Asia Grant
2008-09 Outbound to Brazil
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
School: Bishop Snyder High School, Jacksonville, Florida
Sponsor: North Jacksonville Rotary Club, District 6970, Florida
Host: Belo Horizonte Barro Preto Rotary Club, District 4760, Brazil

Asia's Bio

 Hi!! My name is Asia Grant. I am 16 years old and I am a sophomore at Bishop John J. Snyder High School.

My family consists of my mom (Stacia), my 2 brothers (Janard, Trevelle) and my sister (Kierra). Of my mom's four kids, I am the baby.

At my school I run track. I absolutely love track. I have been running since 7th grade but most of the time it seems like much longer. I didn’t really know how much I loved track until my mom told me I might not be able to run this year. I was devastated. in track I run the 100 meter dash and the 200 meter dash. I also run the 4-2 and long jump. It is such an amazing rush just to know that it is a competition and that you can affect it positively or negatively because it is a team sport. My goal for this year is to get more personal records or at least improve my speed and height without getting hurt like in the last 2 years. I really look forward to it every year.

Family and friends are very important to me. It is a good thing because, as an exchange student, I will meet new people in both categories. Oh yeah, did I neglect to mention I love to eat!!! That is also good because I am open to many new things. I am so looking forward to being an exchange student. The chance to learn a new language and hopefully make a positive effect on many peoples lives. This is definitely a chance of a lifetime and I can’t wait to explore and see what awaits me.


August 25 Journal

 Oi!!! I have been in Belo Horizonte, Brazil for 2 weeks. I love it here so far and I hope it only gets better.

My family is great and I couldn’t have asked for a more loving family!!! My mom is a sweetheart, my dad is awesome and funny. My sister Bruna is soooo cool and she answers any questions I ask her without any problems. Now... for my little brother, he's kind of shy but is warming up to me a little more everyday.

My school is also cool. I don’t understand the language well enough to know what’s going on in school classes yet but I like it so far. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that I get out at 12:45 either!!

I have been to two Rotary meetings so far and it's like any Rotary meeting, I guess, for a teenager. The people here are also very people friendly. I just love it. I’m not homesick yet, so that’s also a plus in me liking it here.

Tchau!!!!


September 26 Journal

 Oi!!!

I have been in Belo Horizonte for 7 weeks now and I am still loving it!!! I forgot to write this last time but my first week here I went to Buzios Beach in Rio de Janeiro and it was amazing!! BH (Belo Horizonte) doesn't have a beach so we had to drive 7 hours to go and we stayed for 5 days!! I have also been to 2 Cruzeiro games (soccer team). They have been great and very....interesting to say the least!! I have been to 6 Rotary meetings and next week I get to read the prayer for the meeting!! I'm very excited and kinda nervous because I’ve seen the prayer and there are some haaaard words to pronounce but I’ll make it...I guess!!

Last weekend I went to my first Brazilian casamento (wedding) and it was very interesting too!! Also very different from the usual American wedding. My boy cousin got married, I had a blast!!

In school last Friday I had to give a presentation on where I’m from (America, Florida, Jacksonville, my school, RYE Florida). Don't worry, I did an excellent job and I brought in many different things from America to show and the class loved it. There are 3 other exchange students in my class and one other in our school so it's not really a big big thing that I’m an exchange student, plus I was the last to come. But it's still kind of new to them having a kid from America here I guess, because they always ask me questions about school, like is everything in the American movies true. They really believed everything was true in the movies!!!

As many exchange students can tell you, I’ve been to a lot of Rotex parties and they are amazing!!! I thought they were going to be boring and.... Boring! !Lol but every time I go to one it surprises me how fun they are. You meet kids from all over the globe and it's just wonderful to see how everyone interacts. It's kind of sad that this is the only year I will see these people and I love them all already!!

Now these 7 weeks, even though they have gone past really fast, have not been all fun and games. I have been very stressed at times trying to learn this language as fast as I can and having to deal with being away from my family and friends. Even though my family here is extremely nice, there are times when I feel as if they’re judging me because I don’t know Portuguese too well and I’m not learning it fast enough for them. So I am trying to cram all of it in and to tell you the truth... It’s not too good for me. The Rotary Club has arranged for a Portuguese lesson every other Friday, and I went to one already and it was great, and I feel if I keep taking the class then I should have no problems here. The one for tonight was canceled because of the rain (a totally different story!!!! Not so good day lol!!) The other students in my class are very helpful and they try to teach me Portuguese when ever they can and I love them for it. My teachers are great also and sometimes helpful. The most helpful I would have to say are the other exchange students and the Rotex, because they understand what it feels like to be away from everyone you know and having to switch to a whole new world, and they are also great to talk to. They are trying to learn this language too, so the words you do know you use them all the time with each other and help one another.

