ONE WHOLE MONTH!!!!
It’s crazy that I’ve already been here for a month, it feels like yesterday that I was saying a tearful goodbye to my family back home in Sydney. Before exchange Rotarian’s and ex-exchange students will tell you how fast it goes but I never really believed them because a year at home seems to go on forever. A month is the longest I have ever been away from my parents and brother and I won’t lie but it’s been hard not seeing their faces everyday, but I’ve already survived a month without them so how hard can a year be?
The past month has been amazing, I’ve already learned so much about myself and about Brazil. Here are some highlights of my first month;
My first carnival ever was spent in Brazil, I’m the luckiest girl ever! Brazilians love to party and when they do they go all out. I went to a massive street party called Banda de carnival or a bloco. Basically there is a truck with a band on it and it goes through the streets blasting music and hundreds of people follow it. Everyone is dancing, singing and spraying water and foam everywhere. I will admit I found it a little overwhelming with the amount of people on the streets but I still had a blast with my friends. We have nothing like this in Sydney which is a shame because it really includes everybody, whether your 6 or 60 you can have fun during carnival.
On my second week in Brazil my host Dad and sister took me to Sao Paulo as they were going to their temple as part of their religion. We left around 6am on a Sunday morning and drove for three hours to get there, I really enjoyed the drive as I looked out the window the whole time. The land that the temple is located on is gorgeous with rolling grass fields, flowers everywhere and a massive lake. It felt so nice to get out of a city environment and just be in nature. One thing I really miss about Australia is the bush and the trees because here in Santos there isn’t much nature. At the temple I couldn’t really follow the service because it was in Portuguese but I took that time to just reflect within myself which was really nice. After the service we had a delicious lunch and then decided to take a stroll around the beautiful grounds. I enjoyed this day so much because of all the nature that surrounded me and I was able to clear my head and reflect on my first two weeks.
My Dad and grandpa have always been into meditation back home in Sydney but I never picked it up. When I got here I realized I needed to do something to clear my head and reflect on my days, especially if I was feeling homesick. So I started meditating, my dad recommended me a few apps and I try and meditate every day sometimes even twice a day. I’m really enjoying meditating as it is a way I can clear my head and drain any negative thoughts. i would strongly recommend it to any other exchange students.
The Quebra Mar Emissario:
You are probably wondering what the Quebra Mar Emissario is, well it’s one of Santos’s biggest tourist attractions and it’s absolutely stunning! It is basically a giant abstract sculpture of a wave and it is an amazing photo opportunity. It sits on the edge of the beach on the boarder of Santos and a neighboring city. It is on the complete opposite end of Santos from where I live but it only took my host sister and I about 15 minutes to cycle there because Santos is so small. We spent about an hour there taking photos and watching the sunset. I would really recommend going there if you ever visit Santos.
The food here is amazing! Everything has so much flavor, especially the homemade food. Here in Brazil the main meal of the day is Lunch unlike Australia where is is dinner. Lunch is always rice, beans and another type of meat like slow cooked lamb or fried chicken. I have also discovered that Brazilians love condensed milk and try to put it in as many desserts as possible, unfortunately I find it a little to sweet so I try to avoid it. There is also a lot of fruit here and a much wider range of it. Apparently the fruit near the amazon is much nicer though so I am super excited to try it there. I have been eating so much more than usual and I eat a lot more carbs and sugary foods so I thought it would be a good idea to introduce some exercise into my exchange I joined a gym that is a minute away from where I live and it offers a wide range of classes like Zumba, Body Pump and Abdomen. So far I have really enjoyed going to the gym.
Overall my first month was really good, I missed home a lot but I’m proud of myself for working out ways to deal with that and I am also proud with how far I have already come with learning Portuguese.