If you've been following my words, thanks a lot. I really appreciated writing Historias da Lawrence University and I definitely learned a lot. Now let me introduce you to my new blog: Rebecca Carvalho. I hope I'll see you there.

terça-feira, 7 de junho de 2011

Capitulo 47 -- THE END

I had been postponing writing this last chapter of my life at Lawrence University... because I am silly and emotional, and I hate saying goodbye. Lawrence was my home for 3 years and at Lawrence I've learned so many lessons, so many things about the world, about people and about myself, that I could barely bring myself to saying farewell to you, dear invisible reader. If you're expecting wise words from me, please, don't wait anymore. I have nothing to say other than at Lawrence I lived everything I was supposed to live. I will miss a few friendly faces, I will miss the routine, I will miss feeling challenged by people interested in my future, but now it is time to put in practice everything I learned. I am ready. It is time to say goodbye.

Before I turn the page and close this book, I must say thanks to everyone who believed in me, everyone who supported me throughout this journey abroad and the people who are still expecting great things from me. Thank you, mom, for being patient. Thank you, EducationUSA, for making this dream possible. Thank you, Lawrence University staff, for keeping me even though I had no money in my pockets. Thank you, scholarship donors, for securing my education. Thank you, all my friends, for staying around and for being my second family. Thank you, U.S. Embassy, for starting this whole adventure. Thank YOU, for listening to me and sending your thoughtful comments. And, above all, thank you, God, for allowing me a chance to make a difference in this world; without You, I wouldn't be here, I wouldn't be myself.

Good luck to you, good luck to me. The curtains will close in a few seconds, but the show of life will continue in this vague idea of reality. Borrowing the lines of Truman (The Truman Show): "Good morning, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!"  

terça-feira, 17 de maio de 2011

Capitulo 46 - What Makes You Who You Are..?

This afternoon I spent a few hours reading The Prelude, by William Wordsworth, which I highly recommend. Wordsworth poetically spoke of the time in his life that made him the poet-person he was; during his childhood he would wander alone through woods, he would play in the river, he would simply sit by a tree and daydream. Nature, it seems, was a constant beloved friend in his childhood.

At times, though, I found my mind wandering away. I found myself thinking about the things in my childhood that molded my personality, my morals, things that fed my imagination and shaped me into the person I am (or, rather, the person I think I am) today. I must say that, despite my fond memories of the time when I lived with my mother, grandparents, my uncle and cousin Steve, the time when I thought I could feed trees with infusions I prepared, the time when I would write in the garden, and the time when uncle Eduardo told me stories about Santa Claus; I suppose that the strongest influence in everything I am comes from my time at Military School.

I was very young and shy when the Army took me and they soon told me (and my mother..!) that, although I was only 12, I had to learn to be responsible for myself, my mistakes and my decisions. It can be quite shocking for a mother to hear that her own daughter, who was nothing more than a scrawny easily scared little girl, had to start facing the world like an adult. She soon learned, fortunately, to let them teach me how to be strong, how to handle my frustrations on my own, how to embrace honor, discipline and loyalty. They taught me, above all, to always tell the truth, no matter how many problems telling the truth might bring. Military School taught me that I shouldn't fear competition. They taught me to respect everyone around me. They taught me to observe silently, to stand still in contemplation of the world and to speak up when my eyes met injustice.

It's been 5 years since I left them, but I suppose it was only a physical departure. I bring them within my heart, I bring that military education in my veins, I am a product of that culture. Although I could never justify killing even to defend one's nation and therefore could never have a military career, because only God has the right to take one's life and to end one's mission on Earth, I suppose there is a lot more in the Army that only people who experienced such doctrine would be able to list. I am thankful for the time spent with them.  

Yes, I am Alive.

How did Da Vinci manage that? When I say 'that' I am referring to, of course, his thirst and eagerness to continue learning, studying, researching, being more and more productive, getting to know about everything! I am always impressed when I remember that such brilliant and restless mind ever existed.