This experience is changing my life already and I’m liking the changes so far; it can only get better!!! Oh yeah my little brother..... He opened up!!!!! We play together now and he helps me read his little books (he's 6) and he also shows me off to his play friends whenever they come over!!! So.... Until next time,

Beijos e abraços

~*asia*


October 18 Journal

 Oiiiiiiii!!!!!!!

OK I’m still loving Brazil now and everything has gotten a lot better since I last expressed my thoughts. I now have 2 Portuguese classes, one I go to every Thursday so that’s better than every other Friday and the other one I go to ends in November so that’s good. The new school I learn Portuguese at is called Luziana Lanna!!! It really is a good school and me and about 7 other exchange student take classes there and during our year as exchange students we will learn Portuguese by offering our services to kids 12-18 who come from good families but can’t afford the school. The school is associated with the program and we talk to them in a little English and they speak to us in Portuguese and at the end we all will receive a document signed by Brazil that says we offered our services and it can help us get into better colleges, and it's said to be a great honor for our countries. Only Brazil has this, so I’m really lucky!!!!!!! We will record videos of our sessions but for now we are in the classrooms. We only had 2 classes and during the class we can only speak in Portuguese - if we speak in English we have to put money in the container!!!! I talked in English twice my first class!!!!! Come to find out she told us about this little rule earlier in class but I didn’t pay attention!!! Lol.

I’m not stressed at all now and I feel like I am connecting more and more with my family and people at school.

Last Saturday (Oct. 11), I went to the our district orientation. I am in district 4760 and there are about 50-70 students in our district!!!!! At the orientation I met with like 3 or 4 other exchange students I met up with from the airport in Dulles, Washington. So we were happy to see each other again and talked for a while. There were so many kids from the United States and Canada they had to separate us into two groups!!!! It was amazing to see all the other exchange students from all over the world and know that we are all sharing the same experience... And together. After the orientation most of the exchange students and all of the Rotex went to this little place called Afrodick and chilled there most of the night!!! We took up the whole upstairs - it was about 100 or more of us because we invited other students from the other district and friends came and it was just a wonderful time there with all of them!!!

The next big event on my itinerary is the infamous Rotex costume party!!! Next Saturday (Oct. 25). As far as I know everyone knows about it and everyone will be there!!!!! Kids from my school who are not even with Rotary know about it and when I first got here all the exchange students and Rotex were telling me about it!!! I can't wait and I still have to find my costume, I’m going this week before all the good ones are gone and I’m stuck being a little red rose or something like that!!!!

I change host families in November sometime and I don’t know who I am going with. They told us that we switch after natal (xmas), then 2 weeks ago they said before xmas, then last week my dad told me November!!! I knew both of my next host families but now they are not hosting anymore students so now I don’t know anything, and the inbound coordinator didn't know anything about it 2 weeks ago and she was not at the meeting last week so I don’t know if she knows now but it'll be alright!!!

I don’t get to talk to my family back home much because of the long distance but it's ok. I tried to explain to my mom about msn and skype but....i don’t think she gets it much!!! Still not homesick so that’s a great sign. A couple weeks after I got here, me and another exchange student were talking and I was like "Why don’t I miss my family??? I love them and we were very close why am I not missing them????” Lol. I felt kinda bad about not missing them but I got over it in like 3 minutes!!!

Well I’m having a wonderful time here with my family and school and my host club and other exchange students. Sometimes we all go get açai!!! Its a fruit made into this kinda ice thing. It's pretty good. So don't worry about me mom!!!! Lol.

So until next time...... Tchau!!!

P.S. Obrigada Rotary!!!!!!!!!!!

Beijos e abracos,

~*Asia~*


 

December 26 Journal

 Ei!!!!!! OK so last time I wrote I was going to the infamous Rotex Festa A Fantasia! So I went as mulher maravilhosa!!! (Wonderwoman!!) I had an awesome time getting ready with my big sister and my mom couldn’t stop taking pictures of me!!!! That party was one of the greatest times I have had in Brasil so far and I will never forget it. We had everyone from Woody to Mario, from Jasmine to a Plastic Recycle runway model!!! Some of them really got creative.

So I am with my second host family now and I couldn’t be happier! I feel really close to them because every day when my parents get home from work we eat dinner and then watch....NOVELAS (The Soap Operas) lol!!! I know it’s lame but I love doing it!! They are really good and filled with lots of drama!! I even started memorizing the theme songs and randomly burst out into a song and dance!!! Well, without much dancing because we are usually in public and I don’t want to make a fool of myself but once I’m at home or in a friend’s house the battle begins!!

