About brasileiracrowley

A little blog I keep to tell people about my year studying abroad in Cândido Mota, a small town in São Paulo, Brazil (and one of the greatest places on earth!!)

Last week of school!

This week was the last week of the first semester of school, and since it would be my last week going to school in Brazil (the month of July is winter break), I decided to bring my camera to school and take a few photos!

With physics teacher Ulises

With geography teacher Edgar

With chemistry teacher Flavia

With physics teacher Helio

Biology teacher Marcão and me. It was his idea, not mine, but I tihnk the photo came out preeetty awesome

Philosophy/sociology, art, and history teacher Rodney

English teacher Juliana

Biology teacher Eduardo

Portuguese grammar/literature teacher Gustavo (“as mina pira,” by the way, basically means “the girls go crazy”)

I didn’t get pictures with all of my teachers, but this is most of them. Fun stuff.

Me, striking a pose outside the school

the whole school

and here’s a picture of Batman that I drew on my desk today. Just for you.

I took a lot of other photos of my school that you can see if you click here. Now that this week is over, I have 3 more weeks until going to back to the USA. I don’t really have any plans for my winter vacation, but hopefully my friends and I will be able to keep busy!

Now, here’s something weird and different: the other day in school we weren’t doing anything (end of the semester and all that), so I went through the notebook I’ve been using this semester and counted all the things that I’ve doodled more than once, just to see how many times I’ve doodled them throughout the semester. And so, to whom it may concern, the statistics (give or take a few):

Sherlock (BBC): 51 

Loki (The Avengers): 42

Doctor Who: 39

Sherlock (original stories): 39

The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit: 16

Thor (The Avengers): 16

This is from the time I put on a fedora and it turned me into a private detective.
These things happen to me.
I have a fascinating life.

Batman/Robin: 10

There are more, but I’ll go ahead and leave you with just those. There’s loads of other stuff in there too, of course, but these are the most repeated. Just so you all know 😉

I think that’s about all I have to tell you for now. I have to wrap this up and get it posted so that I can get ready to leave, tonight is the inauguration of my host Rotary Club’s new president, and I have to be clean and good looking for it.

Thanks for reading everyone!

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May/June Review (condensed for your reading pleasure)

So I haven’t posted in over a month because I’m lazy and pathetic. Sorry. I’ve been pretty busy, so here’s a very condensed review of what I’ve been up to:

First of all: I’M EIGHTEEN NOW AW YES. My birthday was on a Saturday, so the day before my friends held a surprise party for me in class! That got the day off to a great start, and then that evening I had a really, really great Brazilian birthday party. It was pretty much the perfect day.

CAKE!

My 2 sets of host parents and I

My girls! Jéssica, Maria Fernanda, me, Nathália, Bruna, and Patricia!
We’re like the Dynamic Duo or the Fantastic Four, except there’s 6 of us. The Super Six? The Sexy, Sassy, Spectacular, Scrumptious, or Stupendous Six? Help me out here people!

translating is such an exhausting job it’s not even funny.

The next week, a group of Koreans in Brazil via a Rotary group exchange program visited my Rotary Club, and I tagged along to help translate from Portuguese to English and vice-versa.

Unfortunately, I was struck down by a horrible cold, so the next week sort of sucked. The weekend was better, though, because my friends and I went to see a play! The play was an interpretation of the Brazilian classic “Dom Casmurro” by Machado de Assis, and it was a one-man show. The actor played all the characters and did a great job. It was really fun! The next evening, or town was having its annual corn festival, where people can buy all sorts of different foods made of corn. It was fun, but was way, way too crowded, which made it sort of hard to enjoy ourselves.

The next weekend was busy too, because we had the Rotary District Conference! All the exchange students went, and we did presentations on Friday and Saturday. It was quite exhausting (about 6 hours on the bus each way!)

Canadian Emily and I, NORTH AMERICA REPRESENT WOOO

We had Thursday and Friday off this week for the Corpus Christi holiday, so Wednesday night my friends got together to make chocolate fondue, and then it was straight to a FOUR DAY WEEKEND BABY!

