Monday, September 24, 2012

Musical Weekend

So I had another wonderful weeknd. I got to spend the whole weekend mostly with my host family. On Friday I went to a club with friends that is a car garage during the day and a club at night. I cannot remember the name of it but it is in Rio Vermehlo which is quite the place to be. We danced there for three hours, and they played all American Music so it was kind of fun to know all the songs. It was a pretty interesting place, there was cool art and lights and smoke everywhere, but it was a good time.
Saturday I finished my paper and was able to send it in, and then went out with my host uncle that night. he took me to see this like blues/jazz group called jamnomam. It was right on the water and the music was great, it was all open so the sky was beautiful. It was really nice and was nice to hear some Brazilian music and just chill.Here is a link to them on youtube, so you can check em out if you want.

On Sunday I went to a market in Campo Grande with my host mom and sister, as well as my host grandma. They were buyign plants, and there were tons everywhere as well as a bunch of local artists selling stuff which was pretty cool. And then we came home and my host grandma cooked the biggest lunches ever and complained that I didn´t eat enough as always. She made some really good desset aftwerwards as well that helped with all my sugar cravings. Every day on the walk home from school there is this really good cake place that I stop and buy a peiece of cake, (bolo) from. They guy knows me which is kind of sad, but hey I need my sugar.

After dessert my host uncle pulled out guitars and we all sang music, especially my little host sister who loves to belt out all kinds of songs. She loves shakira and beyonce as well as many brazilian artists. I sang Imagine by John lenin, which they all knew, and my host grandpa even recorded it! haha it was all good fun. They were very official, Isabelle even had a microphone and introduced each of us before we sang. It was nice to hang out and embrace that part of the culture. 

And now it is back to school. I didn´t have afternoon class today because I went to the federal police and reigestered in Brazil, so I am now legally in the country and can stay. I Know have a brazilian ID that I can take with me eveywhere.

Hope you all as nice of a relaxing weekend! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Candomble is an ancient African religious tradition, that is still practiced by some here in Brazil because of the deep African roots. Candomble is not exactly practiced however, it is something that the people live, and you do not decide to join, each person is chosen. They believe that each person is born with an orisha (which is like a spirit or natural element) that comes out during the ceremony. The tradition honors nature, with orishas of earth and wind and fire, and focuses on living life at a slower pace in time with the world.
Since this trip is an educational one we were allowed to go visit and participate in one of these ceremonies. It is not something that they allow tourists to do. We were all brought into the temple, or church that they have of sorts, and allowed to ask questions. They all wear white during the ceremony, so to be able to participate we all had to take showers and change into white clothing. they then showed us all the different shrines that serve the different Orishas that they had there were they lived, and then the ceremony began. There were drums, clapping and singing. and then the main woman, who is charge of the ceremony hugged us all. We also went through a process where she blew cigar smoke on us, and patted us down with tree branches. I am probably not doing it justice, but it was a very interesting experience. It was nice that they had taken the time to put on the ceremony for us, and allowed us into their home and see their traditions. It was an invaluable experience.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Adventure to nowhere. . .

So this weekend besides getting down on Friday night with the whole gang, Ariel, Emily and I decided that we were going to find this one market. It is supposed to be really nice, have some really cool handcrafted stuff, and lots of good food. Well we knew the name of the place it was in, and the general direction, according to a map of Salvador. We met up in Mercado Medelo which is a nice place but very touristy. We found some good souvenir type things, tons of brazil things, and lots of hammocks. They were awesome, I want to get one before I leave! Anyways from there we started walking in what was determined to be the right direction.
  Well, about an hour later and in the middle of nowhere we decided that next time we do this we should definitely take a bus. haha We ended up just walking all the way back, and well I guess we got to walk around and see a different part of the city, although we went nowhere in particular. We ended seeing a gorgeous sunset as well over the water. There is a lower city here and an upper city, and mercado medelo is in the lower city, so we took an elevator up to the upper city and walked around there for awhile. It was a nice time to walk and see new things, and bought some delicious popcorn :) Which is one of my new favorite Portuguese words, pipoca. So a long day of some good company and some good excercise, and definitely an adventure, although we just ended up right back where we started.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ketchup on Pizza