My Host Club hosted a Baile de Debutante beneficente (Sweet 15 ball), they sponsored 5 poor girls who had really good families but couldn’t afford to give them a big party. And it was good because before I went, I thought it was just going to be these 5 girls and their families, but when we arrived, there stood maybe 25 little, very nervous 15 year old girls waiting for their special moment, and since they were all together we didn’t know which ones were sponsored and I think that was very nice of them to not make them stand out. ALL of them were very pretty in their little dresses!!! It was just an awesome night. I and the 2 other exchange students in my club went and we got to be announced like the 15 year old girls, and we walked down with a guy from the military and stood next to a man from our Rotary Club who was supposed to be our fathers (since our fathers didn’t come), and we did the waltz with them for the father and daughter dance!!! NOW let me remind you that I didn’t even know there was going to be 25 girls there, so you can believe how shocked I was when I found out 30 minutes before that I would have to do the waltz!!! All of the girls, well the 3 exchangers were totally freaking out because none of us knew how to waltz!!! So we learned and it was very easy - I love it now!!!! It’s also kind of like a workout because after I was done with the father daughter dance, my thighs were hurting as if I just worked out! I thought maybe I did the dance wrong or maybe I was just out of shape, but I asked the other girls and like me they had sore thighs!

THEN we had to dance the waltz again with a military guy and that was fun. My guy was very professional and a great dancer. The whole time we were dancing he held a straight face then... I accidently stepped on his foot!!! I said sorry and he smiled and held that smile for the rest of the dance. OK, so I was already sore, then we did it again with someone else from our Rotary club, but I didn’t care that I was hurting. I had the time of my life!! There was this one guy from Rotary - I didn’t know him, he wasn’t in my club, but he was a GREAT dancer, he was older and he danced with the youth exchange officer for my club and he danced with all of the 3 exchangers ALL night … it was amazing!!! They played Brazilian funk which is the kind of music you wouldn’t listen to with your parents and the kind of dance you wouldn’t want your dad to see you doing, so Ms. Ivone (YEO) was dancin’ it!!!! I was shocked and very disturbed!!! But I joined along with her and the military guys and the sweet 15 year olds and everyone just had a great time!!! The ball was held in a small city named Passa Tempo and I will never forget that town.

On November 8th I think, I went to my first Brazilian concert!!! POP ROCK BRASIL 08!!! I had THE BEST time!!! Maroon 5 was the big guest and a lot of Brazilian bands were there. Before I went there I was at the zoo for the first time with my friends I didn’t even expect to go to the concert but I’m sooo glad I went. Me and about 11-13 other exchanges took a van and went to the concert. Don’t worry, we didn’t drive ourselves - we paid for the service. I got caught in the rain just before we left to go to the concert because I was hungry like always, so me and my Aussie friend went to get pastels and while we were there this guy told us our van arrived and he said follow him, so once I got our pastels I followed him running through the rain and then all I hear is ASIIIIIIAAAAAAA!!! So I turn and run to where my friend is calling me and guess what happened??? My beloved pastels dropped. I was highly upset cause I was hungry!! AND I got my hair wet for no reason, so by the time I got to the concert, I looked a mess. But me and the Aussie girl, whose pastel I dropped, also argued for about 3 days about whose fault it was that we were hungry and the pastels dropped - we decided it was the guy who told us our van arrived so...everyone’s happy!! Oh my gosh, I was at the concert and Maroon 5 was on and I love them and they played a Stevie Wonder song and this guy was booing them and I hit him and was like don’t boo them!!! And he looked at me very confused obviously because I just hit him and I spoke to him in English. I was hoping he didn’t hit me back so I just said sorry a lot of times and walked to another spot!!

The Rotex wanted to do something with the exchangers so they took some of us to this ecological center where we saw lots of animals and a play and a cachaça store!!! It was awesome!

School is out for the summer (yes, it’s summer here!!!) so for the end of the year test, the kids in my class held a party for everyone in our class and that was a good day too. I talked to people I didn’t really talk to that much in school and it gave me a chance to see how they act outside of school and it was just cool. So Portuguese class is over until the 5th of February and I loved my class - my teacher is really cool and I love her and we joke all the time and I have not spoken anymore English in class since the first class so I’m like extremely proud of myself!!! Sometimes I don’t want to go to class but when I get there and we start talkin’ and workin’ I love it and I can feel myself growing in the language, and I have to tell you, it is the best feeling when you know words and can put them together to communicate and not feel awkward!!!

