E aí Gente! I've delayed slot with writing journals but I have a lot to talk about so prepare yourself haha.
In October a lot happened for me. Everyday my brother and I would walk to class together, come home to have lunch , do after school activities such as soccer, skateboarding, volleyball , and after a long day have dinner with the fam. At school I started studying Portuguese a lot more than I was since I could hardly understand what was written on tests but it became better and improved by the week. On the weekends my family and I would usually go to my uncles house for Churrascos which are Brazilian barbecues. Whenever my family and I wouldn't be going to my uncles house, I would go meet up with friends at the mall, parks, skatepark to have a session, or at museums. My weekdays and weekends are pretty packed haha.
For Halloween in Brazil, the holiday celebrated that much. Kids don't go trick or treating door to door and you don't really consume loads of chocolate and candy. It's more chill. For my Halloween I went to two parties. I went to a party of exchange students the day before Halloween and a party of Brazilians with my brother the day of Halloween. The party of Brazilians were with people from my school and was a costume party. I couldn't decide on a costume so I dressed pretty casual. Thankfully I wasn't the only one who forgot their costume.
For November and December I was on summer break. In Brazil the seasons are switched so summer begins in November and winter starts in June. At around the end of November is when my break started so I and the other Americans in my district decided that we would throw a thanksgiving dinner for our families. The hardest part was getting to my friends city where it was going to be held. So three other Americans and I decide that we'll take a taxi to the city since are parents couldn't. On the taxi ride there everything was fine until out taxi driver started asking for directions. Why he didn't have a gps is a question I wish I could answer. So pretty much a guy helps us and leads us to this type of neighborhood which is called a favela. A favela is a neighborhood with many shacks and houses stacked on one another. These neighborhoods are ... Let's just say sketchy. We arrive there and look for the house number and didn't find a house with it so we call t he mom of the American girl and she tells us that there are 3 other neighborhoods that have the same name of the street in the city soooooo after 45 more minutes of driving and worrying we finally make it. When we arrived we have no time to buy meat so it ended up being a vegetarian thanksgiving dinner. The gals cooked and the guys played football for the majority of the time. I made mashed potatoes and boyyyy were they good. We had a lot of pie, vegetables, macaroni and cheese, and other American delicacies. It went really well.
For Christmas and New Years I spent my time with my family in my city. Most of Brazilians for New Years head to the beach dressed in all white and jump in the water with their clothes numerous times. At my uncles house where we stayed we swam in the pool and had a big meal with salmon, turkey , rice , beans , pies, cakes, and a lot more. I enjoyed myself a lot.
In January I changed to my second host family that lives 10-15 minutes away. At my second family I have 2 sisters, 1 brother, a mom , a dad and a dog named Mel. During the month of January I skated a lot, went out with friends, went to the beach, and gained a pound or two kkkkkkk. A member of my sponsor club offered me the opportunity to be a part of my São Paulo's Carnaval. I took the opportunity right away and was able to participate for free. Carnaval is one the biggest holidays here. The only thing I can compare it to that we have in the USA is Mardi Gras. For Carnaval, samba schools compete against each other parading for bragging rights for a year. One mistake while performing can be very bad for your school. My school was Vila Maria. Samba schools normally start preparing 1 year before they perform to get the floats and costumes and their theme together and well put. I performed with 3 other exchange students and the rest were Brazilians. Our costumes were a sort of human fish that has diving gear on and rain boots haha. It was so hard trying to put everything on. We sambaed for over an hour and that tires me for sure but it was well worth it. Just to think that I was watching the movie too in my bio class and now 2 years later j would be performing in the Carnaval parade that was in the movie. The whole experience for me was surreal and breathtaking. I'm very grateful to have taken apart of Carnaval for 2016!
Life here has taught me so much in such little time. I've been here for a little over 6 months now and have changed a lot in half a year. At the beginning of my exchange I knew maybe a total of 100 words and phrases combined in Portuguese. 6 months later and I'm fluent and can understand the majority if not everything. My English is getting worse by the day but I know this is good for my Portuguese. Advice to all of the future out bounds... Start learning as much of your language as you can before you arrive in your country. If you can find people to talk to who speak the language before you go then it will help you so much and you'll be way better off.
Até mais galera ! Tchau
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