Madi Morse

Brazil

Hometown: Saint Augustine, Florida
School: St. Augustine High School
Sponsor District : District 6970
Sponsor Club: St. Augustine, Florida
Host District: 4550
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Ilheus

 

My Bio


Olá! My name is Madison, and I am from St. Augustine. I was born and raised in Florida and have only been as far as Mexico. I come from a blended family which includes my dad, Brian, my step mom, Jessica and siblings of all varieties: Mallory, Mayson, Logan and Laney. I also spend much time with my mom, Kelly, who would just love to come to South America along with me. I go to Saint Augustine High School and am enrolled in the AICE program, as well as the St. Johns County Center for the Arts. I am also part of the dance team and have participated in various sports like softball, soccer, and swimming. In my free time, I hang out with my friends or watch movies with my siblings. I love going to the beach and can’t wait to spend summer on the beaches of Brazil. I’m so thankful that Rotary has given me this opportunity, and even more thankful that I’m going to Brazil. Portuguese is such a beautiful language, and I get the privilege to become fluent. I hope to give a positive portrayal of Americans as well as learn everything I can about the Brazilian culture. Obrigado, Rotary!

 

The Welcoming Committee

The Welcoming Committee

Lunch on the beach (delicious)

Lunch on the beach (delicious)

Cave exploring

Cave exploring

School

School

A normal day in paradise

A normal day in paradise

Salvador and island hopping!

Salvador and island hopping!

Pre-snorkeling pics

Pre-snorkeling pics

Historic Center of Salvador!

Historic Center of Salvador!

Bday partyyyy

Bday partyyyy

Pastel and Yacht Club candid (my two fav things)

Pastel and Yacht Club candid (my two fav things)

Novembro Azul!

Novembro Azul!

Rotary Xmas Party

Rotary Xmas Party

Amigos

Amigos

Interact Event

Interact Event

Pastel and Yacht Club candid (my two fav things)

Pastel and Yacht Club candid (my two fav things)

One of the prettiest beaches here

One of the prettiest beaches here

Dancing the night away in VIP with my favorite Joao Lucas

Dancing the night away in VIP with my favorite Joao Lucas

Christmas with my beautiful fam

Christmas with my beautiful fam

in the madness that is Carnaval

in the madness that is Carnaval

SQUAD before the sweat

SQUAD before the sweat

Sons of Gandhi

Sons of Gandhi

All white everything

All white everything

Waterfalls are cool

Waterfalls are cool

so. many. people.

so. many. people.

sunrise

sunrise

waterfall and cave

waterfall and cave

Professional piranha fishers

Professional piranha fishers

happiness

happiness

monkeyssss

monkeyssss

On the boat

On the boat

yummmmm

yummmmm

The indigenous folks

The indigenous folks

Journals: Madi- Brazil 2015-2016

  • Madi, outbound to Brazil

    I arrived home from the Amazon today, so let me write this all down before I forget something. I apologize now for my horrid English. So the first day we went to Presidente Figueiredo. We ate typical amazon food so lots of fish and yummy rice. These days were fun minus the cockroaches and spiders we found all in our hotel room, but we are were in the Amazon so of course there will be bugs.

    We went on a hike through the forest and saw some waterfalls and explored a cave. I got a great video of Nicole falling on her butt as we were going downhill through the mud. In the night we hung out at the hotel and played games like "what are the odds" which is always fun and a good way to get to know eachother. We went to a few zoos near the city where we saw monkeys and parrots, etc.

    One of the days we went to a giant waterfall where we jumped off a dock and swam all day. We stayed at that hotel for a few nights then moved to a 5-star hotel in Manuas. This was quite a change. We swam in the pool and played soccer with the other exchange students. There were about 90 of us on the trip. In the night we went to a show and watched some Brazilians dancing in an Amazon Rainforest themed show. They called us all on stage to dance with them and then we had a mini dance off.

    We went to the market there and bought lots of presents for our fams the next day. We also went to a really old, beautiful theater in Manaus. The real fun started when we got on the boat. We had 3 boats and slept in them either 4 or 5 nights. I completely lost track of time on this trip. The boats had two stories and we slept in hammocks on the top. In these days we swam in the river and watched the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets that I have ever seen.

