August 25, 2013
My adventure began on Saturday, August 2nd. I flew in to the airport that morning at around 9. I walked out of the terminal to a group of people yelling "Ryan"!!! I noticed my host dad with a huge sign which said, "Bem-vindo Ryan". The second I got to them it became picture time. There were cameras flashing from every direction. I felt like a celebrity! After the airport, I went to a bakery with my new host family. The food was so good!
I started school that Monday. I go to a Catholic school that is next to two malls and a metro station, so it is always crowded with people. I remember walking into class with my principle and she introduced me to the class. The second she stopped talking everyone went crazy and yelled at the teacher to let me sit with them. Once I got a seat, all the people sitting next to me started bombarding me with questions in Portuguese! The kids in my class were so interested in me.
I have started to adapt to my new school. I have made friends and do things with them after school like playing soccer and watching movies. Since I am with one class all school day, it has been easy for me to become friends with people. The most difficult part about school has been understanding my professors, but I am beginning to understand them.
My everyday life has changed a lot. Every morning I wake up for school at 5:30 and go out to eat breakfast at a bakery. The bread and coffee in the morning is so delicious! After that my host dad drops me off at a mall on the other side of the metro from my school. I walk through the crowded mall/metro area and to my school. Class starts at 7 a.m. For lunch, I usually go to the mall with friends. This is much different than my school in the United States. School ends at either 12:30 or 4 depending on the day. After school, I go home with my host dad or go out with friends. At night, I normally go out for dinner with my host dad and sisters. We always have a great time! I usually don't get in until around 9:30. Then I go to bed.
In these first three weeks, I have loved Sao Paulo! I have seen the huge downtown and even gone to a tango and samba show! I am always spending time with my host family and friends! Sao Paulo is such an amazing city and I believe it is the perfect place for me to do exchange in!
October 5, 2013
So I have been in Sao Paulo for two months, and it is still as exciting as it was when I first arrived! Every day has a new adventure in store! I have already been to some of the “touristy” areas with my friends. We went to Avenida Paulista, which is known as the “Times Square of Brazil” and MASP (Museum of Art in Sao Paulo). Also, my friends took me to Liberdade, which is the Japanese community in Sao Paulo. It is where the Japanese population first settled in Brazil.
One thing that I love about this city is how diverse it is! It is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world! I have friends here with families from Portugal, Italy, Bolivia, Japan, China, and much more. Also, the city never stops growing! Every day I see new buildings around me. It’s a nonstop city day and night!
So my school here has an awesome tradition that all of the third year (final year) students participate in. Every Friday the kids dress up as something different. Today was hobo day! Everyone had old, dirty clothes on and we all took pictures. It was really fun! We have already done team day, tacky day, and hippy day. I think next week we have Rock day. I can’t wait!
I am proud to say that I have, for the most part, figured out the metro and bus system for one of the biggest cities in the world! I now take the bus to school. My school is about five miles from my house, but it takes almost an hour to get there! The traffic here is horrible! People aren’t kidding when they say Sao Paulo has the worst traffic in the world. The streets here are always jam packed with cars, motorcycles, and buses.
Another thing I love about Brazil is that every weekend is exciting! I’m always going on small adventures on the weekends, with either my host family or friends. I have done to the beaches, festivals, and this week I am going to the Nations Fair. I am so excited and honored to be able to represent the United States this weekend! I will represent my home country in what I already feel like is my second home country!
So I am now at the five month point of my exchange. A lot has changed in the last couple of months. The first change being….summer in Brazl! Since Brazil is in the southern half of the world, summer is during the months of December, January, and February. During this time there is a two month summer break for December and January! Being in the city for summer is so much fun! I can now go out and see my friends on a daily basis, not to mention that there is Christmas and New Year! The summer here is a blast!
As I write this I am preparing for the Northeast trip that starts in a few days. What is the Northeast trip you ask? It is a 23 day vacation and exploration of Rio de Janeiro, the beaches of the Northeast, and Brasilia! I will be on it until the end of January! And I am ready for the heat because it’s supposed to be around one hundred degrees every day! Luckily I’ll have my swimsuit and shades.
I just celebrated Christmas with my family, which of course was bittersweet. It was weird not being with the family back at home, but my family here did everything they could to make me feel right at home. We had a huge turkey dinner and at midnight started opening gifts! Since I have a ten year old sister and a five year old brother, the belief of Santa was still there. This made the holiday really fun for me! The youngest one was so anxious to see what he got from Santa! After the gifts the kids were exhausted! It was already two in the morning.
New Year was so much fun here in Sao Paulo! Me and some friends got together and went to Avenida Paulista. We got there six hours before midnight to get a spot before the street filled up. Two million people went there that night! It was so packed! We saw some of Brazil’s best and most famous artists perform. It was very similar to last year, when I went to Times Square for the New Year. The main difference was that it was 80 degrees warmer here in Sao Paulo! The New Year celebration was amazing and I know that this year will be too!
May 28, 2014
So the last few months have been...well...amazing to say the least! From the Northeast trip to preparing for the World Cup, it has been a great time! I have met so many awesome people and done so many fun things in the last few months its hard to even describe. I will truly never forget this part of my life.
It all started with the Northeast trip. This was literally the greatest vacation I have ever been on! We began the trip in Rio de Janeiro, which is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. The water was so blue on the beautiful beaches were among the greatest I had ever seen. The mountains in the background make it the most breathe taking city along with the Christ the Redeemer statue that looks over the cities inhabitants. We explored the city for three days and I can honestly say it was one of the best places I have ever been!
After Rio, we adventured up to the beaches in the Northeast. These beaches were as beautiful as Rio but with the warmest water the biggest waves. It felt like we were in Hawaii. We also went the Brasilia, the capitol of the country. It is a beautiful city with modern design. The last, and most important, thing that made this trip so great was the people that were with me on it. I met so many life long friends because of this trip and I couldn't have been with a better group of people! I will never forget the Northeast trip.
So after the Northeast trip I returned to school, but this time with a different class. I missed my class from the year before, but it wasn't hard making friends with my new class. So far things have been great with them. We just went to some museums and the biggest park in the city on a field trip today. We all had a great time! This new class will hopefully be just a great as the last one.
Maybe the best thing that has happened to me on exchange has been becoming so close with some of my friends. A group of five others and I have become such close friends. It is a bond that will never be broken for the rest of our lives! I couldn't ask for a better group of friends. They are like a family to me! It is one of the greatest gifts this exchange has bestowed upon me.