Since it’s June, we’ve entered Festa Junina season. Festa Junina means June Festivals, and they are parties people hold to commemorate the feast days of Santo Antônio (Saint Anthony), São João (Saint John), and São Paulo (Saint Peter). People prepare traditional winter foods, since it is now winter and June can be particularly cold (yes, it gets cold in Brazil, especially in the Southern region), such as mulled wine, quentão (a variation of mulled wine made with cachaça instead of wine)and food made from corn (since it is corn season right now!). My host family and some of their friends had a small Festa Junina, and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to go to some others!

One more thing: Tuesday was Dia dos Namorados, the Brazilian version of Valentine’s Day. To celebrate, 5 of my friends and I (five of us single, one kind-of-sort-of-not-exactly single) slept over at my friend Pati’s house (she lives out of town, on a farm) and did some of the traditional rituals to determine who our true love is, et cetera. There are lots of rituals that can be done to see the first letter of the name of your true love, some to attract a husband, and others to see how many kids you will have. We did two; in one, you hang a needle over a person’s hand, and depending on the way it swings, you find out how many/the gender of kids she’ll have. In the other, we each wrote the letters of the alphabet on little pieces of paper, folded up the little papers, and then put them in in a water-filled container overnight. In the morning, whichever letter had unfolded the most is the first letter in your true love’s first name. So, apparently, I’m going to have 2 kids, a girl and a boy, and my true love’s name starts with “N” or “L.” The first name one didn’t really work, however, because for most of my other friends, almost all the papers opened! This game, I then surmised, is not very scientific and/or true love doesn’t exist. I’M JUST KIDDING I’VE ALREADY CHOSEN BABY NAMES.

Well, that just about brings us up to date! I will try try try to update you a bit more often since there really ISN’T THAT MUCH LEFT TO UPDATE ON! As of tomorrow (the 15th) I have a month and 8 days until my departure on the 22nd.

As a reward for reading this, and in honor of Dia dos Namorados, here is a picture of Humphrey Bogart in a classic awkward 1940s face-smush-kiss

MWAH

Remember you can find loads of photos here, here, and here.

BYYYYE ❤

Labor Day, Rain, and Superheroes

May the 1st is Labor Day here in Brazil, so last Friday my host family and I took the day off of work/school  to drive to the coast of São Paulo state, where my host dad’s cousin lives. The city we were visiting, Caraguatatuba, has a population of about 100,000 and is right on the beach…unfortunately, the whole weekend was foggy and grey, so we didn’t actually spend any time on the beach. Either way, it was a really fun trip and I can’t resist telling you all about how awesome it was.

I was woken up at around 4:30 am Friday morning, and we left around 5 am, which is way too early to do anything, especially sit in a small car with a hyperactive 11-year-old. To top it all, after about 30 minutes of driving, one of our tires went flat! Luckily, we were really close to a gas station and a mechanic’s. We pulled over, my host dad woke the mechanic (who apparently lives at his shop!) up, and we got it all sorted out. We drove on, and got to Caraguá in the afternoon. I was feeling pretty crappy, to be honest. I hadn’t been able to get much sleep in the car, and I had a pretty nasty headache. We ate lunch and I went ahead and crashed on a bed for a power nap. I woke up a couple hours later (“ooh but I thought power naps were supposed to be short and strong, hence the term ‘power nap’” you may argue. Well, I say nuts to that. It was one powerful nap. You weren’t there. You have no idea how powerful my naps can be.) feeling much better. I got myself cleaned up and we went to the city’s newest mall, to go to the movies! Bear in mind, the closest movie theater to me right now is about 40 minutes away, so I haven’t actually watched a movie in a movie theater for almost 9 months (the last movie I watched in a theater was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, in the week before I left). The movie we were going to see was, of course, “The Avengers” (“of course? What do you mean, of course?” you ask, interrupting my monologue yet again. Well I sure as hell wasn’t going to watch “Titanic 3D” or “American Pie Reunion.” You should know me better than that.), the Marvel Comics superhero movie that comes out in the USA on May 4th. Here, and in many other countries, it was out on Friday.

