December/January recap sorry-i-haven’t-posted-in-forever-thingie (with special edition music and crack!)

Yeah, I know, I know, I’m super behind on blog posts. I’ll try to be better about it….but no guarantees ;D Now, I was  going to write a post about the day we spent in Brasilia (the capital of Brazil) but there really isn’t that much to say, it’ll be much easier if you just check out the pictures. One thing that isn’t in the pictures however, is the fact that we went to TAIWAN! What happened was that we went to see the embassies of all our different countries. For the most part, we looked at the from a distance or took a photo in front. When we went to the Taiwanese embassy, however, the ambassador himself happened to be there, and he invited us all in! So, since the embassy is land that technically is part of Taiwan…I’ve been to Taiwan. Pretty amazing! Moving on: The month of December! School ended on December 2nd (remember, our summer is at the same time as the northern hemisphere’s winter! So our summer vacation is during December and January ) I didn’t do many things that are exciting and interesting during December, mostly just spending time with friends and going to end of year parties (as well as a couple of high school graduation dances).

Before going to a school's graduation dance- from left to right: Nathalia, Jéssica, me, Patricia, and Maria Fernanda

The important part of December, though, as we all know, is CHRISTMAS! Brazilian Christmas works something like this: The whole (extended) family gets together, starting around 9 or 10 at night on Christmas Eve. Until midnight they just hang out, eating hors d’ oeuvres and the like. At midnight, the actual Christmas festivities begin! A meal is served, and all the kids open their presents. Then, at around 2 or 3 in the morning, everyone goes home, sleeps, and on Christmas day the family gathers again, for a Christmas lunch. The thing that was really different was the amount of people. At our Christmas Eve celebration, there were around 30 people! Pretty bizarre for someone who is used to celebrating Christmas with only 5 people!

the Christmas sugar cookies I made! Everybody loved them!

There was another week of nothing super exciting happening (except that I got a couple of packages from home, which was GREAT) until New Year’s Eve. My friends and I went to a New Year’s party in Assis, which was great fun. I got home around 4:30 am, and woke up around 11:30 am to go to a family lunch. All I have to say is, I was really tired. So tired. So, so tired.

some friends and I on New Year's'll notice that most of us are wearing white; it's a Brazilian tradition to wear white, as it represents peace, purity, good energy, all that nice stuff that we want to have in the New Year.

The pattern then repeated itself: a week or so of nothing exciting…and then a trip! My host family and I went to Southern Brazil, and it was really great. I will make a blog post dedicated to that, since this one is really just a recap, and it would become really disorganized and cluttered if I got into the specifics. We got back from our trip, I spent a couple of easy weeks, and then I moved (Rotary likes for the exchange students to switch houses a couple of times during the year)! I moved next door, to my “aunt’s” house (she’s my host mom now…haha it is a bit confusing). I have 2 younger brothers (one 16, who is in my class at school, and one 11) and it is pretty great. Now, I’ll do my best to get a couple of good, quality posts up sometime soon, we’ll see…

By the way, just to pass the time, shall we listen to some Brazilian MUSIC?

Okay, okay, fine!! No need to beg 😉

Currently a very popular song….here’s another one:

However, this (Luan Santana) is considered girl music. When guys hear it, they’re all like

hahahaha oh gosh I’m sorry I’ll stop using gifs they are so stupid XD

Anyway, music for the less girly:

And of course, there’s the classic stuff, which is great:

Okay, I’m signing off now! Sorry about all the gifs. It is so silly. Actually, you know what?

bye lovelies! talk to ya later 😉

Want to see more photos? Click here!


Fortaleza and Jeri

We arrived in Fortaleza on a Friday night. It is a big city, the capital of the state of Ceará. On Saturday, we toured the city, stopping by a large market, seeing a few landmarks, and, of course, going to the beach! People can’t go to all of Fortaleza’s beaches due to pollution, but those that can be visited are really nice. We went to a beach called “Praia do Futuro” (beach of the future). In front of the beach, there are some tables and people selling beach wear. I bought a Brazilian bikini (different from an American bikini because American bikinis are bigger!) for the amazing price of 27 reais (around 15 USD), a rarity in Brazil. Bikinis are very expensive here, usually between 60 and 100 reais (in dollars, between $33 and $53), and sometimes even more. So my bikini was a steal!

relaxing on the beach

Sunday was also spent in Fortaleza, but at the Beach Park, a huge water park! We spent the whole day there, and it was really fun!

our group in front of the Beach Park! I'm in the back row wearing the green and yellow thing

Monday we spent the day at another beach, that a restaurant/other leisure activity area. I got a massage, rode a horse on the beach, swam in the ocean, and got sunburned shoulders. It was great! That afternoon, we got on the bus and set off for our final destination in the state of Ceará, a tiny little town called Jericoacoara. Jericoacoara is pretty interesting: it is a tourist town, so we came across a number of international travelers, and the town is all beach. In other words, the streets aren’t paved, it’s all sand! The ocean is a few minutes walk from any point in the town, and it is also very good for water sports. There were lots of windsurfers, kitesurfers, et cetera, from all over the world. It was a really neat place-we spent all our time, day or night, on the beach! We spent 3 days there, and we were all sad to go.