Christmas has just passed yesterday and it was good but it didn’t feel like Christmas at all. This whole month I didn’t SMELL Christmas … maybe Brasil has its own Christmas smell that I will notice next year when I’m not here. I just didn’t notice it this year. But on the 24th my family went to my aunt’s house and kinda celebrated. The kids just went and watched Harry Potter for the night and ate but it was nice. Yesterday was AWESOME!!! I love my family!!! It wasn’t anything special, it was just a normal cookout at my grandma’s house, but it was special to me just to see how they celebrate. At the end they had like a secret Santa, I guess, and they had to describe the person they picked and the others had to guess who it was!!! I loved it!!

I have many things to look forward to these next couple of months and I’m going to make the best of it!!! I want to thank you, Rotary, for giving me this opportunity to become an exchange student this year. (Feliz Natal, Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo) Merry Christmas And Happy New Year!!!!

Obrigada Rotary

Until next time,

Beijos É abraços,

~*Asia~*


January 29 Journal

 So here we are in a new year and the first entry of '09!!!!!

I live in the state of Minas Gerais in the South East Region of Brasil and we have gyms all around called Minas Tennis Club. For new years they had a big party for everyone who has a membership so I went there with my family and it was AMAZING!!!! I didn’t really spend it with my family - I met my friend there and we hung out the whole time because she was due to go back to Australia and this was the last time we could be together. So we just had a ball meeting new people and just being crazy with each other for the last time. I still have my band they gave me for my table!! I am still wearin’ it right now as I am writing this. I meant to take it off last night but...

Well, on the First, me and my family went to the farm. my host dad makes cachaça (a sugar cane made liquor used to make Brasil’s national drink caipirinha). The first five days we spent at my grandmother’s house in this really really small city in Minas named Curvelo. I went to the center of the town and it was like soooooo small I actually had to laugh when my mom told me it was the center but I liked it and I loooove my grandma!!! She is so small and sweet!

OK, so I went to this farm once before for about 2 days and I hated it because I got so many bug bites so I wasn’t really too excited about being there until the 25th with no internet or even a cell phone signal to talk to friends. This time the bugs were not that bad and I actually had a blast with my family. My dad makes regular cachaça but he also makes it in different flavors like... banana, cherry, fig, orange, and also flavors in Portuguese that we don’t have because I looked them up and it didn’t have an English word: like jenipapo, jatoba, amora (berry), mangaba, pequi, murici, araticum, cagaita or casaita (I couldn’t read the label) and jabuticaba!!! I think there are more but I don’t know where I put the paper I wrote them all down on.

I also met my aunt and about 45 cousins!!! No not really, but they had a lot of kids, maybe between 6-8 - I lost count. My aunt is an excellent painter, she has a lot of paintings of her work around the house and they are really beautiful. And she taught me how to make doce de leite!!!!! I am so happy now because I can make it all the time now and my mom told me she can teach me to make the cheese you eat with it because I don’t know if the US has it.

I am so happy I went to the farm because I think it made me really close with my mom. I made lunch with her every day we were there and I learned how to cook lots of Brazilian foods so I can make when I return home!!! I also helped with the bottles for cachaça. I put all the wrappers and tops on them and it was very hard work some days. Oh my gosh, one night the movie National Security came on with Martin Lawrence and in one scene it was a shootout in the bottle factory thing and ALL I could think about was that someone took all their precious time to put the stickers in the right place and here they go and shoot up all the bottles and I was mad!!! like really, but after I was thinking am I going crazy? why am I thinking about this? hahaha and I just laughed about it and now when I think about it I burst into laughter!!!

One day my sister took me and all my cousins to this swimming hole thing and it was fun but after we were going to pick up a friend of the family and we were all riding in the back of the truck and she was going like really really fast and there were a lot of bumps so we would pop up and it was crazy. I popped up really high one time and I was sitting on the not so safe edge and I fell in the middle of the truck and it was so funny everyone was like laughing and it was just a wonderful time!!! I actually liked my vacation!!!

And they have all these different kinds of trees in the yard that have cherries and lemons and limes and oranges and goiaba and others. There is this one bush that grows food coloring. I guess that’s what it is. But my mom told me this is what the Indians used to put across their faces and she uses it to cook. I’ve seen her do it a lot of times almost every meal. This one night we were there we saw this huge spider it was so nasty!!! My sister said that it’s a type that only Brasil and Africa have!! It was on the 9th of January because I wrote it down and the next day was the day I made the doce de leite and my dad gave me my first bottle of his cachaça - it’s small like a miniature and it is jabuticaba!!!! I still have it I will never drink it!! lol.