I've been really busy lately and it seems to me that during these last 2 weeks of school I will be doing work for a lifetime. By the end of the day I feel I've drained my fountain of inspiration; luckily, though, as soon as my head hits the pillow, and my room is dark and quiet, I start to hear the workers in my factory of thoughts and ideas getting ready for the next day. I hear them murmur that "the system might be overloaded." They are concerned, but they are diligent and careful workers, and they'll get all machines working properly.

...and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, at 1:40 p.m, my friend Tatiana Biryukova -- who's from very cold distant lands -- gladly joins me in complaining about our work load. We're both foreigners. We know how to swear in different languages... though, for the sake of politeness, we only dare to make annoyed faces at wise Athena.    

quinta-feira, 5 de maio de 2011

Capitulo 45 - And this chapter is about Rebecca getting published

If you've known me since I was a kid, you'd know the one ambition I had in my life was to become a published author. I am pleased to tell you that, thanks to God, this wish came true in March, 2011. To my surprise, however, instead of getting my work published in Brazil, my career sort of started in the U.S., exactly where I am. It is a surprise because my writing is not the best in English. I often feel I am a writer in Portuguese -- or, rather, I know 'enough' to feel I can write properly in my language -- but in English I still have so much to learn.

Last fall I was invited to join a project along with a few other students and a professor at Lawrence. Old Glory Honor Flight, an NGO in Wisconsin, was seeking volunteers to interview WWII veterans and to transcribe their stories. The result would be an anthology of war memories: Operation Legacy. I had to put my fears of writing in English aside and accept the challenge. I interviewed submarine crew member Everett Butler, who's been in Pearl Harbor for his military training and, serving in Manila, witnessed the bombing of the Cavite Navy Yard. His courage and humbleness reinforced my desire to continue writing about wars and, above all, about people who voluntarily or involuntarily experience wars.

You will find Operation Legacy available on Amazon.com; the money raised from sales will allow Old Glory to fly more WWII veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the WWII memorial. Here is the link to the anthology. 

terça-feira, 12 de abril de 2011

Capitulo 44 - 'Springish' Weather

If you're in Appleton you noticed that this week the weather is finally getting better. Even cats and dolphins are befriending each other! It's warm and sunny, students forgot they have homework assignments due tomorrow and now are playing football and volleyball near Main Hall Green and the Frat Quad. This afternoon, after a meeting with my adviser, I walked from Lawrence to Walgreens and I didn't have to wear a jacket. It is very comforting to notice that, although not officially, spring is here. Even if you're an indoors type of person like me, try to at least go sit outside for a few minutes and enjoy this calmer and pleasanter aspect of nature. Go for a walk, sit outside to read a book, wear sandals, or simply walk barefoot... but, please, let your body produce vitamin D today. 

segunda-feira, 11 de abril de 2011

Capitulo 43 - Tornado Watch - Part II

Today, in class, everyone was talking about the tornado that hit Appleton last night. I am posting a video I found on YouTube and the last section of it shows what Neenah, a town around 16 minutes away from Appleton, looked like yesterday. The weather today seems unstable, but in general the winds were very strong throughout the whole day. Earlier this afternoon it was sunny, but right now a huge mass of gray clouds are taking over the sky. I wonder if we'll have a repetition of yesterday. I seriously hope not!

domingo, 10 de abril de 2011

Capitulo 43 - Tornado Watch

Alright, perhaps I am the most ridiculous person ever, but I really don't like storms. I also hate sirens and tornadoes. Add all that and you'll find a very scared version of yours truly. Tonight, when I arrived from Madison, I found Apple-town like this. I ran back to my residence hall as fast as I could. Right outside Kohler Hall a guy was 'enjoying' (?) this festival of nature, his arms open as if saluting the storm. He said hello to me, but I was too busy running and could only stare at my shoes. "Hey.." I said, "and I don't even know who you are." My hoodie didn't allow me to see his face. He laughed.