Editor’s note: Rachael Scott, a Greensboro native and Northern Guilford High School graduate, is among 29 students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism who are providing coverage from the Rio Olympics. Scott is making contributions to greensboro.com throughout the Games.
Two weeks down for me in Rio, and I have a new perspective on my life in the United States. I could not be more thankful that the Olympics brought me to this city to learn that there is a world bizarrely different from the U.S.
In Rio I had to travel an hour to buy peanut butter. There is not a coffee shop on each corner. Buses do not stop where they're supposed to stop. It takes at least an hour to get most places, and heaven forbid you flush toilet paper.
Most nights I go to sleep hearing fireworks from the neighboring favela, signaling a new shipment of drugs has arrived. I have never had to be as aware of my safety and surroundings as I have been here.
Convenience is a luxury. Safety is not a guarantee. Peanut butter is still a necessity.
So many of the Brazilians I met live each day with enthusiasm and compassion, eager to help a lost, culturally ignorant American like myself learn and adjust.
When I arrive back in the United States, order my first tall iced coffee from Starbucks and go home to my quiet suburban neighborhood, I will not forget the picture of everyday life here in Rio, the obstacles that citizens here face and the positivity with which they face them.