I start school again on Monday and Portuguese class on the 5th and I guess Rotary again because we didn’t have it this whole month. I will be in the 3rd year which is the last year and we won’t go in the morning anymore, we will go after lunch. This year will be great because I speak better Portuguese and they have more school parties. Well not in school but the kids have more parties I heard. This guy from my class told me a couple weeks ago that the kids in third year have an end of the year trip and they take a big boat and go to the beaches but it’s in August I think, so I won’t be there which really sucks for me! But I can not wait for class. I am excited!

That’s all for now folks so until next time...

beijos e abraços(kisses*hugs),

~*Asia~*


March 16 Journal

 Ok so I started the new school year on February 3rd and I am now in the 3rd(last) year!!!!yeeeeaaaaaah!!! but I thought that we were going to have afternoon classes but no it’s the same as last year, which I am glad because I really didn’t want to go after lunch. We have a lot of new people in our class and it’s exciting to meet new students. We had a class Bar-BQ about two weeks ago and it gave me a chance to communicate with some of the kids I never had a chance to talk with in class and to reunite with some students who now go to another school but were in my class last year!!! It was AWESOOOOOOOOME - I love my class!!!!!!!!

NOW...for the event everyone who ever wants to visit Brasil wants to go to, CARNAVAAAAAAAAL!! My mom told me the day of Carnaval that my family was not traveling anywhere, and that I could try to find someone to go with or stay home . I was, to put this in a nice way, extremely upset!!! Being that I am an exchange student for only one year, this was my only chance to go to Carnaval and she didn’t tell me we were not going anywhere I was ready to cry! All my friends were going to beaches and great cities with friends and I was stuck in BH with no Carnaval. Apparently I should have asked if we were traveling but I heard my host mom and sis talking about it when we were at the farm so I thought we had plans. At that point I really really didn't like my host family at all!!!! But no wait, she told me to ask my friends if they were doing anything!! "YEEEEEES they were all gone already and at Carnaval," I wanted to scream at her, but I said it calmly. Luckily my friend from school was supposed to go to Ouro Preto but her plans fell through and she invited me to go to Nova Lima. Nova Lima is a city about 30 mins from the center of BH (Belo Horizonte), so we went there. I actually didn’t know we were going until I arrived at our meeting spot. She said meet her at the mall so silly me, I thought we were going shopping or just to chill!!! But it was great and I met some ppl and just hung with them all night.

The next day we went to a city called Sabara, like 15-30 minutes from BH. I had more fun at Sabara but I think they were equally fun!!! I only went for two days because the day we went to Sabara we stayed out kind of late and I didn’t want to like ask my mom if I could stay out late again. I really wanted to go though. Then the last day of Carnaval I wanted to go but my other friend had gotten sick so she couldn’t go again and the one from school didn’t want to go. I knew my mom wouldn’t let me go alone so I didn’t ask. BUT it was all great fun and I’m sooooooo glad I went. I will never forget my first Carnaval even though it wasn’t big!! My friend from school met a friend she knew there and we stayed at their house for a time while it was raining and when we needed to use the rest room or got hungry so it was great.

I started Portuguese class again on February 5th. We had a new teacher the first day then another the next class but the second new one is our teacher forever this year. I don’t know what happened to our other teacher - I liked her. This teacher is really nice too but she treats us like we are just learning Portuguese sometimes. But she finally noticed we didn’t need to be talked to like we were 5!! Next class we are goin to watch a movie so it should be fun!

March 12th we celebrated 104 years of Rotary at our Club!!! We had a kind of big party and it was great. There was a band there, I think it was the same as the band that played in Passa Tempo for the debutante ball but I wasn’t sure.

Last Tuesday I started a dance class!!!!! The president or someone from my friend's Rotary district invited all the exchangers to this dance class. We danced Forró, a typical Brazilian dance of the North-East!!! It was amazing and I loooooooove our dance teacher. He is so fun and full of energy and makes sure we are having a ball!! We have it again this week and every Tuesday so this is nice!!

So this is all that I have been up to I think. I am still loving Brasil but I’m reminded everyday in some way that my time here is getting shorter. I sit in class and I just look around at my new friends and I think of how much I have grown to love some of them and it's just weird! But I still have a little time to have a lot of fun and meet more of these nice people!!!!!

So until next time ... Beijos é abraços!!!,

~*Asia~*


May 19 Journal

Ei gente!! It has been some time since I last wrote and a couple things have been going on with me. I will start with my Rotary club since I’m here with Rotary. I looooooove my club so much, the people are awesome and they are so funny. I recently (March 16) went to a birthday party of one of the Rotarians in my club - he has been talking about this big party of his since the day I met him and I now know why. I have to say it was a wonderful party, plenty of food and people to go around for days, he even had a band playing and everything. When I walked in the first thing he gave me was a cup with his name and birthday on it, and when I was leaving he gave me a wallet with the same thing. The thing I loved the most was the invite!!! I laughed for minutes with one of the other exchangers in my club. He was turning 60 and his invitations said "I am getting sexier" and it has this picture of him with his whiskey!! I love him so much, really one of my favorite Rotarians! I have been to every Rotary meeting so far. Or I think I missed one or two. But I gave my presentation about the United States about a month ago. The first time was kinda bad because I got really nervous, then the lady forgot her laptop so I couldn’t show pictures or anything. But the second time was great I think. I wasn’t at all nervous and I felt more prepared.