The movie theater was packed, and, although I know this blog is intended to be about Brazil and my life and stuff, not movie reviews, you’re going to have to bear with me because I just have to talk about this movie for a little bit here.

THE AVENGERS

THEEEE AVENGEERRRRRRS

It was possibly the most BADASS movie I have ever seen in my LIFE. And I watch a lot of movies. I love comic books, and one of the great things about superhero comics is how over-the-top they can be. The hero is excessively perfect, the villain excessively shallow and evil, the technology ridiculously advanced, and the battles exaggeratedly cool. The movie captured this perfectly. Everything was BIG and DRAMATIC and ROBERT DOWNEY JR and EXPLOSIONS and OH MY! We watched it with subtitles as opposed to dubbed in Portuguese, for which I’m thankful (a lot of the references or jokes in the dialogue are distinctly American, if you know what I mean, and I doubt it works as well in Portuguese) and in 3D. It was my first time watching a movie in 3D, and I was never a huge fan of the idea. I always thought it was just a gimmick, but now that I’ve seen a movie in 3D, I can give an informed opinion: yeah, it’s a gimmick. It didn’t improve the movie, the movie would have been just as good without it, and the glasses (like many glasses) didn’t really fit on my nose, so they were sort of annoying. But now I know! Either way, it’s definitely a movie that needs to be seen on the big screen to be appreciated. Another thing that I really liked was that you don’t really need to have seen any of the preceding movies to enjoy it. As long as you are at least somewhat familiar with the characters, or even if you aren’t familiar with them at all, it’s still an awesome movie.

GRATUITOUS PATRIOTISM YEAHHHHH AMERICA HOME OF THE FREEEEEEEEEE

Also, I’d just like to express my love for Captain America. He’s my favorite of all the Avengers, and I’m not really sure why. You’d think I’d be turned off by the excessive patriotism he represents (his outfit is based on the American flag, for heaven’s sake!) but I really, really like him.

Maybe I like him so much because I like the fact that the character was invented in the 1940s and he retains that WWII style and attitude, he has that quintessential underdog story (he’s a useless, though well-meaning, little nerd, and science makes him STRONG and MANLY, YEAH!), and he’s just too dang cute. Besides that, Captain America and I have a history…I can vaguely remember tracing a drawing of him out of my brothers “How to Draw Superheroes” book onto a sheet of lined paper when I was little, and I know that my brother and took and old black and white Captain America movie out of the library at least once (possibly twice) and that I really liked it. All I can remember about it is that a guy shoots himself in the beginning, and Captain America wears tights and beats people up for the rest of it, but I remember that young me thought it was pretty awesome.

The very first Captain America comic book, in which he punches Hitler in the face. Ah, those were the days...

Oh hello T-Hids.
Why is it that villains are either super-ugly or super-attractive? Whatever. Tom Hiddleston wearing sassy armor and being sinister is fine with me any day.

One more thing about “The Avengers” before I go on to other topics: Tom Hiddleston, who played  Loki, is an excellent actor, and played the villain wonderfully…also he has a beautiful face.

Alright, I’m done (seriously, I could go on for pages and pages about superheroes, comic books, movies, patriotism, Tom Hiddleston’s face, and sassy tights, but you’d fall asleep, so I won’t)

On to the rest of the weekend!

Saturday was a lazy day, but it was nice. We slept in, and then went to a neighboring city, Ubatuba, to look around. It’s a really nice area, lots of trees, on the beach, it’s pretty perfect. The whole area is really very nice, aesthetically speaking. There are mountains, lots of green, and the cities slightly reminded me of Monterey (they don’t really look like Monterey, but it had that kind of vibe, if you know what I mean.)

Sorry about the quality here, there must have been a smudge on the lens...
OOOH NO THAT'S JUST ME

Sunday night we went out for dinner and I ate too much sushi and it was amazing.

I woke up on Monday to rain. It rained the whole day, but since it was our last day there, we went out and did things anyway. During the day we went shopping, and my host mom and my host dad’s cousin (Marta) bought me a pair of gorgeous boots as an early birthday present. That was a really pleasant surprise, since I was planning on buying the boots anyway!

