I can't believe that I have been here for over a week! The days have flown by and my time in Brazil has been amazing so far. The people, the places, and the memories created have been wonderful! Here's what I have been up to within the last few days...
I began school! On Tuesday, I started school at Escola da Serra. The school is great! It is a smaller school, with about 500 students (that includes elementary through high school); but this way I am able to meet more people. And I have been doing just that! My classmates have been so helpful and have made me feel so welcome!! So welcome in fact that one boy even told me that I am "very pretty, and he is newly single". I politely declined in the best Portuguese that I could speak. Luckily for me, all of my classmates are very patient with my Portuguese; however, about 99% of the time we revert back to English (as most of them know it), or I ask them to talk very slowly. I feel like I am catching onto the language fairly quickly; and I don't think I will have a very difficult time learning it. However, it is such a strange feeling not knowing at all what is going on. But this unknowningness makes me want to learn it even more! Throughout the day, I was asked tons of questions. Everything from "what kind of music do you listen to?" to "are you related to Madonna?", or "oh yea, Washington. That's where 'Twilight' was filmed, right?" But I loved every second of it; and I felt so flattered that people seemed genuinely happy to meet me and have me at their school.
So after my first day of school, I went to my first Rotary meeting. And just like school, everyone was so warm and welcoming, which made my hint of nervousness completely dissapear! After Rotary there was a shop conveniently located right across the street from where the meeting was held. So, I learned some Brazilian culture through shopping; this lesson continued the next day couple of days after school as well. Almost everyday since then, Lorencia has been so helpful, and has shown me around the city. My feet are aching by the end of the day, but it is so worth it, and I am loving getting to know more about my new "home".
Fast forward to Thursday; Lakshmi, Lorencia, Teresa (other host mom), Hudson (other host dad), and I went to a modern dance performance at a beautiful theatre. The dancing was quite "artsy", but incredibly impressive; and the music was beautful.
Then the weekend began! It started off by going to a flower fair after school, and a much needed night of relaxing. Saturday, we went to lunch at a friend of mine's house; and then I was really exposed to some Brazilian culture as friends of Luciana and Helio's came over for a "jam session" complete with congas, a guitar, shakers, and beautiful voices. The evening was filled with good food, music, conversation, and an attempt at matchmaking; as a friend of Luciana's was telling me about her son, and how I should meet him. They tell me that he is tall, dark, and handsome. Don't worry mom, I haven't fallen in love yet. In true Brazilian fashion, we ended the night with a Samba lesson at around 1:30 in the morning. Then on Sunday, Lorencia, Abigail (an Australian exchanger), and I went to a huge hippie fair that takes place every Sunday. There were easily over two hundred booths, and thousands of peope. It was a little overwhelming at first, but I quickly got used to it. There, I tried coconut water, and some delicious Brazilian barbeque for the first time. Later that night, after a much needed nap, Lorencia, Abigail, and I went out to a birthday party of a friend of theirs. It was pretty fun and I met some more super cool people.