First week of school... phew. done. I wanna tell you school doesn't suck and it gets better, but those are only lies I tell myself every night knowing I have to wake up in 8 hours for school the next morning. I sit in a classroom full of kids and I am limited to saying, "can I use the bathroom", "I need water", and my name is Lexie." Sure I know more words and phrases but nothing that could start and keep a conversation. The kids in my class are some of the most amazing, welcoming, and generous people I've ever met. Dare I say most of the people in Brazil can be classified as this way. All the wonderful people in my class help me read and write and pronounce everything. I'm a kindergartner in a 12th grade class. (Struggle of the week: the word bread in Portuguese is SO HARD to pronounce. I've been saying it "wrong" apparently and I guess it's a bad word oops) I'm sure I'm the most annoying girl in school.. asking how to spell and say simple words but it's how I'm learning. Did I mention I'm coolest kid in school; It's like I'm a celebrity to these kids they follow me around everywhere. Being a blonde hair, blue eyed American has made me the most popular kid in school and I'm not gonna say I'm too upset about it.
If you don't already know I'm in the city Agudos. It's small and there isn't much here but it's the cutest place I've ever been in my life (and that's not saying much cause I've been to like 4 places ever). It's safe to walk the streets and I walk everywhere. To the gym, the cafes, the acai stores and the limited shops that are here. The acai here oh boy.. It is amazing. On the other hand driving here is nuts. There isn't a set speed limit or lines on the road so everyone just drives. Honking. Oh my. Everyone feels it's necessary to honk all the time and it drives me crazy.
Brazilian eat and eat and eat but that's okay I decided because the food here is AMAZING. Rice and Beans are served with every meal and lunch is when the family gets together to eat, it's really cool actually. Me and my host sister, Bianca (my saving grace. she speaks enough English to help me understand things at home) walk home from school and lunch is already prepared for us, it's my favorite part of the day actually. My host mom cooks every meal everyday. Even breakfast for me even though nobody else eats in the morning. I am so lucky. The family I am with now are the sweetest people. They have a pool that's currently under construction(!!!!!!). In the house it's Bianca is 15 and Gabriel is 19, their sweet puppy and then me. My host mom and dad: Sirlaine and Agnaldo have taken me in and it's felt like home.
Anyways, that's all I've got for this week. Until Friday.. Tchau!
This week was a week for firsts. First time with new foods (pastels are delicious 10/10 would recommend), first time applying for college (?!?!?), and the first time I actually realized I was completely immured in a new culture; Brazilian holidays included but we'll get to that later. This week was also a week of what Brazilian's call "Saudade". It's a word in Portuguese that can't be translated into English but the meaning of it is "The feeling of longing for someone that you love". Almost like homesickness. I wouldn't say I was missing home this week but I was missing times that have already passed and the people that came with it. I sat and yearned for passed times with good friends and family and cultivated moments that I wished to relived but couldn't. I yearned for times of change and realized how quickly time actually passes. Life when I was young seemed to be limitless, that I would live forever with an unlimited supply of sunrises along the horizon and the future was an unbroken road endlessly stretched before me. However more recently I've come to realize that those sunrises are limited and the road is broken with bumps and cracks, often times shorter than what we thought it was. Dare I say the first lesson I've learned in Brazil is instead of looking back at certain times of your life to only feel regret; create a life you are proud of. Live everyday knowing there is something to embrace and cherish. You shouldn't wait until some future point in your life to be happy. Happiness is readily available to anyone who wants it. You just have to be happy.
Now that my life lesson speech is out of the way we can get back to what you really came here to read. My week in Brazil. School wasn't anything special. I'm starting to understand more of what people are saying but I still can't speak anything. The kids in my class gave me a Portuguese Dictionary and I think that was the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me; I probably had the giddiest smile of my face the rest of that day. I was honestly touched.