    We took smaller boats to the forest and went on a survival hike through the forest with men that have stayed nights there with nothing but a knife and a few supplies from your backpack. We learned how to make fire with a cell-phone battery, how to make shelter from palmettos, how to trap animals and where to find them, what fruits you can eat, and I even ate a worm. Afterwards we had a delicious lunch of fish, farofa, and watermelon, using our hands to eat and a leaf as a plate, naturally.

    This was an interesting day, but also the worst day for me because I was getting eaten alive by mosquitos, despite using every different type of repellent I could find and reapplying every 7 minutes. After this we took the boats back to the bigger boats. On the way, we swam in the river in the rain and had a war between biats of throwing seeds and berries etc.

    One of the nights we went to an indigenious village and watched them perform typical dances and ceremonies. They even invited us to do a dance with them which was really cool and then we shopped a little at their market with all the things they made. A different day we went to a village of native people where they taught us how to make tapioca and acai from scratch. We also played soccer with some of the natives and then later had a mud fight in the rain. We went swimming in the river to wash it all of and did backflips off the boat.

    In the night we would seperate girls and boys boats, so we could have shower dance parties at midnight and talk in our hammocks all night long. My favorite day was when we seperated into 4 small boats and a tour guide took us around. I was so lucky that I picked the best boat. We had the best tour guide and the best coordinator(Laura).

    We were riding down the river and our tour guide stopped the boat because he spotted something in the tree. He climbs up it from the boat and brings us a sloth to hold and take pics with and then puts the little guy back in the tree. This was such a cool experience. He literally just plucked a sloth right from the rainforest. After this we stopped next to the forest near the trees and pulled out some bananas.

    All of a sudden a dozen little monkeys are climbing all over us. At one point there were 6 monkeys climbing on my body from my lap to one sitting on my head and I think this was the happiest moment of my life. I had tears in my eyes. After the monkeys we went to a different spot and fished for piranhas and only the girls were able to actually catch any fish. And more monkeys came to hang with us.

    After fishing, we drove the boat to an open part of the river and watched the sunset and we were the only boat that was there and we got to swim a well. This was probably the most peaceful moment of my life and I just swam there thanking God for making such a beautiful view. Once the sun went down we went through a small canal under a canopy of trees and caught us a baby gator. We got to hold it and it was so small but already it had 7 years of age. After that we went back to the big boat and ate and hung out. All the meals on the boat were delicious too.

    The next day we swam with pink river dolphins near the beach. This was awesome and they weren't shy at all and stayed swimming with us long after we stopped feeding them and all the fish were gone. On the last night we had a luau on the beach and ate and danced and had a final party before we had to get back on the boat and head to the city. We slept on the boat for our last night and it stormed so heavy all through the night, which represented our feelings of saying goodbye I think. Surprisingly I slept great in the hammock every night and I actually miss it right now as I sit in my bed writing this. When we got back to Manaus we went shopping. Thank God for that because I did not have one single peice of clean clothes left, and we found Mexican food.

    After shopping we went to the airport and said our goodbyes and everyone went in their different directions. This trip was an amazing experience, but really it is thanks to the coordinatos Ron and Laura. They really treated us as their equals and considered us friends instead of a bunch of kids they have to look after. So a big thanks to them for the experience of a lifetime!


    To see my homepage and some photos click HERE


  • Madi, outbound to Brazil

    Christmas in Brazil is celebrated on Christmas Eve and the whole family gets together and exchanges gifts and eats lots of food. It felt more like Thanksgiving than Christmas, but maybe because it was about 88 degrees and not a normal cold Christmas Day. I went to the beach on Christmas Day, like it was any other normal day.

    New Years here was sooo fun. I spent a week at a friend's house and went to 3 days of concerts and shows on Batuba Beach with thousands of other people. New Year's Eve was one of the best days because I was also with the other exchnage students and we snuck are way into the VIP area where we got free food(very important on exchange). On New Year's in Brazil everyone is in white. White symbolizes the peace everyone wants for the new year. You can also wear yellow, to symbolize you want gold/money, red, for love, etc. However, with everyone in white it made it very hard when asking my friends if they thought "that guy there. In the white shirt" was hot. Overall a great night/morning with friends and fam.

