Wednesday, August 3, 2016 4p.m.

What can I say? I guess I’m not really excited to be embarking on this journey the same way that everyone else seems to be. I don’t see what’s so exciting about the entire process. Having to get to know team members and supporting one another on this journey. Some might think this makes me a cold-hearted person but in reality I’m just not that type of person. The kind that are given an opportunity and own it. Instead I just let it happen. I take matters into my own hands and handle it all how I want and when I want. It’s my own way of coping with the independence that will continue to grow throughout the journey and that will empower me to continue to strive.

I look at where I am currently and at times I feel like I made the wrong decision. Why a gap year? Why not college? I admit I wish I was taking part in the dorm shopping experience and obsessing with my friends about college boys, parties, and getting to start over but instead i'm on my own getting vaccinated and doing CPR certification realizing that every day is a day closer to 8 months without my family. Yea, I’m not the closest to my family the way I wish I was, which is one of the reasons why I chose to leave and be placed into a home where family unity might just be a big deal or maybe I’ll realize that I had it good here. Honestly, I just don’t know.

I’m terrified to be leaving. Along the way I’ve met people I wish could be more than just temporary friends because most have decided that they rather leave than remain in my life because of this decision. Others have pushed themselves away from me and have led me to believe that I chose wrong. You could say those are the people I don’t need in my life but it's the fact that just for that moment they made everything feel okay. Along with that, it's the news that I’m finally going to become an auntie and I won't get to be here to see the little bundle be born. It’s crazy how sitting in the ultrasound room with my sister and brother-in-law waiting to learn the sex of the baby would be the last time I would see HIM until I return when he is 4-5 months old.

I know I’m strong. I’m better than this. I’m capable of so much and I know I will learn way more about myself in Brazil than I know now but the fear continues. I’m not excited, in fact, sometimes I just wish it was all over with. I think about my friends and how much I’ve grown attached to them. How they’re always there and I won’t have that while I’m gone. Why? Time change. School. After school activities that they continued to pursue after high school. Work. And just about everything else. I don't want to come back from Brazil and feel like I lost all I had here just to see life outside. But I know things change and people change and it's a constant cycle and my decision to leave isn’t an excuse. But… at times, it still feels like i'm abandoning my life and running away. So what have I been doing? Avoiding, and lots of it. I’ve made myself focus solemly on personal statements for my applications and spending summer days at the beach with friends and family and nights watching the city light up. I’ve tried to continue to have the life I had but yet somehow Brazil impacts it all.

I don't know. Maybe i'm just paranoid. Maybe all these feelings are just fear of actually finding what i've been looking for. Who knows? All I know is that in just a couple days I’ll be gone and whether people forget me or decide to hit me up, all i can do is focus on me.

– Alo