The value of an unforgettable experience

The final week of our job shadowing passed working in the SCMS’s Creche e Pré-Escolar “Os Amiguinhos”, a nursery and kindergarten next to our house. The environment, place, children educators were enchanting. But what mainly impressed me was the rigorous organization of the daily activities as well as the extracurricular facilities they offer, including yoga, dance, meditation and judo lessons, in spite of the young age of the kids.

On 21st I also had the lovely experience of planting an oak tree with the youngsters of the Alexandre Herculano School in order to celebrate the International Day of Forests. Actually a dream come true! Moreover, I could finally join the team of CRI Ribatejo that twice a week goes around the city and the villages that encircle Santarém to deliver “Kit Prevenção SIDA” to addicted people as well as preservatives to some prostitutes, spending with them one of the most emotional days of the whole job shadowing.

But what truly filled up my last Portuguese days were some considerations about this great experience that is coming to an end, in order to take stock of what I’m living and what I’ll bring with me coming home.

Since the first day, I considered this experience not a trip abroad, but a journey inside myself. So I took advantage of it to know myself better, to understand what is going wrong in my life and what, instead, I have to rejoice and thank for. All alone, I had a lot of time to deeply wonder which my current direction is and what I want to do in the near future, that appear me even closer and frightening.

But a discovery changed me above all: the awareness of my fears as well as the re-emergence of how much I am able to deal with them. Living alone, surrounded just by unfamiliar persons and places with no one to talk, and feeling the worry about suffering loneliness – a fear that accompanied me for a long period – flew all away just because I lived it, without even realizing it.

I also did things that many times I had promised myself to do and had never done actually. Joyfully, I lived all them as little successes, signs of encouragement and reasons to do more, to push me even further. It wasn’t simple all the time, but maybe here is the secret: suffering to obtain something is what remain, what we need at the end of the day; the thing that gives to our aspirations the real value and makes us aware about how much we are willing to acquire it.

I sweat so much to find some answers that I searched for so long, maybe in the wrong places. And when I finally found them I saw clearly the value of this unforgettable experience, its place, its importance. I suddenly understood what Mariel had tried to explain me the day before leaving Palermo to come here: when you are too much deaf or blind, the universe finds strange and distorted ways to give you your desired lesson.

It could appear a little naif, but if it works, why not?

Carmen