Assimilating Myself

Alan De Leon - Brazil

October 1, 2012

Allow me to offer just a general outline of what my two weeks in California after Fall Training was like (in chronological order):

  • Stayed at Stanford University one extra day.
  • Went to Lake Tahoe in California for three days immediately after. It is located in the middle of a forest that kisses the Sierra Mountains. I went river rafting, relaxed on the lake, and slept in an old cabin with a soothing fireplace.
  • Slept in a lighthouse hostel for two nights. Went to Santa Cruz, CA during one of the days and explored the town, as well as played actual beach volleyball for the first time in my life.
  • Relocated to the Marin Headlands hostel for the next night.
  • Slept in a ranch for 2 nights afterwards. Many horses, goats, and vegan produce coated the prairies. First day I went to Muir Woods, which is home to a grove of Redwoods – the tallest trees in the world.
  • I had dinner the next day with a Brazilian-born man whom introduced me to Brazilian cuisine. He also spoke about Brazilian culture and shared a couple common Portuguese phrases.
  • Traversed on a 4 day backpacking trek across the Point Reyes Peninsula. Carried near 40 pounds on my back for an average of 8 mile/day distances up and down mountains. Slept in a tent all those nights.
  • Stayed in Berkeley, California for 7 days, in a hostel on UC-Berkeley´s Fraternity Road. Learned basic Capoeira, ventured downtown San Francisco (visited locations such as the Modern Museum of Art), and even had one final dose of great American culture by going to a Def Leppard and Poison concert!

My spontaneous sojourn in California was fruitful with experiences and activities that were novel to me. Although it all happened due to conflicts with foreign bureaucracies, I do not regret having lived through it. The outcome of my detour was the realization of the delicate relationship between different worlds. My adversities came prematurely, before I was even immersed abroad. It was a test of my resilience and patience, and it was a collection of challenges that I not only had to overcome for myself, but for everyone who invested in me to be here in Brazil.

Indeed, I am in Brazil, and I have been here for a while now! I am going to give visual language of what my life here has been like, and what I have done! It does not encompass everything I have experienced up to this point, but my hope is that this video serves as a mere foreshadowing of what is still to come! Check it out here.

Like I mention in the video, I am living in Capao. However, in less than a week, I will be moving to Palmeiras, which is 7 hours away (in a vehicle) from Salvador. Palmeiras is where I will be permanently living throughout my time here in Brazil. In my next blog post, I will give a more analytical and critical description of how living in Brazil is like. For now, enjoy the video!

The natives tell me that I am learning Portuguese very quickly as well… That is definitely encouraging!

Alan De Leon