My thoughts heading into Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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So I have been trying to think about how I should writing this first post for a while now. As mine will be the first entry, which is only fitting since I believe that I am the first blogger to actually leave for his destination, I feel that some sort of precedent should be set. Therefore, I have decided that in order to get into my state of mind, the best way to go about this would be to make a list of topics and then to sign off on them. In true, verbose Deion fashion, this will be a long post. The list may or may not reflect an order of importance. Ok! Here I go:

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Georgetown

This one word evokes many images in my mind when I hear and/or see it, but none more clear than that first time that I ever visited the campus. As one of the Hoya Saxa Weekend kids, I had been selected by the CMEA (Center for Multicultural Equity and Access) to attend a special prospective student weekend in late April of 2006. By the time I boarded the flight to Washington DC, I had already visited three universities, all of which had I found to be missing something that I could never quite put my finger on, yet could never be replaced, especially if it wasn’t there in the first place. In more ways than one, I was desperate to like Georgetown. Absolutely desperate. So, as the plane soared over serpentine rivers that wound their way through verdant Appalachian mountain valleys, I was puzzled by the adrenaline that coursed through my veins and the nausea that had settled in my stomach. Not being one particularly prone to motion sickness, I reasoned that I was probably just a bit anxious…or maybe, just maybe, that I was even excited. It would be cheesy to say that it was probably fate telling me that any place that made me feel queasy was the place where I belonged, but it couldn’t have just been a mere coincidence.

In any case, by the end of that weekend, I knew that Georgetown was where I would be headed to that fall. I met some amazing people, some of whom have grown to be some of best-est friends (yes, I had to go there). What makes Georgetown, and in fact, any experience worthwhile, are the bonds that you make and the things that you learn. Although I’ve always resided in Buffalo, NY (except for a brief stint in Cheektowaga, a suburb, over Christmas break), I’ve never really stayed in one place for more than a few years. I’ve moved eight times in my life and though not all of these moves were of the drastic, uprooting kind, I confess that I feel slightly unsettled at times. Yes, I’ll be leaving Georgetown in May 2010, but that doesn’t stop it from feeling like home when I’m there, and when I am not. This could be due, in part, to the fact that I actually have a bed there–oh!–and a legit bedroom (my parents tell me that they’re going to convert the room in now into a walk-in closet).

But seriously, what does this all say in a nutshelll? I’ve grown too clingy. I’m going to miss Georgetown but we need to go on a break. Distance is supposed to make the heart grow fonder, right? Well, I’m about to see for myself.

Georgetown Students (especially Alums)

Something told me that there would be some major repercussions for becoming friends with so many upperclassmen, but I ignored it. And here we are now: you’re all gone, following the paths that you all have chosen for yourselves over the past four years and getting along fine very much without me. I doubt that I’ll ever be able to express how privileged I feel to call you my friends, but it is something that I feel in my heart. Deciding to stay for graduation this year was, overall, a very good decision, but a very draining one as well. The problem is that everything is a blur, including yourself. There is never enough time to visit those unseen places, to do those undone things, and finally, there is never enough time, nor a proper way, to say goodbye. I hope that this blog and your comments (because I do expect for you to leave some. Nothing’s changed!) will be a way for us to continually say “hello” and to show that, by keeping this blog, I am keeping the dialogue flowing between us, even if we don’t see each other or talk on the phone. Love.

As for my other fellow students, it’s going to be very odd to experience this all without you. I can’t believe that for a whole year we’ll be growing away from each other instead of growing together, but I know that we’ll make it. And then, when we all come back for senior year, we’ll have a great time exchanging stories and catching up. Oh, guess what! We’re officially upperclassmen now! Yay!

Buffalo

People don’t usually hear me say good things about my hometown, but I’d like to think that since going off to college, I have become a lot more pro-Buffalo. Growing up in the second largest city in New York State (that’s right! I don’t know how many times I’ve had to say this) has its perks, but only if you know how to recognize them. Over the past few years, I’ve been learning just that. In fact, I think that the good things about Buffalo are what I admire the most in DC. The architecture, the parks, the houses, the restaurants…but the list ends there. One thing, however, that is unique to Buffalo is that it was named “The City of Good Neighbors”. A few days ago, I finally discovered why.

I was walking down the street on two different occasions when, randomly, someone called out to me from the porch and said, “Hey there! How are you today?”, and another person kindly asked if I were lost. Maybe I don’t look like I’m from around here anymore (I guess DC and M Street will do that to you), but I thought that these two instances were both very kind gestures. It’s nice when people go out of their way for you even when they don’t even know who you are. This is what I shall miss.

