Murphy Movsovitz

Brazil

Hometown: Ponte Vedra, Florida
School: Ponte Vedra High School
Sponsor District : District 6970
Sponsor Club: Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Sunset, Florida
Host District: 4530
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Araguaína


My Bio


Olá! My name is Murphy Movsovitz, I am a junior at Ponte Vedra High School. I live with my mom, dad, grandma, little sister and little brother. I also have one older sister who is off at college. We have two cats and one dog, that I love to play with. We live in a beautiful community about 15 miles from the beach. It is called Ponte Vedra, Florida. I enjoy driving around soaking in the beauty with my friends, walking along the beach, or sun tanning by the ocean. Being with friends is one of my favorite things to do, I am quite the social butterfly. I have a passion meeting new people and enjoy learning about their culture. I am so incredibly excited to be able to do this for 10 months in Brazil! Although this is my first time ever leaving America, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I love to experience new things, create new friends, and am pumped to learn a new language! I always enjoy a good adventure, and am ready to take on the world. I am so thankful to have been chosen by Rotary Youth Exchange and am honored to represent Florida and America to people from all over the world. I will begin my journey with my head held high and a smile on my face. Hugs and kisses from Brazil!

When I arrived in my city, Araguaína, with my host sister

When I arrived in my city, Araguaína, with my host sister

My city

My city

Araguaína has a replica of Rio's massive statue of Jesus

Araguaína has a replica of Rio's massive statue of Jesus

My host dad is a pilot, these are his 2 planes

My host dad is a pilot, these are his 2 planes

Me with a gorgeous waterfall

Me with a gorgeous waterfall

At school during our break, with some of my classmates

At school during our break, with some of my classmates

During my tour of Brasilia, with some of the other Inbounds in my district

During my tour of Brasilia, with some of the other Inbounds in my district

A BBQ with my Rotaract friends in February

A BBQ with my Rotaract friends in February

The town plaza decorated for Christmas

The town plaza decorated for Christmas

My friends from my trip and I in front of the famous Jesus Christ statue

My friends from my trip and I in front of the famous Jesus Christ statue

Carnaval in Palmas with some friends

Carnaval in Palmas with some friends

One of the most breath taking views from my trip, a beach in Itacare

One of the most breath taking views from my trip, a beach in Itacare

A beautiful sight from a famous church in Olinda during my trip

A beautiful sight from a famous church in Olinda during my trip

The other exchange students in my city and I at a Rotary event (I got a haircut!)

The other exchange students in my city and I at a Rotary event (I got a haircut!)

A classmate's farm I visited in November

A classmate's farm I visited in November

The people who stayed on my boat, my amigos!

The people who stayed on my boat, my amigos!

Me in front of the most famous tourist spot in Curitiba

Me in front of the most famous tourist spot in Curitiba

Some of my best friends from my district

Some of my best friends from my district

Holding a sloth!

Holding a sloth!

My three bestest friends <3

My three bestest friends <3

Journals: Murphy-Brazil Blog 2018-19

  • Murphy, Outbound to Brazil

    And just like that here we are at the end of my exchange. 10 months could not have gone by faster yet felt like a lifetime. I am in the ending stages of my exchange and I have never felt nor expected to feel this way. As of today, I have 20 days left in my new home, Araguaína, Tocantins. I can tell you last year at this time I was not excited about coming here and easily not ready to consider this place a home. Now 287 days later, I am sitting and dreading leaving.

    The ending of exchange is such a paradox. You feel excited to return home, see your family and friends and house and life after living abroad for 10 months. But at the same time, you are dreading giving up what you have created. It is exactly how they explain it, learning to live with your heart in two separate homes.

    While I could not be more excited to hug my Kaki and my Dad, be with my siblings, or kiss my best friends; the thought of leaving my new sister, my new dad, and my new friends makes me feel equally devastated. Moving away from this newly comfortable, free way of life back to reality is daunting. Now the tables have turned, and the fear of the unknown has become my own home. What has changed? How tall is my little brother? How will things be when I get back? While the constant and comfortable has become the life I had once been asking these questions about.

    Since the last time I have written a few more extra-noteworthy events have passed by.

    I went on the Amazon Rainforest trip. This was 9 days of traveling, we got to visit the capital of the state of Amazonas. Then we embarked on 3 boats and spent 7 days living in the Amazon Rainforest. It was such a special and amazing experience. We slept in hammocks along the boat and passed each day disconnecting to our phones and connecting with each other and nature. I met new friends from all over the world, I got to see breath taking sights, and so much more. This really is a major “to do” for those exchange students heading to Brazil. Some of my favorite activities were canoeing along the river, planting trees in the rainforest, getting to hold a sloth, and even spending the night in the rainforest!

