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David Bisset


May 9, 2019

During my gap year, I lived in a culturally rich neighbourhood called Santo Antônio de Lisboa. A community which is named after the Saint Anthony of Padua, who is known as the patron saint of lost things (which was very adequate after losing my peace somewhere in the IB exams and transitioning) and as a marriage saint according to my host father.


Let’s take a walk together.


My family lived a 20-30 minutes walk away from the town centre, a pretty walk among pretty houses, four restaurants and a cupcake café. Also, two goiaba trees. When you come to the centre, you will find an elegant old church from the times when the first Azorean immigrants populated the island. Next to the church, which is called “Igreja Nossa Senhora das Necessidades”, there is a little blue and yellow house. In that house, there is today a restaurant and bar called “Açores Bar e Restaurante”. Next to that, is my favourite art museum/shop in the town, “Casa Açoriana”. Believe it or not, this little town is home to several artists (among them two of my host dad’s brothers and one of his cousins, if not more!) and to 5 art shops (it is possible that I missed one too).



I am sitting in the small park with my back towards the ocean while facing the church. Next to the church, is “Açores Bar e Restaurante”.


After walking past the church, you turn left and continue 50 meters down to the beach. A majestic tree provides shadow from the burning sun as you sit down beneath it. In front of you, is the beach, the ocean and several anchored boats. Right now, you are admiring one of the most famous views on the island of Florianópolis. Especially if it is a good day and you choose to stay to watch the sunset! Since you chose to stay for a while under the tree you managed to spot one pregnant couple, two other couples (one of them in wedding outfits) and one huge family all in the company of a photographer. Just a normal day in Santo Antônio.




You get up from sitting down under the tree and walk the street along the ocean. Along this street, you can smell delicious oysters, shrimps, fish, pirão de peixe, feijão, churrasco, pão de queijo, coxinha… Here, for an expensive price, you can enjoy a southern Brazilian dinner next to the ocean. Personally, I prefer my host mom’s and host aunt’s cooking over an over-priced dinner out (I am already drooling…).



Before it gets dark you walk the same road back home. Though, it takes a bit longer because you feel that you have to stop and admire the view of the ocean as the sun sets and colours the sky pink. Almost home, you find a little alley that leads you to a small strip of the beach and you sit down to watch the sun work its way down behind the horizon. You wander away in your thoughts and as you return to present you discover that the colour of the sky has turned deeply red and pink, its beauty makes you smile. Suddenly, the sun is gone and you walk the last 200 meters to home. As you are arriving at the street of my host parents house, you notice that the street is called “Servidão Agenor José de Andrade” same name as my host dad’s father. Along that street, you walk past a museum and cultural centre, “Casarão e Engenho dos Andrades”, where my host family had meetings, practised and performed “Boi de mamão”, and received school kids to educate about the açorean heritage. The museum was also my favourite place in Brazil, especially in the company of members of my host family, as well as the place where I danced “Boi de mamão” for national TV and a recording for a documentary about Brazilian culture. On the same street, you greet my host aunt, that waves from her kitchen, and my host uncle who is gardening outside the museum (which also is his house). Also, you see another uncle reading in his living room, a host cousin and his son coming home with the red car, and lastly, the dogs say welcome back with a choir of barking. You calm down the excited dogs with kisses and hugs. Afterwards, you meet my host family ready to have some “café de tarde”, which means cake, fried banana, pão de queijo or bread and coffee. Because dinner is not until 10 pm.




Afternotes,


Santo Antônio stole my heart with its beauty. I found this community incredibly rich in culture and preserved history, and I was lucky to be placed in a family famous in the town for its cultural practices and deep roots. A family which fully opened their arms to me and invited me to dance “Boi de mamão” with them, produce and perform a witch parade for Carnaval, and share traditional açorian cousine.


As you might tell, I learnt a lot about the history, cultural practices and food from the area. At the same time, I grew to understand that Brazilian culture is incredibly rich and diverse (thanks to the variety of nationalities that immigrated to Brazil, among them a small population of Swedes!). Because of that, the Brazil that I experienced during this year is neither “Brazil”  nor “southern Brazil”, it is rather limited to Florianópolis. A small fraction of a complex country in South America.


Thank you for reading this blog post! I hope you enjoyed it, and if there are any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me through my Instagram @idanyde.


Until the next blog post (2 more to go!!),
Take care of yourself and the people around you!


Ida Nydelius




Opa! Before you go, enjoy these snapshots of Santo Antônio that I prepared for you!

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My first evening in Santo Antônio was spent with my host sister and we were blessed with a gorgeous sunset.

The church “Igreja Nossa Senhora das Necessidades”, and behind it is the public school Paulo Fontes where I worked.


Outside the art shop/museum “Casa Açoriana” with a group of students from the school I volunteered at, the art teacher and the owner of the shop/museum.

Some of the witch masks that we produced during the week before carnival. In the background, there is an avocado tree! (Sadly, I missed the season by a few days…).


One of the two main streets in Santo Antonio during a normal day. A clubhouse, a ceramic store, a small supermarket, a café (with the kindest employees on earth), a bar, a cultural house, the museum/shop, another three restaurants, and then you reach the crossroad in front of the church.


The same street as above, though, during Carnaval week. If you look closely, you can spot the cross on top of the church in the background. During one night of Carnaval, more than 70 000 people were dancing on these streets of Santo Antônio! Among this crowd, I succeeded to spot a group of Swedes 😉



A little square. On Sundays, this place is filled with a small market of books, antiques, handmade decorations, and an old man with his tarot cards and pendel. Other than that, this was the first cobblestone square in Florianópolis due to a king’s visit back in the days!
Closer to the end of the square, is the spot where postcard three is made.




A beautiful sunset and a couple-photoshoot. This was one of my last evenings in Santo Antõnio…

Another view of the beach.


… Obrigada!



David Bisset
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David Bisset