Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Start to the End

I’ve entered the reflection period of my exchange. I’ve been here in Brazil for almost nine and a half months and it’s hard to keep myself from wondering if I’ve done exchange “right” or not. Throughout my exchange, I’ve talked with people from all over the world, whether they are here doing exchange in Brazil with me, or are doing exchange in countries such as Italy, Taiwan, Japan, etc. What I have realized is that there are countless variables involved with exchange and all of these variables make it impossible to do exchange “right”.  The way I see it, everyone has his or her own way of doing exchange “right”.

The situations that exchange students are placed in can be crazy different from one another. Some kids go on exchange being 15 years old, others with 19. Some go to school with kids years younger than them, some go to college. Some live in small communities in the jungle, and some live in giant metropolitan cities. Some live with millionaires, others with lower class families. These examples are on the extremes, but the life of every single exchange student is in there somewhere and no one’s life is the same.

Everyone has to be able to set their own goals. Some people may have some of the same goals, but I think it’s important to prioritize them according to your situation. It’s fairly obvious that everyone’s goal is to learn the language, but if you took Spanish all through high school and are doing exchange in a Spanish speaking country, your struggle to learn the language is going to a lot different from someone living in Japan. It’s just important to remember that everyone’s situation is different. Some strive to master the language, get perfect grades in school, write in their blogs every day, and save entire Amazonian villages. The rest of us just try to survive.

I’ve only got about two weeks left, which means my exchange is definitely coming to an end. People here keep asking my how I feel about returning and my return date. I tell them I am content with my situation. I am in sort of a pickle because I am so excited to arrive at the airport in Minneapolis and hug my family for the first time since August 4th 2012, but it is also going to be hard to leave what has been my life for the last ten months.

Over the next two weeks I will be finishing up at school, presenting for my Rotary club, and saying goodbye to everyone here. The 31st is coming up quick. 

Flying into Rio de Janeiro as the sun was coming up a couple weeks ago.

Friday, May 10, 2013

On the Road

You haven't heard from me since February, and a lot has happened since then. From February 15th to  around March 28th, I was traveling around south america, staying with host families and traveling with other exchange students.

In April I spent two weeks in a 'nearby' (8 hours by car is considered close when you travel inside my giant state) city to say goodbye to other exchange students and go to a giant music festival. I also just recently got home from a short trip to Rio de Janeiro with my host brother.

I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel as much as I did. It was such an experience that I will always remember.

I am going to tell you a little bit about my travels, mostly just highlighting my favorite parts and showing you some pictures.

My first stop was in the city of Blumenau, Santa Catarina. I was visiting my host sister at college. The town has a lot of German influence and it just turns out they have a love for beer as well. How strange.

After a couple days with my host sister, I headed inland to the city of Chapeco, Santa Catarina to visit my host uncle. I stayed with his family for about a week. I was so lucky to have spent the time I did with this family. Above is a picture of my holding their talking parrot. He even speaks a little english!

Behind me and my Slovakian friend Klaudia lies the roaring waters of Devil's Throat. Devil's Throat is one of the main attractions at Foz de Iguaçu (a famous group of waterfalls that lies at the border of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil). The 2013 X Games were held here just a couple of weeks ago. This was the first stop of the South American Adventure tour that I took with 50 other exchange students.

Me and my mexican friend Marleen on top of our hotel in Curitiba!

Curitiba was our second stop on the tour and this is a picture of the Botanical Garden of Curitiba. This was just one section, it was enormous. Curitiba is also home to the Wire Opera House, which is a very orignal opera house that was built in what used to be a large mining pit. I was not able to get any good pictures because it was raining the day that we visited.

After Curitiba we headed farther south and ended up in the quaint city of Gramado. This is a picture of me and the Godfather at a wax museum that we visited.

In Canela, a neighboring city to Gramado, we hiked down (and up, afterwards) 730 steps in order to get up close to this enormous waterfall. It's the equivalent of walking down and then back up a 44 story building. 

Next stop, URUGUAY!

Our first stop in Uruguay was the city of Ponto del Este (East Point). This is picture I took our first morning was we were walking along the beachside boardwalk. 

Funny faces after a quick swim in the freezing cold water. In the middle is Ipek from Turkey and on the right is Lara from Germany.