    After returning from the trip I experienced the typical “Post Rotary Trip Depression”. I spent lots of time crying and wishing I was home, but nothing new here. Very quickly after I had returned from my Amazon trip, I convinced my parents to let me visit the city where I had wanted to do my exchange, Curitiba. Luckily things worked out and Rotary gave me clearance to go and visit. I had my final Rotary orientation coming up, so I planned my Curitiba trip right after that. The Rotary orientation was a tear jerker being that I had to say my goodbyes to the rest of the exchangers from my district. The kids who openly welcomed me to this country and kept me strong in my times of need, the ones who were facing many of the same problems I had faced, the ones who had soon become some of my best friends for life. Saying goodbye that early was really hard and really was the start of my heart being pulled in two.

    Shortly after I was off on my trip to Curitiba. I cannot put into words my love for this city. I have never loved one place so very much, maybe it was because of my wonderful company I had with me, but regardless I know one day I will be going back. Curitiba is a city full of things to do, places to visit, things to explore. It is an ideal place to have an exchange, those going there are quite lucky. I was able to get a taste of the Brazilian city life and some of the luxuries that I was missing back in my good ‘ole cowboy city, Araguaína. At the end of the day I do not regret my extra trip to Curitiba one bit and would easily do it again if I could.

    After coming home from Curitiba, I surprisingly felt very little depression. In my head I was expecting to come home and just be smashed by sadness, but it was honestly quite the opposite. I was refreshed with a newfound respect and love for my small little cow town, Araguaína. Yes, Curitiba is beautiful and luxurious and everything I had hoped for from my exchange… but Araguaína is my home. They say that it’s not about the place you go, it’s about what you do with the experience. Although Murphy from 10 months ago would aggressively disagree and probably start crying hearing that, Murphy now would undoubtedly agree.

    Yes, if I could go back and choose a country I had wanted, I would. But at the same time, I do not think I would change a single thing about my exchange. The challenges and hard times I faced and was put through only made me into a stronger person than I was in the past. Not to discredit other exchanges being that each is unique to the person and situation, but I feel that receiving a country that 1, you hardly expected to receive and 2, really did not want to receive creates more of a challenge to your exchange. It forces the exchanger to open their mind and become an even more receptive person. I know it was very difficult for me to accept Brazil and then even more difficult accepting knowing I was heading to live in the middle of no where Brazil. But the sensation of knowing I did it, and did it successfully is 100 times more rewarding than that of going to a tourist city in Europe.

    For those of you considering exchange, preparing for exchange, or on an exchange reading this:

    Keep going, keep pushing, keep your head held high. Regardless of what you are going through now, know that in the end the outcome highly out ways the beginning. In the moment your current problems and issues may seem like the end of the world or may cause you to feel that going home is your only option. It’s not the end of the world and do not even give yourself the option to go home. Finish whatever you start and do it smiling because each challenge we are faced with only makes us stronger. At the end of the day you will regret not taking these opportunities you are given and who wants to live in regret?

    For Rotary, my family, and my friends:

    Within a few short weeks I will be home and be with you all. All I can say is thank you. One of the biggest lessons I have learned from my exchange is: Be thankful. Be grateful. Be humble. Saying “thank you” never hurts anyone and showing your gratuity is a beautiful thing. I am beyond thankful for Rotary for giving me this opportunity. I am so grateful for my friends and the support they sent me throughout my time here. And my family, I could never say thank you enough to you guys. The overwhelming love and support you guys provide me with helped me push through each day and continue going to create the best exchange I could.

    Honestly speaking, did I think I would ever make it to this point in my exchange? No. Did I feel as though the world was constantly against me? Yes. But did I make it out a survivor and a better person? 110% YES!

    Click HERE to read more about Murphy and all his blogs.

  • Murphy, Outbound to Brazil

    Hello! It has been awhile since my last journal, and man does it feel like it. October feels like it happened eons ago. Let me catch you up to speed.

    November- Early December

    Through this time, I was going to school, trying to keep busy, form relationships with my classmates, the whole nine yards. I had a very set day to day life. I would wake up and go to school, come home have lunch, nap, workout, eat dinner and repeat. At this point I was not very close with anyone in my city but my host family. As time had gone on, I made some friends from school and others from Rotaract (a volunteer group of people from 18-25 years old). I was still having lots of issues with homesickness being that it was still early in my exchange and it was holiday season. I had some really rough patches but overall stayed strong.

