Nicole Abbott
2010-11 Outbound to Brazil

Hometown: Boca Raton, Florida
School: Olympic Heights High School
Sponsor: Boca Raton Sunrise Rotary Club, District 6930, Florida
Host: Bahia Norte Rotary Club, District 4550, Brazil

Nicole's Bio

Hello, my name is Nicole Abbott. I am 17 and a half years old, I turn 18 in May right before I graduate. I live with my parents, Richard and Yolanda, and my brother, James, as well as my lovely dog, Zena. I am very athletic in that I do colorguard at my high school, Olympic Heights in Boca Raton, Florida. This year and last year I was the captain. I have been doing colorguard since middle school and it is one of my favorite things in high school.

I love meeting new people whenever we go to football games over the weekends, as well as going to all the competitions. I also enjoy playing different sports for fun. One of my favorite sports to play is soccer, I used to help my brother practice before his games when we were younger. On my free time I enjoy hanging out with my friends from marching band, we are like a little family. I love meeting new people all the time and making new friends. I also love to listen to music as well as dancing around and having fun.

I am sooo excited to be able to go to Brazil this year. My friends are very excited for me to go, even though we will all miss each other. I can't wait to go. My parents are very excited for me as well. I surely will miss them a bunch, but I think this will be an amazing experience to go out and do something different. I would like to thank RYE Florida for this amazing opportunity, I’m very excited to be going to Brazil. I have heard great things and my Brazilian friends are helping me to learn the language so it helps. Thank you once again.

Nicole's Journals

September 9

So now it has been about two weeks, well three tomorrow since I have been in Brasil!!! Every time I am about to write my journal I go away for the weekend and then I procrastinate, so now I am going to finally write it. Saying goodbye to everyone was pretty sad and I will miss them all greatly. Ha-ha I probably looked like a hot mess at the airport from crying but now all I can do is laugh about how funny I probably looked. On the plane I met a Polish- Canadian Dance Company who were all really nice and told me that they always travel to Recife, a city north of where I am staying, but that all of Brasil is really nice and that I would enjoy my year very much, and I do agree with them. Bear with me here about my writing, I don’t think it is the best but I will try to be entertaining he he.

So I arrived in Salvador, now my home city J around 6 in the morning and the sun was already bright and out. Now the days here are strange to me even though I have been here for about 3 weeks now. The sun comes up around 5 to 6 am and sets around 5:30 to 6 pm. I find that to be a rather short day. Anyways so on the way home I basically slept because my trip was over night. Once I got home I unpacked and ate some food. In the afternoon my sister took me out and I met one of her friends, Vanessa. They took me to see the coast of Salvador which is about 15 minutes from where I live. I got to see some of the forts and the light house, Farol da Barra. I also passed by my new school ISBA which stands for Instituto Social Da Bahia. It is such a big school and the people are super sweet. So my first weekend I went to the gym with my host sister and that was a work out since I really hadn’t done anything all summer. I also joined boxing at the gym which is a lot of fun and I enjoy it. Over the weekend I also went to the Shopping Salvador, here in Brasil the name for a mall is “shopping” ha-haJ. On Sunday (August 22) my host family took me to and art museum place which was very nice. The art museum was at what used to be a mansion near the ocean. The museums name is Solar do Unhao, MAM, Thomaz Farkas. It is in honor of Thomaz Farkas a famous photographer from Brasil.

Now onto my first actual week in Brasil, I stayed home and tried to study as much Portuguese as I could and listened to Brasilian music the whole day. This did end up helping in some way. Besides studying I also went to the gym and did boxing. Now for my second weekend it was Orientation weekend which was one of the funniest things I have ever done J. So on Friday we all met early in the morning around 7am and then headed out to go tour around the old parts of Salvador. For the tour we were divided into groups to talk about certain parts of Salvador. For example, my group had to talk about Farol da Barra. Unfortunately only my friend Vanessa from Switzerland were the only ones who read so we gave our part of the tour and the Rrotex in charge of us, Mila, gave the rest of the tour. On our tour we went to Farol da Barra, saw one of the stadiums that is being rebuilt for the 2014 World Cup J, we also visited Pelourinho, and a couple of forts. After we were done touring we then we did some shopping and had coconut water which was actually pretty good and refreshing. Once we got done with that we all got on the bus and drove to Lauro de Freitas which is a small town outside of Salvador. There we stayed at our first hostel. Once we got done unpacking we all headed out for some lunch and met up with Tanner, who is an exchange student from the states, who had just arrived that afternoon. After lunch we then walked to the beach which was very nice. That was my first time actually going to the beach since I had arrived in Salvador. The sand there was a orange color and the ocean had a lot of rocks, ouch! Once we were done we headed back to the hostel and got ready to go out for dinner. We dined at the most amazing Italian restaurant. They had the best pizza I have had thus far in Brasil, and the pizza here is very very different than from back home. After that we went back and just hung out till we had to go to bed. The next day, Saturday, we packed up and went to our oh so very longggg orientation meeting. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but it was still long. Once we finally got done we went to the bus stop and caught a bus to our next/final stop which was Praia do Forte. On the way I talked to my friend Saul in Spanish, since he can’t speak English, he is an exchange student coming from Mexico. Once we got to Praia we unpacked and got ready to go out and walk around. Praia is a small town like place with cute little shops. There we went to a dancing place and danced for hours. We learned two, well three dances, I can only remember two of the names. We learned how to forro and arrocha, pronounced foh-ho and a-ho-sha. Both are super fun and I enjoyed them a lot. Ha-ha since that I have been listening to nothing but forro music. After we got done we walked back to our hostel which was really close and hit the hay for the next day. On Sunday we got up early, once we were dressed we then walked to the turtle reservoir place and walked around and after went to the hump back whale park. There we took a short course about what to expect and rules and saftey percausions before going out to go whale watching. After we were done we then went to wait to get on the boat they had for whale watching. Once we were out on the boats we went for a while and then started to see the humpback whales. It was really nice to see them out, I think there were about 6 whales out that day so we were pretty lucky to see them J. On the way back unfortunately most of us got a little sea-sick. Once we got back we all got packed up and went out to eat lunch. I don’t know if the food was just amazing or if I was super hungry but I ate a lot, yummm. Once everyone was done we got some ice cream and then went out to the bus to go home L. I had such an amazing weekend meeting all the exchange students in Bahia that I didn’t want to leave!

