2 weeks down , 50 weeks to go ;
Trip Start Jul 22, 2011
2Trip End Jul 22, 2012
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My first night here, I was greeted by the Rotary Club of Franca Sul, with the typical "Brazilian greeting". Big kisses were given by grown men and women to a frightened, nervous 17 year old who had yet to experience this very... friendly... and... welcoming.... hello. Two weeks in, I've gotten used to it.... It now seems almost NORMAL to take 25 minutes saying hello to each individual person with a hug and kiss... even when there is 20 people sitting around a table.
My first week here was pretty boring.... I watched more television last week than I have in a year. Did I mention it was in portuguese? Brutal. My host brother, Gustavo, invited me out to meet his friends a few times, and I got to experience Brazilian bars for the first time. They were crazy, and packed, and people were spilling their beer everywhere.. Note to self, never wear white jeans to the bar again. My host sister Laura invited me to spend time with her friends a few times as well, but you can only contribute so much to a conversation of portuguese, with the words... sim.. and nao... I've learned to just give the "Rotary plastic smile" and nod whenever someone speaks to me.
My host mother and I have an interesting relationship... I don't speak portuguese, and she knows not a word of english. Despite our lack of communication, she still makes an effort to invite me with her to do errands around the city, and I always willingly accept. Our maid is the sweetest lady I've ever met. There has been a few times, out of my boredom, that I will purposely make my room messy so I have something to do later that day... But by the time I get back, she has cleaned it! At first, I was annoyed (mom is never going to believe that one), but I can't wait to learn portuguese so I can thank her for everything she has done for me.. a simple "obrigada" just doesn't seem to cut it.
I started school on Monday... Bright and early, 7am I walked into my new school, and instantly, eyes were on me... I've never felt like such an outsider my entire life. First of all, I have blond highlights all throughout my hair... Secondly, I am the whitest girl in the school... So I walk into my classroom, and take a seat next to a girl who I had met the week before at a Rotary meeting (she was my personal translator) Bruna... Who began to introduce me to everyone he had their heads turned staring... Within the hour, every student in the class was lined up to talk to me and be my friend. During break, I was swarmed by 30 students all asking me questions about Canada, and myself, and my friends... The most popular question seemed to be... "Do you have a boyfriend?" and "Do you prefer Canadian or Brazilian boys?" As I was leaving early yesterday, I passed a classroom of third year students, who were all shouting... "CANADENSE! CANADENSE!" (Canadian). I was then dragged into the classroom to meet everyone. Within 30 seconds, a handsome boy stood up from the back of the class, and made his way to the front, introduced himself personally, then gave me a kiss on the cheek... the entire class cheered, and I was redder than a tomato! Welcome to Brazil....
The hardest part for me so far is talking to friends.... It has only been 2 weeks... but that is 2 weeks longer than I have ever been apart from them. They are amazing people that support everything I have accomplished, but it's hard not having my emotional base holding me up when I need them... Sometimes you just need a shoulder to cry on, or someone to cuddle with till the late hours of the night, and knowing that you don't have them there is most difficult thing to grasp. I would do almost anything to have one more night with them, and to express to them all of my fears and dreams for my upcoming year. <3
I'll try and post more avidly, but I have school at 7am tomorrow,
tchau amigos e amigas