    The most important thing I had in this time was working out. I was staying active and healthy and it really helped me clear my head. Which I really needed because I started to have some issues with my host family. I still love and adore them, and I am so incredibly thankful for them. But there were little things that would push my buttons on the daily. None of the issues were major, just little things that happen when you live with someone and are with them 24/7. One really important tip my sweet best friend Grace Schneider told me is: when facing issues on exchange instead of thinking negatively on the problem, look at it from a new perspective. Such as, “Wow, I can’t believe my host mom wakes me up at 7’o’clock every Sunday to clean my room… BUT I can’t believe this is happening in Brazil!” So instead of dreading on the fact that a situation is not ideal, I have found it super beneficial to use this mindset.

    I also really enjoyed school, I was able to converse with people and practice my language skills. I have super sweet classmates, so they helped make it a super enjoyable experience. School was also a mini escape from my host house, I was there a lot because my host family never really went out. So, going to school gave me an assured time to go out.

    Early December- January

    This time period was “ferias” or summer vacation for Brazil. School was over and it was time to celebrate. During this time my host sister and I were going out a lot, hanging out with friends, going to parties, etc. It was super fun and I made some really good friends. I was able to really work on my Portuguese because I was constantly surrounded by only Portuguese speaking people. I got to a really strong point with my language and could taste fluency.

    I made some super crazy and fun memories with my host sister and just enjoyed myself the best I could. I never was too bored because there was always someone to hangout with or something to do. Homesickness was still present but was nothing too awful. Like I said, I was super busy so I didn’t ever have too much time alone to think about home. Christmas was a little sad, but I was super excited to celebrate like a Brazilian so it wasn’t awful. I was fairly underwhelmed by how uncelebrated it is here, coming from my family back home who truly decks the halls.

    January

    Throughout the whole month of January, I was traveling all over the Northeast of Brazil. Rotary Brazil offers some big trips (you have to pay for) and I chose to take one called, the Northeast Dream Trip. I can confidently say this was one of the best months of my whole life and easily the best of my entire exchange. It was me and 50 other kids from all over the world. I made some amazing friendships, saw some breath-taking sights, and really was able to get to know the Northeast of Brazil.

    I cannot describe the gratefulness and joy of what this trip brought to me and my exchange. I was beginning to feel very trapped in my host city, being that it is a fairly small city with very little to do. Taking the trip let me experience some beautiful parts of exchange and beautiful parts of Brazil. The experience was so life changing.

    The only issue with going on a trip with 50 other exchange students is that English is used more often than the host language (typically). Due to the universality of English, it is easiest to create bonds and get to know each other in English. For me it was really my first time speaking only English for awhile because my host city has very few English speakers. I definitely saw myself lose some language skills but at the end of the day it was nothing major, and I was able to practice Portuguese with our coordinators and natives in the cities we visited.

    February

    In the beginning of February, I got home from my big trip, and the following week I had to change host families. It all happened very quickly and left me in a pretty sad state. After my trip I was exhausted from over 30 days of travelling, I was super sad to have parted from many, many great new friendships, and upset to return to my host city which is very minuscule compared to the giant cities of the Northeast. On top of all that I had to change from my host family who I had become very comfortable living with. My new host family is very kind, I really like them, but any host family change is difficult.

    Thankfully school was starting up again, I was very happy to get back and see my friends with my new tan I achieved from “ferias”. Being that my language has become a lot stronger, I am able to participate more in school. It is such an odd feeling than when I first arrived, now that “the gringo” has been living here for 7 months and is no longer hot, fresh, and exciting news. It feels super nice to feel like a regular student who is just living their Brazilian lifestyle, but I can’t lie, being the famous exchange student is also quite fun.

    March

    This month has flown by, I feel like it was just last week that I sat down and said, “Time to write this journal, it’s already March.” And now March is over? This month has been full adaptation, 100% living my Araguaínese life. I go to school, come home, eat lunch, workout, and hang out with the host family. It is difficult to go out with friends because school has started back up and everyone is always studying. My class is Brazilian “senior year”, and it is a very important year for them. They take their SAT/ACT, called ENEM, and that decides what course they can take in college. This singular test basically decides what they can do for college.

    This month holds the famous Carnaval of Brazil! Where I live unfortunately Carnaval is not celebrated very much, it is more famous in the Northeast. Luckily my new host family took me on a trip to the capital city of my state, Palmas, Tocantins. It is a beautiful city and Carnaval is celebrated there (thankfully). I went to some typical Carnaval “block parties” where everyone runs around in the streets, wearing costumes. I loved this fun little trip, and it definitely helped to get comfortable with the new host family.