    Carnaval in my city was the last weekend in January and it was so fun! It wasn't super crowded like the one in Salvador, and it was much easier to run away when creepy guys tried to kiss you. Basically we just danced in the street all night and followed the music.
    Carnaval in Salvador was crazyyy. The first day we(20-30 exchange students and Rotex) were on the ground following a bloc. Following a bloc just means that you follow a trio and by follow I mean you get pushed around in a mosh-pit with matching shirts. Carnaval is NOT for the claustrophobic. You are pushed up against strangers and everyone is just mixing sweat while jumping up and down to the music. And there are quite a few fights that break out(because the majority of everyone is drunk). Although it doesn't sound too glamarous, it was extremely fun. The second day we spent half the time on the ground and the other half on a trio. Being on the trio was fun because you can blow kisses to strangers and never see them again. Also, if you accidentally dump water on someone's girlfriend, the super scary, strong boyfriend can't chase after you because he doesn't have the bracelet to enter. However, if someone is very determined to reach you on the trio, they wi ll. Like in the case of my older siser that was visiting me and came to Carnaval with us; she blew a kiss to a guy on the ground and he managed to climb up the emergency ladder of the trio(a difficult feat) and get his well-deserved kiss from my sister.
    I got to go to a 3rd day of Carnaval because I got lucky and the super awesome German family I was staying with, took the 4 of us girls that were staying in their house. We were in Camarote this time, so we just ate a lot of free food and watched the trios and blocs pass from a nice, spacious upper area. When we were leaving we saw a sea of white headed towards ur, and this sea of white were the Sons of Gandhi. They dress in all white and blue with hundreds of blue and white bead necklaces around their necks and a bottle of perfume in their hands. If you kiss them they spray you with perfume and give you a bead necklace. An excellent addition to my blazer.

    The next week was my birthday and my sister and her friend came to visit. It was nice to show them around my new home and we went to the beaches and the iate clube.
    This past week, the exchange students from my city and the next city over, were on the news and then went to a Rotary meeting where I got to speak a little speech that we all wrote about the influence of exchange. It was my first time speaking in front of a Rotary Club for more than 15 seconds. I was so nervous and could never have been able to do that 2 months ago, but I think my Portuguese is improving and I definitely felt that at the meeting.

    Me and two friends got to go to a beautiful waterfall with their mom and swim around for the day, which was awesome and made me forget that vacations already ended.
    Tomorrow I will change families for the first time! I will surely miss my family now. I love my mom and little brother, but am excited for a new experience with a family that is super welcoming.

    Those see my homepage and some photos click HERE


  • Madi, outbound to Brazil

    I have been here 3 months now and it feels like time is flying by. I'm on summer vacation now until around February. It's the holiday season, so I know we are supposed to be getting homesick around now, but it's pretty hard when you live in paradise. Since summer started this is my daily routine; wake up, usually eat lunch because I slept in, go to the beach or the yacht club with friends, get an acai bowl(every day), go home, shower, eat again, and then go out again with friends. Usually someone is having some type of get together because it's summer, so we go to that and try to be taught how to dance.
    The dances consist mostly of just shaking your butt. #Brasil
    15th birthdays here are a very big deal and the birthday person has a giant, fancy party and you dance until the sun comes up.

    The Rotary Christmas party was very nice and we all made food from our country. I made Shephard's pie and it seemed to be liked because it was almost gone when I left. The exchange students from my city all went to Itabuna for a Blue November event and we got to go to their interact meeting and then the event the next morning, which was very fun even though it was about 90 degrees. We went to another event at a school where we dressed up in costumes and danced with a bunch of 4-7 year olds. It was fun but my hands were extremely sticky after, I don't think I could ever be a pre-k teacher.

    Every day is so hot. Lock yourself in the bathroom and you have a private sauna. By the time you step out of the shower, you're sweating again. I would think maybe I'd be losing weight because I walk every where and am always sweating, but nope. The food is so good and I am always eating. Why is there so much bread and why am I always craving a ham/cheese/egg sandwhich? Pastel and coxinha are also too hard to pass up. And for dessert banana frita.

    The language is coming along. I can talk to people and get my point across, but my grammar is awful and I speak veryyyyyyyy slowwwwwww. I like texting Brazilians because it helps so much when you can read the word and it's so much easier to understand and learn.