Washington, DC

Every time that I find myself on the friendly blue SuperShuttle van on my way back to DC, that same feeling from pre-Hoya Saxa Weekend 2006 fills my being and then I know that I am home. I’ve never felt that way about any other city that I’ve visited thus far: that filling that I can keep coming back to it again and again, no matter when and no matter how. I cannot sleep on that emotion…DC will be in my future, somehow, someway…

Brazil

If any of you have been looking at my Facebook and Gchat statuses, then you know that Brazil has already put me on an emotional rollercoaster. Although I’ve encountered many shambles along the way (in case you didn’t know, I tend to use “shambles” a LOT so you will have to bear with me), nothing has detracted from the excitement, worry, and fear that this country incites in me.

Since the 8th grade when I received my first penpal (a lovely Française whose currently enrolled in film school in Paris), I have dreamed of going abroad and until this year, those dreams had always been about France. All throughout high school I had wanted to be an exchange student. I spent many a sleepless night wondering about all the possibilities. Unfortunately, my dream never came true while I was in high school, but I knew that things would be different once I came to college. Having applied to Georgetown as a French major, I just knew that I would spend my junior year abroad in Paris. Nobody could tell me anything, not even myself. As I progressed through my freshman year, however, I noticed that my passion for francophonie was quickly diminishing and, by the end of the year, I realized that I was tired of learning about the Francophone world. It was fine time that I experience it. But at the same time that I was realizing this, a burgeoning passion for the Lusophone world was growing ever the more ardent. Ultimately, a host of reasons made me postpone my decision to study abroad in France, but the dream is still there nevertheless. It has just changed a little.

So in other words, Brazil kind of sneaked up on me and now that I will be there in approximately one week, four days, and two hours, I am very much feeling the pressure. Ironically, the fact that I haven’t spent six years thinking about this country is precisely what is making me lose sleep at night, spend countless hours on the Internet researching various topics on the country, drive the people at the Consulate up the wall with my phone calls and emails, stress over the fact that I only made it Level 3 out of 5 in my Portuguese Proficiency Test, and, especially after the on-site orientation for Brazil from a few months ago, imagine myself getting mugged while working on my brown (I’m obviously far past tan at this point) on the sands of Ipanema Beach. Without a doubt, it will be an experience. And the fact that I have absolutely no idea of what to expect will only add to the fact.

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Overall, I am happy. In spite of everything that has happened to me over the years in Buffalo, or in the past twelve months at Georgetown, I know that this much is true. I’ve never been happier. Shambles may come and go, and I’ve been lucky to get through the virtually unscathed. My complacent fears will vanish as they make way for reality. All that is left for me to do now is make it through the next week, four days, and 1h45 and enjoy the time that I have left with family, my friends, and my country.

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  • What up Deion! You definitely beat us all to the postage of the bloggage, but I’m afraid I must correct you: you are not the first to depart! I’ve been in Italy for a week now…we’re not in Kansas anymore, that’s all I will say. Have a great time in Brazil! One of my roommates is Brazilian–she’s fantastic. That means all Brazilians must be fantastic 🙂

  • Hey Deion:

    I am the friend of Tessa’s Mom, Karima. And I would love to be a recipient of your Rio De Janeiro blog reports. It’s a place where I have always wanted to go and through you I can vicariously make the trip. This is an opportunity of a lifetime.
    Enjoy,
    Greg

  • Dee!

    Dude, so bummed that we didn’t chill one last time before your departure to the stratosphere. At least we went out with a bang, in the back of your car, being questioned by an undercover cop. 😀

    Just wanted to let you know I’ll be favoriting your blog so I’ll check it every day, even if you said I don’t have to.

    Remember you have so many people to fall back on and care for you!

    Enjoy man. I know you will.

    -Berbs-

  • hey deion! i know how u feel about changing your mind–since high school i has planned to go to spain, or china. who would have thought i would have fallen in love in france?? lol

    &”browning” on the beaches of ipanema haha i understand completely i am way past tan too. get your brown on!! 😉

  • This was an absolutely beautiful post, Deion. Georgetown is truly going to miss one of its brightest stars this year, but senior year when we come back together to tell stories and catch up, it is going to be priceless!

    Soak it all in, and enjoy every moment. I know you will, because that’s just who you are.

  • Hoya Saxa my Deion the Neon. Fear not, I’ll stand by your side. Keep these updates coming!

  • Hey Deion!
    I am so jealous you get to spend an entire year in such a wonderful place – but also extremely sad that I will not see you on Georgetown campus for an entire year. 🙁
    I wish you have the safest and most enjoyable time at Brazil and please keep posting more blogs!
    Let me know if you meet any Japanese-Brazilians! 😉
    Hugs,
    Eri

  • Dizzle! you’re truly inspiring. i’m looking forward to reading more of your posts in the future, and admiring those beautiful pictures you will be taking. xox.

  • Oh la la Deion! Je pense que tu publieras au bout de ce voyage, ton Education Sentimentale bresilienne! Exciting! Je suis ravie de savoir que tu es en train de vivre des choses fantastiques! Et nous les communs des mortels nous vivons de notre tendre ennui quotidien dans ta vielle hehhhe.

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