Dear Candace,

Congratulations Chica!  You made it through your first year.

From this point on, you can no longer call yourself a neophyte. Whether you realize it or not, you are now accustomed to living life outside of your native land. You are now well acclimated to the chaos, and have adjusted to the feel of everything constantly shifting under your feet  You have gained a level of mastery. Embrace it.

You will find now that new sounds fill your brain, whether or not you understand their meaning or not. Whether you invited them or not. These sounds form new words that will exit your mouth with a level of fluency that you did not expect. Embrace this. This is what it means to learn and become more of yourself in your new world. You may still be able to understand people far better than you can respond to them. But continue to be patient with yourself.  As the saying goes, “poco a poco” “little by little” you will make it through.

Now

You have seen, experienced and been challenged in ways that you could never have prepared for. The past year gave you a new appreciation for your native land and all of the privileges that you took for granted. Accept that. Accept that your privilege as an American traveling and living new spaces. And understand that it is American imperialism that allows you to move with such freedom.

You are in a new place now, you survived the trauma of moving in a foreign country. This new place s unfamiliar, but you still know your way around. You are a master navigator. Navigate.

And lastly, please remember everything that you felt this year has been real. All the challenges that you faced were just as difficult as you perceived them to be. Own it. Own your pain, own your discomfort, own your reality. That it the only way that you can progress and move forward in your life. This level of honesty is paramount to allowing you to become who and what you are striving to be!

Buena Suerte, Chica!

Love,
Candace

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