My favorite night of the trip was spent at a museum/art gallery/hotel by the name of Casapueblo (House of the People). The 'house' was designed by the artist Carlos Páez Vilaró, a famous uruguayan artist who dedicated the project to his son who survived a terrible airplane crash (the 1972 Andes flight disaster).

While sipping on hot chocolate at Casapueblo, I witnessed the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen. This colors were so strong and it looked as if a fire had started on the horizon. The picture is without effects.

After Punta del Este we headed to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. Above is a picture of me in Plaza Independencia in the downtown area.

For a small price we were able to enter the futebol stadium where the Uruguay national team plays. In the middle is a really good friend of mine, Sebastian from Texas/Mexico, and on the right is another great friend, Piotrek from Poland.

We ended up sneaking onto the actual field and pretending we were national soccer stars while running around in our rolled up jeans and bare feet. Above is a picture of me and Piotrek as we were running away from the security guard as he kicked us off the field (you can see him in the upper right corner).

"I love my neighborhood"
While wandering the streets we found some pretty cool graffiti/street art.

After Montevideo, we took a boat over to Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. Above is a picture of the Generic Floralis monument. It was constructed in 2002 and designed by Eduardo Catalano. This giant flower is powered by a bunch of hydraulic mechanisms and actually opens and closes just as a real flower would. At night it sits closed with a red light glowing from the center and then opens at 8am before closing at sunset. It measures 25 meters tall, 32 meters in diameter when open, and weighs 18 tons. The mirror covered petals made it quite fun to take pictures of. 

In the center of Buenos Aires lies Plaza de Mayo, a plaza that holds many of Argentinas most important  political institutions. The picture above shows me in front of La Casa Rosada (The Pink House) which is the executive office and mansion of the Argentinian president.

There was a lot of of energy in the plaza because we arrived just shortly after the new pope (who is argentinian) was elected... anointed? The cathedral where the pope resided before he was the pope also borded the plaza. 

I bought a pin with the pope on it and pinned it on my shirt, to show support and all. Turns out exchange students love to buy useless little items that are just going to make them pay for excess baggage weight on the way home. Or at least that's the case with me. Above  a picture of me and my pope pin in the Catedral Metropolitana de Buenos Aires (Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires), which is where the current pope used to reside. 

As you well know, south america loves soccer. So in order to get the true experience, we just had to visit a couple soccer stadiums. Here I am at the Boca Juniors stadium. Boca Juniors is an argentinian club team that I sometimes cheer for. I even got a good deal ($10) on a jersey right outside the stadium (more excess baggage weight). 

Here is one of my favorite pictures that I have taken while on exchange. It's on the main avenue in Buenos Aires right as people are beginning to cross the street. At the focal point of the picture you can see a large white monument that looks very similar to the Washington Monument. It is the Obelisco de Buenos Aires. The Obelisk of Buenos Aires (67.5m) is about 100 meters smaller than the Washington Monument (169.2m).

On our last night in Buenos Aires we had a super fancy dinner and tango show. It was quite unlike any show I had ever seen and I really enjoyed it. I cannot stop thinking about Connor as I am about to describe how much I enjoyed the food..... I had THE BEST salmon I have ever had my entire life. It was spectacular. The first picture is me and Klaudia from Slovakia and below is a picture of the all the performers who participated in the tango show. 

Buenos Aires was the last destination of the South American Adventure tour. As we headed north through Argentina, backs towards Brazil, we stopped and slept in the city of Posadas. Lucky for me, Sofie Scheuerman is doing exchange in that city so I got to hang out and eat pizza with her for a couple hours.

Then at the very end of the trip I spent a couple days in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, which is where Cyrette Saunier (Jules) is doing exchange. I stayed with her and her wonderful host family for a couple of days. 

The first picture is of me and Sofie. The bottom picture is a picture of me and Jules (left) and Toni from Germany (right). 

Here is a quick google mapping of the trip that I took. It took about 42 days. 

Once again, I cannot express how lucky and thankful I am to have been able to see as much of south america as I have. It wouldn't have been possible without Terra Brasil Turismo, my fabulous host families, and most importantly, my awesome parents. Thank you everyone. 

You'll hear from me soon. I am going to be better about posting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Northeast Trip and Carnival.

You haven't heard from me in over a month, so I've got a lot to share! First I'm going to talk about my trip with a bunch of other exchange students throughout the Northeast of Brazil, and then I'll talk a little bit about Carnaval here in Brazil.

