Anyway, I have been in Brasil for a month and a half now! I could easily write a novel about all the things I have done within the past month, but I will just summarize some of the high and low moments that I have experienced while on this adventure!
Here we go! About three weeks ago, Lakshmi, Lorencia, Abigail and I went to a small town called Ouro Preto; which means "black gold". There, we spent the day walking around and seeing what the city had to offer. The day we went was also Brasil's independence day. So when arived, there were marching bands in the town square, playing what sounded like Beatles music, and hundreds of people lining the streets. After a full day of seeing churches, museums, countless shops, a rock fair, and eating a couple bowls of acai, we we're ready to call it a day. I couldn't have imagined celebrating Brasil's independence any other way. :)
Lakshmi, Abigail, Me, Lorencia
The following week, I was in Sete Lagoas. A town about an hour and half away by bus for our inbond orientation. There I met all the other exchange students in the district. We were there for the whole week and took Portuguese classes; however, we still spoke English to eachother ;). We also did other things like going on a tour of cave, meeting the mayor, any many other things as well. It was such a fun week; and I had such a good time getting to know all of these awesome people. If any of the inbounds from 4520 are reading this, thanks for the best week ever! :)
And most recently, I went to Luciana's (my host mom's) family farm this past weekend. The farm or "fazenda", in Portuguese, is over 200 years old, has no electricity, and you get hot water by having a fire heat up water over a stove-like thing. However, being there for the weekend was one of the funnest things I have done in Brasil. With us was Luciana's sister, her sister's husband and their kids, a friend of theirs, and Luciana's English teacher. On Saturday, we took a hike around the farm (it's huge). OH! And on that hike, I saw my first monkey!!! We we're about 20 ft. way from a pair of monkeys! Unfortunately, they got away before I could snap a picture, but it was still really cool! Then, we hiked to a waterfall and hung out there for the afternoon. The evenings were filled with card games, lots of delicious food, and many laughs.
And now for a more serious note...I had my first bout of homesickness after returning from Sete Lagaos. It was the first time when it really hit me that I won't be going home for a year. I have realized that I won't be able to give my parents a hug (even though skype hugs help a ton, they just aren't quite the same), or I won't be there to celebrate Christmas with my family, or even go catch a movie with my sister. But by not having these things that we take for granted everyday, it has made me see how incredibly blessed I am; and has made me so appreciative of what I do have. And when I think of home here and how I miss it, I take a step outside and see so many people who don't have homes, but merely a carboard box over their head; and then it really hits me. We don't really know how good we've got it.
But during those really hard days last week, right beside me was a new family. Here I have not only two, but four host parents. *Quick sidenote* the mom and dad are seperated, and now remarried; and I live with the dad most of the time. Then with the mom every other weekend. Anyway, I have four host parents and a couple of siblings who were more than ready to give me a hug and let me "cry it out".
So now, that homesick feeling is for the most part gone; and I am as ready as I'll ever be to continue on with this journey. God sure has me in the palm of his hand, and I see that in more ways than one. I have loved being here, and I continue to fall in love with Brasil a little more each day. The past 46 days have been the best, and I look forward to the next 285 days to come.
Sending all my love from Brasil,
p.s. I'll try and have an update sooner than next month ;)