So once I got back I started school on Tuesday since I was still a little sea-sick on top of actually getting sick, but I am a lot better now J. My first day was not as bad as I thought it would be. Here the school is different. It is so much bigger than my high school in Boca Raton. My first thought was, if my host brother Pierre-Antoine thinks my high school in Boca was big then he would think this school is HUGE. So I am in second year so that way I can be with the same class once school start’s again for the third year. Usually the teachers come to our class except for one or two classes or if we are taking a different class we will just go to that class for the period. The classes here are pretty easy I think my favorite is math and history. Thankfully I have studied exactly what we are doing now so it is very nice. We have about 6 classes a week. My first week of school ended up being really cool and I made a lot of friends. On Saturday i headed out to Morro de Sao Paulo for the vacation since September 7th is Brasil’s Independence Day. No one goes to school on Monday and of course not on Tuesday so i spent that time at Morro de Sao Paulo, it is an island off the coast of Salvador and it is really gorgeous and beautiful. We relaxed and went to the small shops and at night we went to two concerts. One of them was for Maria Gadu, she plays amazing acoustic music, and the other was Nando Reis. His music was great as well and I was told we were lucky because to get tickets to his concerts are really hard and cost a lot of money. On Tuesday in the afternoon we came back to Salvador. The weekend was a nice get away for vacationing.

So we started school on Wednesday this week which is very nice. Yesterday, Wednesday, we watched a video at school called A Onda ( the wave) it was very interesting and I think I saw the English version of it because I did remember a movie that had the same theme and it was called The Wave. The movie was very good and interesting to watch. After the movie was over we took a break to go eat a snack. During that time I hung out with some of my new friends and met a bunch of other people. Once the break was over we went back and the class did a review of the movie and gave their opinions about it. I thought that was really cool. I understand a lot more Portuguese now so it is even easier to understand what is going on. After school I went to my boxing class with my host sister, which was pretty tough, but I am building all the muscle I lost over the summer J. Today, Thursday, school was pretty easy. I had a new class, religion, today which was pretty neat. We did a relaxation thing which was really nice and calm. After school there was practice/rehearsal for a production that my class is doing. Some of my friends asked if I had wanted to join the previous week so i said YES of course. I am surely glad I did because it is A LOT of fun. I will be in three of the songs and today I learned two of the dances. I’m very excited to be participating with my class, they are all really nice and super friendly J.

Well that is all for now, until next time...

Tchau, beijos e abracos ( what everyone here says)

-Nikki (my nickname everyone calls me here J )

October 23

So i am finally writing my journal after a little over a month… everything here has been great. I’m enjoying everything to the fullest. J So a lot has been going on since I last wrote. I have so many nicknames, it’s either gringa, Nick, Nikki, or Nicole, I think I have just gotten used to all of them now J I joined interact here around half way through September. I have gotten sick from food. I have had the most amazing show with all my friends at school. I also went to my first huge concert. And have gone to the beach a lot more. I have also learned how to take the bus. Also my Portuguese is getting way way better, but at the moment it’s at portunol right now leaning more towards Portuguese though J It just means I am learning very fast and I am way less shy to speak in Portuguese now and have had many conversations…anyways….

So far I have helped with two of the fundraisers concerning little kids. The first one was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. We went to Simões Filho to help out with an institution for kids who are poor on September 25th. They are some of the sweetest little kids I have ever met and they are so joyous it just puts a smile on your face to see how happy they are. All the little kids were so cute they would come up to us and ask us random things and where we were from or just come up to us for a hug J. Carol (exchange student from Denmark) and I were going to do nails and make up but that didn’t end up happening. Instead a bunch of the little boys came over to me and started to do my make-up and nails. It was probably the funniest thing I have ever seen. It was great though. I will say though the make-up didn’t look too bad, but my nails were… I don’t know gloppy and had many, many layers of nail polish on them. The day was great we got to help with all the little kids. Once everyone pulled out cameras to take pictures off all the moments the kids were so excited to see cameras. One especially, he had a red shirt on, I’m kind of sad that I forgot his name but it has been a while, anyways he was the most adorable little boy I have ever seen. He was very much camera happy. I was taking a picture of him and he asked if I would take one of him and the picture he had colored in, coincidentally the picture had a lot of red, I think that just might be his favorite color. After that he had me go around and take pictures of him with others and then he asked if he could take a picture with me and then of me with the rest of the kids. So I did and he was just so happy taking pictures of everyone, his field might just be photographyJ. That was probably one of my best days here, although I have had many, this puts the biggest smile on my face, just the joy of all the little kids is great. I really hope to go back soon to help again I would go back every chance I have!