    I have started going to a gym and doing weight lifting. I walk to and from the gym, and this time is so precious to me. I really try to take in everything and create as strong of a mental picture I can. It is nice to have these 20 minutes just to myself to think because when I am home, my little host siblings are normally all over me and I don’t have too much privacy. Just as working out helped me clear my mind in November, it is doing just the same again now.

    Things with my host family have become very smooth and they are really growing on me. My host dad called me “son” for the first time, and it made me feel very happy. Finding little pieces of happiness like that are super important for this time of exchange because things can get incredibly frustrating. The time is ticking away every day, language can be aggravating, homesickness still kicks in, so really working to focus on the positive aspects of exchange is essential.

    Overall

    I am in a really happy state. Yes, I can openly state that the thought of going home crosses my mind at least once a week, but whoever says they don’t think of that is lying. I feel very successful with what I have accomplished so far and am so excited what these next few months have to bring for me and my exchange! I hope you enjoyed and get prepared… next week I leave for my Amazon trip, once week in the Amazon living on a boat!

    Hugs and kisses from Brazil!

    Click HERE to read more about Murphy and all his blogs

  • Murphy, Outbound to Brazil

    Oi e bem-vindo a meu diário primeiro!

    Hi and welcome to my first journal! I have been in Brazil for almost a full month now. It feels crazy to say that, in just these past few weeks I have already experienced some crazy emotions. My first weekend here I stayed in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, for my Inbound Orientation. Although I was supposed to arrive around late July, I experienced some visa issues and ended up arriving September 6th. During my first weekend I was able to meet all my fellow Inbound students and create some amazing memories.

    I arrived after a long 30-hour flight schedule and never had much time to rest. My second day, September 7th, was Brazilian Independence Day in which I woke up at 05:30 to get ready for a parade starting at 07:00. The following day we went to a cachoeira (waterfall) called Itiquari. I had never seen such a massive waterfall in my life, and I was so in awe by its beauty. Our final day of the orientation we got a tour of Brasilia, which is quite an interesting city. It is shaped as an airplane and was only founded about 60 years ago.

    After my fantastic weekend of tourism, I flew up to my official host city, Araguaina. There I arrived in the single room airport and was on my way to my first host family’s house. Now I attend school every day from 07:10-12:10 and have been living as a typical Brazilian teenage.

    Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed myself, but I have been very surprised by a few things. Applying for exchange and going through the pre-exchange process, I had never imagined half of the realities I have faced. You can never fully expect what you are getting, regardless of receiving a country on your Top 5 or not. It is basically impossible to fully know what your living conditions, family, and friends will be till you are there living those moments. And to many that might sound absolutely terrifying, but to exchangers, that is the thrill of it all.

    Although most of the time exchange seems like this wonderful, vacation-esque life… it’s not. It is so much more than that. Yes, you will experience many situations and trips that will make you so happy and will be drop dead gorgeous, but there will also be days where all you are going to want to do is cry. I thought I would not feel homesick, but boy was I wrong. Everyone feels these emotions in their own way so there really is no way to prepare yourself besides acknowledging the fact that homesickness will come, and that it is difficult.

    Along with homesickness, there will be things you miss that you had no clue you would miss. In my city we have no public transportation, no Uber, no bus, no nothing. I have to get my host parents or siblings to take me to almost everything I do. For me, an 18-year-old, (who has been driving for 2 years) this makes me so frustrated and really miss home. Before coming here, I had no idea I was going to miss my beautiful black Honda Civic 2017 so badly.

    Despite all of this we are taught to overcome these obstacles. There are two sayings I constantly remind myself when I am feeling down, “Be a problem solver, not a problem causer.” (Love you dad 😉) and “Blossom where you are planted.” (Love you guys too, Abbie and Paula<3). To me these signify what it truly means to be an exchange student. We are faced with tons of problems on a daily basis, and our success depends are how we handle these problems. Whether it be missing a train, getting lost, or not understanding a conversation; the true test of your strength is overcoming and growing.

    When all is said and done, I could not be more grateful for where I am in my live right now. I am so thankful to Rotary Youth Exchange for this opportunity. To my amazing mother and father who unconditionally love and support me, to my amazing siblings who always are checking up on me. To my amazing best friends, Kacey and Grace, who never cease to make me smile even though we are thousands of miles away. To my host family who are bending over backward to make sure I am enjoying myself. To the friends here who pretend to understand me when I am trying to speak Portuguese. To so many spectacular things that help create my unique exchange.

    Obrigado,

    Murphy Movsovitz

    Click HERE to read more about Murphy and all his blogs

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