Tiffany, outbound to Brazil

Good days and bad days I wouldn't change a thing.

Olá(: so it has been over a month since I have written my last journal and I have been doing and learning a lot since!

I'll start with my family: I am SO LUCKY! My mother is one of my best friends here and she is helping me get in shape. We will be running a race next month in Porto Seguro (google it) its absolutely. She is amazing and literally caters to my every need I love her! I also have a little brother and we are TRUE siblings we fight all of the time but end up laughing because my arguments in Portuguese are pretty weak. Haha I bring him to play sports with me and my friends and he loves it. My dad here is officially the best in the kitchen. Everyday is something different and So, so good. He is also really goofy so if I ever feel sad or homesick he helps a lot. All of my aunts & uncles here are equally amazing and begging me to live here after exchange.

School: Ok so school is rather insane. There are about 50 kids in one room. All white walls with no windows (it drives me crazy). Brazilians are loud, very loud so it's not the greatest at 7 in the morning. I usually sit in the back with my friends and they have new vocabulary and conjugations for me everyday. We have three classes a day but we stay in the room and the teachers switch from room to room. The biggest difference is the teacher-student relationship. It's okay for your teachers to hug and kiss you or play with your hair. My Spanish teacher even comes out to parties with us, very strange haha. My favorite thing about school are my classmates. They are willing to do anything for me. Truly some of the nicest people ever.

Language: I'm actually not struggling as bad as I thought I would. I completely function on my own which is the greatest accomplishment. I take the bus alone, walk around town, and buy items all on my own. Because of my language improvement I have been given a lot more freedom in my family and Rotary. I have friends in the next town over so all I need are signatures from my Rotary and parents and I can go take the bus to spend the weekend there. It's great! I just need help with forming my sentences but that's normal.

WARNING for future exchangers - you will have really bad days, you will have really good days. Just know it's okay to be sad or homesick. I have three Americans with me here in Itabuna so if one of us has a bad day we meet up at someone's house eat skittles (because they don't have them in Brazil) and watch Mean Girls or Friday Night Lights. It's become a tradition. I think it's important to understand that what you are feeling is normal. I was very frustrated that sometimes I will just be sad, but then I realized if you left your family for a year and you weren't sad at all I would be so surprised. I have had some of the saddest days and some of the happiest days ever but everything I am going through I cherish because it is happening so quickly. 

Extracurriculars: this is definitely the most important thing for exchange students.  Three times a week I do Muay Thai, it's a form of kick boxing and is amazing when you have a bad day. Two times a week I do volleyball at the other school. Other days all of the exchange students play soccer or American football. Every Friday night I have Interact Club meetings which was a great way to meet people and I am giving a presentation for it next month!

Advice for future exchangers: do it! Even on my bad days I would recommend exchange. Always say yes to everything even if your so tired you can't keep your eyes open, this will happen a lot. ( I did this and ended up meeting Dilma, the president of Brazil!!!!!!!!!!!!) so my advice is to say yes, but stay true to your morals. Take chances even if it seems out of this world. After all you are pretty brave to be doing this in the first place. Just always know the exchangers are family and always will be! We all go through the tears and we all go through to joys. Don't be afraid to make mistakes because you will make plenty. Represent the United States well and most importantly, be proud to be an American! If I have learned one thing this year I have learned Americans are extremely blessed to live in such a beautiful country.