Thursday, September 13, 2012

Settled In

I can now confidently say that I have settled into my life as an exchange student here in Brasil. I have a pretty basic daily schedule of school and then after school either soccer, volleyball or the gym.

The daunting task that is my mission to learn Portuguese is coming along slowly but surely. I learn a little more every day. My friends from school who speak both English and Portuguese are my most useful tool. The most difficult part of Portuguese for me is the phrases in English that don't have a direct translation into Portuguese or vice versa.

My host father visited last week and it was really amazing to see the whole family together. The whole family came over for dinner and we all skyped Giane (my host sister who is in Mexico with Rotary). It was really a fantastic moment, everyone was so happy as they gathered around the little laptop and skyped their sister/daughter/aunt in Mexico. Not gonna lie, it made me miss my family a little bit :) Below is a picture.

Last Friday was "Sete de Septembro" or Independence Day here in Brazil. This day celebrates Brazil's separation from Portugal which occurred on September 7th, 1822. Unlike in the United States when we see american flags everywhere and hear fireworks going all through the night, nothing really changed here except we didn't have school. I guess my city is a considered fairly small by Brazilian standards, so maybe we just aren't large enough to have a big celebration, but I was still kind of surprised at the lack of national pride. Many Brazilians that I have met seem to be filled with national pride, but I think the thing that is slowly taking away from that pride is the discontent many people have with the government here.

Tomorrow(September 14th), we will celebrate the founding of my city, Sinop. The city was founded in 1974. Yes, that means that my city will turn 36 tomorrow, which is not very old at all. Not only is tomorrow the birthday of my city, but it is also the birthday of my host sister Grasiele. I've been to a couple birthday parties while i've been here, but they have all been for kids turning three or four years old. I'm excited to go to one for someone a little bit older. My host father's birthday was yesterday, but it is kind of a sad topic because he was planning to make the 6 hour trip down from the state of Para to celebrate with us here at home, but work got in the way and he was unable to make it down. I could tell that my family was excited to see their father, since they only get to see him a couple times a year. It helped me realize once again how fortunate I am, not only to live with both my parents at home, but also to be able to celebrate holidays with them.

Unfortunately, my host nephew is sick, so my trip to Sao Paulo that was I planning to take with my host mom and sister next week has been postponed until October. I signed up and paid for the trip I will be taking for about 22 days in January, traveling the North East coast of Brazil with other exchange students. I also plan on traveling to the South of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay in March with other exchange students. Meeting and getting to know Brazilians has been a whole new adventure for me, so I can only imagine how interesting it will be to meet people from all around the world and be forced to ride on a bus with them for a month.

What else... Oh, did you know we have a maid here? Everyone has a maid to do laundry, clean the house, and do other household chores every day. My room is cleaned and my bed is made for me every day when I come home from school. Clean clothes just seem to appear in my closet all nicely folded and organized. My shoes are washed on a regular basisThis is something I definitely enjoy, but I'm trying not to get used to, as I'll be on my own at college next year.

This week it has been SUPER hot here. It's honestly like living in a sauna. Right now it's 5:03pm and it is 40 degrees Celcius (104 degrees Fahrenheit!). When I sleep, I am literally sprawled out on my bed like I'm making a snow angel, trying to let as much air from the fan touch me as possible. The scary part is that the months of September and October are considered the Spring months, so Summer is still to come!

I finished another book while bored in school! Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer. I really enjoyed it and it gave some interesting insight into the corruption within the United States Army. I recommend it to anyone looking for another one of Krakauer's best sellers. I'll tell you more about the book I'm reading now in my next post!

But yeah, as I said before, I feel pretty settled into my new life here. Nothing too exciting happens on a day to day basis, but I've got to save some exciting days for later right?

Until next post. Tchau

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