John, outbound to Brazil

De todos os lugares do mundo, eu prefiro estar aqui.

Howdy from Brasil. I am John Hutton and I am currently living in the beautiful city of Blumenau, in the gorgeous state of Santa Catarina, in the wonderful country that is Brasil. I couldn’t be happier to be in such an amazing place and I have to start off my first journal entry with thanking Rotary.

Being an exchange student is such a unique and singular experience that would never be possible without the devoted work of so many incredible volunteers from Rotary. Also, to all the host families across the world who are selflessly giving up their time, and money, and normally a room so that a young person can have the opportunity of a life time, thank you. My first host family has been incredibly welcoming and generous, sharing with me their culture, life style, and, almost as important, their food.

I will talk briefly about the food here in Brasil, although it can truly be summed up in three words, come try it. My favorite food so far is Picanha, a cut of beef of which the poor residents of the United States are incredulously oblivious. Churrasco, the Brasilian version of barbecue, is how picanha and many other meats are prepared in Brasil. Many of the foods here are surprisingly similar to foods in the US. For example, maionese, which translates to mayonnaise, is rather similar to what the U.S. calls potato salad. However, Farofa, a delicious flour mixture, is nowhere to be found in the U.S. While the transition into the Brasilian diet was flawless for my mouth, my stomach has needed some yogurts and bananas to help win it over and is now fully on board with the diet.

An important aspect of exchange is the Rotary club in your host country. I belong to the Rotary Club of North Blumenau and thoroughly enjoy attending meetings and Rotary functions. I was fortunate enough to give my presentation within my first month here and share about myself, my city, and my country. I was thrilled when after I had answered some questions one of the Rotarians stood up and complimented my Portuguese and my speaking skills. The Rotary here loves to have Churrascos much to my delight. In fact, the past two weekends we have had back to back Rotary Churrascos.

My school is called Escola Barão do Rio Branco and I enjoy not only the students but also the professors. I have made good friends with my classmates and am currently working on a project about the history of rap. Every day we have different classes and unlike the U.S. the professors rotate from class to class instead of the students. This is helpful because I stay with the same group of students all day. While I don’t understand everything my teachers say my Portuguese is rapidly and pleasantly improving. I will talk more about language in a later episode of Howdy from Brasil but for now I will sign off until next time as I should be getting ready for dinner. Tchau tchau.

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