April 30-May 3 was the orientation weekend for my district 4760! It was in a city named Caxambú, which is about 7 hours away from my city of Belo Horizonte. I had a great time there with all the exchangers I met at the first orientation but didn’t really have the opportunity spend much time with. And there was a new exchanger amongst us from South Africa! We didn’t really spend that much time with the Rotarians so that was good (sorry I had to say that). We had a talent show one day and a girl named Misha I met on the plane ride here sang a song. Her voice is really beyond amazing. Our first night we had a dance with all the Rotarians and exchangers and future outbounds that was pretty good too. I had an amazing time, I love dancing with the Rotarians cause they are like old and can dance really well. They played all the great dance songs that everyone knows like YMCA, It’s raining men, and others I can’t really remember. The next night we went to a club that they closed for us. It was pretty packed in there and it was with only the exchangers, Rotex (former exchangers), and future outbounds. I wish they didn’t close it down but we all had fun dancing and just being around everyone, because for most of them it was going to be the last time to see all of us together.

The next day on the 2nd we didn’t have anything to do with the Rotarians so the Rotex took all the exchangers to the park and we did a game tournament!!!!! They set us in groups and we had about 10 minutes to come up with a good name and a kinda routine for the Rotex. Our skit was pretty good but we didn’t win, then the next was a sack race! It was soooo funny to see the people afterwards because the sacks were really cheap and after we all had what looked like flour on our waist and below. I won my turn but the rest of my team didn’t finish first so we came in 2nd. Then we did the race where you hold the person’s feet and they walk on their hands!!! That was my first time ever doing that and I have to say it is a workout!! I was soooo tired when I was done. One person would go, then when you get to the end you switch and then person that was holding your feet will go back. I was laughing so much and I was so tired that I almost dropped my partner. Well I actually did at the end!! We lost that race too.

The last competition was a game where you run through the little forest trees in the park and you had to find a Rotex and they would ask you a question about Brasil and if you got it right they gave you a paint mark. You had to get all 4 colors and then meet back up with all your team members and whatever team had all the colors on everyone won. They asked questions like what is the capital of Brasil, who founded Brasil (I actually said his last name wrong but they let me slide), the year it was founded, end of slavery and stuff like that. The last mark I got was with the question "what is the biggest city in Brasil?" and I yelled out Sao Paulo!!! And he just looked at me because we weren’t suppose to scream. I didn’t even know it was right (and apparently neither did anyone else I asked) it was just the first city I thought of! But he laughed and let me move. I’m ashamed to say I couldn’t find the last tree so I saw my partner and I took some of her paint and she took the ones she didn’t have off of me and we finished! We still didn’t win though! Oh yeah, and you had to be careful because there were about 2 or 3 Rotex running and if they caught you, you were out and had to start over! Thank God I didn’t get caught. I almost did but I hauled tail as fast as I could. Oh and since we did the other race before I had took off my shoes and I forgot to put them back on so I was running around the trees with only socks on!

There was one last game with eggs and the other teams had to find your eggs and break them. I’m not sure who won but it was really fun trying to break the eggs. We would just go around smacking everyone’s pockets and say "do you have the egg!?" We hid ours in the hair of one of our teammates. The fun part was finding out someone held the egg for their team and then everyone just jumping on them to break it. During this the Rotex went around with all the leftover paint and just started putting it on everyone!!! And they got some people really good cause they smashed eggs in their hair! But hey it’s just conditioner!! So we were all a bunch of kids running around Caxambú with paint all over us and some had egg in their hair!! A nice sight to see I’m sure.

Later on we had a little elegant ball thingy and to say the least, I think we all clean up very well. Literally. But after the game some of us went in the pool. Not with all the paint though because I think the hotel manager would have killed us all!! The ball was fun and I danced some more with Rotarians! There was this one lady and she just grabbed me and the girl Megan from S.A. and started talking to us and showing us off to her friends and family. I think she might have known Megan but she couldn’t remember. Then me and about 4 other exchangers went in the front and sang and danced with the others and sang the songs with the band! It was fun, I had an amazing weekend! Most of us plan on meeting up this Saturday for the Festa A Fantasia! Part 2 for most of us! This one will be even better than the first!!

