Thursday, October 13, 2011

No way?!?!

I have been in Brazil for two months!!!!!! It really doesn't seem like that is possible! One minute I am stepping off the plane, and the next I am walking around the city and acutally knowing where I am, speaking fluent Portuguese. (Just kidding about the Portuguese...I'm definitely not fluent yet!) :) I have loved these past few months. And each day I feel so lucky to be here.

Here is my last few months in numbers :)

1.5 journals filled (I think I have enough material to write a book when I get back ;))

2 pairs of Havaianas purchased

2 pairs of new Brazilian high heels

About 2 kilos gained :/...however, my explanation is that in about 9 months I won't be eating this delicious food I need to stock up now :)

716 pictures taken

6 Musuems/art galleries visited (thanks to my wonderful grandparents here. After almost every Rotary meeting, the three of us go to one)

Countless memories made :)


1 extremely happy exchange student who has loved being here and looks forward to the next 9 months. :)

Just a quick update of what I have done these past couple days. On the 11th, I went to a jazz bar with my host parents and sister and some of their friends. It was a lot of fun! As we were walking in, I could hear the song "The Way You Look Tonight" (one of my all time favorites I might add), and from that point on, I knew that I would really like this place. The rest of the evening was filled with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and a couple Beatles songs. I think my family was a little surprised as I knew almost all the words to all the songs. I definitley want to go back. :) Then yesterday, more people came over to the house for another "jam session". Yesterday was a holiday (Children's day), so we had the day off, and I have today and tomorrow off of school too! Yet again, it was another fun afternoon filled with good music, good food, and fun people. Later that night, Lakshmi (my sister) let me go out with her to celebrate a friend of her's birthday. And although we didn't get back home at 5 a.m. like the last time I went out (thank God!), I had a really good time!

Life is good :)



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Indians, Hospitals and Clubbing...just a normal week in Brasil :)

Oi Gente!! (Hey everyone) :)

Alright, so experiencing native Indians, indian Hospitals and going clubbing is the farthest thing from a normal week here, but it is exactly what I encountered this past one.

The Indians...

I went with my school to a native Indian tribe in the state that I am in. We stayed with the Pataxos Indians for four days. We went at the time of their "Festa Das Aguas" (Water Party). It was so cool to be immersed into this tribe and see their way of life and rituals. One of their rituals, I might add, is a "purifying ritual" that all of us students got to experience. It's supposed to represent your spirit being cleansed. Which brings me to the first day...On Wednesday we left Belo Horizonte at 6 in the morning, and got to the tribe around 11, looked around a bit, watched some dances, had lunch, and then the celebration began! It started off with games, a wrestling match to be precise. A person would choose two people to go into the circle and whoever knocked down the bottle that was in the center first, lost. It began with men only and then they were choosing women. And was I chosen? You betcha. I think it's because they could see that I'm not from Brasil. :) I had to wrestle a girl probably about 15 years old; and as embarrassing as it to say, I lost within about a minute.

Then before I knew it, a women had literally jumped on my back, threw mud at me, and then threw me into the mud pit. And thus, this unique "purifying" ritual had begun. Everyone was throwing mud at each other, and getting absolutely filthy. And by this point, it was also pouring down rain. Then, the cleansing began as a guy picked me up and tossed me into a lake. It was freezing!!! It was the first time in Brasil (and I am pretty sure the only time) that I actually was able to see my breath. And once I was in the water, I dared not going out because there was a pretty good chance that I would get covered in mud again, and tossed right back in to the freezing "cleansing pool". So after about a 20 minute mud fight, it was safe to get out of the water. Yet still, I was covered in mud and my legs had some fairly decent cuts on them (I'll elaborate on that one later). Then, after walking 2 kilometers in the rain back to the school we were staying at, I was finally able to shower. But in order to get a semi-hot shower, we had to walk back out into the rain and ask the natives if we could use their showers. They were all really welcoming and more than ready to let us use them. And boy was it worth it! However, I never thought I would see orange water coming out of my hair. And although walking in the rain wasn't the funnest, the day was still so much fun and something I will defnitely not forget! Later that night after dinner, the wife of the chief talked to us, and then we participated in traditional dances, which think were some of the coolest things I saw there.