MY BOOOOTS (it's not a great photo, but they are dark brown, close to black but not quite, and really really spiffy)

That night, we took a ferry to a nearby island called Ilhabela. It looked really nice in the dark and rain, so I can only imagine how it must look on a sunny day! It is a really pleasant (though a bit tourist-y) place, and I really enjoyed it.

We left Tuesday morning, and I’m back to normal life (which means school tomorrow, oh nooo). It was a really nice trip though, with really nice people, so it was definitely worth it!

I wasn’t able to get lots of pictures from this trip, unfortunately, but those that I did take can be found here

here is a boat for you.

Thanks for reading! 😉

Language is my Mistress

Now, I know my blog posts are normally about things I’ve been doing, stuff that happens to me, that sort of thing, but right now I kind of want to step outside the nice little box I’ve made for myself and write about something completely different. Well, not completely different. It’s something that’s been on my mind recently, and has plenty to do with the whole idea of youth exchange/studying abroad. So bear with me, please 🙂 Now get ready….take a deep breath, aaaand……GO!

Language. The thing about language is that it is so amazingly important, even fundamental, to human civilization, and yet we hardly even think about it. That’s one of the miracles of language, of the brain; the fact that I can be sitting here, writing this, without even having to think. The words simply flow from my fingertips and onto the keys, just as they’d tumble out my mouth if I were speaking to you face-to-face (although face-to-face, we wouldn’t get to use the “delete” key! ). I don’t even have to think about it, it just happens. You don’t have to think about it either, as you read this; you immediately understand everything I’ve typed, and you use language to think about what I’ve said. No sweat.

Oh you lovely mysterious bit of grey matter...

I’m not going to get into the inner workings of the brain because I have no idea what they are, so let’s talk about this language right here, English, and let’s talk about the planet.

English is a language spoken all over the world. It’s become such an important language that in many countries, it is taught as a second language as soon as elementary school. It’s convenient, a common language enabling people everywhere to communicate, regardless of what their first language is. It’s especially convenient for those of us from English-speaking countries. We can go virtually anywhere in the world without knowing the language, and still be sure that there will be someone (and probably more than one!) with whom we can communicate. It sounds good, doesn’t it? It certainly is convenient, and yet I can’t help but be a bit annoyed. Well, maybe annoyed is the wrong word…for me, the widespread use of English makes me see Americans as a bit spoiled. As an American, I don’t need to learn the language if I visit foreign country. They can attend to my needs, in my language, with no effort needed on my part. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining; like I said, it is wonderfully convenient! There is a beauty in language, however, that your average (yes, I’m generalizing. Deal with it.) American (who is required to take hardly any foreign language classes in school, thus hardly encouraged to seek out learning a foreign tongue) is really missing out on.

Countries were English is the official and/or predominant language. See that little smudge of an island off the coast of the European continent? That's where the language comes from. And don't get me wrong, I love English. English is a great language. English is brilliant.

I don’t ever want English (or Esperanto, or French, or Spanish, or Chinese, or anything) to become a universal language. I don’t want there to be a common tongue so that everyone can communicate perfectly, with no more misunderstandings or need to interpret. To me, that’s boring; to me, one of the greatest things about the evolution of human language is the fact that developed into as many languages as it did (about 6500 of them). There is a profound beauty in the diversity of that thing we call language. Language is diverse, like plants of animals. If there were only one species of dog, it wouldn’t be as fun, would it? There wouldn’t be big dogs, little dogs, cute dogs, ugly dogs, fluffy dogs, scrawny dogs….there would just be “dogs.” It applies to inside each language, too; the diverse dialects and accents within a language spice it up so wonderfully, I don’t know how we’d manage if it were uniform. The myriad of human languages just goes to show the way that single 3 pound organ of ours, the brain, evolved with such an aptitude for communication. And not just for communication; language is so integral to our being, it allows not only to coordinate and organize (likely its original use, evolved in our hunter-gatherer days) but to philosophize, imagine, create, remember. All the wonderful things we can do thanks to language, and we can express ourselves in so many ways (6500 different languages, remember!). That’s one thing I find so beautiful about language.

