My sister's graduation

My sister graduated this last week. The world got a new elementary school teacher.

Can I just say how proud I am of her?

My parents with my sister at her graduation, back in Brazil.
Now, before you can  understand how proud I am of her, you have to understand how it is like to go to an university in Brazil.

First of all, most people have to work while going to school, since it is pretty darn expensive. No big deal, we all do that here in the U.S. However, there are no student jobs there, no grants from the government, no scholarships. You have to work, and it has to be full-time (Part-time jobs in Brazil are 6 hours minimum, which is almost a full-time job).

So, for most of those last 3-4 years, my sister woke up at 5 a.m. to get ready to work, got a bus at 6:30 a.m., went to work, left work around 5:30 p.m., rode a bus to school, got out of school around 10:30 p.m., rode a bus back home, got at home around 11:30 p.m, and then studied until 2:00 a.m. or so, just to go to bed for a couple of hours and do everything all over again the next day.

Sadly, this kind of routine is not uncommon in Brazil. Most college kids do that. Thankfully, my sister has amazing parents who drove her to work many times and supported her while she was doing unpaid internships.

Now, before you can REALLY understand how proud I am of her, I have to tell you that she did it all with only 20% of her sight. I usually don't talk about private issues on my blog, and since my sister doesn't go around saying that she is losing her sight, I try to do the same. But for you to understand how amazing she is, you have to know this.

When she was 12, the doctors found out she has a degenerative disease in the retina of both her eyes. There's nothing that can be done, no surgery, nothing, nothing, nothing. So I have been watching my sister go blind for the last 10 years. This whole thing really breaks my heart, though I am thankful she has 20% of her sight, since the doctors said she would be blind by the time she reached adulthood (she's now 22, turning 23 in two months).

She rode the bus, worked, studied, did EVERYTHING with only 20% of her sight. And she graduated as one of the first in her class.

I'm glad she had some good helpers on her way. As she was never able to see what the teachers were writing on the blackboard, she had to copy her friends' notes after class. Also, as she sometimes was not able to read her books, my amazing mother spent nights and nights reading the books to her. As she can't drive, my father gave a car to my mother, just so she could drive my sister up and down.

She got some good help, but, man alive, that girl is a fighter--and I am so, so proud of her.

If someone deserves that diploma, that someone is her. Believe me, the world just got the best teacher ever.

Congratulations, Marina!

2 comentários

  1. Monica, MUITOOOO legal e bem tocante a historia da sua irma. eu tambem ficaria ja muito proud dela soh por terminar a faculdade, pelo tudo q vc falou, eh muito verdade. Quem dera no Brasil faculdade tivesse todas as ajudas q tem aqui. Nossa, eu lembro eu tambem acordando super cedo, indo trabalhar o dia todo e depois ainda ter q encarar um monte de aulas e soh lah pra meia-noite chegar em casa. Dificil mesmo!! parabens pra sua irma!!!
    E eu adorei seu post sobre wake-up call. A gente teve um desses aqui tambem, as vezes a gente precisa meioq perder as coisas pra dar valor no q a gente tem neh? Embora meu marido nao perdeu o emprego, mas ficou tudo muito sensivel, e gracas ao Pai, ainda temos comida na mesa e casa pra morar. E olha, eh como vc falou, o seu emprego de jornalista, o do meu marido q eh ser chef, quem dera o expediente dele fosse 9 to 5. Soh eu sei o q eh passar vespera de natal sozinha ou reveillon sozinha porque meu marido ta cozinhando pra fazer a festa dos outros. Ossos do oficio neh?? mas eh algo pra se pensar mesmo!!! ja falei, adoro seu blog!
    abracao!

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  2. Pra que escrever em português né?! Para os amigos praticarem o inglês? kkkk

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