Ross Guju 
2012-13 Outbound to Brazil
Hometown: Palm Harbor, FL
School: East Lake High School
Sponsor: District 6950, FL
Host: District 4530, Brazil
The Rotary Club De Brasilia-Centenarioå

Hello, this is my first journal about my exchange. It is hard finding the time to write these journals because I am always doing something with my friends or my family. I have been in Brasilia, Brazil for a little more than a month now. I am really glad I have been given this opportunity to be here, I am learning and exploring so many different things. It is so much different from the United States, it is like a different world. I am enjoying every minutes of the exchange. I do not feel like a visitor in Brazil anymore, I feel like I belong in this country. 

When I arrived here, I was greeted by my wonderful rotary club, who takes great care of me. When I got to my host families house, I didn’t really know them well and it was very strange. Now, they feel like my actual family and are great people.

School gave me a good idea of what the Brazilian people are like. Most of the people are all nice and polite. They all want to get to know me and be friends with me. There are so many differences in our culture, most of them being good things. I am making tons of friends at school and many out of school. Everyone in the entire school knows who I am, and want to talk to me. I think the classes here are really easy, but the language barrier makes the classes much more difficult. But I am learning Portuguese really fast. I can easily communicate with people and my fellow class mates. 

I live in a small impartment in the city, Brasilia, and I am still getting used to the cramped life style. Most houses don’t have air conditioners and winter season is ending, so it is getting really hot. At night, I have the choice of keeping the window closed and sweating during the night or opening the window, but get eating a live by mosquitos. It seems that I am the only one who gets bit by the mosquitos at night. This seems to be the only difficulty so far in my exchange. 

I just love being around my family and my friends. I always hang out with my host brother and go places with him and my sister. I will be changing families soon, and I will miss my first host family a lot. But I know my other two families really well, so I know I am in good hands.

I just got back from Pirenopolis today, it is a small city sort of in the mountains and has many waterfalls. It was amazing seeing these waterfalls and being able to swim in the freezing cold mountain water. But the city was very beautiful and I had a lot of fun. 

I am having a great time in Brazil. Learning a language, culture, and many other things has been a challenge but also is fun. I am making many good friends and love the country. Everyone wants to talk about me and learn about the United States. I have taken many pictures and I would love to share them with everyone back at home. I plan on going to two of the rotary trips; the Amazon and the 2nd half of the Northeast trip. I can’t wait until I go on these trips with the other exchange students. After meeting other rotary exchange students from the USA and all over the world, none of them were as prepared as I was. RYE Florida did an amazing job prepping us for our exchange experience. Even though it was a lot of work, it made my exchange much easier. This has been a great experience and I love it here. Thank you Rotary! 

January 3, 2013

This is my second journal for rotary. I have been in Brazil, Brasilia for about 5 months and everything has been going well. I have met many friends, the language is getting easier to learn, and just over all, it has been great. 

I have finished school and I am about 1 month into summer vacation. Ironically, I live on the other side of the world so it is summer here, while it is winter in the USA. I have just came back home from traveling. My family and I went to Uberaba (I think that’s the right spelling) and we spent Christmas, my birthday, and the New Years there. Uberaba is a very old city that has a beautiful history. My host dad family has lived there for many generations and happens to be the city where my dad grew up in. He showed me many amazing churches that were built by the Portuguese and showed me around. Also, I got the chance to get to know my host families’ family. I had some of the best times with them and I will remember them forever. I am currently with my second host family and they are very nice people.

Also during my summer vacation break, I got to do many things with the other rotary students. Through my district, some other exchange students and I, went to visit a near by water fall. I already visited many waterfalls in Brazil but none of them where comparable to this one. It was quite an experience when we had to climb down the water fall and got to see the entire thing. 

The people and culture of Brazil, to me, is the best thing about this country. The people are so kind and are open about everything. I have many friends here but I have a few close friends. These are the friends that I will have forever. 

So far with the language, I think I’m almost fluent. I have been studying this language since the first day I was given this country. As of right now, I’m working on learning the slangs and informal way of speaking. All of my hard work that I have spent studying has finally paid off. For an exchange student, without knowing a language that has any relevance to Portuguese, I doing very well in terms of learning the language. This example should give a good idea where my Portuguese is at. When my Brazilian host brother talks to my Brazilian friends in Portuguese on facebook and my friends think it is me typing, that’s how I know my Portuguese is good.

One thing that is true about Brazilians is there love for soccer. I hear people arguing over which team is better. At my family reunion here, my family members would argue that the Corinthians of Rio de Janeiro aren’t good or call me gay for liking Fluminese. 

About four days before my birthday, my little host cousin asked me if I was ready to be hit with eggs. I didn’t understand what she was talking about but she explained that when someone has a birthday everyone grabs eggs and throws them at the person who is celebrating their birthday. I thought she was joking but three days later my uncle said the same exact thing about the eggs being thrown at me and also mentioned about eggs being smashed in my pants. So, as my birthday came, my host mom told me to change my cloths to something that I don’t mind getting dirty. After my family gave me my birthday wishes, they led me next to the soccer field (not in the soccer field because they don’t want the soccer field to be filled with eggs when they are playing) and my Host brother-in-law grabbed an egg and smashed it in my pants. That first egg was followed by 6 more and a bag of flour. That was something very funny and strange I experienced here. 
I will be traveling to the Northeast of Brazil soon, and I will have some great stories coming. I can’t wait until the next I will write a journal. Writing helps me remember what has happened so far in my exchange. I’m at the half mark in my exchange, and thinking of me returning to the USA makes me sick. I wish I could stay here forever, but I will need to return to finish up school.