Since you heard from me last (39 days ago), I have visited over 12 new cities throughout Brazil! The trip began in the beginning of January and lasted twenty-two days. I traveled with 98 other exchange students, two rotarian doctors from Argentina, four brazilian chaperones, and four bus drivers. In total we were 109 people and filled up two double decker coach buses. Of the 98 other exchange students, we had kids from Germany, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ecuador, the USA, Finland, France, Holland, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, Taiwan, and Iceland. It was quite the cultural melting pot.

I could go on for pages about all the stuff we got to see, but that would be boring for you, and a lot of writing for me. So I am just going to highlight my favorite parts of the trip.

In Lencois, our second stop, we visited the Chapada Diamantina National Park. Some people call it the Grand Canyon of Brazil. It is similar to the area that I visited in November, Chapada dos Guimaraes, but much much larger. In this area, we were also able to ride a zip-line down into a lagoon, and snorkel through a water cave.

Sofie Scheuerman giving us a nice pose at Chapada Diamantina

My German friend Nico headed down the zip-line

Our next stop was Maceio, which is where I vacationed with my host brother in November, so it wasn't an entirely new experience for me. We got to go to natural pools again, in the middle of the ocean. Even though I had already been to Maceio before, it was a completely different experience to be able to go there with people from all around the world. I am not saying that I didn't have a fantastic time when I went there with my host brother, because I did.

Praia da Gunga - Maceio

After Maceio we headed up to Natal, the northernmost city we visited on the trip. It is one of the host cities for the 2014 FIFA World Cup here in Brazil and is also home to the biggest cashew tree in the world (which we visited). It also has a large sand dune park, the second largest urban park in Brazil. One of my favorite days of the trip was when we all packed into a bunch of sand buggys/buggies? and rode through the park and ended up at a famous beach, Genipabu, where we spent the day.

Buggy Ride - Parque das Dunas - Natal

Just a section of the largest cashew tree in the world. It spreads for about a block. 

On our way to the famous city of Salvador, we stopped at Praia do Forte, or Strong Beach, and visited the TAMAR Project. TAMAR is short for Tartarugas Marinhas, or Sea Turtles. The objective of the project is to protect sea turtles from extinction along the brazilian coastline.

Feeding a huge sea turtle at the TAMAR Project
Next was Salvador, the largest city in the northeast of Brazil. It was the first colonial capital in Brazil, and one of the oldest cities in the Americas. While in Salvador we got to walk through the old part of the city and go into Sao Francisco Church. All surfaces inside the church are covered in gold. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. We also went to the Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim, which is where the little bracelets that everyone ties around the wrists and makes three wishes are from. I'll be bring plenty of the bracelets back with me to the states, so if you'd like a little piece of Brazil, just let me know.
Church of Sao Francisco

Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim

Porto Seguro, or Safe Port, was the next city on the list. This is where the Portuguese first landed when colonizing Brazil. We got to see where they created a pillar, claiming the land, and where the first houses were.
The pillar that the Portuguese put down to claim the land.

Our second to last stop was Rio de Janeiro! It is the second largest city in Brazil and will be home to the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. While in Rio, we went on a favela tour, which was one of the most eye opening experiences I have ever had. We spent the day on the famous beach Copacabana, playing in the waves and getting our tan on... unfortunately I stayed very very white. We went up to see the famous Christ statue. It was an amazing view from up at the top. Unfortunately when we went up Pao de Acucar, or Sugarloaf Mountain, it was cloudy and didn't provide for a very good view. 

Favela Rocinha - Rio de Janeiro

Praia de Copacabana

Christo Redentor

Up in clouds at Pao de Acucar
Our last destination was Angra dos Reis. Angra is surrounded by over 365 offshore islands. We spent our only day in Angra on a giant boat, stopping at a bunch of little islands to swim and play on the beaches. It was a nice last day.

Overall, the trip was very tiring, but one of the best parts of my exchange so far. It was great to meet people from other countries, learn a couple words in some other languages, but mostly just be around a bunch of exchange students who are away from home for a year just like I am.

Here is a link to the video I made from the film I took while on the trip. Give it a look.


Also if you're interested in looking at more pictures, here is my Facebook album from the trip. I changed the privacy to Public so everyone should be able to see it.