So I have not had to eat too many weird foods here, besides there being an awful lot of meat, and not always knowing what it is. The one thing I found very strange though is that when I pizza with my host family, they put ketchup on it. Just a lot of ketchup right on top, I tried it and it kind of just makes everything taste like ketchup, I don't know why eat the pizza, haha. I guess its just one of those things though.
Another thing that is kind of strange is that they eat a lot of beans and rice, and they pour like straight flour on top. Its a courser flour, that is ground differently, not what you would use for baking, but its flour, and that was interesting.
For the most part I like a lot of the food here, everyday for lunch I get to eat out and try new food. That is when I try and eat lots of veggies, because I mostly eat pasta, rice and meat at home. So I am always craving vegetables, when I get back to the states I don't think I ever want to eat meat again. And I am in love with their fruit! It is so good, so much tropical fruit, fresh from the market everyday, and it all tastes wonderful.
All the host moms are trying to fatten us up and cook as much food as they can. My host mom is very worried, that I don't eat two helpings of everything, and says I am shy about food, but I cannot honestly eat anymore. So she resorts to feeding me lots and lots of fruit because I love it so much and I can never turn it down. They make really good juice here too, they mix the fruit and blend the fruit and it just makes really fresh ripe juice that is delicious. My host mom always laughs at me because she says I should be tired of it, but really I cannot get enough. I will turn into a fruit soon at this point :)

Como se Disse?

Como se Disse has become my new favorite phrase in Portuguese. It is just how do you say?... and then I either point, or when all else fails try and say the english word and hope they know what I mean. Isabelle who is 6 thinks it all very funny, because most of the time, I am pointing at random things and asking her to say them, and when I repeat the word I cannot say it correctly. I think I am really the one who is 6 when it comes to talking anyway. Isabelle is shy but she is just starting to get used to me, and we share a smile every now and then, I try to ask her questions sometimes but usually looks at me like I am crazy. I think my host mom is the only person who understands what I am trying to say, even though I don't say it right.

Last night my host mom and I were trying to have a conversation, try being the key word here. There was a lot of motion, trying to act out what we were saying and a lot of confusion on my part. And then Isabelle just walks over and hands her mom the portuguese english dictionary! haha She knew we were not going to be able to figure it out. That book has helped a lot and is always kept handy in the house.

Now that Portuguese class has started more things are starting to make sense. My vocabulary is growing, but I do not know many verbs or how to conjugate them, so I do not know what I sound like to them, I just say broken words that I know and try and put them in an order that makes sense. Lots of acting out like I said, its amazing how well people can communicate even when they don't speak the same language.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Minha Familia de Barris

So I have now spent an entire weekend with my host family. I have met my extended family, and I have two uncles, an aunt and cousins! So much fun, and so much Portuguese. It was good though, because it helps me learn to speak no english, although sometimes it makes it very hard to communicate.

We went to an island this weekend to celebrate independence day. Apparently if you are politically involved in Brazil you go to the parade, but if not you go to the beach! The Beach is definitely more fun! And it was fun to take a ferry boat across and see Salvador from across the way. Truly paradise, and even according to my uncle. The beach was right in our back yard, we stayed at Marcelles parents house there. I have two of the sweetest grandmothers, they were always cooking me food. Wouldn't let me help with anything, and giving me lots of hugs and kisses. Marceles brother speaks English and he told me that his whole family loves me, so I guess that is good. Even though I cannot communicate well, I had a wonderful time.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My host family

I am so excited! Tonight I get to meet my host family! I got a picture and a letter from them last night, and it was such a sweet letter. I am going to be living in Barris Salvador, which apparently is a really nice part of the city, and nice and peaceful according to my letter. It is far from my university I believe  from looking on a map, but I am excited to be able to travel and see more the city. My host mom, Marcelle, seems very nice. She said in the letter that she is very excited to have me as part of her family and she sends a big hug. I have a host sister, who is five years old! I do not know her name but I am really excited to have a little sister here as well, and she looks so cute! I cannot wait to meet them and start my next adventure of living with a Brazilian family! I hope it all goes well! wish me luck :)

speaking of little sisters, my little sister, who is actually taller than me :) wrote me the most beautiful message this morning, that almost had me crying over our American breakfast of pancakes with mangoes and eggs. It was way too nice of her, and it was so nice to hear miles away from her. So a shout out to her, because yes I would not have her any other way and I love her the way she is! Love you oodles girlie.


