When you are on exchange, it seems like there’s a different feeling of time, the days feel long, but months fly by; it seems so long ago I left home, but it doesn’t seem like I’ve been in Brazil for that long. These pasts few months, there has been a lot going on. I switched host families, spent Christmas and New Years at the beach, went on a month-long trip to the Northeast of Brazil, got home to start school, went back to the beach for Carnaval and now I’m back in school.
The strangest feeling, I have had on exchange so far is when I switched host families. Now, I only have two host families, so I only must do this once. Packing up everything you brought here and bought here, makes you realize how much stuff you have and what you should do when you pack to leave. I had two large suitcases, one small suitcase, and two backpacks that were full and heavy; so, I need to figure out what to do when I pack to go back. But that’s not the strange thing I’m talking about. It was when my first host dad was driving me to my new house, and my host mom was at work. It’s hard to describe the feeling, but when I was in the car is when I realized that this is the last time he was driving me somewhere and I’ll never stay in his house again; in fact, I’ve only seen him once since I moved. But, my two families are very different and I’m really excited to be spending the rest of my exchange with them.
Just only five days later, I had to pack for six weeks at the beach. I was spending two weeks with my host family and then four weeks on the Northeast trip (which I’ll talk about later). When heading to the beach, it supposed to take about eight hours, but that has never happened because there is so much traffic, so it usually takes ten to twelve hours. We left around 7:30 am and arrived in Camboriú at almost 8 pm. We didn’t really do much, just spent time with family. Then came Christmas Eve, but it didn’t feel like it, it was just a normal day, we didn’t even have a Christmas tree up. We went to the beach for a few hours in the afternoon, and then got ready for dinner. Everyone was dressed up nice and for dinner, we had sushi (which my host family loves), then we watched TV until it was midnight when we hugged each other and said, “Feliz Natal”, to each other; about ten minutes later there was a knock at the door and my littlest host sister got her present from Santa. That was our Christmas, because Christmas day, we didn’t do anything, it was just a normal day. The next week, we had family come in for the New Year. For New Year’s dinner, we had a nice homemade dinner and then at 11:50 pm we went down to the beach. The beach was crowded with party-goers ready for the New Year. When the clock hit midnight, there was cheering, kissing, hugging, and champagne being sprayed on us from the apartments above, and there were fireworks for a good thirty-minutes. This was the best New Year’s I have ever had.
Just a few short days later, was the start of the Northeast Dream Trip. Now, a month-long trip seems very long, but people say once January hits, your exchange goes by even quicker, and on trips the time goes by even faster. The month-long trip only felt like a week, and on the last day we wondered where the time had gone. There were fifty-two other exchange students on the trip, which seems like a lot and it was, but at the beginning of the trip we were strangers and now we are family. The trip was not just one of the best of my exchange, but of my life. I saw places and learn about things I wouldn’t have otherwise if I hadn’t gone on the trip. I will never forget this trip as long as I live.
After I returned from the trip, it was back to reality. I arrived back in my city on a Friday afternoon, and my host mom told me on Sunday that on Thursday we were going back to the beach. She thought it was the funniest thing ever that I just got back from the beach and not even a week later we were going back. I went back to school on Monday and it was not easy. It was hard because I hadn’t been in school since October, and there is so much material that they learn that by the end of the day, you felt like you were about to pass out. But it was great to see my friends again that I hadn’t seen since October.
Thursday after school, we left for the beach. I’m being honest, this was the most difficult drive out of all of them, just because I was sitting in class all day and we were in the car for eleven hours, but it was all worth it. For Carnaval, we didn’t really do much because I have a seven-year-old host sister. We did go to the beach, a nature park on top of a mountain, and to the “Disney World” of Brazil. Also, we went to the parade every night. Even though, we didn’t do the “typical” Carnaval, it was great to spend time with my family since I missed a whole month with them. Now, I am back in school until we go back to the beach in March (they love the beach), and the Amazon trip in April.
Switching host families, going to the beach for Christmas and New Year’s, the Northeast trip, returning to normal life, then going back to the beach for Carnaval, and now back at school has been crazy. The past few weeks my life has been busy, but I also don’t have that much time left. So, I am taking advantage of everything to make my last four months the best. I love my family and friends here, and I don’t want to leave. I love it here… I love Brazil… eu te amo Brasil!
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