Thursday, March 22, 2012

You can tell that I've been having a good time here...

...Because I haven't written on this blog for over a month! To say the least, I have been making the most of these past few months as they continue to fly by. I hope you have time on your hands right now, because I'm not going to lie, this is going to be a long post. Alright, here we go!

How about I start with...Carnaval. :) Like I said in the previous post, Carnaval is a 4 day celebration before the Lenten season (the 40 days before Easter). This year, it was from February 18th until the 21st. I learned that many people (at least here in Belo Horizonte) travel for Carnaval, myself included! I went to a city called Guarapari in the state of Espirito Santo; right next to Minas Gerais. After a lengthy 9 hour car ride with my sister Ana and her boyfriend, Haisten, we arrived around 5:00ish. on the 17th. For the week, we stayed in an apartment about two beaches from the beach. Did I mention that I spent Carnaval on the beach? Really, I live a tough life here. ;) There, we met Haisten's parents and some of their friends. Later, after a good rest, Haisten and Anna wanted to stay in, so I went out with the parents and their friends! And seriously, the whole time I thought of my parents and the friends who feel more like aunts and uncles to me. As the three women, Rita (Haisten's mom), Caca (her friend) and I gabbed about shopping, traveling, and what I thought of Brazilian men, the two husbands drank their beers and ate their dinner and talked when the subjects interested them. After dinner, we went to the beach where there was a pre-Carnaval show. And before long, we were dancing and around 1 a.m., we called it a night.

And the next day (the 18th), we headed to the beach! And I'm not joking, it was full of people by 11 a.m.


So after a day of catching some rays, we headed back to the apartment for a late lunch and then rest before going out for the night. And around 10 p.m. we all went to the beach to watch the show. And can I just say now that the song, "Ai Se Te Pego" will always remind me of Carnaval 2012 and I guess my exchange for that matter; as I heard that song almost everyday while in Guarapari. :) 



Just a few pictures from the first night!

Anna, Me, Caca, Caca's husband Geral

Caca and I

Caca, Me, Rita, and Anna

Haisten and Anna

Rita and I

My wonderful host sister and I


So, after a fun night of dancing barefoot in the sand, around 2:30 we called it a night. And this was how our days were spent for the rest of Carnaval (with some variation of course). The next night on the 19th, I went  to a samba parade with the parents. There, after a quick samba lesson from Rita and Caca, we became dancing fools in the streets. Have I mentioned that I danced a lot during Carnaval? ;) A little afterwards, Anna, Haisten, some friends of theirs, and I went to a night club; and surprise! We were out until 4:30 in the morning dancing. To say the least, we got to the beach a little bit later the following day. So on the 20th, after another relaxing day on the beach, I skyped with my parents and wished my mom a happy birthday, then it was time to go out again! That night, we went to a bloco; which is pretty much just a huge block party. Hundreds of people in the streets and sidewalks, you guessed it, dancing and just having a good time. Now, I have had some pretty amazing experiences here, but that night was one of the highest moments of my exchange: I was called a Brazilian...because of my dancing. :) And so after one more day of the beach and going out until 3:00 in the morning, Carnaval came to an end. We spent one more day in Guarapari and then returned to Belo Horizonte on the 23rd. My Carnaval spent in Brasil is something that I will always remember and if you ever have the opportunity or desire to go to Brasil for Carnaval, go! :)

And so now, what have I been up to for that month after Carnaval? Well, honestly, it's been pretty chill down here in good ol' Brasil; but the time has gone by faster than I could have imagined. 

The first weekend in March I went to a teeny tiny town called Carmopolis with my mom and sister. It's the town where my mom, Virginia was born. Which by the way, Virginia left the town when she was 15, and moved to Belo Horizonte with her brother! 15 years old! She told me that she just wanted to get out of that town and really make something of her life. And so, both her and her brother went to school here, had their own place, and worked. She said that she thinks that I and other exchange students are so courageous for doing what we are doing, but there is no way that I could have ever done that! Anyway, we spent time there with her family, and then went to their family vacation house and stayed there until Sunday. It was so lovely meeting her family and spending that time with them. 

Two weekends ago I had a Rotary weekend in TiradentesBelo Horizonte came into town because we were taking the bus to Tiradentes early the next morning. So I picked up Allison (from Minnesota) Craig (Australia), and Thiago (Brazil) and we went and met up with the other two students that live here in BH, Chiara (Germany) and Nicolai (Denmark). We actually ended up going to Applebees for dinner. Who would have thought that I'm able to get boneless buffalo wings here in Brasil?! Allison and I were pretty excited to be having a taste of home; to the point where we were took pictures of the menu! After Applebees and hanging out with a bunch of other exchange students, we called it a night (even though Allison stayed at my house that night and we stayed up until 3:00 a.m. talking). But by 6:30 the next morning we were getting on the bus to go to Tiradentes. By the end of the day on Saturday, we were all pretty exhausted. Everything from swimming to meetings with Rotary folks to looking around the city. However, in true exchange student fashion, some of us decided that sleep was unnecessary and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking. :) All I can say is that I am so glad that I like coffee. After lunch on Sunday we headed back to BH and I finally got a full night's sleep! :)

And finally, these past couple of weeks have been pretty chill. Right now I'm in between events or big trips; but nevertheless filling my time by going out with friends, going to school (and actually studying!), and getting ready for these next three months to zoom by.

So with that being said, I'm finally all caught up! I may have forgotten some things, but if you want to know anything else about what I'm doing here, feel free to send me an email at m.smits93@gmail.com or shoot me a message on Facebook.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and hopefully I post about mine on Monday! :)

Abra├žos e beijos,

Maggie





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