Choose your Mood by Alexandra Joy

"I betcha, if I had taken a poll before Campus Chorale's trip to Brazil, asking people something like, "My school's audition choir is taking 50 teenagers to Brazil to sing where there is the zika virus going around, purse snatching, and welp, the fact that we will be NAVIGATING ANOTHER NEW COUNTRY AS A GROUP OF 50, how many things will go wrong?," that many of you would have predicted that at least ONE horrifying thing would have happened. While no trip can be perfect, I personally cannot think of one complaint or certain thing that shaded the trip for me. That doesn't go without negativity, though. There were a few times on the trip where I really found my patience dwindling. I speak not only for myself, but for many others, when I say that spending time with a close-knit group for 18 days on 4 hour bus rides, countless plane rides, and even walks on city streets can get tedious. I mean, traveling is a tedious thing. There are so many details that have to be paid attention to that it's easy for something to go wrong. From the beginning of planning, we were being told what to be cautious of, and rightly so. Our chaperones prepared us full well all the way up to the day we left. They informed us that we had to keep our bags close to us in certain areas. They let us in on the fact that water would not always be safe to drink. They said that we might get stomach sicknesses, flu, and/or bug bites. We needed to be informed, but that kind of stuff can really shade the fun of the trip going into it. 

I wore my Be Bona Fide bracelet almost the entire trip. We were not supposed to wear any jewelry, but I was willing to risk my Bona Fide bracelet getting snatched for positivity. A loud kid in the group? Choose patience. A random person pushing me, acting entitled? Choose grace. The airport cutting off my whole zipper instead of just cutting off the lock on the first day of the trip? Choose joy, and laugh it off. A poor family giving us everything they have? Choose love, and lots of it.

This trip not only taught me about the language of music that can sometimes be spoken better than actual spoken languages, it not only taught me how to fly without my parents there, it not only taught me the abundance of things I have in comparison to a lot of the world, but it also taught me the importance of small businesses with big meanings, big dreams. My Bona Fide bracelet served as a reminder throughout the whole trip; it reminded me how two people can have a vision to change the world and gently shake it, only expecting to touch a few, but eventually touching many. Nicole and Laura's visions and realities not only affected ME on the trip, but they affected the people in Brazil that I was better able to communicate and interact with because of knowing that I can CHOOSE my reaction, my mood."