So the show at my school went really well. Our class did an amazing job, as well as the other three classes. They were all really different and unique but I liked that they were based on the same topic: Northeast Brasil. It showed everyone’s different aspects and how they saw northeast Brasil through their eyes. I loved every bit of practice and hanging out with all my school friends before the show. The weekend before we had one of our last practices before the show. It was probably one of the practices I have been to. After practice we all hung out and played futebol. Ha-ha I loveee playing futebol it’s probably my favorite sport to play. I think I kind of shocked everyone about how good I was because they didn’t expect a gringa (which is what most call me) to be any good. Ha-ha it’s the latin blood showingJ.  I did really well I got to two goals in, but I could not have done it without my friend Bruno. So once we were done we got a chance to see our performance and I must say everyone did a most amazing job. I am so happy and proud of everyone including myself. This past week I was asked if I would like to participate in another show which is taking place at the end of November, so I am very excited about that and I can’t wait for practice’s to start! OHHH! And since our class did so well we were asked by the dance teacher at my school if we would like to perform part of the show in a dance performance coming up. So I’m really excited about that too. I am so glad I am able to have dance while I am here it’s such a big part of my life and I get to hang out with some of the most amazing people I have ever met!

Soooo food, the food here is great and amazing. I tried Tamaki for the first time which is the Brasilian version of sushi/ Japanese food, and I will say it’s one of the best things I have eaten here it was AMAZING. I also tried some regional food, but that did not go tooo well. I had what is called maniçoba which is from the Amazon region and Bahia as well. After I got back from my friend’s house I didn’t feel so good. I had told my host parents what I had eaten and then found out that it is a very heavy dish here… I wish I would have known before, but this is all a part of being an exchange student. Now I just know if anyone asks me if I would want some, just say no. But besides that the food here is amazing. At the beach they sell cheese with oregano and honey, that is amazing it’s so tasty and soo full of different flavors it’s great, and to think I didn’t want to try it because it didn’t look to appetizing, I sure glad I did. I do miss some of my foods though, like when I crave my chocolate mousse cake nights with Natalie Correa, Leelah Greenspan, and Aaron Dolbow :P. As well as my home made sandwiches, and other things here and there like Girl Scout cookies. I really am enjoying the food here, like at school I have Pastel Misto which is an empanada type food with cheese and ham, it’s amazing and yummy, my friends at school as well as my teachers probably think I am addicted to it but it is just so great and it reminds me of my empanadas J yummm!

So this month we had a whole week off of school because we had three holidays in one week. That was rather nice, one of the days was to celebrate kids, which is very popular here and the other day was Dia de Nossa Senhora. This week I spent it mostly with my host parents. On Sunday the 10th of October we went to the beach for most of the day, we went to Jaguaripe which is a very nice and relaxing beach compared to Porto da Barra. I would say Porto da Barra here reminds me of Deerfield Beach back home; it is just so packed it’s crazy. On Sunday I went to see my host grandma again. She is so sweet she told me if I would ever like to spend the day at the beach to just let her know and I could come over to her house. She lives right next to Porto da Barra, so it is really nice J after we visited her we went out for some yummy pizza again. The next day I got up early and went grocery shopping for the month with my host mom, she and the maid were both surprised that I wanted to go and help, haha I’m just kind of used to going since I always go with my mom. It was nice though. After that I spent the day at my friend’s house with a bunch of my friends and we played some more futebol. On Wednesday I went to the beach again with my host parents but this time to a different beach. We went to Stella Mari which is probably my favorite beach I have been to since I have been here. It was just so nice and relaxing and beautiful since this beach faces the ocean. Some of the beaches here face the bay so the water looks different. Since part of Bahia (which means bay) is facing the bay or the ocean it’s really nice to have both because the scenery is so different even though it’s along the same coast! Also on the 16th/17th I went to my first huge concert with some of my friends from school. The concert was pretty good, I loved the music! They played forró, axe, and sertanejo. I am so glad that I finally found my kind of Brazilian music J I’m glad that I understand almost everything and it helps me learn as well because I constantly am listening to Brazilian music. Sertanejo and forró are definitely my two favorites since they are a lot alike to the Spanish music I love listening to, it just has such a great beat and is so happy and makes you want to get up and dance and that is the best music in my opinion :D! So this coming weekend we are going to Ilhéus for an interact conference meeting and we get too finally see ALL the exchange students. I’m very excited and looking forward to seeing everyone. The conference will be from October 31st to November 2nd, it’s kind of cool we also get to meet all the students who are interested to go on exchange with rotary, so that will be really cool I think J