Carnival is the annual festival held in Brazil from the Friday to Tuesday before Ash Wednesday to mark the beginning of Lent, the forty day period before Easter. Unfortunately I was able to go a larger city for Carnival, where they have street carnival and all the samba school performances, etc. But it was still an enjoyable couple of days. Every night we would go out from 10pm to 4-7am, and dance and watch the performances. It was a long five days, but I survived and am excited for my next Carnival, whenever that might be.

Coming Up.
This Friday I leave to visit my host sister at college in the south. Then straight from there I will go on my South American Adventure trip.

Until next post!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bringing in 2013 with a splash

Wow, it's 2013, and I just 'celebrated' five months here in Brazil on January 5th. Time has flown. But when I think back to August 4th, the day where I almost lost my passport in the airport in Atlanta, it feels like it could have been years ago.

It has been soooo hot here. I know that seems like a recurring statement here in my blog, but it has been especially hot lately as we are getting into the humid, rainy, summer season. One of my friends made a joke the other day that on December 21st, 2012, the world DID end and we all just went to hell to enjoy the heat.

Christmas here in Brazil was definitely different from the Christmas I was accustomed to back home, but it turned out to be a great way to bond with my new family that I had just met. On Christmas eve we went to church and then come home to have a night with some friends and family, opening presents and playing UNO. I woke up Christmas morning and thankfully was able to skype with my MN family for a little bit before my family and I went out for lunch. My family opened the presents that I had sent them while we were skyping and it was really nice to be a part of the Christmas morning routine for a couple of minutes, even though I am here, sweating my way through the holidays.

On the 29th, my turkish friend, Adahan, arrived in my city. He came to spend New Years with me and my friends and family. Around this time I got to see a lot of my first host family, as they had a lot of relatives over for the holidays and wanted me to meet them. It was great. I really missed all of them and I loved spending time with them. For New Years, a couple more exchange students come to our city (because it is the best city in our state) and we all had a huge party at my first host sister's house. We drank our celebratory champaign, ate delicious food, laughed more than I thought was humanly possible, and watched the fireworks explode above us.

Adahan and I left Sinop (my city) on January 3rd, beginning my 28 days of travel. We are currently in Tangara, another city in my state, visiting another american exchange student who is living here. Then tomorrow, the other american and I are off to the northeast of Brazil for 22 days. I am very excited and will probably be very busy as well, so if I do manage to squeeze a blog post in, it'll be a short one.

Yesterday I had one of the most adventurous days of my five months here in Brazil. Adahan (my turkish friend), Rob (the other American), Rob's host father, Aletha (a Northfielder back visiting her Brazilian family in Mato Grosso), and I went repelling down waterfalls in the middle of the Brazilian forest. We left the civilized city of Tangara da Serra and drove for two hours on very poor kept roads until we reached an indian reservation. Then there was about a ten minutes walk through forest to get to the waterfalls. It was AMMMAAAZZZZZINNNNG. There were four beautiful waterfalls that all were about 40 to 50 meters tall, and below the waterfalls there were a bunch of indigenous children playing in the water. I got some amazing pictures. I felt like I was in the middle of a National Geographic article. There were two options for repelling. The first option was to repel down next to a waterfall, and the second was to repel down INSIDE a waterfall. It was crazy and definitely got the adrenaline pumping. It was an amazing experience because not only were we able to repel down the most beautiful set of waterfalls I have ever seen, but we were also able to meet some of the indians on the reservation and play with some of the indian children.

As I said before, I have begun my month of travel and will leave the interior of Brazil tomorrow to travel the northeast coast for 22 days. I feel like I am taking my own little J-term vacation. A special thanks to my parents, who I was fortunate enough to talk to today, and who have made everything here in Brazil possible.

I hope you all had a great Christmas/New Years!

Until next post

Monday, December 24, 2012

It's That Time of Year

Last time you heard from me I was getting ready to go on vacation with my host brother, switch families, and start a whole other portion of my exchange here in Brazil. That has all passed now, quite quickly in fact, which is partly why I haven't had much time to fit in a blog post.