On Thursday after being woken up my some kids at 6:15 a.m. we started the day! After breakfast, some of us walked to a waterfall and hung out there for a bit; then we went to these lectures about the culture of the tribe. Luckily for me, most of my school friends speak English; so the things I didn't get, they could explain to me. Then came dinner, and afterwards and evening that was defnitely memorable. As most of us were sitting around the dinner tables, there was an old native man (about 70) who was playing the guitar and singing. He then looked at me and made up a song on the spot about my beautiful "blonde" hair (have I mentioned that I'm considered blonde here?!) and how I have captured his heart. Then the following day, he preceeded to ask me to marry him. I politely declined...We then moved to the bonfire where people began to tell horror stories. And here is the prime example of the saying "ignorance is bliss". Because as everyone was scared and couldn't get the stories out of their minds, me and the other exchange student named Benson (from China) just laughed because we had no idea what was going on and were the only ones who weren't terrified. :)

Then by about 12:30, I realized that my foot (the one with the cuts from the lake) was hurting a lot more than I thought. I saw that it was pretty swollen and I couldn't really move my toes (because it was swollen). So I asked the principle for something to help. Before dinner, he put some iodine on, and said he would try to find something to relieve the pain. I found him again, and he still hadn't gotten anything. So, I took a couple Tylenols to try and help with the pain. Once he finally came back with something, I told him that I just took something to help, then he began to yell at me and say that I have no idea what I am doing and neither of us are doctors, and he couldn't believe that I did something like that. And when I told him that I have no problems when I take Tylenol, he just yelled more and said that the pain is just superficial. But then asked if I needed to go to the hospital. (By this point, I was in tears, due to pain, exhaustion, not knowing why he was yelling at me, and just wanting a hug from my parents). So in the end, we went to the hospital at about 2 a.m. Two other students, Sarah and Isabella, came with me. Words can't describe how lucky I was to have them with me. I realized that I've got a couple good friends here :). After having some nurses check it out, they cleaned it, wrapped up the cuts, and sent us on our. We finally got back around 3; and went straight to bed. It was a very strange, eventful evening; but it in no way stopped me from having a good time there!

At the hospital...

In the ambulence back to the school...we were just a wee bit tired ;)

The rest of our time with the indians was very fun! We went to the waterfall place again on Friday and were taught games by the indians, which we played throughout our stay there. And before I knew it, Saturday had come and we were packing up our things. We spent the morning packing and buying things that the indians made, and then it was lunchtime. We had lunch, said our goodbyes, and started our journey back to BH. We got home around 7:30 in the evening. It was such a fun trip and something that I will never forget (mainly because I might actually have a scar to remind me of it), but it's all good. I wouldn't have traded going for anything! :)

This little girl's name was Yadirana. She would come up to me almost daily and say hello and ask how to say things in English. :)

Just a few pictures of what it looked like! :)

The Club....

Then by 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, (after a shower to get all of the dirt out of my hair :)) I was getting in a taxi with a friend named Julia, and a friend of hers named Carolina, and we were headed to the club. My first clubbing expereince! The name of the club we went to was Marriah (pronounced Ma-hee-ah). It was so much fun!! We danced the night away and had a great time! I was quite the dancing fool. But that's not very surprising. :) Before I knew it, it was already 3:45 in the morning and it was time to go. After waiting in the line to pay, we got out of there by 4:45 and I was home by 5 a.m.!!! But here, that's a fairly normal time to get home from a night from going to the club. How they do it, I have no idea. I was absolutely exhausted! I went to bed as soon as I got home, however, I only slept until 11 later that morning! It was still so much fun and I can't wait to go back out dancing again!

So, after waking up on Sunday, Luciana told me to get ready because people would be coming over for churrasco (a barbeque. Which is absolutely delicious!). It was such a fun way to spend my Sunday afternoon! Luciana's sister, Abigail and her family came; along with some of Helio and Luciana's friends. I found out that one of the friends even lived in New York for five years; and had just returned! That afternoon reminded me yet again of how lucky I am when it comes to my host family. They are pretty awesome! So awesome in fact, that on Monday (yesterday) Luciana saw how tired I was, and just let me stay home from school to rest. :)

So, sorry about the novel that I just wrote, but I don't think I left anything out! I still love Brasil, and look forward to all the adventures to come!



p.s. Please feel free to send emails if you have any questions or want to hear any other stories! My email is :)