So I am starting to fit in more and more and it is great! I have been told at times that I probably dress more like a Brazilian than a Brazilian, which I think is really funny and a great compliment. Also when I go out to places a lot of people think I am Brazilian and notice I’m not until they hear me speak English. My Portuguese has gotten a lot better and I am talking way more. My friends at school are becoming very strict which I love and I find that great. They are making sure I am learning Portuguese. For example, if someone speaks English to me they get yelled at and are told they must speak Portuguese to me so that I can talk more and more J I’m glad because this helps a lot and now I’m starting to think in Portuguese… haha I can’t even think in Spanish or in English sometimes, but that’s ok because that only means I am learning more and more every day. My Portuguese now is also mixed up with Spanish so right now I am speaking portunhol which is a language spoken on the border of Portugal and Spain. It is a common language when people who speak Spanish speak Portuguese because they are so close and so much sounds alike. For example, I was introducing myself to my friends host mom and said “Eu soy Nicole” haha in Portuguese it would be “Eu sou…” and in Spanish it would be “Yo soy…” but of course since I speak Spanish and now Portuguese I got them mixed up haha. But that is quite normal so it’s all good J Haha I think I do the same when I speak Spanish sometimes now, I will randomly say stuff in Portuguese and be like wait that’s not Spanish. But I am very happy that my Portuguese just keeps getting better and better and my writing is getting a lot better from taking so many notes from class. I can also read Portuguese now, I bought a book a couple days ago and I understand just about everything except for a couple of words which I ask my friends to explain them to me. All my friends I have made thus far are so helpful and a big part to why I am learning even faster besides being fluent in Spanish! Soooo I think that is just about it for this month I can’t wait to write about next weekend I know it will be great and amazing just like my time here!!!

December 5

It has been a while since I last wrote. I finally went to my first Rotary Club meeting, my Spanish project was a success, I also went to CODIC, and my show for school went really well as well as the interviews for the future exchangies hereJ.

To begin my Spanish project which occurred on October 26th came out pretty well. My classmates were so great to work with. The project came out beautiful and it was very nice to read to all of the little kids that day. I would have read because Spanish is my second native language but I had my friend Alice read because I kept reading the Spanish as Portuguese, I thought it was rather funny. It made me notice how much more I am learning Portuguese. For a lot of students they have dreams in there host language but I don’t think that is my case. I haven’t ever been able to dream in a different language, but I do have the capacity to think in any language I know. Sometimes I think in English sometimes in Spanish sometimes even in French with what French I know, and now I am able to think in Portuguese which is great. Sometimes I think so much more in Portuguese that I forget my Spanish sometimes but that’s what happens when you learn a new language and are always surrounded by it. I love to speak in Portuguese and I have gotten a lot better. I love when people compliment my Portuguese because it shows that I am getting better and better every day. (Outubro 26/October 26)

So the next day was my Rotary Club meeting. I was very excited to go, unlike most people I think I enjoy going to these meetings and just listening. I met some great Rotarians, they were all really nice. The club president was very nice to meet, his daughter is one of the only, or rather I think she is the only, Brazilian to work in the New York Times, which I thought was pretty cool. So during the meeting we were served dinner, since the meetings here occur every Tuesday night. The dinner was a two course meal, probably some of the most delicious plates. The first was salmon steam cooked which was really good and the second a type of beef, the salmon was my favorite since it had so much flavor, YUM J. After we ate I was introduced to everybody. After I was introduced I gave a short speech about myself and where I am from and I even told them how it was possible for me to catch on to Portuguese so quickly. They said my Portuguese was really good and that I am doing quite well at it which always makes me happy to here. I was invited afterwards by my host councilor to go visit the school he has for little kids on an island close to Salvador, I believe the island is Itaparica. I’m really excited to go so I will see when I get a chance toJ. (Outubro 27)

A couple days after my Rotary meeting I had my Interact meeting. We have meetings every Friday from around 2:30pm to 4:30pm, depending on how long we take to talk about everything. This meeting was rather special. At this meeting all of the exchange students in the club became Interactianos, which means that we are now a part of the Interact. Before this we were just guests coming to the meetings and now we had become actual members. We had a small celebration. We got our official interact pins and then we had lots of desserts to eat and some breads it was really good. I think I was one of the few who brought some type of dessert, which was fine. I made some Tres Leches, which is one of my favorite desserts to make. It’s a very popular Spanish dessert that I made and everyone enjoyed it a lot. I had made two one for home and one for the meeting and I decided to bring the bigger one to the meeting, which I am glad I did. Only four people ate the cake and we ended up eating it all. It was really tasty. So all in all the meeting went really well and I am really glad that I am in interact because I get to hang out with some really nice people.

The next day was also fun filled. I had one of my best friend’s birthday parties as well as my host moms birthday as well as birthday party. My best friend who was having a birthday party was one of my friends from school Maya. I went first to Maya’s party. I had a great time talking to everyone and dancing as well. I was able to talk to people in Portuguese and it went well. I also learned some popular dances that everyone dances to at parties which were a lot of fun. I love that people here enjoy dancing so much because I loveee dancing. After her party ended I then went to my host mom’s birthday party which was at a chic club it was really nice and the music playing was great. After both of the parties I was exhausted and tried to sleep but I didn’t get much sleep that night since the next day I was leaving for CODIC. (Outubro 30)

