Devon, Outbound to Brazil

Seven months ago, I arrived to a new world where I didn't speak the language and knew no one. I can't believe how fast it has gone by! So much has happened, and I honestly think it is too much to convey in writing.  In just seven short months,  I have learned a foreign language, made many friends from around the world, and have created a bond with my family that is unbreakable.

In January I went on a month long trip to the North East of Brazil! I saw so many amazing sights! In Macéio, I saw beaches with water so blue that you could be up to your shoulders and still be able to see your feet. In Lençóes, I saw and climbed giant mountains that formed thousands of years ago. I went swimming in underground caverns, exploring in pitch black caves, and dune bugging on the desertous terrain of Natal. However, my favorite place was by far Salvador. Walking down the cobblestone roads, you see people singing traditional songs and performers showing off their Capoeira skills. Every building looks colorful and cultural, the aura of the place can only be described as dreamlike. There, I saw amazing churches that were covered wall to wall in gold. If you want a romantic get away, Salvador is the place to go. Every day made me think, "This can only be in Brazil or else it would be Hollywood." Obviously I went to Cristo Redentor where I did the iconic arms-stretched-open-with-Jesus pose! Moments only seen in movies were happening to me in real life.

In February, I travelled to Joaçaba to participate in the Carnaval parade! I, along with my other exchange student friends, wore extravagant moon and sun themed costumes. On the day that we were supposed to walk in the parade,  the sky opened up and started raining unbelievably hard. However, even a monsoon cannot stop Brazilians from partying. There we were, dancing in time to the music and jumping in every puddle, while the crowd sang every word to the songs being played over the loudspeaker in unison. It was such a thrilling feeling. I felt one with Brazil more than ever in that moment.

Even though these trips are beyond amazing, I can't ignore the wonderful home life that I have been lucky enough to have. I love coming home from school to have lunch with my family or to return home late at night to share tea with my host Mom Something you never think about before going on exchange is the family. I now know family means so much more than just who you are related to. I feel so close to my family here and I grow sad at the thought of leaving them behind.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for me. Many of my stories will have to be told in person. I know that the memories that I have made in just this one year will last me a lifetime. I do look forward to seeing my friends and family back in Florida, but I can't help but dread the day that I will have to leave.

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