Meet My Brasilian Family

Zoe Ward - Brazil


March 25, 2018

This is my host family. We live in an adorable little neighborhood in the far south of the island among the hills and by the ocean. Our house is on the top of a hill, with a little waterfall in the backyard and a beautiful view that I often enjoy swinging from our hammock. Armação is a little pocket of paradise. It is calm and peaceful, with little going on, excluding the two beautiful little beaches in the center.

Like many Manezinhos, those born and raised in Floripa, my family lives a relaxed, simple life. They prefer to stay in the house or in the neighborhood. They don’t leave much, except to go to work or school. This has been an interesting experience, since I am a person who loves to go out and be outside and explore. As a result, I have explored a lot of the island on my own or with friends from the program or that I made through my adventures. Armação also happens to be about a one to two hour bus ride from the center of the island and three hours from the north. Therefore, for almost everything that I do, excluding for my apprenticeships, I have to take the bus several hours to get there. Although I definitely won’t miss those long hours on the bus, I will miss the serene nature and beauty of my little paradise that has been my home for the last seven months.

This is my host mom Marcia. She is the director of a creche, or a daycare, the same kind of place where my first apprenticeship is. She has lived in Armação her entire live and is a sweet, quiet and laid-back person. I always enjoy chatting with her in the mornings and drinking tea.

The one on the right is my host sister Ana Lívia. She’s thirteen years old. I find her very confusing at times because a lot of the time she won’t engage in any conversation with me and spends the entire day in her room. I’m pretty sure an entire month has passed without an actual conversation occurring between us. Yet other times she surprises me and gets all excited to do my nails or help me organize my room. I guess this is what’s it’s like to have a little sister, I wouldn’t know having grown up with two older brothers. At the core, Ana Lívia is amiable and kind hearted and I will miss her a lot, despite all the headaches she has caused me.

These are some photos from my adventures with my host brother, Olavo. He is the same age as me and studies animation at the university on the island. Like the rest of his family, he is a really laid-back person, but luckily I have been able to get him to go on some aventures with me. Especially in the beginning, we did a lot of hikes together and adventured to various waterfalls and beaches. One time I really wanted to do this hike in Armação, Lagoinha de Leste, that I had been wanting to do since I arrived, but Olavo said it was too long and he would only do this other, shorter hike we did the past week. Almost in tears, I agreed because I could never turn down a hike. When we took a different road, I questioned where we were going and he responded that he had to stop at a friend’s house first. I believed him for a solid twenty minutes, until I realized that we were on the other trail and he had quite successfully tricked me. To say the least, our relationship is quite amusing. A few months ago, we started surfing together too.

Although I have wished for the past seven months that my family would take me places around the island and engage more in our relationship, at the end of the day they are really good people and I am lucky to have them as a family.

Through my seven months on this island, I have met a vast number of people who have influenced my experience and my life in general. Although I am not as close with my host family, I have met a few other individuals who have become like family to me.

This is the supervisor of my apprenticeship, Lucíani and her family. My first apprenticeship was not the best fit for me, but I still enjoyed working there, largely because of her. She quickly noticed my love for pão de queijo, and would often bring me some in the mornings at work. She is an incredibly kind and loving person and treats me like her third daughter.

During Carnival, she took me to see the incredible schools of samba in Florianópolis from the front row, which was quite possibly one of my best nights in Brasil. She bought us all matching shirts then her husband customized them. More recently, we took a road trip to visit this cute, little German town, for an Easter festival. Pictured above is us in front of the tree covered with the most easter eggs in the world.

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This is her daughter, Maria, who has become one of my closest friends in Brasil.

This is Angela, my friend Rujen’s host mom and basically the mom of Campeche. She is who I strive to be in forty years. She is always bursting with energy, rides her bike everywhere and is always doing something cool. She introduced me to tecido acrobático, or silk acrobatics and has three tecidos, or silks hanging from the trees in her front yard and the ceiling of her house. Angela also happens to be one of the kindest and most humble people I have ever met. She treats every person we encounter in such a special way and always puts other people before herself. She radiates such a unique, vibrant kind of energy. Since all four of the fellows in the south are from different countries, she had the idea for each of us to have our own food night to share a bit about our culture and of course eat way too much food. In the photo above, we are enjoying the classic pastel and caldo de cana. I am confident our paths will cross again one day somewhere in the world.

Lastly, I wanted to share about this little baby otter, who is like my child, whom I will be devastated to leave in two weeks. He arrived at the project about a week ago. Since he has no mother, we are raising him by hand, including bottle feeding and lots of cuddling. Although he cries a lot, he is absolutely adorable; he likes to climb up my chest and nuzzle into my neck. I like to play classical music for him, so he’ll grow up to be one smart otter. It saddens me to know I won’t be there to see him grow up or learn how to swim or eat his first fish, but my time here is coming to an end.

I have had an incredible and transformative past seven months, but at the same time, I feel ready to leave in two weeks. I am love with this island, portuguese, this culture and Brasil in general. But seven months has been enough time in my current situation, at my apprenticeship and at my home. I am ready for my next adventure / challenge no matter where or what it may be. However, Brasil will always be a part of who I am and I am already planning my return.

Love and peace,

Zoë


Zoe Ward