Praia is the Beach! and the beach here is paradise, there is no other way to describe it. We are just about five minutes from the beach where we are staying now. I have gone running on the beach, played soccer, and walked, and even got a little sun tanning in. I actually wasn't trying to get tan, but the sun is so intense here that if you go outside for just a little bit, you end up turning really tan, or just burning. Thankfully I am not red, but I am going to be so dark when I come back.

But the beach is a surreal experience, and we are right along the coast. There is a main highway that goes all along the coast here, so our bus ride the other day, we just looked at the beautiful ocean the whole ride. There were people just hanging and people surfing and there are rocks and the water is so blue. People in Brazil even come here to vacation, Salvador knows how to have fun! haha

Lost in Salvador. . .

 Bom Dia!

      So towards the end of orientation at SIT there is something called the SIT drop off, where students are told to go somewhere in Salvador, and buy souvenirs of the experience and find our way back without help. This is why we have been taking survival Portuguese every morning here and trying to learn about how to live here and the culture. So we were put in groups of five, and my group was assigned to go to the shopping Barra, which is essentially this big shopping mall. While there we were supposed to take notes about what was going on around us, and to talk to someone in Portuguese to practice our skills.

Well we found the right bus after asking lots of people, and we were looking at a map and were sure that we would be able to find the stop for the shopping barra. Because how can you miss a big mall? But alas we rode the bus all the way to the last stop and ended up at a bus terminal far away from anything, where we started and where we were supposed to be.

This is my group looking very sad and confused and trying to read a map. It was all pretty funny, and after asking people waiting for buses for help, and the police and finally the transportation people we finally made it to the right bus. The one phrase that I now know in Portuguese is Peurto de omnibus Shoping barra? haha I guess at least I can find the mall.

But we finally made it, took lots of good notes and a picture to prove that we had made it. We had to buy something that was 7 $ or less, which was very hard in a mall. It was all very expensive and there were lots of fancy stores and expensive shoes. I ended up with a penguin pencil sharpener that was very cute, and hopefully representative of the mall.

So I survived the SIT drop off, and had a wonderful time getting lost in Salvador. I think that it gave me a little more confidence too, although I cannot really speak Portuguese people still try and help you and everyone is very nice and kind of knows that you are not going in the right direction. Overall a wonderful experience, that got me a penguin pencil sharpener, I don't think you can say that about many experiences.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


I made it to Salvador!

It was quite the journey, after my 10 hour plane ride to Sao Paulo, and making it through customs, my flight was delayed. So I was lost in the Sao Paulo airport and switching gates to leave for Salvador a couple times. I was just walking around showing people my boarding pass, hoping they would point me in the right direction, haha. No They were all very nice and helpful, and although they didn't speak much English and me no Portuguese we were able to communicate. So I made to Salvador, and took a taxi to the house where orientation is.

We are staying at convent, eating wonderful food, and meeting everyone and learning Portuguese. This morning I woke up at 6:30 and did yoga with some of the girls, it was already light out, and we were doing it under a mango tree. It was a really nice setting, and still early and cool. And then we had a wonderful breakfast and tried to learn some survival Portuguese for two hours. I can now ask where something is, and say a couple key phrases. Tell people my name and what I am studying. I think it will be easier to pick up once I hear it more.

This week we are not getting to go out and explore much, but I saw the beach today! Which is only 5 minutes away, and we went on a little walk to where the market is. It was nice to see a little of the city and the people, made the experience more real. I cannot wait to explore more of the city and meet even more people and just take it all in.

But I am happy to be here and have made it in one piece :)