• Jeff Costa

DEAR DIARY | My First International Friend

Sao Paulo

Sep 9th, 2020

8.07 AM

Dear diary,

learning my first foreign language has been both a bumpy and extraordinary journey. I started studying English when I was 11. Or was I 10? I don't really remember the age I was, but I do remember I was transitioning from childhood to adolescence.

At the beginning, it was not that easy. Everything was odd, weird, strange. The words didn't match anything I knew in my mother tongue. The pronunciation of words didn't sound right either. But since I was very young, this strangeness soon turned into a place of love and identification. I soon began listening to tunes in English and as years went by, and I turned into an adolescent, listening to music became easier with the emergence of MTV. Before YouTube became the thing, MTV was our channel to listen to music and discover new artists, and that's exactly what I used to do. I would come home after school at noon, grab my lunch, and sit in front of the TV to see my favorite artists, that at the time were Avril Lavigne, Green Day and No Doubt, just to name a few.

When I turned 16, I decided to take my fluency one step further, by accessing a website that was growing popular in 2007, called Omegle. People from all around the world would use this website to talk to foreigners, and I was one of them. I came across some very weird people in my first attempts, I must confess. People say the website has grown worse and worse with time, and I suppose that's true, because there were already a lot of perverts 13 years ago. But the thing is, that's the website where I made my first international friend.

Surprisingly enough, he was not from an English-speaking country. Instead, he was from Warsaw, in Poland, a cold and beautiful city. We were practically the same age at that time, maybe he was one year younger than me. We started talking about our countries and culture, and our friendship was nurtured by the language we were speaking, English. Little did I know, though, that our connection would endure until today. Mariusz, that's his name, even came to Brazil. Unfortunately, I was not in Sao Paulo at the time, so we could not meet in person. But imagine how cool it would be to get face to face with someone you've been talking over the internet for more than a decade.

Maybe it is me now who has to buy a plane ticked and travel to Warsaw to visit my first international friend.

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