Monday, November 28, 2011

Goin' to the chapel, and we're gonna get married!

Alright, so I went to my "cousins" wedding on Saturday; and it was so much fun! The wedding was supposed to start at 5; which in Brazil, that is incredibly early for a wedding. My host mom was telling me that most weddings usually don't start until 8 p.m. or even later! But in true Brazilian fashion, it actually didn't start until about 5:30. :) It was such a lovely wedding. The bride, Sita, looked stunning; and the groom, Rafael, had a permanent smile on his face. The ceremony took about an hour, and then we headed to the reception around 7:00. And coincidentally enough, the bride was a Rotary exchange student to the U.S. and her host family was there. So I was able to meet some cool Americans too! It was such a fun night! From the dancing to almost catching the bouquet to the family and friends there; it made for a memorable evening! And I wish all the very best to the happy couple! :)
Lakshmi, Me, Husdon, and Teresa (Part of my family)

Helio, Me, Luciana (The other part of my family)

Some "cousins" :)

So, before I tell you what I did yesterday, I did something quite familiar and close to home on Saturday. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I was in a play! And for those of you who know me, you know that I was very involved in theatre during high school. So when I found out that my drama class was going to be putting on a play, all the memories of the previous plays and musicals I was in came rushing back; and I got so excited! So the play on Saturday was about a doctor that goes to a city and decides that everyone is crazy and should be put in the hospital; but in the end, it turns out that the doctor is the true crazy one. I played a tourist who had no idea what was going on. I think they may have just added the part for me. ;) But anyway, the play went great and everyone said I did a great job; even though I actually missed some lines, but oh well. Here in Brazil, I have a list of all the things I want to do and see during my year, and being in a play was on that list (and ironically, so was going to a wedding! Who would have thought that I'd do both in the same day!). :)

While embracing my "tourist" role, I took pictures of everything! Here are some of the photos :)

Alright, now for yesterday (Sunday). I was at Teresa and Hudson's this weekend, so yesterday morning, we went to a bazar with my grandparents. We were there for about 4 hours; and as we were leaving, a girl came up to me and asked me if I was an exchange student, and then she told me that she was an exchange student in Belgium last year! See, this is what I love about exchange; when you meet another exchange student, you have an instant connection because you both have this one thing in common and you can pretty much talk about anything. So now, I have a new friend named Izadora, and we're planning to hang out next Sunday!

And after the bazar, we had lunch and watched the soccer game. One of the teams from Minas Gerais was playing. Even though it wasn't the team that I cheer for, it was still pretty fun. I don't know if I have mentioned this either, but the team you cheer for is kind of a big deal here. You can either have life-long friends or enemies depending on which team you are. Ok, I'm kind of joking, but kind of not at the same time. Here in Minas, there are two major teams: Atl├ętico or Cruzeiro. I myself cheer for Atl├ętico, and yesterday Cruzeiro was playing; but I didn't mention that because I didn't want to get "booed" out of the restuarant. Yet again, kind of joking, but kind of not at the same time. :) So after lunch, we went and did some more Christmas shopping! And we didn't get home until about 11:30 p.m.!

So even though yesterday was a very full day, it was such a fun day! I had such a great weekend, filled with so many different things; and I loved every second of it! :)

Happy Monday to everyone! Have a great week! :)



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Woo! Survived my first big holiday!

Alright, for starters, I want to wish everyone a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving (even if it is a couple days late:))! I know for me, I have an endless list of all the things that I am thankful for.