For vacation, my brother and I went to Maceio, a coastal city in the northeast of Brazil. We were there for about ten days. We took day trips to visit cool tourist locations nearby, rode little carts on the beach, went snorkeling, played frisbee on the beach, got sunburned, got more sunburned, and all in all just had a great time. We stayed in a cheap hotel, about a block from the beach. The hotel wasn't by any means fancy, or expensive, but ended up being perfect for us. Not only is the landscape there different, with the beach, the tall apartment building and hotels, but the people are different as well. I was told that their accent was different, but it was SUUUPPPPERRRR different, much more than I had expected. They people seemed to be a little more laid back as well, and unfortunately I saw a lot more people living on the street. I didn't know this, but Maceio has 120 favelas. For those of you who don't know what a favela is, favelas are 'shanty towns' often located outside of big urban areas. They are very poor, very dangerous areas. Maceio has 120 of them! On a brighter note, the food in Maceio was great. I got to eat a lot of fresh seafood. Yum right? 

After getting back from vacation, it was time to switch families. Switching families turned out to be a little more difficult than I had thought it would be. Imagine that. But after a couple of weeks in my new house I am beginning to warm up to the new surroundings, the new schedule and rhythm of this family.  I am excited to build relationships with the people here at my new home, but I am definitely missing my first family, and I don't think I will ever be able to duplicate the relationship I made with them. 

Three weekends back, the Rotaract club here in my city helped out at what was a essentially a 'publicity fair' for the Federal Deputy here, Neilson Leitao. There were a bunch of games for kids, free ice cream, bands playing. It was located in a poor neighborhood here in my city. Our club went and helped hand out ice cream and popsicles and it was a really nice event to be a part of.

Two weekends back. the Rotaract club had another activity for us to do. We drove into a different poor neighborhood here in Sinop with a couple trucks full of toys, tents, trampolins, cotton candy machines, popcorn machines, and a buuuuuuuuunch of pop, water and cups. We set up our own little christmas fair for the kids and families in that neighborhood. It was a very enlightening experience. We handed out little dolls, painted flowers on the cheeks of cute little girls, and tried to keep the bigger boys from knocking over santa with their hugs when he arrived. The smiles on some of those kids' faces as Santa (our rotary club president) picked them up and handed them a little $4 soccer ball was something I will never forget.

Last week we had our second exchange student gathering in the capital of our state. Unfortunately, not all of the exchange students were able to make it, but the majority of us were there. I am not able to explain with words how much fun we all have when we are together. We have grown into an extremely diverse, slightly immature at times, family that is constantly laughing. We stayed in a mansion that is owned by a rotarian who lives in Cuiaba (the capital city). We had two pools, a sauna, a whole team of chefs and cleaning ladies, and most importantly, 17 of our best friends from all around the world. If the Mayans had been correct, and had the world ended on December 21st, I don't think I could have asked for a better, more fun, or more interesting group of people to spend my last days with. 

While we were all in Cuiaba, we went to a "Casa de Papai Noel" or "House of Santa", which was full of lights and christmas decorations. Christmas doesn't seem to be a super big deal here in Brazil, or at least not as important as it is in the US, so I haven't seen very many houses with lights, or decorations, etc... We entered the house and were surprised to see reporters there, ready to interview and film us. They interviewed one person from every country, and had us all say "Merry Christmas" in our native language. We were filmed by the channel GLOBO, which is a nation wide channel, and the special on us was on tv this morning. Unfortunately the interview I did wasn't in the special, but they did include a clip of my me saying "Merry Christmas". Yay I made it on tv!

I arrived home a couple of days ago and have been trying come to the terms with the fact that I will step outside christmas morning and be bombarded by a wave of 95-100 degree heat. I was swimming in my pool this morning, got out, and was reading by the pool, gettin' my tan on and all, when I realized that it's christmas eve day. It's christmas eve day and I was swimming, trying to COOL DOWN. I have to admit that this time of year, the holidays, is proving to be a little difficult. I'll log on to facebook and see a bunch of friends reuniting back in MN, back home from college for the holidays, while I'm still trying to create a relationship with the family I am living with. I am also definitely going to miss waking up with my family christmas morning, opening presents together, and then all heading to my aunts house for the huge family reunion with all the extended family. 