So it was October 31, Halloween J and we were all leaving for CODIC which this year which was held in Ilhéus, a city south of Salvador. We got all met up at the ferry around 10am and waited until our ferry got to the port. From the ferry we traveled to the other side of the bay and from there we took a 6 or 7 hour bus ride down to Ilhéus. It was a very long trip but it was nice. I sat with Izabelle, who is from Bello Horizonte which isn’t far from where I live. She only speaks Portuguese so it was great talking to her in Portuguese. I did really well talking to her I spoke to her almost the whole entire day and in Portuguese which I thought it was rather very successful since she knows very very little English and Spanish. So all in all I did really well with communicating. I think I speak better with people who only know Portuguese rather than with people who speak English as well for some reason, I think it’s because I feel more comfortable. Anyways I now have a new best friend who is Brasilian. It’s not that I don’t have Brasilian best friends, which I do, I just have one who I can just speak Portuguese with and get along with super well. So after we arrived we all checked into our rooms and got settled. After we got settled we all got dressed for out meeting and for a surprise happening later. After the meeting we had dinner and then went to our surprise. Our surprise that we got was a dance which was really nice and great. The dance ended around 1am, but it was a lot of fun. On the first day there I met a lot of great people ad some of the people who I would see later at the Rotary Interviews, which was nice because this way you get to see what people are really like. So after the dance I stayed up chatting with some of the girls and after went to bed. The next day we were woken up nice and early, especially me! So the boys who were in charge of waking everyone up brought a megaphone with them and used it to wake everyone, when they got to my room they called for me to wake up a couple of times, haha I felt kind of bad for the people I was rooming with. They did this because on the way to Ilhéus they wouldn’t stop playing with the megaphone and were waking everyone up when they had a chance. Boys will be boys… Anyways we all got ready to go down and watch presentations about all the interact clubs that go on in the state of Bahia. It was really cool to see all the things that the Interact clubs do to help out their communities. After the first ones we had lunch and a break. On the break all of the exchange students got our monthly allowance and talked a little with Katerine, who is the inbound coordinator. After that we all went back to the meeting room and got ready for some fun games. We were all split into four large groups and had a mini-Olympics you could say. The first round was coming up with a group name and a chant. After that was a race to see who finished first and whoever finished first had to finish the lyrics to the song that was playing. After that it was time to play dress up. Each group had to choose one boy and one girl and had to dress them up as the opposite sex. This was probably one of the funniest things I have ever seen it was ridiculously funny. After that the last competition was in honor of Halloween. Each group had to choose a pumpkin and carve something into it, whoever was the most creative would win. My group won this round because we were the most creative; everyone else went with a traditional pumpkin carving instead our group carved a cat into the pumpkin. The one who came up with the idea was my friend Olivia; she’s an exchange student from Idaho. After that the judges tallied up the score, and my group got second place so we were very happy since we were losing at the beginning. After that we all had dinner and then went to get ready for the Halloween party, celebrating a little late… but it was a lot of fun. We all got dressed up and went for some more dancing. So this was my third day straight of dancing, which is fine by me since I love to dance. After that we all sat around and talked until we had to go to bed. The next morning instead of the boys waking me up like the day before, I got up and my friend Izabelle was up as well so we tried to get the megaphone, but they hid it so instead we used the big radio they had and woke them up with music, after that we found the megaphone and there after woke everyone up that morning, it was rather funny. I was told I was a true brasilian since I went around waking everyone up and I woke up early. I thought it was rather funny. After everyone was awake we all got ready for the last day of palestras, which were the presentations. The presentation was good, it was about healthy eating, and at the same time rather disturbing since it talked about how food, well meat and chicken, is processed… and after that we had lunch which was chicken, and meats with beans and rice with guarana… everything they told us was not the healthiest they fed us. After that we all backed up and got ready to leave. I don’t think many people wanted to leave since we were all having such a great time. I had a blast over this weekend and it has been one of the best weekends, I think I have had many of these since I have been here which is great! (Outubro 31- Novembro 2) Oh and happy birthday to Natalie Correa J (again)

The week after was my last week of school for the year here. School here starts in February and ends in the end of November, but since I don’t have to take all the tests and exams I get out a lot earlier than everyone else at my school. I was told that I am moving up with everyone which is great because I love all my class mates and since the first semester of school for the third year is easier I am able to move up with them which made me really happy, as well as it made them happy J. Anyways on the last day of school, we all brought white roses for our religion class and played a game, and in the end we all sat with our roses and spelled out PAZ which is Portuguese for peace. It was really nice and after that we were to give our roses to someone, so I gave mine to my host mom, which she really appreciated. The same day we also played inimigo secreto, which is secret enemy, which is a game that is played in the states as well. The game is you choose a random name and get them something silly and for laughs, this was a lot of fun. After that we all went down stairs to the little church place at school and had an end of the year presentation and after that we all got out of school. The last day of school was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it a lot. (Novembro 9)

The next day was my best friend Maya’s concert. During the day I hung out with Maia (from Washington State) and Carol (from Denmark) which was really nice. We went down to the pool and just chatted in Portuguese and English all mixed up. Haha that has become somewhat normal now, well I used to do that with Spanish and English and now I do it with Portuguese added in. After that Maia went home and I went over to Carol’s house since she lives close to where Maya’s concert was going to take place. So I just got ready when I went to Carol’s house and after I just crossed the street and I was there. The concert was really good. Maya had sung Alice by Avril Lavigne and did a fantastic job in my opinion. The day was pretty good overall and very fun. (Novemro 10)

After the next interact meeting we had we all went to Adriana’s house in Barra. Adriana is one of the exchange students from Germany. We usually go out after interact and do something. This time we all went to Adriana’s. After we hung out for a little at her house we went out for some delicious pizza. I think it was the best pizza I have had thus far here in Brasil it was amazing. We also had some freshly cut pineapple. Here it is really usual for there to be fruit stand on the sides of the roads, the pineapple we had was amazing and juicy very yummy. After we went out for some pizza and pineapple we all went back to Adriana’s house, well apartment, and hung out until Ferdy’s (exchange from Germany) host parents came to pick him, me, and Maia up from Adriana’s. It was nice to hang out with all of them before they left for the Northeast Trip on the 19th of November. (Novembro 12)