When I went to school, all of my friends that knew it was a holiday eagerly wished me a happy Thanksgiving; and then for a good part of the day we talked about all the food that we eat and the traditions we have in the U.S. on Thanksgiving. It was such a good day at school, and it made me realize how lucky I am to have such awesome friends here in Brazil. :)

Then, after school, to bring a little bit of Thanksgiving culture to Brazil, I made my first ever apple pie! I was kind of nervous about making it, because this was the first thing I made my family. But luckily, after about three hours of chopping, mixing, and baking, I successfully made a delicious apple pie! :) And now, I have been ordered to make one for Christmas too! :)

So while the apple pie was cooling, I skpyed with my family. I knew from the beginning that seeing them would be a little tough, but I was more than willing to shed a few tears just to see my wonderful family for a bit. It started off really great! Seeing everyone at my grandma's house; talking with my aunts, uncles, and cousins was so nice and I loved every second. But then, once it was time for them to go eat dinner, I could feel my chin start to quiver and tears welling up in my eyes. As I said goodbye to my mom and sister, they said, "Know that we are so thankful for you and we love you so much! We'll toast to you at dinner! Don't cry; enjoy the rest of your day and I am sure the apple pie will be delicious!" By this point, the tears were slowly rolling down my cheeks, and after a very quick and cracked "Goodbye. I love you all so much too." I quickly hungup and let it out! It really is amazing how much better you feel after a good cry and some chocolate. Afterwards, I headed downstairs for dinner, even though my eyes were puffy and I couldn't really talk without starting to cry; however, when my host mom, Lu, saw me she gave me a hug and later told me how thankful they were to have me in their house. But really, I think it's pretty obvious that I'm the lucky one here. My family here, both sides I might add, is absolutely amazing; and I can't even begin to describe how fortunate I am to be living with them! So after a delicious dinner and eating the pie, I was ready to call it a night.

Sure, my Thanksgiving this year didn't have a turkey or I didn't go shopping on "Black Friday", but I did have a lovely dinner with my family, and time to really think about what this holiday means and how incredibly thankful I am for all the wonderful things in my lfe.

So thank you to all of my family and friends, both here in Brasil and in the U.S., you've helped make me the person I am today; and I am so fortunate to have you all in my life! And thank you to Rotary! This has been the greatest experience, and I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for all the hard work that you Rotarians do! :)

And now, it's almost one in the morning here. I just got back from a wedding, and I am exhausted! But don't worry, I'll write about the wedding and what I did today after a goodnight's sleep!

Boa noite!


Friday, November 18, 2011

It's November? But I'm still wearing shorts!

Oi gente! :)

I've been here for three months already! It still amazes me how fast this is going! And I realize that I'm not very good at keeping this updated on a weekly basis, but I'm trying my hardest!

Here is what I've been up to for the past couple weeks...

The weekend before last (the 4th-the 6th of November), I helped with a music festival! One of my host fathers, Hudson, has a music school and his music school put on a music festival/competition. The type of music that was played is called "choro". Choro means "cry", so when you listen to this music, you are supposed to be moved to tears of joy. And I can't say that I cried during the weekend due to the music, but I did have an absolutely great time listening to this beautiful style of music. My friend Abi helped with it too; so for the weekend we took pictures of the event, but usually just ended up dancing in the back of the theatre. It was such a fun experience and something I will remember forever, especially because I've got a new genre of music to listen too. :)

During the weekend, I also had my first dream in Portuguese!! Although it was a nightmare, it was still pretty cool that it was in Portuguese. I'm definitely feeling myself improve everyday with the language. My host family pretty much only talks to me in Portuguese now, and I actually understand about 75% of it. After three months, I don't think that's too shabby.

Alright, now fast forward to this most recent weekend. The previous week, I wasn't feeling very good. I won't get into details about that, but it was enough for my host dad, Helio (who is an accupuncturist) to ask me if I wanted to try accupunture to try and solve my problem. "Why not?" I thought. So I had a wild and crazy Friday night filled with accupuncture and sleep! And I actually woke up on Saturday feeling 10 times better and ready for what was next.