The evolution of language (click t enlarge)

I mentioned earlier (much, much earlier) that this is all relevant to youth exchange. You can probably see what I’m getting at. Through youth exchange, the student has to leant at the very least a little of a foreign language. I believe that a country’s language is inextricably connected to its culture, making the concept of youth exchange all the better; it offers the most complete way to get insight into a foreign country, culture, lifestyle, and language.

Language really is essential to humanity, as a species, and our planet’s linguistic diversity really is a wonderful thing. I used to think some languages were more worth learning than others, since that language is more widely spoken, or more useful, or whatever. Yes, maybe it is more practical to learn some languages over others (you can talk to many more people with Mandarin Chinese than with Dutch, for example), but you know what? Language is language, and each has its own beauty, history, culture…

I don’t care if you speak English, Spanish, German, French, Basque, Portuguese, Gaelic, Dutch, Chinese, Romanian, Arabic…whatever it is, it’s brilliant. You’re expressing yourself in a beautiful way, thanks to the evolution of our species over all this time. Languages will keep evolving, and growing, with our species.

It really is brilliant.

AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I’m so glad to get that off my chest! If you gotten this far, well done. You are officially a Good Person. It is nice to get all the strange things that swirl around in my brain out there. I do have to warn you that the next few months are going to be a bit mad for me, as I am going to turn 18 in less than a month (WHAT!), and leave Brazil a couple months after that, and since I have a hyperactive brain filled with teenage existential angst (think Holden Caulfield, except female and not quite so screwed up) these weird, raving posts about life may occur  once in a while.

Now, a word from the guy who inspired this post:

Stephen Fry is the greatest.

“language is my mother, my father, my husband, my brother, my sister, my whore, my mistress, my checkout girl…”

And one more.

Okay, I’m done now. Sorry for all the words. Thanks for reading 🙂

Picture post :)

My last post was in video format, so there weren’t any pictures…a situation that must be remedied! Here are some pictures of all the stuff I talked about in my “vlog.” So here goes….PICTURE DUMP!

A sticker my wonderful friend Maria Fernanda gave me a few weeks ago. It translates, more or less, to "what you are leaves marks." I put it on my laptop, underneath the screen, so that I can see it all the time 🙂 Right underneath my awesome desktop.

My awesome desktop, if you're interested. Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie keep my computer awesome for me.

My friend Maria Fernanda and I, setting off on the class field trip to Londrina!

At the mall in Londrina!

At my friend Patricia's house. It's really nice. From left to right, Pati, Bruna, Jéssica, Maria Fernanda, and me

At Pati's house, with Doralise the dog 🙂 left to right: me, Bruna, Maria Fernanda, Jéssica, and Pati

Hippies!!!!

Bruna and I. Hippies!

Easter bunniiiiies!!

Jéssica, Bruno....and my face

My friend Amanda....and my faaaace

my faaaaaaaaaace

I think that’ll do for now. You can see more pictures by clicking here and here! Also, I’m planning on putting up a post relatively soon (maybe even today!) that is going to be a bit different and kind of weird. SO YOU SHOULD ALL BE LOOKING FORWARD TO IT. Well, look forward to it if you too are a bit different and kind of weird.

WHICH I KNOW YOU ARE.

Until next time! 😉

March review! (video!!)

Okay, I promised video, so you get video! And yes, I know it’s sort of long, but hopefully it’s entertaining enough that you won’t notice 😉

The intro/outro song is “Awake My Soul” by Mumford and Sons, fyi.

I’ll follow this up in a day or two with pictures. Let me know in the comments how you feel about “vlogging” as opposed to normal “blogging!” Thanks for watching!

A quick follow-up and a few random tangents

Bom dia a todos!

Got a short post for you today, mostly pictures. Hope you enjoy!

This is just a bit of a follow-up on that last post…I wanted to say a few words on photography. I mentioned that there are lots of animals in the area I was visiting (the region, I neglected to mention, is known as the Pantanal). I didn’t get loads of photos of these animals, however, mainly because they would always show up at inconvenient times when I didn’t have my camera on me, and even if I had had my camera, I probably wouldn’t have been able to get a good photo. However, we’re in luck! My host brother, Raul, is an amateur photographer who really is very good (what is it with me and photographers? I have a pro photographer uncle and cousin-in-law, and an amateur (but excellent) photographer brother, and now host brother!)

