Emily, Outbound to Brazil

Wow it's been a few weeks since my last post and time is flying by faster than ever. THe clock is ticking and I feel like I have to count my moments here and make sure they aren't being lost. I’m starting to make sure that I'm reaching harder for those moments. The moments that will make my exchange and that I will remember forever. I’ve realized that my exchange is going to change the way that I live from here on out. One of these changes in attitude is definitely that you cannot just wait for things to happen for those “holy cow my life is awesome” moments to be handed to you. My generation, including me, has become very afraid to ask for what we need or want. That is what I'm starting to change as my last few months of exchange roll out. I’m starting to reach out harder for my goals and I've found that a lot of times they are a lot closer than you think. It’s just the daunt of that first leap that's stopping you.

More food for thought: Every single exchange student leads a life that is so unique and special. We are united in many ways and do similar things on exchange when in reality each and every one of us is experiencing something completely different. Our exchanges are specialized for us allowing each student to make it what they will. No one else knows exactly how it is or what is was. Not our parents, not our friends back at home, neither our fellow exchange students. It's a year in our adolescent and vulnerable lives that is completely and entirely our own. I think exchange allows us to take more chances, make more choices and experiment with who we want to be. All this without feeling analized under a telescope by society as many of us felt growing up. And at the end of the year we can say that it was us who stepped over every obstacle. That feeling of pride and achievement is one that few can experience.

Now after pouring out all my random thoughts, I can give those curious the new update on my life. The most important of which is to enjoy the time I have left in my city with those people that I love. I slept over at my best friend's house this past weekend and we talked, baked brownies and laughed the entire night. It's these people and these relationships that I have made here that I will miss so much.

The most significant thing that has happened recently is Carnaval. Originally my family was not planning on doing much and on top of that my city does not celebrate Carnaval. Then at the last minute, they told me that we were going to Belo Horizonte to visit family and friends and do some celebrations. There is nothing in the world quite like Carnaval in Brazil. It’s a chance for everyone in the entire country to come together, friends and family, and just be happy and spend time in each others company. I was also able to reunite with some exchange students that I met on the Rotary Northeast trip for the first time. Overall, it was an amazing experience that I will never forget.

I started a new portuguese for foreigners class recently with the University here. The class is small and made up with graduate students from all over South America. Therefore I have been able to also practice some of my spanish as well. I has been really nice doing these classes because everything that I’ve learned so far has been self taught and learned by reading books and conversing with people. The class will help me correct a lot of grammatical mistakes and errors I didn’t know I made.

I also started playing volleyball for my high school and the federal college team here in Vicosa. It has been really fun getting to play volleyball again and meet all my fellow teammates. I hope to play with them as much as possible before I leave.

This weekend is my host mom’s birthday, and we have become very, very close in the past few months I’ve been living here. I'm going to be cooking and baking American food for the entire party that with come to celebrate her birthday. I’m a little bit nervous because I’ve never cooked for a group this big, but it will sure be fun.

In a few weeks I will be going on another trip to the Amazon rainforest with the Belobrasil company and other exchange students. I’m super excited go see all the tropical plants and animals, especially the pink freshwater dolphins. I’m also excited to spend some more time with my exchange student friends.

I feels great to write a few thoughts down on paper! Until next time!

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