Last month sometime I’m thinking I played paintball for the first time!!!! It was amazingly awesome...and painful!! I got shot in the shoulder and almost died!! I thought it didn’t leave a mark but a couple days later I was looking and I saw a dark ring!! It was small, the size of the ball, but it’s like a dark outline then my regular color!! I laugh every time I look at it but it’s not funny at all. I also got shot in my shin and above my elbow!! The elbow left a huge scar but it was kinda worth it. We played against a family of Brazilians who happened to be there! They were really nice and I liked them!

I am still going to Portuguese class. We changed teachers AGAIN!! This is about the 5th teacher we have had. But I asked her and she said it’s normal to have 4-5 teachers. Since our classes are free we will make up for it by doing a presentation of our country for some of the kids that go there. I have not done mine yet, I was supposed to do it first but on that day something went wrong and no one did theirs. I will do mine this Thursday or the next. We are also starting to film again. Some of us did it already, it is just recording things for like an audio tape for the kids to listen to. I will do mine soon.

I have 10 more weeks here and I intend to make them the best ever!! I am of course still loving Brasil and everyone I have had the pleasure of meeting! Two exchangers have left already and some more are leaving pretty soon so we are going to hopefully be having a lot of going away parties for them!! I am still with my second host family! I will not be changing because something happened with the other but I am happy because my house is pretty close to everything and I walk to school (I can do without the walking part). But it’s time to really start enjoying Brasil!!

until next time..

Beijos e Abraços,

*Asia~*


June 29 Journal

 Ei Gente!!! OK so I forgot to talk about the holidays that passed when I wrote my last entry. We celebrated Easter with my family at my grandma's house, and we ate and talked and watched Ice Age, and then at the end all the grand kids (including me and my sister's boyfriend) went around looking for these huuuuuge chocolate Easter eggs. I found mine really fast even though my brother had been looking in the same room for about 10 minutes with my sister's boyfriend. I had lots of fun. I thought I was a little too old to be looking for eggs but my sister is 21 so I didn't feel bad! Then we celebrated Mothers Day with all of my family again of course. We went to this other little city I don’t remember the name of and went to this restaurant and ate. It was nice too.

Now the time has arrived for all the exchangers to go back home!! It’s been really sad lately with everyone I have known for the past year leaving. I was thinking, "Oh my gosh Rotary is so evil!! Why would they do this to young people! Let them spend a year with the same people then take them away to never be seen again!" But I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet these young adults. I have been able to see some of them mature more in this year and some...well you know. I have not cried yet and it actually hasn’t hit me yet, but I think I will see some of these people again. No I actually cried a little at a party of this exchanger from Germany, we were not that close but he had a slide show and I saw pictures of other exchangers who already left and I started to cry a little. And it didn't make it any better that this girl was behind me cryin', she cried almost the whole night.

On the 27th we changed presidents for my Rotary club. They had a little ceremony and a gathering after. They told me it was going to be a dinner and I hadn’t eaten dinner before I came but they only had snacks and I was starving.

I went to this farm in a city called Ferros with another Rotarian from another club a couple of weeks ago. I went with the youth exchange officer of my club and her daughter and her son and there was the family of the man whose farm it was (his son, daughter, and wife, and a friend of the daughter). It was a reeeeallly nice farm and they had a little creek there for us to go to. I didn’t get a chance to ride the horses though. The son had a go-cart and he drove me around a couple of times. I was horrified to drive with him because he was like 10 years old or less and he drove really fast and crazy and I was just scared but he was nice and was actually the only young person I have met in Brasil who was interested in me being an exchanger. Most of the time I spent talking to the daughter and friend they were cool and we talked about everything. The farm was up in the mountains but if you drove about 15 minutes, you would run into the very very small town of Ferros. We took a 2 minute walk on this bridge and went from the start of the city to the end. It was so weird. My youth exchange officer has an aunt that lives there so we went to visit her and she was soooo adorable!!! Someone told me she was 90 but I’m not really sure. She was so sweet and small and she always hugged me. We stayed at the farm for 3 days.

I also went to a festa junina for my Rotary club earlier this month. Festa junina is a party they have only in the month of June (hint its name). They have food there typical to Brasil's winter, only things made to be eaten hot. Then they have this dance called the quadrilha. I thought it was the same as the square dance but I’m really not sure how the dance goes. It is arranged as a wedding with a bride, groom, parents of both and friends and family. It shows all the craziness that goes on during weddings such as the groom or the groomsmen being drunk at the time of the wedding or someone interrupting the wedding at the time of the I do's, or the groom or bride running out of the wedding before the actual ceremony. It is very funny I love it. I really can't tell you how the dance went but it looked very tiring and fun. And they play country music the whole night, it’s a good thing I liked it. Someone told me the dance was from France but no one knew the actual history of the dance or the party.