Anyway, here’s pic my host brother got of a blue parrot:

Photo by Raul Val

It’s a pretty rare species, but we saw 3 of them!
He doesn’t have lots of photos from our trip up right now, but you guys should definitely check them out. Here’s one of my favorites: http://500px.com/photo/5255891

You can see all his photos by clicking here and here. It’s worth taking a look!

Now, just to change the subject a bit…i’m going to go on a few tangents here, so be ready!

First: My class (since we are in our last year) get to every once in a while have “trote” (pronounced “tro-che”…literally means “hoax”) days, in which we all do something silly. Last Friday, we had a hat and boot “trote,” in which everyone wore a silly hat and boots (or, for those of us without boots, tall socks). Luckily, I brought the amazing Gryffindor beanie that my awesome cousin Emma gave me with me (on a whim…I mean honestly, who expects to use a beanie in Brazil??) so I was all set!

^ The whole class, after school

^My friend Bruno and I showing off our sassy socks!

Giving my amazing friend Pati a ride!

As you can see, it was lots of fun. It was a pretty busy weekend for me after that; Friday night I went to my “cousin’s” birthday party. I’m actually not sure how old she was turning, but she’s probably around 5. In fact, this is about her:

That actually happened (the other girl is my friend Pati) at my host mom’s birthday party. Super cute! Anyway, we had her birthday party on Friday night. On Saturday night I went to two birthday parties! First, I went with my host family to a family friend’s son’s birthday party, and after spending a while there, my host brother and I left and went to my friend and classmate Bruna’s birthday party. It was really fun, and it brings me to an observation about small towns and how ridiculous they are: I was at my friend’s birthday party. One of my friend’s cousins happens to be married to the president of my host Rotary Club. One of her other cousins has a boyfriend who happens to be the son of my host Rotary’s Youth Exchange Officer, and he happens to live across the street from me. He and my friend’s cousin are musicians, and we often come across the performing in restaurants. I’m pretty sure if I think about it, I could come up with even more connections , but I’ll leave it at that. Small towns. You may not know everyone, but you know ALMOST everyone!

Okay, going to throw in a few random things for ya and then I’ll shut up.

One, I wanted to share this video with you because I saw it and really though it was amazing. So here you go:

Isn’t that lovely?

Two, LOOK AT THIS KITTEN THAT I DREW

THIS KITTEN IS HERE TO BRIGHTEN YOUR DAY

even though it’s really weird looking, I think it might be on drugs, which is a real shame you know. Either way, KITTENZ they are here to make you happy.

Okay, I think I’m done. Gosh, it hasn’t been long since I last updated, has it? This is sort of impressive, for me! Oh, one more thing, I am planning on making a video, I’m thinking I’ll do it in a week or so, so stay tuned! Thanks for reading, everyone. I hope the kitten brightened your day.

hahahaha I’m so strange o_0

BYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYE

Mato Grosso! (or, you can take the girl out of the city but it won’t make a difference, she’ll still be a wuss)

Another alternative title: “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make her drink, even though she’s really sweaty and should definitely be tired and stop pulling on the rope dammit why are you looking at me like that???”

(yeah I’m not very good with horses…well, it was probably just that horse in particular!)

one more alternative: YOU GUYZ DIS FARM IS LEGIT

Before I get to the story, you’ll notice that I made a few little changes to the layout of this blog, I don’t know if it’s any good, let me know what you think. I can change it back, or do something completely different. Whatever. I just want it to look nice 🙂 That’s sugar cane in the background, by the way, one of my regions main crops 😀

NOW, TO THE STORY

Most of you, when you think of Brazilian carnaval, think of Rio de Janeiro, samba parades, and parties. While I could have done that, I instead opted to spend the 4 day carnival period with my host family on a farm in the middle of Mato Grosso do Sul

I'm in the bottom left hand corner of Sao Paulo (red); the farm is in the middle of Mato Grosso do Sul (purple)

It took us about 9 hours to get there. The landscape is pretty different in this region, so it was pretty interesting to look at the window and watch it all change; mainly there are lots of COWS!