On Saturday, I had a Rotary Christmas party! It was so early because some of the exchange students are going to the Northeast part of Brazil for a month long trip next week, and there would have been no other time for it. So Saturday, all of us exchangers (outbounds too) got together at our exchange coordinator's holiday house. It was such a fun day, and I wish I could have spent more time with these amazing people! While there though, I actually met a Rotarian who has been to Wenatchee!! He did an exchange to Seattle and had family in Wenatchee. And for part of the afternoon we talked about all the things at home; like the Apple Blossom Festival, or our favorite parts of Seattle. I definitely never thought that I would meet someone here who not only heard of Wenatchee, but has been there! It got me thinking about no matter how huge our world is, it's still small. :)

Then on Sunday, I went to Michelle's family's farm with Chiara (a girl from Germany) and Michelle's host parents. We had another holiday on Tuesday, and no school on Monday; so we stayed at their farm until Tuesday. We spent the days there relaxing, walking around the farm, and going to the nearby town and getting icecream. My host mom, Luciana likes to tell me that I have quite the spectrum of farms now. Because unlike the other farm I've been too, this farm had electricty and modern appliances. But I like to say that I've had to different experiences that were equally good!

This past week has been really good. I skyped with my parents on Wednesday (it was my dad's birthday on Monday). So I had to wait until Wednesday to tell him "happy birthday". By the way, happy birthday to the best dad any girl could ask for! I love you so much dad! Thank you for everything!

And last night, I went to Luciana's other school that she teaches at to talk to the students. And for many of them, I was the first American they have met and the first native English speaker that they have spoken with. I got some interesting questions though. Things like, "Do you have English classes in the U.S.?", or "Do you eat McDonalds everyday in the U.S.?" And I found it funny that every class asked me if I had a boyfriend. I had a really good time, and I look forward to going back and visiting them again! :)

I can't believe that it is already the middle of November. It most definitely does not feel like November here.
I don't feel quite right wearing shorts and a t-shirt to school; and seeing Christmas decorations on every corner now doesn't feel real either. And although, Brazil won't be celebrating Thanksgiving next week, I plan on baking some apple pies and sharing a bit of American culture with my family and friends here! Now, I just need to learn how to make an apple pie...

Tchau for now!

A vida e boa! :)


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

So not a whole lot of new news, but who cares? I'm still in Brazil! :)

Oi Gente! :)

So last Friday and Monday were dress up days at my school! Halloween isn't very big in Brazil, but it's popular at my school; so they let only my class (the final year) dress up in costumes. Friday we had to dress up as some sort of character. I went as Captain America! Mainly because I needed something last-minute and all I had was an American flag. :) Then on Monday we had to dress up as monsters. About two thirds of my class went as zombies, myself included. We kept with a trick-or-treat theme as my classmates told the other students of the school to bring candy or we would definitley play tricks on them. By the end of the day, we had a lot of candy, but many students were also covered in silly string and their hair was painted (don't worry, it washed out :)). Even though my Halloween this year didn't have jack-o-laterns or candy corn, it was still a really fun day. It did make me miss home a bit as the thought of not being home for the holidays crossed my mind a few times. But it's ok, I'm still in Brazil. :) And I'll be spending my holidays with some pretty great people!

The rest of my weekend was good! On Firday night after hanging out with some friends, I took a taxi home for the first time by myself. I even gave the taxi driver directions! To some that may sound like nothing, but when you are learning a language, it's kind of a big deal. At least for me it was! After only being here about 2 1/2 months, I felt pretty proud about that :) Then on Saturday I went to a friends birthday party; and Sunday I went to a bridal shower. My host father's newphew is getting married in November. It was a nice party, and actually kind of similar to the ones in the U.S.

Today is another holiday in Brazil. I swear, it seems like there is a holiday almost every week here. Today is Dia de Finados (All Souls Day), so I don't have school today either! And last night, I went to a churassco with Abi and Michelle and some of Abi's school friends. All of her friends are really cool people. :)

Oh, I almost forgot! I met my next host family too! They are very nice and I look forward to living with them. I went to their house to meet them, and it was also my next host dad's birthday. So that was fun being able to celebrate with them. I met new aunts and uncles and cousins too! Yet again, I think I hit the host family jackpot. I'll be moving into their house at the end of January. :)

I think that's all for now. Like I said, not a whole lot has happened, but that it perfectly ok. I feel like I have finally adapted to living here and these past few months have been great!