Bucket Lists

I am terrible at bucket lists. Not at making them though. I can fill up at least 20 spots on any bucket list I make. I’m a dreamer. But when it comes to fulfilling them, I usually forget about taking the time to start the goals or even lose the list sometimes. It has come to the point where my roommate, with whom I make a bucket list every year with, has refused to continue the tradition because we fail to ever do them.

In conclusion, I suck at the follow-through.

But at the beginning of my study abroad, CIEE (the study abroad program I am traveling through) had us create a list of goals we wanted to achieve here. It wasn’t supposed to be bucket list style though, where you could easily check things off after a day. These were goals that you hoped to accomplish over the course of the six months in Rio. I thought it would have been easy but it is actually quite hard to put into words all of your expectations and desires for what is supposed to be some of the best months of your life.

So I made the list. And five months later, I finally remembered it.

I was adding a few new pictures to my bulletin board last week when I noticed one of my first additions to it: my bucket list! I had not stopped to read it since I first put it up way back in January. Looking back on it now, I have to chuckle at a few of my goals since I had some super high expectations of myself (going to a gym). But I was largely surprised by the amount of goals that I feel that I have “accomplished” here. I don’t really like the word accomplish since it makes it seems like I worked for these goals when many of them happened just naturally.

So here they are for the world to see…

  1. Walk around Copacabana (my neighborhood) without a map
  2. Visit at least 7 metro stops (do something at each)
  3. Join an athletic class (on the beach)
  4. Volunteer/Intern in Rio
  5. Speak Portuguese without being afraid of messing up
  6. Join a local church
  7. Make friends with students here
  8. Learn how to samba
  9. Visit 3 other states and/or cities
  10. Learn the bus system
  11. Go surfing
  12. Build relationships in my neighborhood (businesses, neighbors, etc)

Sidenote: I have a separate list of things to see and do in Rio, so don’t be disappointed that the Christ the Redeemer statue wasn’t on my original list.

When coming to Rio, I hoped that I wouldn’t just play tourist in the city. I love exploring Rio and checking out its cool beaches but I could do that at any point in my life. Being a tourist is easy and I didn’t want that for my six months here.

Most of my goals surrounded building a life here, or at least the start. I wanted to be comfortable in my environment (walk around without a map), to be confident in navigating the city (learn the bus system) and to feel at home where I live (build relationships in my neighborhood). Volunteering and find a church were goals of mine for personal growth as well as building relationships outside of my exchange program. I am very grateful to have found both of those here. I currently attend a church only a few blocks away from my homestay where I have met many of my closest friends here. My volunteering takes me to two different parts of the city where I have the opportunity to teach English at one and translate Portuguese at the other.

All of these goals help me out with my big goal of speaking Portuguese without being afraid of messing up. After meeting so many new people, finding my way around new parts of the city and asking for help way too much, I can proudly say that I no longer am afraid of messing up. I may have some terrible Portuguese but I am overall confident that I can get by here with what I have.

So I am only missing three goals on my list. I am ashamed that they are probably supposed to be the “easy” ones. Numbers 3, 8 and 11. But, since looking at this list, I have decided that I really want to finish it so I’m already looking into ways to cross those ones off. I have my first surfing lesson in a couple days! You have to start somewhere.  


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