The farm we were visiting actually belongs to a doctor from the town were I live. The friends we were visiting there were the farm’s manager and his son (and the son’s wife and daughter), who live and work on the farm. The farm is enormous, and they have horses, cows, sheep, and chickens, not to mention all the wild animals that pass through!

spot the toucan 😉

On our first day there, all of us young people (me, my host brothers, and the kids of some family friends who were visiting as well) went on a horse ride! I’ve never really ridden a horse before, only a little bit, so I’ll admit I was really bad at it.

Look at your man. Now back to me. I’m on a horse.
But I don’t use Old Spice because I’m a girl. And I’ve heard that it uses chemicals that give you cancer. Also, the shorts were a mistake, mainly because, despite the heat, shorts like this are just not practical to wear on while riding a horse…and I forgot to out sunscreen on my legs, so I got a sunburn on my thighs, even though the res tof me was fine, and now I have extremely weird tan lines on my legs. :/

COWS!

We relaxed for a while after lunch, and then in the late afternoon we all piled into the back of a pickup truck and drove around the farm (which is huge, I’m not sure how big, but it is several acres big) to take a look around. It rained for a bit, which was nice and refreshing after the heat of the day.

One of the less desirable things about the country, of course, are the bugs, and the bugs here were huge and annoying. On our first night, when we were unpacking our car, there was an enormous hairy spider just sitting there by our car (my hairy and enormous, I mean like small tarantula size. Seriously.). I’m not super squeamish, but I’m pretty sure most people don’t like the sight of a huge spider by their car, and it didn’t help that I had been thinking about “The Hobbit” recently, and the first thing that popped into my head was this:

From "The Hobbit" cartoon that was made like a million years ago and is really ridiculous and kind of awful and I LOVE IT

Please don’t tell me I’m the only person who remembers this movie fondly. It is so wonderful and so 70s. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about, so moving on. You get the idea: I didn’t feel safe without a sword, that’s how many big bugs were around.

There’s not really anything interesting to day about Sunday, because all we did was have a barbecue (lamb…delicious!) and go to church (it was sort of required of us, because the doctor who owns the farm had just finished building a little chapel on the farm, and that day happened to be the inauguration mass/ commemoration of the doctor’s wedding anniversary, so we had to go to be polite). Being sore from the horse ride wasn’t too fun though.

On Monday, we woke up at 5:30 am to go to Paraguay! What’s the appeal of Paraguay, you might ask? Well, everything is cheaper in Paraguay! It turns out that because of taxes, et cetera, buying imported goods (mainly cheap Chinese stuff and tech stuff from the States) (not sure if that statement is redundant, or…) in Brazil is really expensive, while in Paraguay, you can get it much, much cheaper. Well, we drove about 3 hours to the border. It was pretty fascinating to me the way that we crossed the border…you couldn’t tell that we were crossing the border at all! The mall (“Shopping China,” in Brazil malls are called “shoppings”), which is less of a mall and more of a huge department store with a food court, is literally right on the border of Paraguay and Brazil, and the only thing to tell you that you are looking at a border is the fact that on one side of the highway there is a huge Brazilian flag, and on the other a huge Paraguayan flag! That’s it. There’s not checkpoint, no one asking if you are carrying any fresh fruits and vegetables, just…a highway. And in the store, everyone speaks Portuguese and you can pay either un US dollars, Paraguayan guaranis, or Brazilian Reais, so it really doesn’t feel like a different country.

not a pic I took, fyi, it's from the web. I didn't take my camera with me.

Now, I’ll be honest, I didn’t buy a lot here, since it’s all American stuff that I don’t need because I can buy it when I go back to the States. What did I buy then? FOOD! Well, what happened was that in the food section, I came across a bunch of foods that I hadn’t eaten in months, that aren’t common in Brazil (M and M’s, English Breakfast and Earl Grey tea, Spanish turron, and blackberry jelly are some of the things I bought), so I bought them and I was happy 🙂

The next day, we packed up and drove home. It was a really fun experience, short but sweet. That was Tuesday, and I had the rest of the week off from school, which was nice.