My school will begin winter break on the 15th of July so I will be out!!yeeeees! My class is having a going away party for me and the two other exchangers in my class on this Friday the 3rd. It will hopefully be lots of fun and for some of them the last time they will see us because they will travel early or the other two exchangers will go home on the 10th so they won't be coming to school any more so they will say good bye now! It will be sad!

Yesterday, the 28th my family had a going away dinner for me! My dad cooked a big lunch and my whole family came to celebrate with me. They did it early because my dad travels a lot and he is not home every Sunday so this was probably the only time everyone could have been there. My granny gave me a little change purse (you know the kind little old ladies have with change for church or with stale chewing gum). It’s pretty though. and inside has a necklace and she gave me two charms for it. One of a big pretty rock and the other with a cross. It was nice and I didn’t expect it I think she likes me!!! haha. Then after we ate we had dessert and I gave a little speech. and after my aunt said “I wasn’t sure if you really spoke Portuguese but now I am sure, congratulations!" I was happy. Me and my aunt or any of the adults don't really talk that much because they are always busy talkin to each other or I’m with the other kids so... and then my other aunt said "haha you’re just like Felipe (her 2 year old son), I don’t hear you talk a lot but once you do it’s hard to stop you because you keep going on!" haha I thought that was funny! I didn’t talk that much yesterday!! OH MY GOSH! my aunt has this other little baby I think she is like 5 months now and she is just adorable!!!!! I love her. She is the happiest baby I have seen in a long time. She is always smiling and she’s at the stage where she likes to jump and it’s just so cute! And she doesn't cry a lot she is just happy. Then after was the big game of Brasil and the U.S.! I tried to watch the whole thing but I fell asleep. Brasil won:-(

Also I went to this place called Ramacrisna last week with my Rotary and the other two exchangers in my club. It was this really cool place that recycles and uses the stuff to make cool things. like they have these really amazing creations with old news papers and magazines, and we went to all the shops. They have one that makes macaroni, and the other uses wool to make toys for the kids who go there. They have toys made from old milk cartons and bottles, its amazing. And the kids help make the things. They have an after school school there and they teach kids different things like there is a game room that teaches them how to think, I guess I really don’t know, and a computer room to help them learn the computer like powerpoint and just the computer and others too. And they have a group of people that makes videos and art, that’s for the older kids. They made a video of us and showed us some of the others they made of like music and stuff. Then we went to the factory of purses!!!!! We were like really in Heaven!! They were so cool and weird. They had purses made of newspaper and belts and wallets and picture frames and it didn't look like it was until you took a closer look. I brought a belt that is really cool. It was 30 but she let me get it for 20 reais that is, which is like 10 dollars. Cool huh? The other 2 bought something too. We went there from 8 until 4pm.then this guy from our Rotary club picked us up and we went to his vacation house he has in the city because we were not in my city anymore. His house was BEAUTIFUUUUUUUUL, He had a chapel, and trees of banana, mango, plum, and others but none had fruit yet because we were out of the season. Me, the other 2 exchangers and the daughter of our YEO ate 5 kilos of pao de queijo!!! I don’t know if he was just teasing because we ate a lot but it was alooooot of pao de queijo!!!! I think it was 5 kilos though that we ate, sadly! But we were HUNGRY!! We ate like 3 breakfast's before we went to the center and they ate lunch at 11 so we were not hungry so we only ate a little bit but at 4 we were about to die!!! Then the YEO came to pick us up at around 6 and we stayed there and ate some meat and she asked how the day was and how we rated it, everyone said 4 or 4.5 out of 5, because we were hungry that’s why they didn’t get a 5. haha. And after awhile she started talking to us and saying we were good students and she was proud of us and stuff and how she was glad we had a good time. Earlier after we left the purse factory I saw a guy was carrying a box so I asked the lady who sold us the things what was in it and she said it was a secret but I didn’t think anything of it, then the YEO went to the box and pulled out 3 purses and she gave them to us as a gift from Rotary!! It was so sweet I almost cried, one girl did though it was funny!! haha.

Before this the daughter asked her mom if she could look in the box but her mom told her no but after the daughter was like hey look in the box for me to one of the others and she looked and then the daughter asked what’s in the box and she replied jealousy!! Because we really wanted to buy one of the purses but we didn’t, but it was really nice of her to buy it for us!!

So this is what I have been up to since my last entry. Just getting ready to return home! Saying my goodbyes to the people who are leaving before me.

Until next time,

Abraços

Obrigada Rotary!!

~*Asia~*