Here is the translation of Tayná’s letter reflecting on her experience learning English with EBEP/US-Brazil Connect in Salvador, June 5- July 3, 2012. Special thank you to Chloe Hill for the translation.
FEELINGS– a language used by the heart, a set of emotions and physical sensations. In these last weeks, it was possible to experience such diverse situations which brought us to these intense and varied sentiments.
On the sixth of June, upon the Americans’ arrival, we were taken by anticipation and curiosity… What will my coach be like in person? Will they be cool? Will it be fun? Will it be too tiring? Will it be worth it?
It was in the middle of so many questions and expectations that we began a journey, a journey in the direction of success, in the direction of achievement. It wasn’t easy having a “double shift:” attending yet another class while overcome by exhaustion, using our creativity to prepare videos, filming, writing, dancing, singing– all of this in a language that wasn’t ours. For this reason, the experience was even more difficult! But that which comes easily isn’t worth as much, so it was by virtue of these difficulties that we made a discovery: we WERE capable, capable of taking on the challenge and even surprising ourselves along the way.
And on this journey we had the support of our coaches, who with their own unique and exotic fashions grew closer to their groups, winning them over one by one, eliciting laughter, teaching, and above all, LEARNING.
It was on this journey that we came to understand how to respect differences, to appreciate each moment for its uniqueness…
It was on this journey that we made new friends– and what would we be without friends in this isolating world? Without being able to share emotions, confidences? Without a kiss, or a simple embrace that can mean so much?
It was on this journey that we weren’t only students, but teachers as well. It was an exchange of understanding far beyond the words of any particular language.
These have been thrilling experiences, which have brought me to reflect on how great it is to discover and learn something new, to not accommodate the banalities of the world, and to always be searching for more… Our lives should be nourished by the constant quest for knowledge, not only didactic knowledge, but first and foremost, the knowledge of how to live, to love, to respect and to help each other; the knowledge of how to be happy, each in his own way. What’s important is to live and to learn, to enjoy today and to hope for tomorrow!
And this journey hasn’t yet come to a close, because everything that’s been shared during these few short weeks will last a lifetime. At the moment, we are all overwhelmed by a very strong feeling, which in Brazil is called saudade. In the English language, this word doesn’t exist, but they say that saudade may be similar to the phrase: I miss you. Saudade is a suffocating and anguished emotion, although it shouldn’t be a reason for sadness, but rather happiness, because missing someone shows how much the moment was worth.
So, let’s celebrate and say to our dear coaches that we will miss them, or better yet, that we will feel SAUDADES. However, we say this with a smile on our faces, accompanied by a ‘see you soon!’ – a sincere way of thanking all of the patience and dedication you had with us.
Thank you to everyone who participated in this project!