Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Other Exchange Student

The day I arrived home from my trip, María Alejandra a colombian exchange student who is through rotary as well, arrived in Tangará da Serra. The next day she was in school with me and we instantly bonded. Now there is always a warning of caution that we must be careful not to spend all of our time with other exchange students because we need to make friends with actual brasilians. Being the only exchange student for a month and a half I have some really amazing brasilian friends and "Alejandra" (as she prefers) fits in just right.

She is studying in my class and she doesn't speak any portuguese, only spanish. She speaks a little english too, more than she does portuguese and she instantly dubbed me her translator. This I find hilarious because although I speak decent english, okay spanish, and okay portuguese, I don't understand some things anyways so I can't explain it if I don't understand it either. We are learning together. I am just glad that when I arrived I had taken a little bit of a portuguese course and learned some slang and naughty words because it is so easy to say "repeat this: @#*)$@#*" and it is repeated. Example A: "Alejandra, profesora is idiota in portuguese" Had Alejandra not spoken spanish (which is similar to portuguese with these words) she would have raised her hand and asked "Idiot, may I go to the bathroom?" Either way it is a lot of fun.

The first day of school for her we invited her over afterwards to eat popcorn and tereré, then we took her to our gym and asked if she wanted to join. It's a common thing for exchange students due to the different lifestyle and food. Afterwards we dropped her off at her house. She is very outgoing and talks more than I do here. I find it really easy to understand her though because she speaks spanish and to me it isn't that difficult, everything here is a mix of all three languages and sometimes I speak the wrong language for the wrong people on accident.

The next day I went to an Interact meeting for the first time in 2 weeks due to my travels. I was going to bring Alejandra but her brother was throwing her a party at their house (practically a mansion). So of course I was invited to attend after my meeting was over. I went to my meeting and said my hellos to everyone there and then left for Alejandra's house. There we ate hotdogs, popcorn, and cake. We played around with a soccer ball, learned how to dance samba and salsa (samba is from brasil, Alejandra taught us salsa) however neither were completed perfectly by me. Then I got thrown in the pool clothes and all, that was fun however because the water was warm enough and we played pickle in the middle. Eventually I dried off and went home.

The next day I went to school and Alejandra wasn't there because she was watching a baby be born. Her dad is a doctor, and I'm still not sure why she was invited to see this, but she was excited. She even took lots of pictures that I got to see later. I went to Isabella and Ricardo's house to eat polenta which is like mashed potatoes but it's corn based instead of potatoes. It was delicious. Isabella and I went swimming a little and watched Gossip Girls. Their mom made a banana cake which was also delicious and we ate it with ice cream. I returned home long enough to get ready for a festa of the Rotaract club. Rotaract is like Interact except for people 18-25(?). Our Rotaract club completed 20 years so they were throwing a huge party. We went to the party and there were belly dancers and other dancers for entertainment. There was a couples dance where they danced to the portguese version of "Eso No Es Amor" by Aventura. I got really really excited and started talking excitedly to Alejandra about the song because I knew it and because it was a part of my Costa Rica experience. Sadly the words are changed a little bit to translate to portuguese but Alejandra and I sang the Spanish version together. Later a bunch of people talked and we all joked around, then we ate dinner which was a bunch of different pastas. It was delicious as well. After dinner a DJ started music and Alejandra and I were taught how to dance sertaneja, funk, and other strange things. I'm not a pro dancer but it was an incredible amount of fun. Alejandra is a lot of fun and brings out the crazy fun loving outgoing side in me. It's so much easier to make a fool of yourself with another person that has no idea what they are doing and being in Brasil helps too because the whole world here doesn't care what others think, they just want you to try. I love having another exchange student around to be on the same level with, plus she is an amazing person and we get along well. The only bad thing is that we talk all of the time and in the 3 days of class we have had together we have gotten in trouble every day. Oops. Eventually around 2:30 in the morning the DJ stopped and we were all sent home. We piled 6 people in the back of our car (rental from insurance). Isabella, Alejandra, and I sat on down and Henrique, Vinicius (the brother of Alejandra), and Ricardo sat on our laps. It was interesting going over speed bumps because we about bottomed out every time. Although I was tired it was a great evening with a great group of people.

Today (Sunday) I slept in a little, then Henrique woke me up and we went to the farmer's market right outside of my house. There we ordered pastels, tapioca (not like our tapioca at all), and another corn based treat (it is like mushed corn packed together in a ball with a little cheese). I didn't eat much because I can't eat much when I'm tired but I tried everything. I cleaned my room eventually and skyped home. Then we had Isabella, Ricardo, Larissa, and José over to drink tereré. Isa and I made it together and we had music playing and it was a lot of fun. Here I experimented with some new things as well which were different but not bad. I was once again taught how to dance sertaneja (it is similar to our country and is really popular in my area). Then Isa and I went inside to make popcorn and decided to make cookies too. So we made cookie dough from a bag (something I never did in the U.S. but I had brought down because it was easy to bring down) and we ended up making half of the cookies and saving the rest of the dough to eat. We also made popcorn. I brought down some Runts, Hot Tomales, Jolly Ranchers, and Twizzlers for everyone to try as well. Twizzlers are a big hit here!! I taught them how use them as a straw. Then everyone left and Henrique and I had about ten minutes to get ready to go to church with Isabella and Ricardo.

They came by the house and picked us up and I went to a Presbyterian church. It was so different than anything I've ever experienced. There was a lot more music and the Reverend didn't stand and preach. There was a little bible time where there was a sermon but it was nothing like the Catholic or Lutheran churches I had ever attended. Different but good as well, although I don't plan on converting. When we arrived everyone in the middle of mass walked up to Henrique and I and welcomed us to the church, afterwards I was told to come back often. There was no Communion or prayer that everyone said in unison, it was just a bunch of people hanging out and praising God.

After Church, a bunch of people from my school that were in the choir (band) and us went out to eat at the mall. I ate sushi and yakisoba, both of which I had never tried before coming to Brasil and both of which I have come to like very much. We all sat around and joked a bit and then we were off to our homes. That's when I ended up here and decided to tell you how my life is going.

Overall I have had an amazing weekend, made an amazing new friend, and everything has seemed to fall into place. I'm enjoying it more and more everyday and everyone is really good to me here, I couldn't have asked for anything better and I can't thank Rotary enough for this experience. It is truly amazing and I'm incredibly sad that a month and a half has already passed, but I'm excited to live what is to come as well.

Até Mais.

1 comment:

  1. It seems to me all you do is eat and party. Should I get my passport ready?