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