RU Abroad with Zahra: Love Stories and Waterfalls

So far, I’ve chronicled some of my experiences abroad in Honduras and in Brazil. Now I want to tell you a story. If you don’t want to believe it, don’t, but as much as it pains me to write it, it awes me every time to have this beautiful person happen to me. I mean, I feel like I was in a movie or it was a cruel prank by faith. I still waiting for the Bollywood cameras to enter.

RU Abroad Zahra Brazil 2

This is a story of a foreign boy who met a local girl outside a subway station.

Toronto, Canada, Fall 2014

They held hands from when the leaves started falling until the first snow reached the ground – from his birthday to hers. She showed him her world and he welcomed her to stay for breakfast.

She took the 501 on Dundas to sit on his suitcase as he packed for his local and she facetimed him good-bye at the airport. They did not exchange numbers because they knew the connection is weak when you are waters away.

Winter 2015

Soon, he adjusted into his old life and she searched for him in 501s, yellow-green soccer matches, and beautiful accents. At the brink of the rooting of the first flower, she found a summer internship, but this time in a place foreign to her and local to him. She wished she had had the courage to ask for his number and to tell him that stars sometimes do cross twice.

Spring 2015

One day, after crashing on the couch, she woke up to a message of “Do you remember me?” – he had found her. She sent him her soon-to-be address right before she could conjure a ‘hey’. In a foreign so big, she was now soon to be only a 2-hour drive from his local.

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Summer 2015

But she wanted more. She wanted to conquer a metropolitan with him. At her command, he told her he would land there as she packed her bags and he unpacked his. They met outside another metro station. It was like she never sat on his suitcase or facetimed him good-bye from the airport. They were both locals in this foreign; for ten minutes they never thought would happen.

The Falls
Iguazu Falls

I arrived in Iguazu Falls with a heavy heart and a heavier suitcase. I didn’t think anything could beat my experiences in Rio. But that’s the fun, isn’t it? When you’re at your lowest, life happens. I went to the Argentinian side of the falls on my first day and dare I say it, it made Niagara falls look like a thumb-sucking baby. Like Canada, Brazil has a better view of the falls but Argentina has the actual falls. On my way, I met another traveling Italian family who pretty much adopted me as their own and bought me ice cream. Thank you, Alice and parents.

The next day I explored the Brazilian side with some friends from Hong Kong I met at the hostel. It’s crazy when you go from a metropolitan city like Rio to a small town like Falls Do Iguacu. We took a boat ride into the drenching falls and the guide working there recommended we cross the border into Paraguay for our last Friday night, so we casually took the taxi to Cuidad Del Este, Paraguay.

Plot twist: Canadians need a visa to enter Paraguay borders… let’s just say my passport stayed unstamped and I didn’t end up in a South American prison.

I never imagined I could come this far so independently. Some people here have already gotten their phones stolen… Someone out there is looking out for me and I don’t know how to thank them.

RU Abroad Zahra Brazil 5
Arriving in Franca, greeted by new friends.

I just arrived in Franca, the city I will be doing my teaching internship in for the next 6 weeks and I was greeted so warmly at the bus station by the AIESEC Franca members. It’s so overwhelming to be waited for when for the past week you’ve been going from airport to airport with no one waiting on the other end.

Here’s to living out of my suitcase for 6 more weeks and getting to know this cute little town.