How’s my new world?

Edward Katz - Brazil


September 19, 2013

Brazil!  Wow even just reminding myself that I’m really here is still exciting.  Every day I take a moment to just realize where I am and what I’m doing here.  I live in the house pictured above in the neighborhood of Rio Tavares in Florianopolis, SC Brazil.  My host family is great with a mother, father, and brother all helping to teach me of the Brazilian home life culture with a dog and all.  My days for in country orientation have looked like and will look just like this: get up at 7am to walk to the bus, but not before having breakfast with my host mother (she won’t let me leave until I have eaten at least something).  The bus which is my only way of getting around the island takes us all to a small lake side town of Lagoa where the Language Club is and where we meet up with Global Citizen Year for programing.  9-12pm is Portuguese class with two great teachers doing their best to help us understand.  It’s a long morning but considering how badly I need to learn Portuguese I almost wish it was longer!  Now I studied Spanish in high school for 4 years, but in the last 2 weeks my Portuguese skills have become just about as good as or better than my Spanish ever did.  I’m learning fast, but not as fast as I would like of course.  When people talk slowly to me I can usually understand what they are trying to tell me, but I can hardly keep up a conversation on my end.  From 12-2pm we have a lunch break where we all go to a buffet close by to the Language Club and eat way too much food.  The food options changes on a daily so there are always new dishes to try and because we can’t really read the names of the dishes it almost always is a surprise.  The restaurant and Brazil in general always has fresh juices from local fruits with the specialty of acai, the energy giving nutritious favorite among locals, yet it really only tastes good when it’s made into a frozen yogurt type treat (though I’m pretty sure that makes it slightly less healthy).  From 2-5pm we are with the Brazil Global Citizen Year staff where we work on whatever skills or knowledge they think we need to know for our permanent home stays.  But during the lunch break there is long hour or so where we spend walking around Lagoa exploring the streets and various shops.  I think I know the area like the back of my hand already.

We Fellows definitely stand out here in Brazil, once I was standing in line to check out at a supermarket with my friend David and the cashier just takes one look at us, smiles and says, “you are not Brazilian, nay?”  We just smiled and responded with a no.  I wish there was a way to speed up the integration process, but of course there isn’t.  Time is really the only thing that does cause integration.  I feel bad when I fail to think up the right word or sentence in Portuguese cause for some reason I think I should know it already but really it’s been less than 3 weeks.  I’m not supposed to know the language in 3 weeks.  I keep reminded myself of that fact which helps me keep trying and doing my best knowing that it will get better with time.

Now that I’m getting into the swing of things and figuring out how to get online and use the internet, I should be able to post much more often.  I have much more to say and much more to discover.  So until next time, thanks for giving interest to the beginning of this fantastic year I have ahead of me.

Edward Katz