    Something that is differnt in Brazil is time. I don't mean the time change. If you are invited to a party at 6, plan to be at least 2 hours late because that's when the party will actually start. And if someone says that we'll leave here in a moment, be prepared to stay another hour. Another thing that is different is that when you finally arrive to wherever you're going, you can't just wave hello to everyone. You need to individually kiss each person on the cheek. It doesn't matter if you don't remember their name, just do it.

    I really love it here and can't imagine what life is going to be like back home. When I was saying bye to my family a year seemed like ages, but now 8 months seems like way too soon.

    To see my home page and some photos click HERE


  • Madi, outbound to Brazil

    Bom dia!!!!! Brazil is absolutely amazing. And Ilhéus specifically, is the best place in the world.

    Saying bye to my family at the airport was extremely sad but also the most empowering feeling, because once you pass through security, you are on your own. Your heart is almost beating through your chest and you feel like a total badass in your Rotary blazer. The panicking did come though. My first time on a plane and I had 5 minutes to navigate the Atlanta International Airport so I didn't miss my connection. Once in the Brasilia airport it really hit me. I'm in Brazil. I can't speak Portuguese. And why is everyone staring at me? After being given the wrong gate number and waiting there for about an hour, I realized the mistake and rushed to the correct gate and was on my way to my new home. Brazillians are the most welcoming people I've ever met, so naturally there was an army waiting for me at the airport. So many strangers hugging and kissing me and speaking things I couldn't understand. But as an exchange student you just have to go with it. The first few weeks just consisted of smiling and nodding because what else can you do when you have no idea what's going on.

    Every day at noon I have lunch at my grandmother's house next door, which I dreaded the first week because the food made me sick and I felt awkward. Now I enjoy going over there because I get to do every exchange student's favorite thing; eat. And I can understand some of what is being said.

    I started school my second day here. The school is like a castle and overlooks the ocean. I am in the second year so everyone is about 15-17, making me the oldest in the class. I only notice I'm with younger people when I talk to a boy classmate and they start yelling for us to kiss like in the 5th grade. Other than that, people are pretty cool. The teachers switch and not the students, so we sit in the same spot from 1:30-7 which is extrememly boring and takes up the whole day because the sun goes down at 5ish. Lucky for me, yesterday was my last day of school because everyone else has tests which I don't have to take.

    I got to go to Salvador for 4 days because I missed orientation with the other exchange students. This was aweome! I stayed with an exchange student from Saint Louis and his extremely generous family. They gave us a personal tour of Salvador (the mom knew ALL the history) and they took us out on the boat and we island hopped and swam in the clearest water.

    I went another trip with my school to Chopada Diamantina for 3 days. This trip was a mix of emotions because I made friends which was good but also felt like such an outsider because I couldn't understand the jokes, the music, the games, etc. But I saw the most beautiful scenery, waterfalls, mountains, crystal clear lakes, caves endless stars and the moon rising over the mountain. We got to snorkel and explore caves, and snorkel in caves. A very cool trip.

    My Portuguese is coming along aka I can understand most things but not really respond so well. Speaking in a language you don't know is scary. Mainly because I emberass myself daily. Telling my host mom "I ate bread" but the word for bread is almost pronounced the same exact way as the word for male genitalia, and of course I always accidentally say the latter. I don't know how she doesn't laugh in my face because I started cracking up when she was trying to tell me our zumba teacher was gay, but mixed up the words gay and bit#%.

    Some Differences:
    1. There are no rules to the road
    2. Barely any traffic lights and stop signs are only suggestions
    3. You can see the ocean from anywhere you are
    4. You see someone you know everywhere you go
    5. You have to greet everyone with a hug and kiss on the cheek
    6. Everyone is always eating something, making it very easy to gain the Exchange 15
    7. People take multiple showers a day
    8. I'm "rich" here
    9. I have to wash my own underwear and hang them to dry
    10. Everyone can dance!
    11. Small bikinis are beautiful not promiscuous
    12. Brazilian food is NOTHING like Mexican food
    13. Beans and rice are an everyday thing

    I think that's everything. Thank you Rotary! & FAM Exchange is amazing and I can't imagine what I would be doing if I wasn't here. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

    To see my home page and some photos click HERE


RSS Feed