Top Ten List

Zoe Ward - Brazil


August 15, 2017

Hello friends,

I have no idea how to blog or what my blog will look like, however, I am certain that by the end of my trip it will look much different from now. That being said, I'm looking forward to sharing my adventures in Brazil with you through blogging. As the days grow closer to my departure my excitement continuously heightens. I feel as if these eight months in Brazil will be my biggest (and longest) adventure yet. In order to best share with you my bursting excitement for this experience I wanted to share the top ten things I am most looking forward to.

  1. Meeting the fellows : I already feel like part of a family composed of people I have yet to meet. Although my tangible journey has yet to begin, I have already faced a few obstacles, the most significant one was my visa. Luckily, I was not alone in this struggle. The entire time I had the fellow group chat to turn to to ask for help. Besides helpful comments, the GCY and Brazil group chats are also full of jokes and gifs. Everyone is so friendly and energetic about our upcoming adventure. The best part about this group of people is that we all share the same underlying thirst to explore and discover.

  1. Meet my host family : I am so lucky to be living in a home with a family compared to in a dormitory. This way, I will be able to experience first hand what daily life is like for Brazilians. I am most curious about what they eat for different meals and how they spend their free time. At the same time, I am a little nervous about my host family. My past few host family experiences have been unique to say the least. When I lived in Estonia, I had to switch host families in the middle of the program. There were a variety of reasons but the most significant was that my babushka basically ran an inn out of her home. I came home on my seventeenth birthday to find that all of my belongings had been stuffed into trash bags and moved out of my current room and into a space that highly resembled a closet. Nonetheless, I am very optimistic about all that I will learn and experience with my host family.

  1. Talk in Portuguese daily : Recently I met a native Brazilian who told that very few people spoke English in Florianopolis, which made my day. I want to learn as much Portuguese as I possibly can. I know the learning opportunities will be endless in Brazil, therefore, it is really up to me to be the driving force in my study of the language. My goal is to become at the very least conversationally confident in Portuguese and hopefully edging on fluency.

  1. Hike a mountain : I plan to do a lot of hiking while in Brazil. Hiking will help me explore and understand the landscape and biodiversity of this new country. At the moment I am most looking forward to hiking Logoinha do Leste in Florianopolis. The hike, facing the Atlantic Ocean, has a beautiful sea view. The beach can only be reached by hiking the trails and is considered one of the main treasures of the island. Brazil also has incredible waterfalls in addition to mountain landscapes. On the border between Argentina and Brazil lies the largest waterfall system in the world, the Iguazu Falls. It would be a dream come true to see these waterfalls.

  1. Try a new hobby or activity : For the past year and a half my free time has revolved around rock climbing. My climbing gym located only a mile away from my house has become my second home. However, when I’m living in Brazil I’m not sure how much access (if any) I’ll have to a climbing gym or local outdoor crags. Although I expect this to be hard at first, it’ll be a true test of adaptability. It’ll also be a good opportunity to explore some new hobbies. I am really looking forward to trying a new activity, especially one that’s relevant to the culture. Who knows maybe I’ll become a pro silk acrobat.

  1. Getting lost : When I lived in Estonia last summer I purposely got lost on runs and walks and relied only on my sense of direction to find my way home. I felt this was one of the best ways to discover new parts of the city. I also loved connecting parts of the city together like a puzzle. I was able to create my own personal map of the city in my head, highlighting my favorite discoveries. Therefore, I cannot wait to get lost again and again in Brazil. Not only will I see new places, but it’ll also provide opportunities to engage in the local community by asking people for directions and hopefully making new friends.

  1. Be outside more : Although I have spent the majority of my free time this summer outside or in my climbing gym, I have also worked almost every day. Most of my shifts are about eight hours and although I love how engaging my job is it does mean that I’m stuck inside for the duration of the time. It’s quite possible that my apprenticeship will be outside, especially if I work with animals or the environment. On top of this, I expect to have more free time in Brazil compared to how little of it I have now which will allow me to spend hours outside on the beach, hiking mountains, or reading in my hammock.

  1. Change : Although overall change sounds vague, it could quite possibly be what I am looking forward to the most. From a young age, I knew that I loved change. I was always eager to explore a new place or try something new. This past summer has been one of the best in my life. I worked about forty hours a week and enjoyed almost all of it. I think the reason I enjoyed working so much was that I knew how short lived it was. I knew that pretty soon my daily schedule of working eight hours then adventuring outside would be turned on its head and thrown out a window. Although I know Brazil will bring all sorts of new adventures and experiences I have no idea what form they will take and that brings me tremendous amounts of excitement.

  1. Start my apprenticeship : One of the main reasons I wanted to take a bridge year was I felt that I wanted to learn wouldn’t necessarily be taught in a classroom. I don’t want to be told what is going on in the world, I want to experience it for myself. Working an apprenticeship for seven months will provide me with some of the best real world experience I’ve had yet.

  1. Personal Growth : I have lived in Glastonbury, Connecticut my entire life. As a result, my perceptions of the world are rather limited. I am eager to learn as much as I can and this bridge year will provide me with vast opportunities to explore all that is unknown to me in the world. Buying a one way ticket to San Francisco was likely one of the most thrilling things I’ve done. I can’t wait to see how a year away from home will change my perspective of the world and challenge my perceived sense of self.

Thank you friends in advance for sticking around for this journey. I can’t wait to share with you all my adventures abroad.

Much love,

Zoe

Zoe Ward