And now I am going to begin with the fact that I have found the place where I will retire. First I just either need to find a wealthy good-looking Brazilian man or win the lottery...I'm still crossing my fingers for both. It's an island in the north-eastern part of Brazil, in a town called Boipeba. :) That's where my family and I spent the New Years and the first week and a half of 2012. And let me tell you, it was absolutely awesome! We arrived to the island around 9:30 at night on the 27th, after two days of driving. We took a 20 minute boat ride to get to the island; and as we were loading our things onto the boat, Luciana looked at me and said, "Doesn't it just feel like we are in a totally different country?" and I replied with, "Well, actually, I am in another country." Both her and her sister Abigail found that pretty funny. Abigail and her husband, Bernardo and their two kids came as well. They made for excellent company!
And so for two weeks, we spent everyday on the beach; just haning out, planking on coconut trees, and enjoying the island lifestyle. And now I have a tan and blonder hair to prove it. The island has 7 beaches, and we went to 6 of them. On the first day, we went to the beach that was a 10 minute walk from the inn. And everyday afterwards we would go to the next beach over, or go to the same beach for a couple of days. And before I knew it, New Year's Eve was already here! Like Christmas, it didn't really feel like New Years. But I honestly couldn't have imagined spending it any other way. Barefoot with my feet in the sand, clad in all white (it's a tradition), and watching the fireworks reflect over the ocean. The funny thing is that the fireworks started before midnight, so there was no countdown. And before I knew it, champagne bottles started popping and everyone around me was screaming "Happy New Year" or kissing! We didn't stay too long on the beach; around 12:45 Luciana, Helio, Ignacio (Abigail's son), and I went and had tapioca (a typical food of Bahia; it's definitely not like the tapioca in the US, but it's so delicious!) and by 2:00 a.m. I was headed to bed. After another day at the beach, two friends of the family, Jussara and Lucina joined us in Boipeba. Then on the 3rd we took a boat to another island and spent a few hours there. And while on the boat back we stopped and snorkelled in natural pools. We didn't see a lot, but I did see a fish like Dori from "Finding Nemo", so I was pretty content. :) And each day after, we went to the beach. There really isn't a better feeling than laying on the beach and hearing the sound of the waves on a beautiful day. It really was an amazing vacation and I am so lucky to have such a great family to take me there.
Just some pictures of paradise :)
I couldn't resist ;)
This was the sunset on our last night :) A perfect ending to a wonderful vacation
Trying some delicous food from Bahia
So after a great two weeks in Bahia, we headed back to Belo Horizonte on the 9th and arrived on the 10th.
And now...on the 12th, my friends Abigail, Michelle, and Blair from Australia went home. They have the same school year as Brazil, so they came here last January. I spent the night at Abi's on the 10th, and we didn't sleep at all! It was nice having that extra time. And I'd have to say that saying goodbye was one of the hardest things that I've had to do here. Even though we know it's just "see you later", not knowing when later is, is a real bummer. Each of them are amazing and I am so incredibly blessed to have them in my life and to have met them on this journey. If any of my Aussies are reading this, thank you for everything. Can't wait to see you guys when you come to the US for our awesome road trip! :) Love you guys! SAUDADES!!
Later on the 12th, I got my second Christmas package from home! (The first one just had food :)) Only after paying R$597 (about $330), but that's only because my parents sent me a new camera!! :) Thanks mom and dad!! To say the least, it definitely lifted my spirits; and I have been taking pictures (of pretty much anything and everything) for the last two days. So after a good skype session with my family and one of my best friends, Stacia, and with not sleeping for the past 32 hours, I was more than ready to call it a day.
And last night, I taught my host mom and Clara how to make chocolate chip cookies. They turned out quite nicely and I am pretty sure there are only about 5 cookies left. And I also introduced my family to the beauty of eating spoonfulls of raw cookie dough. :)
The finished product!
So these last few weeks have flown by! But they have been filled with great memories, rollercoasters of emotions, and moments I wouldn't trade for the world! On the 12th, I had been here for exactly 5 months; and let me just say that these have been some of the best months of my life and I look forward to the next 6. :)
Sending all my love from Brazil,