A couple days later I hung out again with Izabelle and other Interact people as well as other exchange students. From morning to afternoon I spent the day with Carol and her host family. We went to the beach and had aracajé which is a typical dish is Bahia and we also had some guarana and some fish that is typical as well. It was very tasty. The day was very nice and the beach and very relaxing. After that we headed back to her house for lunch. Carol’s host mom, Fernanda, had made THE MOST AMAZING basil pasta I have had in a while I think I would have eaten it all, it was amazing. After we got done eating they asked me to read a prayer since they always read one when they eat or are in family. So I read one which fit the occasion. After I was done reading Carol’s host dad said my reading was very good and said my Portuguese accent is getting better because at times he said it seemed like I was brasilian just by the way I pronounced some of the words. I think it helps that I don’t have an accent when I speak English or Spanish, so when I speak another language I can catch the accent better and not have one when I am speaking the language. So my accent is getting a lot better which is great and I like that I was nicely complimented. After we got done eating lunch we headed out to Shopping Salvador to go to the movies and watch RED with Izabelle, her brother Vitor, Raiza, Alex (from Interact), as well as Ferdy. It was a lot of fun hanging out with them, after the movie we had some food and walked around until everyone had to go home. It was really nice hanging out with all of them. (Novembro 15)

So the weekend after on the 27th was my final rehearsal for Palavra Vida, unfortunately I couldn’t make it because I was feeling a little sick and I didn’t want to do too much dancing because my stomach was not doing really well in the morning so my actual last rehearsal was the day before on the 26th which was really good. I was very excited to do my show which was on the 29th but I shall mention that in a bit. So after I was feeling better I went to go help out with the interviews for the future exchange students. It was fun especially when we asked random questions. It was also nice to see all the other three exchange students who hadn’t gone off on the Northeast Trip. After the first half of the interviews we went downstairs and had some lunch and after headed upstairs again for the rest of the interviews. There were some very impressive students who were applying and it was very nice to see some people were very enthusiastic about going, which is great. It was very nice to help out with the interviews. I was also talking with my friend Tanner who might be going down to Curitiba, so I might go with his host family as well, I’m not sure yet but it would be very nice to see something different, another part of Brasil J. So I’ll see how that works out. (Novembro 27)

So a couple days after the interviews was finally my show!! I finally write a journal after my show, I have such a tendency of writing and sending in my journal right before something big is happening so this time I saved it for after. My show went really well. We had rehearsal at 2 and after that we just got ready for the show and I helped everyone do their hair… some things never change haha. When I used to be in colorguard I helped everyone do their hair and as well as here, I did French braids for the girls which actually came out really good, so I was very proud of myself. My host parents came to my show which meant a lot to me. My host mom recorded the show for me which was really nice. For the ending we were supposed to have Claudia Leitte sing, she’s a very famous Brasilian singer from Salvador and she is an alumni from my school here, ISBA, which is pretty cool. Unfortunately she couldn’t make it since she was around touring and wouldn’t have enough time to come to Salvador for the show but we danced to her song nonetheless. The finally came out perfect and was really great. I had such a great time working on this show with all my new friends from school. The girls were all very supportive and sweet so it was nice working with everyone. I had an amazing time doing the show and I’m glad it came out sooo well! (Novembro 29)

January 9

So this month has been a lot of fun. I got a chance to hang out with the exchange students as well as meet many many more from around the world. I went to my last couple of interact clubs meetings which were pretty nice. My Christmas was slightly different here than what I have done in the past. Also I got to spend a very nice New Year’s with my friend and her host family and some new traditions for New Year’s.

So my first week of December I spent out in the lovely sun by the pool downstairs since here it is summer time and not winter time. Since I’m on the southern hemisphere all of the seasons are “backwards.” So my second week I went and hung out with the exchange students in Pelourinho since they were spending the day here in Salvador on their trip around the northeast. It was really nice to see all my friends and make some new ones :). We walked around and had lunch and then at night we went to a show. The tour guide was amazingly nice that she let me go with them for free :). The show actually helped me better understand the show I had done for my school at the beginning. My show was about the northeast, since Brasil is divided into certain parts. So while I was watching this show I got a better understanding of the capoeira and also the goddesses of Brazil’s northeast. I enjoyed the show very much as well as getting to see everyone! So over the weekend on the 10th was my second to last meeting for interact we did a Secret Santa which was a lot of fun and we all hung out at Doces Sonhos which is a pastry shop that has the most amazing cakes I have ever had, besides my amazing white chocolate mousse cake!

The weekend after that was our official last interact meeting. Since it was Christmas time we went to a crèche which is a small place for poor children. We went and handed out gifts to the little kids who were extremely happy to get some gifts. There was one boy in specific who was over joyous because his present was a bunch of toy cars. He kept yelling out to one of the girls “Amanda!!!!” just so he could get her attention and show her his new cars. After they opened their presents we gave them some popcorn and juice and then went and played with them for a couple of hours. I don’t think I have seen such energetic kids in such a long time they were really enjoying themselves. So after a couple hours or so we headed back home, it was really nice getting to make a little kids day :)! The following week on the 22nd of December I made a luncheon for all the exchange students since they were finally back from their trip. I made shrimp with garlic and butter and pasta and for dessert I made my famous chocolate mousse cake but this time I made it with white chocolate and I think it came out even better than with dark chocolate. It came out soooooo amazing that the piece that I saved for my friend Maia was gone… since Adriana and Vanessa decided to get into my kitchen and close the door and eat the rest, I caught them in action haha :). After that we all walked to the mall and did some extra Christmas shopping! It was very nice to just hang out with all the exchange students. So the weekend coming was Christmas weekend. Here Christmas is really celebrated on Christmas Eve. SO on Christmas Eve we went to my host grandma’s house in Barra and everyone switched presents and opened them. I got a shirt, shoes, money, a purse, and perfume. I loved all of my presents they were perfecttttt! After that we all headed to my host sisters boyfriends house, Fabio, for dinner and just hanging out. We stayed until about 2 in the morning and then headed home. Once I got home I went to bed because I was super duper tired.

