It has been awhile that I do not write anything! I decided not to! The reason is because when I realized my time was getting shorter and shorter, I just wanted to enjoy each second of my trip. I didn't want to keep my mind busy thinking about what to write, but I wanted it to keep the best moments that posts can't express.
While I am writing this post, I am already in Brazil in the city of Salvador waiting for my next and last flight until home!
I never thought it would be that hard. It is so hard! I spent 12 hours crying in a row...My life in the United States has been great! I have discovered myself, I have fell in love with myself and I have become a better Shalon who I really love! I knew that this would happen!
These last couple weeks there, I have done a couple cool things. We had a nice "End of the Year Celebration" at Jacque's house which was pretty awesome with people from different parts of all over the world!
The day I went with Christine, I was able to see many cool things. I really appreciate the time they spent with me even with her foot aching after she tripped and Tom's knee was bothering him so much. Despite these things they walked me through Chicago downtown and made my day when we finally got at Navy Pier and I had the most beautiful view I ever saw. For me, coming from a small town, seeing that huge city, I could not hold my tears.
My time with Jennifer was awesome! She was challeging herself all the time and I didn't realize! We both know how so! We left Davenport very late and spent more than one hour trying to find a parking lot while we were trying to find a gas station to use the restroom! haha When we finally could park, we went to Willis/ Sears Tower for the SkyDeck view... but it was too foggy and we couldn't go up there! We were sad but we still went to the see the famous Chicago silver bean at Cloud Gate... Before leaving, we noticed that it was no longer foggy and greatly we could go up there at the SkyDeck and see a beautiful view of Chicago... It was beautiful ... and then we went to the bar procrastinating each second of the day.... We didn't want it to end!
Before leaving we walked a lot downtown... she was feeling very tired... she walked and drove us back to Davenport. We were so exhausted! We were even see things on the way back! It was funny! With Christine I even had the chance to go ice skating for the first time! It was so fun!! I broke my watch though! lol
During the winter break I spent a lot of time on my own at the dorm, but finally I had my roomies' (Joe and Jordan's) companies again for awhile. It was so good to have them over!
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were nice as well!
I went to church and dinner with Tyler's family and on the day of Christmas I went to Christine's house and ended up going to Jennifer's boyfriend's aunt's house where I could sing: "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Sam Smith's version and "You raise me up - Josh Groban" that Travis' mom asked me to sing it! Jenn's niece sang beautifully "When I was your man" - Bruno Mars! She is so talented!!!
Well, I knew that "the day" was coming to break my heart hardly and without mercy! I went to Peoria with Tyler's family to see the Festival of Lights! It was nice and beautiful... on the way back we stopped by a restaurant to have some hamburgers! But then, I had to say bye to my dear friend! I can not express how nice was to meeting him this semester! Even relaxing and singing in the hot tub, going to church, doing a great job on Spanish presentations and homework, etc... Thanks, Ritter!! :)
After Christmas, we still went to some friends' house, Lee and Joelma (from my hometown! yay!), where Jennifer and I could have some Brazilian food and desserts and have a nice time with them! I felt like I gained 10 extra pounds! lol... It was so good! They are great people and it has been nice to meeting them!
I knew the hardest time was about to come! I spent the 28th, Sunday, with Jennifer having brunch at Blackhawk Hotel where I drank some "mamosas" and ate a nice food with my dear friend. We passed by the John Deere Pavilion too! It was fun!
After eating we took a walk at the mall when I had some allergic reaction for some food I ate (maybe it was the sweet potato pie that I had at her house, we don't know exactly). Anyways, my left ear was swollen and itchy. I could feel my throat closing too and my tongue getting bigger. On the way, I found Joe and his dad walking in the mall who invited me over for a dinner with my roomies. After taking the medicine which made me very sleepy, I gave Jenn a Christian book that Rosangela (Rouxinol) had given to me before traveling to the States to give it to somebody. Maybe that was the reason ( + seeing Joe ) of having that allergic reaction.
I was so high because of the medicine... I needed to sleep... well, Jenn dropped me off at Joe's... time to say bye... It has been awhile that I do not cry that long. We said "see you soon" to each other and she said that her heart was leaving along with me... it was so hard. But she had to leave and get ready for the great day. The 29th!...
After walking in, I had to go to the bathroom right away and cry for a bit while I was getting ready for even worse hard moments: saying bye to my boys! :'( I am still crying while I write this.
These guys had the ability of making me a better person, encouraging me and teaching me many great things...
While we were waiting to have dinner I was seated on the couch and Jordan for a couple seconds put his head over my lap like he was trying to say : "I will miss you"... that broke my heart into pieces... How hardly I would miss this boy, my brother, my bête!
We had dinner, took some pictures and Austin came to pick me up for dinner again!
The 4 roommates took some pictures together... my smile was trying to hide the sadness I was already feeling for having to leave. Everybody agreed on going back to the dorm, so we could hang out a little bit...
I didn't want the day to end at all!!! I wish I could have one more month, stay with them until we graduate, sing more with the choir, BeeSharp, go to lunch with my friends, do homework... I don't know!
Before leaving with Austin, Joe gave me two beautiful pins (one of Iowa and the other of the American flag which I will wear them for a couple months every day!! lol) and I left with Austin.
