Six Months

Zoe Ward - Brazil


March 9, 2018

I have lived in Brasil for 6 months now. The realization that I only have one left, has led me to think a lot about the beginning. The first few months seemed to pass so slow since everyday was a new struggle and mind altering learning experience about the new culture I was living in. But looking back, I can’t quite wrap my mind around the fact that half a year has passed. I think it was the moments when I first felt really established in this new life, the time started flying by. And that’s just it, I have built a life for myself here. Even now I keep meeting more incredible people and having amazing new experiences everyday that’ll making saying goodbye to my home here that much harder.

 

Thinking back to the very beginning, I’ve reflected on my first blog post and some of the things I was most looking forward to back in August.

 

Try new activities
By far one of most favorite parts of this experience. One of the first activities I tried was capoeira and I fell in love. The movements and energy of this brasilian martial art dance are extraordinary and beautiful. Then there’s the music, instruments and spiritual aspects as well. Through interactions with all this, capoeira has helped me better understand the history and culture of Brasil. Then came Zumba and taekwondo which I don’t do as much anymore. More recently, I started silk acrobatics, arguably one of the hardest things I’ve done (rock climbing is easy in comparison). Surfing has been a fun challenge as well, alongside my host brother with whom I take classes. I have also learned to dance samba and forro, both typical brasilian dances, and recently I took a Funky dance class. It was an interesting experience to say the least, if you’ve heard of funky, you know what I’m talking about.

2. Hiking!

I am content with the fact that I have done almost every hike on the island or at least that I know of. I have climbed the highest peaks (not very high, there are no mountains) and seen some of the best views this incredible island has to offer. I have also enjoyed how most hikes on the island end in either a beach or a waterfall, specifically the latter, I think I’m obsessed with waterfalls. Did I mention I have one in my backyard?

 

3. Talk in Portuguese daily

I love this language so much. It has been a journey getting to where I am. I went from understanding few to zero words in a conversation to now when I can understand almost all of them. Although I still have a ways to gaining fluency (including improving my very American accent), I can communicate fluidly. Add another six months in Brasil and who knows, my goal of being bilingual could finally be achieved.

 

4. Getting lost

I have so many bus horror stories. Especially in the beginning, that was my principal method of getting lost, usually unintentionally. Although within a month or two, I mastered the bus system and thus, the geography of the island. Even though it can take 4 hours and 5 buses to cross the island, it really isn’t that big. Since I know my way around the island pretty well at this point and I don’t leave it too often, I haven’t gotten lost quite as frequently as I was expecting / hoping. Although being without internet for the first five months did lead to a lot wandering random streets in search for my destination.

 

5. My apprenticeship

I have two apprenticeships, one at a public daycare as their professora de ingles (English teacher) and the other I found a few months ago at Projecto Lontra taking care of otters. This experience has been quite different than I expected, specifically it’s more relaxed. I can choose my schedule, as well as overall my responsibilities, specifically at my first apprenticeship. As a person who is more passionate and hard working than creative, I would of much preferred my purpose already being established rather than me having to find and create it, which has been a struggle since the beginning. Also, in my first post, I wrote how I was looking forward to gaining some real world experience. Although I haven’t gained as much of this as I hoped, I have learned quite a bit in some others ways, primarily, from all the incredible people I have met and developed close relationships with.

 

I didn’t forget about my host family, those reflections will be shared in my next post.

 

I often feel some of my happiest moments have been on this island. Florianopolis has truly become my home and I intend to enjoy every moment I have left here. I like to think about the beginning of this journey and my experiences since then while I’m still in Brasil because it helps me appreciate how far I’ve come and how much farther I can still go.

Love and peace,

Zoë

Zoe Ward