Step 1: Check!

After a lot of time, many trips to Chicago, quite a bit of patience and even more money, I finally have my visa to go to Brazil for 12 months!  I'm not sure yet when I'll be flying out, because the office I'll be working in is on vacation for Carnaval this week.  I would rather not fly down without anyone expecting me (like I did when I went to Costa Rica).  So, as soon as my bosses get in touch with me, we'll be working out my plane ticket, then I'm on my way.  But now that the reality is settling in that I'm ready to go, my emotions are starting to catch up with me.
I'm excited, there's no doubt about that.  And I'm determined that after all of the effort to get there, it's going to be a fabulous year!  I plan on working hard and getting to know as many people as possible.  But then my long-distance deficiency starts to worry me again.  To be blunt, I'm simply horrible at keeping in touch with people.  This wouldn't matter so much, if there weren't so many wonderful people that I love and enjoy here in the States.  However, there are many people I would hate to lose contact with.  The balance is always hard for me.  I don't want to spend all of my time trying to keep in contact with people from back home if it means sacrificing the opportunity to build relationships with the people around me, but I also don't want to lose contact completely.  I'm sure anyone who has been in this sort of situation understands how hard this can be.  Honestly, yes, I know I will survive it either way, but I'd rather not come home to fractured relationships with the ones I love most here.  So here's to putting in the effort!
Now, to rant a little.. I am going broke in this endeavor.  Just to get one immunization, I'm out $450.  Not to mention my visa and plane ticket (which is looking to be around $1,000).  I'm sitting down today to write a letter to family (something I've put off because like many people, I hate asking for money) because it's coming to the point that I can't do it by myself.  I guess it's just not natural for me to seek help.  Oh well, I'll get over it.  Moving on.

I have more to say, but as a reward for making it this far in the post, I will not say it now.  Just to say, I've appreciated the extra time in the States, because it's given me some time to be with family, and enjoy some great moments in Texas.  So Fernandes Family, this one's dedicated to you!