On Christmas day we all went back to Fabio’s house to eat lunch and go swimming and enjoy the day. It was very nice and at night we had a light dinner. The following week was New Year’s Eve. During the day I began packing to move to my next home and I went out with my host parents for a while to go get my foot checked since I had a rock dropped on it so to be on the safe side I got some x-rays done to make sure everything was ok. Once the x-rays were done the doctor said there was nothing at all wrong with my foot no fractured no broken foot nothing… of course I should have known this usually happens, which is great since it means my bones are as strong as can be! Once I got home my first package from the states came from my grandparents! I got a bunch of little things and a purse and some cookies and more it was great :). So at night I went to my friend Vanessa’s house to spend New Year’s Eve.

Tradition here for New Years is to wear allll white, thankfully I did bring white clothes! At midnight we all walked outside to watch the fireworks from her house. It was a very beautiful show I enjoyed it very much! It was nice spending New Year’s with sooo many people. So my parents came around 2 to get me since they were with my host grandma watching the show as well. This year was a little weird not spending New Year’s at my best friend’s house and calling my parents at midnight, instead I was here in this amazing country and back home my brother and host brother went to my best friend’s house and celebrated New Year’s. So once I woke up to the New Year I finished packing everything. At night we all went out for pizza which was a total coincidence since we went to the same pizzeria when I first got here and it so happened the first and last time I’d go with my first host family was on a Saturday!

So basically I ended with where I started with my first host family but they haven’t completely gotten rid of me! :D So it was finally January 2nd the day I moved to my new host family. At my new house I have my host dad Kiko, my host mom Mara, and my host sister Raphaela. They are all super nice and I get along with them really well! Well until the next time!

Beijos é Abraços, Nicole

March 13

So since I last wrote I was just moving to my new house. I have really enjoyed myself a lot with my second host family. They are all super sweet and like to go out which is perfect. We go out to lunch over the weekend. On Saturdays we will go to my host grandma’s who lives in Campo Grande or to my other grandma’s house here in Pituba. Either house we go to they have amazingly yummy food! Then on Sundays we go out to the mall for lunch which is nice and I usually have some type if steak and its always super good! So when I first got here my host mom was finally ending her kimo-therapy, so she wasn’t herself. The week after I think anyone can tell she was doing a lot better. My host mom, Mara, is like my mom back home; they are both super active women and recuperate well in my opinion.

So for the first week I was here I lived with another exchange student, Ferdinand, since his next host family wasn’t back from their trip yet. Also my host sister, Rapha, has the cutest puppy ever, his name is Fredy. Since Ferdinand’s nickname (apelido em portugues) is Ferdy everyone including himself would get confused when someone would call out the puppies name since it’s so easy to confuse the two. So in the month of January there was this one week were I swear I ran into everyone from my school, which was a huge coincidence!! So first I went bowling with Rapha and a bunch of her friends and to my amazement some of my close friends from school were a couple lanes over. It was really nice to see them. Later on in the week I went to the beach with some of the exchange students and while we were out by the boats at Porto da Barra, we ran into my friend Gabriel. Also the day before we had gone to Katarine’s house (she’s the mommy of us exchange students) anyways we went to her house to pick up our monthly allowance since we were close and coming from our surfing class. So trying to see if she was home was super funny because Vanessa é muitaaa engraçada (which means Vanessa is really funny). So while we were waiting it turns out my friend Rafael from school lives there too so it was nice to see him as well! I swear I think I would have ended up seeing my whole class in this one week! I also had a beach day with my friends from school which was very nice and relaxed.

On January 10th my friends from school had a going away dinner from my friend Mariana which was really nice. We went out to a restaurant, Santo Antonio, it was delicious, and it turns out my host dad’s (Kiko) cousin or so is the owner of the restaurant we went to. Such a small world! So my friend Mariana is going to live in Japan for five years, so a long termmm exchange for her. She is already there and updates us on how everything is going and it sounds like she likes it a lot, which is really good!

A couple weeks later I spent the weekend at my friend Carols house in Praia do Flamengo, which is a part of Salvador but more north and closer to Lauro de Freitas. She lives in a really nice quaint house, her neighborhood is very beach like and of course she lives less than five minutes by foot from the beach. She lives super close to Stella Maris, which is one of my favorite beaches here! It was nice to spend the weekend with her. Also most of my weekends in January were spent in Interlagos which is after Lauro de Freitas and an hour away from where I live. I must say it is one of the prettiest neighborhoods I have ever seen! It’s gorgeous and the houses are soooo beautiful and it adds that they are right next to the beach, and the beach is just wonderful too. I keep saying if I ever come back to rent a place I think I’d rent a house there it’s so nice and the atmosphere is really relaxed. And I must say I have some pretty great pictures from the beach there!

