Even before applying to WPI, there was a plan. If I was approved, I would stay almost one month more to cover the United States elections. It would be two dreams at a time, since I’ve always aspired to both participate in a fellowship and to cover the American elections.

Before applying, my boss heard about the plan. She smiled and said: “No problem you try the fellowship, but let’s see if you are approved before deciding about the US elections.” First things first, so to speak.

But then I was accepted, and she happily embraced my idea. It would be good for me professionally as well as for the news website, she said, since it would have someone in loco filing news stories back to Brazil.

After a lot of expectations, the US adventure began. In the first phase of it, I shared with nine incredible journalists a comprehensive experience throughout America. After the fellowship, the second phase of the project started.

In the beginning it was hard to find myself in the coverage. For some moments there was this silly fear of not being able to write the news stories properly and to inform accurately what the elections were all about. But, in the last day of the work – the Election Day -, I realized the accomplishment of more than I thought at first.

It was in Chicago, where I had the opportunity to see and cover history in the making. My team back home gave their best. My family and friends were proud. Everything was very emotional for me. Veni, vidi, vici.

When everything was over, my recent past confirmed the fulfillment of two dreams at once. But, since then, I feel this emptiness.

During these three amazing months in United States, it was possible to avoid my old self. I could pretend being other me, could live a whole new routine. And, while in the fellowship, I learned to love people who now I just can wish to see again someday, somewhere.

A piece of my heart was left with my fellows and, because of it, what has remained with me still hurts. I need more time to heal and feel complete again, to not miss them – or miss the one I was while with them.

Who am I now? It’s been just one week since I returned to Brazil, and I feel misplaced and wonder about my future. What is yet to come is still blurred, but I know I don’t have the right to conform.

WPI and the other dream it helped me achieve – the US elections – have changed my interior and what I know about myself. The whole experience showed me I can always hope for the best, for plans that at first could seem unattainable.

After all of that, I feel I have just one obligation: to keep moving forward  not back.