Well, that just about does it for me. I do have other stuff to talk about, but this is long enough and you are probably bored by now! One thing though: A fellow exchange student from Salinas (my friend Abel, who is in Sweden) recently made an update on his exchange in video form instead of written, and he suggested that the rest of us try it too. Any thoughts? If you’re reading this and want me to give it a shot, comment and let me know! If you do want me to try, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to make videos all the time, probably just one or two because I think I really prefer writing. But I’m willing to give it a shot, just for fun! (And let me know if there’s anything in particular you want me to talk about!)

Ok, I’ll shut up now. Thank you for reading,and don’t forget to leave comments for me, I love getting them 🙂

All photos can be seen by clicking here!!

SKOOL IS 4 FOOLZ

Hello everybody! This is just a quick post to tell you about the beginning of the new school year!

Also allow me to apologize in advance for the title of this post. I just couldn’t help myself.

School started yesterday, January 30th (remember, here in the southern hemisphere the seasons are inverted, so while you are going into spring, we are going into fall!). I am in the 3rd (and final) year of high school, which is definitely the most intense. All of the subjects we take have been doubled from the last year (in other words, since we had 2 weekly chemistry classes last year, we now have 4). The reason for this is the process for getting into Brazilian universities: public universities are free of charge, but that means they have limited openings and are very hard to get into. The student has to be able to pass the vestibular test of the universities they’d like to go to, and the difficulty of the test depends on the university as well as what major the student is applying for (for example, someone who wants to study engineering will often have a somewhat different test than someone who wants to study business). So, in the last year of high school, Brazilian students have to study a LOT more, because they are reviewing all the things they learned during their first 2 years of high school as well as learning many new things.

Our books...for this quarter.

Everyone of us received this huge pile of books (the spiral bound ones are workbooks). We’ll be getting a new big workbook every month, and more textbooks every quarter. It’s crazy.

Every day goes from 7:15 am to 12:55 pm, with a 20 minute break at 10:00. Our schedule is as follows:

MONDAY

Chemistry (2 hours)

Philosophy/Sociology (2 hours)

Physics (2 hours)

TUESDAY

Geography (2 hours)

Chemistry (2 hours)

Physics (2 hours)

WEDNESDAY

Art history (1 hour)

History (1 hour)

Biology (2 hours)

Portuguese (1 hour)

Writing (1 hour)

THURSDAY

History (2 hours)

Math (1 hour)

Biology (1 hour)

Math (2 hours)

FRIDAY

Math (2 hours)

English (1 hour)

Biology (1 hour)

Literature (2 hours)

Each hour is a “class” but I went ahead and wrote “2 hours” instead of “2 classes” because I think it makes more sense for brains used to the American HS system. Also, after about a month, we will start having test every Thursday. THey won’t be long, only about 5 questions…but 5 questions for each subject. Which makes it more, and an even bigger pain in the you-know-where.

I won’t lie, when I saw the books and the schedule and how many undesirable classes like math and physics were in there I was like

and then I was like

hahaha I’m sorry I said I’d stop using gifs, but they are just such a great way of expressing my EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER (just kidding. I’m not on an emotional roller coaster. I just really like saying EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER).

Either way, it’s pretty intense already and it’s only been 2 days! Once we get used it should get better, of course. Hopefully. o_0

I’m hoping to take my camera to school this week and get some photos of it for you all to see, I’ll either add them to this post or stick them in a new one for your viewing pleasure.

Also, I’d just like to say (since weirdly enough I don’t think I have yet) thanks to everyone who reads this!!!! To me, the fact that you take time out of your life to read my stories, be they accounts of adventures, cultural musings, or just arbitrary screams of “I AM HERE LOOK HOW COOL IS THIS!!!” is very special. You don’t have to read it, and yet you do, even though looking back on it I think some of it really is crap. So anyway, thanks you so much! It really means a lot to me. Also, I’d like to encourage everyone who reads this to comment, to give feedback or just to say “hi!”

Thanks again, and I love you all!!!!

ALL THE HUGS