Today completes my first month in Brasil. What a journey it has been so far. I met so many incredible people and greatly enjoyed listening to their stories. I feel so fortunate to have landed where I am. This beautiful island is my home for the next six months and I can’t wait to see what it has to show me.
(Thanks Leo for the photo)
(Exploring the sand dunes with my cohort on our way to the beach. Thanks Elise for the photo!)
It bewilders me to think of all that I learned in these past few weeks. I walked into my host family’s home barely able to link a sentence together in Portuguese, let alone understand anything they were saying to me. Three weeks later, I am as talkative in Portuguese as I am in English and they actually understand me some of the time!
I’ve learned other things during this time as well. For instance, there is such a thing as too much cake (there’s no escape even at breakfast). This morning, just as I was finishing the last piece of chocolate cake, my host mom whipped out a whole other cake from the oven. I’ve also learned how much Brazilians love their coffee and food, shown by the fact that they eat four meals a day and one of them is “coffee break”. I look forward to sharing with you all the types of food they have here in a future post (or several because the food isincrível).
(Rare photo of me eating cake)
More relevantly, I think I’ve finally figured out public transportation here. I still remember the Sunday night before my first language class. My host mom was explaining the bus system to me. However, all I could understand is that I needed to take two separate buses (alone) and find my way from the bus terminal to the language club. In that moment I was more terrified than when I was exposed on a rock face a hundred feet in the air. Luckily, I found my way and I feel like a pro bus-rider now.
Just like cake, challenges are abundant here. Most of them for me originate in language. I learned exactly how frustrating it is to try so hard but still not understand a word that comes out of another person’s mouth. The inescapable feeling of awkwardness usually accompanies language difficulties. It’s been quite the experience learning how to greet people or behave properly in certain situations when I have no idea what’s going on. This past month has truly been a struggle fest. I can easily say that I had no idea what I was doing most of the time.
However, I am reassured by the mindset that every day is an adventure and every moment offers a lesson to be learned. Moreover, the family that I’ve made here in Brasil provide me with so much support and happiness, it’s impossible to not look forward to tomorrow.
(My cohort after a hike to the beach)
(My host mom and twelve year old host sister with, you’ll never guess, cake!)
(Meeting my first Brazilian friend!)
This blog post, like my first month here, is just a preview into all I have learned and still have yet to learn and experience in the upcoming months. I am so excited to share with you soon my adventures on this island, as well as my experiences with the language, food and people.
Sending lots of love and positive vibes from Brasil,