myself from a perfect (looking) life, where expectations have always been high at performing and being “something” others would be proud of. Life’s tough enough already that pressure from both yourself and society can’t hold. This is one of the reliefs I have had since I moved to Brazil; I can be less-than-perfect and make mistakes without feeling judged! In many ways, when you do stuff like this, it feels like a kind of rebirth, or at least that you are starting again and can be “stupid” in peace.

Anyway, after getting accepted into studies at UFV, the horror of Brazilian bureaucracy began. It got so bad that I was just a couple of days away from not making it to Brazil, and thus would have been kicked out of the programme for arriving late. It was really tense not knowing if my VISA application would be accepted (on time). It’s enough tension already moving, for the first time, on your own to another continent. At one point, I was ready to give up and just not go anymore. Three months of constant fighting with bureaucrats makes you pretty nearly lose your will to live! But I finally set off, and it was a crazy start of an adventure I would not want to make undone! And, of course, it hasn’t even been all that long since I left for Brazil, so the adventure has also just begun!

Things have been tough in Brazil, as expected, but being back in The Netherlands for a while (holiday) and getting a perspective of the past half year makes me realise how fortunate and blessed I am for the opportunity of finding yet another place in the world to call my home. If you asked me where home is, I would reply all of the places. Boundaries don’t define my home (although I guess the sky really is the limit.. no oxygen above it). On the plane from Brazil to Holland, I got a moment of inspiration when I felt really proud of what I, with all my mental limitations, had achieved. I wrote down a lot of it, jibber jabbering about how change of place and perspective makes you see things you didn’t know were there before in what you had looked at all along.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading my looking back at the past one year of my life. I’d say it belongs to the top three important years of my life, and I’d just like to end with that you should never let anyone or anything (not even yourself) stand in your way of making your dreams a reality. It’s worth it!

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