After leaving with him, I could relax a little bit at a very country and cultural restaurant where we could talk for awhile. He is a very great guy! :) We went back to McCarthy and he also spent the night across from my apartment, so it would be easier to drive me to the airport.
When I got there, JJ, Jordan, Joe, Helene and Ramsey were there! It was nice to see some of my best friends together!
JJ had a surprise for me... the American flag greatly folded which was close to the Brazilian flag all the time in the apartment...
I finished packing, got everything ready, we set up the couch and mattress in the living room where we planned on spending the night.
But Joe had to leave... Oh God! The first one...
I think I hugged him three times while I was crying a lot!! I was heartbroken! He closed the door and I was wondering when I would see my great talented pianist and friend again... for my surprise, five minutes later, Joe came back to spend the night at the apartment with us! That was amazing of his part! I really appreciated that... especially because he had to wake up at 5 in the morning to go to work. After getting everything ready to go for the next day, I was playing with Jordan some capoeira and ended up everybody tickling each other until the death! We truly became a family! :')
I didn't want to go to sleep! I wish that the idea of leaving the campus was just a nightmare... that I would get a phone call from the International Department saying that I could stay longer... A company accepting my application to work in the Quad Cities... I don't know... I didn't want that to be true!
JJ and Ramsey went to get some tacos for me while we were getting ready to go to bed. Joe went to bed first because he was tired... when the guys arrived, we had some tacos and went to bed. Jordan got my matress, I got the couch and Helene the other one, JJ and Ramsey left to come back at 9:45 because I was leaving at 10:20.
At 5 something, Joe woke me up, I said: "Shalon, I have to leave for work now. Bye, my friend, see you in the future." we hugged each other and I watched him crossing the door and leaving... :(
I couldn't sleep anymore... Jenn was going to have the surgery soon, we were cheering for her... Arh!! What a emotional stress... I showered, the boys came back and Jordan and Helene woke up and Austin knocked the door... We stayed there for a couple minutes and my roomie had to go... he was wearing the Brazilian t-shirt I got him "KEEP CALM AND BRAZIL ON" and I hugged him with all my strength! How weird is going to be waking up and not seeing any of them... not saying good morning... asking if we have any French assignment... I love you so much, Jordan! My dear bête!!
Then Helene, she had to leave again and more tears were being dropped.
It was time for me to leave... the funny thing was, when I got there for the first time, JJ and Ramsey were there to welcome me and now they were there to say bye to me! Wow... God's so perfect!
Without our IDs Ramsey stayed at the elevator so JJ could take me downstairs and Ramsey could press the elevator button back for JJ. I got Ramsey a funny Christmas gift and he said that he would never forget a sign in Brazilian Sign Language that I taught him! lol ... he was opening the elevator door twice to see my face again... He's awesome! See you, Ramsey!
When I got downstairs I hugged the nicest guy I ever met... my dear JJ...
JJ was so supportive even with small things: helping me getting my books, encouraging me with my presentations in English, teaching me some English vocabulary... we laughed a lot... and I could say how much I love him and appreciate all of his help!!! Thanks for everything JJ!
Austin got the car and JJ and Ramsey were saying through the window: "See you, Shalon! Hasta luego!!!"
I saw my roommie coming again and asking to stop the car, I got out of the car... I needed to hug the guy who I was so worried to meet and live with... "Is he nice? Does he snore loud (haha)? Will we get along? Is he fun and funny?" Jordan, you are my blessing! You guys were more than I expected! God listened to my prayers giving me the best roommates I could ever have! "Bête", you believed in me many times when I doubted myself through rehearsals, on a daily basis... I love you guys so much and my days won't be the same without you, buddies!
I looked one more time at the campus and I could say: Thank you, God, for making my dream come true and changing my life in a very short period of time! Despite the financial limitations, having no idea about documents and international trips, linguistic limitations... I blessedly made it + got really good grades!! :) Being away from my country I could get to know myself deeply, my weaknesses and strengths... Thank you and bye Ambrose!
On the way to the airport I could look at the sunny and warm (and not typical) day of December in Davenport and I had to face the airport time!
Austin parked and had to say bye there. He was the first Ambrosian I saw and the one who was taking me back to the airport. Thanks, buddy! Love you, Austin...
When I was going through the security at the airport, my mind was thinking about many things: I wish I could have more money, to get a new visa right away and go back, pay my tuition and stay longer with them or just visit them when I miss them... my great friends...
I called my mom, because I had to talk with her to release all my stress... During all these tough moments, she was there to comfort me and say that everything is going to be ok! Love you mom!
I am loved by many people in Brazil... but I used to spend more time at my house, alone, bored than connecting with friends. I even remember spending 8 months without going out with friends due to some factors. Living with people who have the same age, musicians, great singers, amazingly talented, getting along with them, treating each other with respect... it was amazing! they were/are my family, those who listened to me when I was pissed off, when I had good news, when I was worried about something or when I was being annoying in some way! lol ... for these months God gave me brothers and I WILL NEVER FORGET THEM!
Jordan, Joe and JJ ... I love you guys with all my heart! You guys made me a better person... a new Shalon!