Also I have been taking surfing lessons here but since school started and where we surf they are building camarotes for the Carnaval we haven’t gone in a while. I would explain what camarote is but I think it’s rather difficult… but I shall try… at concerts they have pista and then they have camarote. Pista is right in from of where all the singers are playing and is super-duper crowded! Camarote on the other hand is further away but you can see everything and they usually have snack bars and stuff you can buy and wayyy less crowded. Anyways back to surfing I went a couple of times but I catch on really fast so all I have to do now is practice! It was really funny my first time going out though… I wasn’t the smartest one ever haha… So first thing when the teacher tells you if a wave is coming and you can’t go over it throw your board and go the other way… me being me didn’t do that so I plunged into the wave with the board and had no problem at all! Everyone else thought I was crazy but I didn’t have any problems so I didn’t think much of it until they were like why didn’t you throw the board??? And then I noticed whoops! But it doesn’t end there! SO when I finally got on a wave I didn’t know when to stand on the surf board… so I just rode the wave to the shore… now I know I need to stand up next time at some point! So my second and third time where a lot better all I need to do is get up faster. We were taught to put our left foot first but I have a tendency of putting my right foot first, since I am a righty, so I think I will stick with my right foot because it’s so much easier. So I was telling Carol about my amazing surfing fun and she told me one of her best friends from school here surfs and he has a couple surf boards or something along those lines so I plan on going to her house again and being able to surf! I really enjoyed it and it was one of my dreams to learn how to surf when I got here! Unfortunately I don’t think I’d be doing too much surfing when I get back to Florida due to sharks… thankfully here there are only turtles :)!!!

The day before school started I went to the mall to do some school supply shopping as well as hang out with my friends Tanner and Bertho who were visiting from the other side of Bahia far far away. Also Ferday came along with us. As in most situations for some reason I’m the only girl but ohhh well. It was really nice catching up with some friends who I haven’t seen in sometime! Soo school finally started back up the next day.

Coincidentally we started school the seventh and that was the day my mom (my real mom) had knee surgery, so once I got home from my amazing school I jumped on Skype to see how she was doing. Like I said before she and my host mom now recuperate so well :) my mom is doing a lot better now which is good to hear since it’s only been a month and she’s supposed to go three months or so with her shots and what not for her knee.

Now back to school, I love my class so much! They are all really sweet and super funny. Also I love the fact that I didn’t lose my nickname “gringa”. There are a couple of boys who still call me gringa and I don’t think it will ever get old but that’s ok! So more on my first day of school, I am now in terceiro which is the senior year of high school here. Thankfully I was allowed to move up and be with my class! So my redação (grammar) teacher was asking everyone what they would like to major in once they go to college. Now I answered him and I told him I would like to study international communications, there is another word for this but I don’t remember haha, anyways I told him I wasn’t studying here though since I’m an exchange student so I start college once I get back to Florida. Once I was done speaking my whole class got really really quiet. Honestly I thought I might have said something wrong in Portuguese since everyone got quiet but it turns out that I spoke really well and everyone was impressed with how far my Portuguese has come! Once of my friends, Maria, even said my Portuguese sounded better than hers and she’s from here. So I take that as a great compliment.

Everyone here always tells me that I am more Brasilian than I know and that I was born Brazilian and didn’t know it haha. To me it’s a great compliment and it helps that I have some Latin American influence from my mom since she’s Colombian :)! So that weekend I went to the beach with my host sister and her group of friends which was pretty nice, and just very relaxing if I do say so myself. So this past Saturday and Sunday (Feb 26th and 27th) I spent it with Vanessa, Maia, and Adriana (exchange students). On Saturday I went to Maia’s new house (Vanessa’s old house) and hung out with her family and Vanessa for the day which was really fun. After that I went home and got ready for a family party. I met another one of my host cousins, Paloma, who had just got back from Ireland! She was really nice and said that I can just call her to hang out over the weekends if I have nothing to do.

So the next day I went with Vanessa and the girls to the Bahia vs. Vitoria soccer game. This was Maia and I’s first soccer game since we got here, and it was very much worth it! Everyone was surely watching this game since Bahia and Vitoria are the two main soccer teams form my state which is Bahia! The game was really fun to watch, especially all the crazy soccer fans they were just great. Anyways everyone thought that Vitoria was going to win since they were doing so well and Bahia wasn’t but Bahia won 2-0! The best part was that the last person on the Bahia team to ever make a goal was the first one to make a goal for the team :)!

Also over the weekend I had amazing see food, I ate lambreta which is clams in Portuguese, I had some amazing shrimp and fish, and I also learned how to eat a crab. I must say it is some messy business to eat a crab and I don’t know how people have the patience for it! But it was very interesting nonetheless. Unfortunately the next day i woke up super sick for school, and I am still sick, but I am doing a lot better. I did end up losing my voice though and it’s still coming back since I have a tendency to not stop talking when my voice is going away no matter what language I may be speaking I ramble of like no tomorrow.

Also on Thursday the 25th I performed with some of my friends for my Literature teacher’s book lançamento (which means book launch… I forget the word in English). So even though I ended the month kind of sick, it was very fun! And now I am getting ready to celebrate Carnaval here in Bahiaaa! I am going to go to Maia’s house and watch from there so I don’t have to pay for anything hehehe, and I also get to hang out with my friends and then on Sunday (Mar 6th) I am going to the island with my host grandma Donha Teresinha (I have no idea as to whether I spelt her name right or not but I’m almost sure it’s correct. Well until next time I write, I think the only reason this journal is soooo long is since I completely forgot to send in my January journal, but all is good! I can’t wait for carnival to come! Until next time!

Até mais tarde!! Beijos e Abraços para todos : )

--Nicole (aka Nick pra meus colegas :P )