September 7th was Brazil's Independence Day and the whole day was a party! The parade lasted what seemed forever in the hot weather and lucky enough for me I got to be apart of it. Being apart of Rotary is such a blessing; with the goal to end polio and the hope to eventually bring world peace through building international relationships is something I am so honored and grateful to be apart of. Before I joined I sat and watched each group walk down the street. Seeing such a different culture celebrate their Independence was the coolest thing. I wish I would've taken more pictures to share but I was enjoying what was happening. The pride of the people to live in Brazil is incredible.
After the parade ended we came home for lunch. (Which was delicious as always) and had Brazilian ice cream. Which included your choice of corn, strawberry, coconut, mango, or sweet milk and was eaten like a Popsicle off a stick. Later that night I went to a BBQ at a friends house down the road. I love to meet people and experience new things. The food isn't necessarily different in what is eaten but how it is prepared is very different. I am so grateful for every opportunity I get. The environment of being with friends and family enjoying a meal is something that is appreciated no matter what country you're in and I love that.
Life is starting to become more "normal" around here. Each day here in Brazil I choose to make the most of each day. I don't want to look back someday and wonder if i could've been better, made better choices or used my time more wisely. Times have changed and life keeps going but how blessed am I to be able to create a life of happiness in the most beautiful country in the world. Till next Friday, XOXO Tchau.
And by popular request from Brasil and the United States another week of my life through my blog. Honestly thank you to anyone who reads this I have officially got you to validate me on yet another form of social media. Anyways, this past weekend I took a quick trip to the city of Batatais Brasil with Paulo Arthur and his beautiful family. With a 4 hour drive away from home in Agudos I found myself in the most beautiful city. We spent the weekend at Paulo's parents house (who if i can add made me eat more than I ever have eaten in my entire life but i wasn't complaining because the food was delicious). My nights consisted meeting people at the San Gennaro party in the city center which was held behind the church of the city. Everyone wanted to talk and take pictures with me; being an exchange students from the United States does have it's perks. Towards the end of the party I was called on stage with my friends to introduce ourselves and open champagne bottles; a nightly tradition of the party but was still exciting. Sunday we drove to the country house and I can honestly say I have never been to a place like it before. Outside of wifi and cell phone reach we were hidden away in the country side of Brazil. The day consisted of futbol tournaments, swimming, eating (of course), and naps in hammocks. Taking a break from the busy life I've been living was a blessing and I was slightly disappointing when the night came to an end.
The rest of the week was just like any other ordinary week. School is hard, not because of the work but because listening to Portuguese for 5 continuous hours really hurts my head. I don't understand hardly anything that goes on at school but I put a smile on my face and act like I'm happy to be there and most days I really am happy to be there. It's nice to go out and talk to people. After lunch the rest of the day is up to me. My afternoons usually consist of school work from Herriman (thanks), naps, and the gym. The gym has become my new favorite place and is usually followed by trips to get acai. Nothing extra ordinary happens most days but every day I get to wake up and live a life most people only dream of and if that isn't the coolest thing you've ever heard than you're wrong.
That's all I've got to write about this week, like i said nothing too exciting happened. Quick thanks to everyone who continues to support and encourage me everyday it has helped a bunch and I love hearing from all of you. Until next Friday. XOXO Tchau.
I'M 18 HOLY COW!!!
I made it mom. You have a legal adult now and I'm not sure how either of us feels about that; but I know I'm so stoked I made it to eighteen and the fact that I got to spend it in Brazil is pretty dang cool to. I think in honor of me becoming this golden age I'd share some things I learned.
Eighteen things I learned by eighteen:
1. End every phone call with "I love you"
2. Smile and laugh as much as possible. Both are so good for you.
3. Hanging out with dogs can make your day a million times better. Even if it's just for 5 minutes.
4. You can't control how people treat you but you can control how you treat others.
5. Life isn't all sunshine and rainbows but a good majority of it actually is.
6. Live life simply. Strive to only be better than the person you were yesterday.
7. Nothing good comes from staying in a toxic relationship and;
8. Never allow yourself to be treated less than what you deserve.
9. Be open to change.
10. Travel! As much as possible. The world is beautiful. People are beautiful.
11. Self affirmations: They are so important. Wake up everyday and remind yourself that you are beautiful just the way you are.
