Brazil is Bright. There are colors, smells, food and flowers everywhere I look. My fingers are constantly sticky with the juice of fruit, and I seem to not be able to fully wash the sand out of my hair. Brazil drips with culture. There is dancing, yelling, cooking and moving down every street. It is spring in Brazil, and the days are slowly getting warmer, and dripping with the syrup that covers hot and humid days in the tropics. I arrived in Garopaba, Brazil a week ago after spending a week on the island of Florianopolis with my cohort. This town in which I will be spending the next seven months of my life has 9 beaches, 20,000 residents, 10 Global Citizen Year fellows, and approximately 55 surf shops. It also has some of the best surfing waves in Brazil, farmers markets and hiking trails all over. My host family lives in the region of Garopaba called Encantada, which means “enchanted” in portuguese, and it truly is. I live alongside 10 other people ranging ages 2-67 on a farm at the entrance to the town. I’ve spent the last week fumbling my way through portuguese conversations, exploring my community, and discovering my place in the flow of my family and Garopaba as a whole.
This Monday, I start my apprenticeship. I will be working for a program called Monitoramento Mirim Costiero. This organization promotes environmental conservation and education by taking 12 elementary schools in Garopaba to monitor a beach in their area. The students monitor the beaches by collecting trash, studying the beaches and learning about human affect on the beaches. I am looking forward to immersing myself into Garopaba’s community through work, and also to get to play with kiddos and clean Brazil’s beaches at the same time.
I am held here. I have a network of beautiful, inspiring and smart individuals, the world around me is beautiful, and I am eating more fruit, bread and sweets than I knew possible. (We have 4 formal meals in Brazil). My mind is drowning in all the new words, faces and customs I’ve encountered in these past two weeks. It’s the kind of drowning that has sent me to bed at 8:30 most nights since I’ve arrived here, but it is also the kind that wakes me up in the morning hungry. Not just for the food but for everything this new world has to offer.