This next paragraph doesn't only apply to me, but I think to a lot of other exchange students as well. When I speak to people back in the states, almost everyone says "Oh my gosh! Your pictures make it look like you're having such a great time in Brasil!".  Exchange is full of great times and great experiences, and those experiences are normally what I write about here in my blog, or post pictures of on my Instagram, Facebook or Flickr. But along with those moments when you think to yourself "I am NEVER EVER leaving Brazil, EVER!", come the moments where all you want to do is go into your room, lie down, sleep and hope tomorrow will be better. At our Rotary orientations this past spring, we (the exchange students) were told that we would experience somewhat of a "roller-coaster of emotions". Turns out what they said is true. We, as exchange students, don't write about the hours we spending reading alone in our room, or the moments where we wish we were back in the states, speaking english with our friends and family.

I am absolutely loving my exchange, but I just wanted to give you all a little insight on the fact that the great moments; the vacations to the northeast coast, the parties, the exchange students gatherings, etc, don't come without the difficult moments. 

In order to not end on such a serious note, I would like to say CONGRATULATIONS to all of the students back in Northfield who just received their Rotary acceptance letters. Most importantly, Elise Hanson, WHO IS COMING TO BRAZIL NEXT YEAR!! WOOOT!! I remember the day I got my letter. I was standing in my kitchen, next to the front door, opening the letter with my Mom. The second I realized I got my first choice, Brazil, I was overwhelmed with excitement and of course had to send a text to every person I had ever met, ever, telling them that I had just become a future outbound. haha. I wish you all the best with your preparation for your upcoming year abroad, and as always, my email and facebook inboxes are forever open if you have any questions!

Coming up.
For New Years, a couple of exchange students from the south of my district are coming up to visit.
On January 8th, I am headed on my Northeast trip where I will be traveling from city to city in the northeast of Brazil for 22 days with 103 other exchange students. Sofie Scheuerman is going to be on the same trip, which is really exciting. It will be nice to see a familiar face.

Until next post. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Change of Role

First, I would like to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my little sister Sophia. She turned fifteen yesterday and is getting old so fast I can hardly believe it. She is turning into such a mature young woman. I'm proud of you Soph!

Last Friday my two host brothers and I began the seven hour car ride south to the capital of my state, Cuiaba. There were sooooo many semi-trucks on the road between here and Cuiaba, it was crazy. We must of passed hundreds during the trip. At the airport in Cuiaba we picked up my friend Annika Hanson who some of you may know. She came to visit for about a week and experience Mato Grosso (my state), a state which is hugely different from her location up on the northeast coast. We headed out early Saturday morning for a location near Cuiaba called Chapada dos Guimaraes. It's a national park area in my state with a bunch of beautiful plateaus and waterfalls. We spent all day Saturday driving around the park, sightseeing, taking way too many pictures and going swimming in the waterfalls. It was really an awesome experience. 

Chapada dos Guimaraes

It was an interesting change of role to be the 'host' instead of the 'guest' while Annika was staying with us. We talked a lot about the differences in our exchange experiences so far and also about the differences between where we are both living. Telling Annika about my life here and about the culture that I have learned to live in gave me an interesting sense of pride that I had never felt before in relation to Brazil and my city/state. Because she lives so much farther north than I do, our Portuguese accents are very different and we had a fun time comparing our different ways of speak and comparing the different slang that we have learned.

As Annika is a much better cook than I will ever be, we decided to cook a few american things for my family while she was here. On Tuesday night, I made omelets (again, because that's the only thing I know how to make) and she made pancakes and we had a very typical american breakfast for dinner. Then on Thursday we both woke up early and made a Thanksgiving lunch for my family. It didn't compare to the average Thanksgiving potluck provided by the Surratt family back in MN, but it was something. We made mashed potatoes, cornbread, brownies (for dessert with ice cream) and my host mom helped us make a turkey. It was really delicious and definitely made me crave the jello, stuffing, gravy and the tiny little bacon wrapped hotdog thingys that usually go along with my Thanksgiving meal back in Minnesota. 

Thanksgiving Lunch

All in all, the week was very enjoyable and provided for a lot of good conversation about our different exchanges and many other things as well. My host family was overly helpful and amazing in allowing Annika to stay here and in making room for an extra person in the house. Obrigado Mae, Graciano, Gabriel e Belinha kkkkkk.

Thank you Mom and family for the awesome package I received in here Brazil last Friday. I love receiving letters from you guys, and of course, MORE BOOKS! Woo!

Coming up:
I'm off to the northeast coast on Tuesday with my host brother for ten days of getting sunburned and playing frisbee on the beach. I am really excited to travel and spend some quality time with my host brother before I have to switch families in December.

Until next post