12. Get help if you need it. There is nothing notable about suffering alone.
13. It's actually really fun to be friends with your siblings.
14. Be nice to your mom because you were probably meaner than you realize as a teenager.
15. Allow yourself to forgive. Forgive others, and most importantly, forgive yourself.
16. Don't wait for life to happen. Look for opportunities and take them.
17. Give everyday the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life.
18. And finally, Don't wait to be happy. Happiness is readily available for anyone who wants it.
My week in Brazil has been nothing spectacular. Getting caught up on school work or studying the beautiful yet oh so difficult language of Portuguese is usually how my days are spent. Nights still consist of trips to the gym followed by Acai. This past weekend I went to the city of Bauru to celebrate my birthday with my partner Anderson, Bianca, and a few of her friends. A 30 minute bus ride took us to the neighboring city and we decided to watch, "IT" which at the time sounded like a good idea until I realized I don't speak Portuguese. From what I understood it was really good but there's still cracks and questions I have. (if anyone reading this can answer my questions it would be greatly appreciated). I spent an arm and a leg shopping after the movie but hey, I deserve it. Besides that nothing too excited happened.
I love being here and wake up everyday more grateful than the last for the opportunity I have to be here. I have been so worried about about being happy that sometimes happiness has been missed altogether. There is no magical moment of bliss that creates the ultimate reality of happiness. It is enjoying whatever little fragments of happiness you can find and making the most out of it. It's the 30 minute walks with Bianca to buy coke at the supermarket. It's the family lunches after school where I've laughed so hard my stomach hurts (usually because I have no idea what's going on but laugh anyways because it's good for me). It's the late night conversations and Netflix watching between me and Bianca and realizing were going to be exhausted for school the next morning. I have come to love the people I have met, and the culture I have learned. Brazil will indefinitely have a place in my heart. Until next Friday. XOXO Tchau.
To start I think it's fair to make the argument that I easily have the greatest host families of all time. They all gathered together and on THURSDAY NIGHT THEY THREW ME A SURPRISE PARTY!!!!! This was so great because,
1. Nobody has ever thrown me a surprise party.
2. It was so unexpected and I was so surprised I was easily the happiest girl in the entire world for a minute.
We had a big BBQ as friends and family and hung out and talked all night. I also got to facetime my family for the first time since I've been in Brazil! Boy do I love those guys.
Friday came and I like to believe there was no better way to spend my actual birthday than with 32 of my newest friends from 14 different countries around the world.
I spent this past weekend with the other exchange students in Brasil in the sweet city of Lençóis Paulista. There were students from all over the world from places like: South Africa, France, Germany, Indonesia, Timor Leste, and Haiti. When we weren't being lectured to, doing service projects, or eating food we spent time getting to know each other. I can now confidently say I have a friend in every continent in the world and that's pretty cool if you ask me. We spent Sunday afternoon in a hidden park in the middle of no where. We drove for 25 minutes through Sugar Cane fields to get to the jungle where the water falls were located. We had a Brazilian BBQ and enjoyed our last day together. As the day came to an end, we headed back home. After arriving and getting settled back in at home I got to face-time my friends as part of my continuous birthday weekend. I can easily say I have the GREATEST friends in the world. I don't know what I'd do without them.
The rest of the week has flown by. The days go by fast and the weeks go even faster. I have already been in Brasil for a month and I can't believe its been that long. The things I've learned, people I've met, and the emotions I've felt are things that I will never forget. The things that are happening now; the choices we make, good and bad, as we screw up, step up, lose our minds, find our minds, fall apart, fall in love, as we grieve, as we grow, retreat from the world, dive into the world, as we make things, and as we break things, we each become the people we are meant to be. Chase your dreams and find your happiness. It's never too late to start your adventure.
Till next week. XOXO. Tchau.
(P.S. I have created the best playlist of all time so if anyone wants it please message me because it's pretty dang good.)