Capoeira on the beach in Jeri- my camera was really low on battery so I was only able to make a short video, but after a bit they get faster and it is way more awesome.

Sunset in Jericoacoara 🙂

Only one more post left about the trip, and that’s Brazil’s capital, Brasilia!

Before that, however, will most likely be a Christmas/holiday post, so son’t change that dial!

not that you can turn the dial since this is the internet and not an old school radio but whatever

All photos can be seen here!


We boarded Sunday afternoon, and stayed until Thursday morning. Living on a boat for that long with so many people (there were 29 exchange students, 2 guides, and the boat’s crew of 4) was quite the experience…but that’s not even the half of it!

The boat! photo by Dxhunaxhi Chavez

The boat had two levels, the upper level being where we all slept…in hammocks!

our "bedroom"

The deck on which our hammocks were hung was completely open, with only a railing to lean on…in other words, hang on to your stuff or it will be lost forever! Fortunately, I don’t think anyone left their belongings in a precarious enough place to see it lost to the river. The boat had 4 bathrooms, 2 for boys and 2 for girls. Each one had a shower inside, and there were also 2 showers on deck, but since it was completely exposed, we could only use the two showers on deck while wearing bathing suits.

On our first day on the boat, we went to where the two rivers that make up the Amazon, the Rio Negro and the Rio Sorimões, meet. It is truly amazing, because each river is a distinctly different color and they stay separate when they meet, so you see these two different colors of side by side. The Rio Negro is the darker one, called Negro because it is almost black, and Sorimões is the brown colored river:

the rivers meet

Later that day we went on a short hike in an area that is underwater for half the year:

After that, we went to visit a native tribe! The tribe that we visited survives off of tourism in this day an age, which is sad, but it was really a great experience. They performed some of their traditional dances for us, and it was really neat. I filmed a little bit of each dance; the real thing was much longer of course, I only filmed short clips, but they’ll give you the idea:

I'm actually quite pleased with how this photo turned out 🙂 This is our boatman, the guy who motored us from our boat to land in his canoe

We stopped our boat for the night at a beach, where we all swam in the Amazon River until we started to see lightning. We got back on board before the storm started and sat in our hammocks in the dark, the only barrier between us and the rainstorm tarps that were hung around the deck like blinds on giant windows. It was pretty intense!

The next day, we went into the actual rainforest, the part that is very dense and really crazy. The humidity inside the forest is awful, so even though there is nothing but shade, we were sweating like crazy. There were lots of bugs and spiky plants and crazy things! Unfortunately we didn’t see any animals other than a tarantula, probably because the sound of 30 people tramping around scared all the other animals away. Although it was a difficult hike, it was worth the effort; how many people can say they spent two hours walking around in the rainforest?

see pics here and here

That afternoon, we went fishing.

For piranhas.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to catch one, but it was still very fun! To fish for piranhas, you bait your hook with a small piece of meat, and then you thrash the end of your fishing rod around in the water for a few seconds. This attracts the piranhas, and then you catch them! The clever bastards kept on eating the meat off my hook without actually biting the hook. However, a number of my friends caught them, and it was really very funny because we weren’t using actual fishing rods with a reel, just sticks with fishing line tied onto the end, so every time someone caught one and jerked the line out of the water, the fish would go swinging around over everyone’s head, and all the girls started screaming for dear life. It happened every time. It was HILARIOUS!

When we took our catch back to the boat, the cook made a piranha soup! It was actually pretty good…piranhas are just a fish in the end, so they taste just fine!

That night we went out again, this time to catch jacarés (caimans- a subspecies of alligator)! To catch them, you go out at night, and, being very quiet, shine a flashlight around the river. If there is a caiman around, you will be able to find it by shining the flashlight in its eyes, which glow when the light hits them. We took 2 boats (each boat is the size and shape of a canoe, but it has a motor). One boat caught a tiny one, a baby, and my boat caught a larger one, which was probably about a foot and a half long. We took turns holding it, and after I had already passed it on to someone else, one of the guides warned us to be careful, because even at that smaller size the caiman is capable of taking of your arm. Thank you for telling me that AFTER I hold it, buddy. Thanks.

Now, there is one very important thing that I forgot to mention about our boat trip: on Tuesday, people started getting sick. Every day, different people were having diarrhea, throwing up, et cetera. No one knows why, but we are guessing that it is because of the water or the food. Luckily for me, I didn’t come down with it until the last day. I stayed in my hammock most of the time (even though the hammocks really were not all that comfortable). It was the last night that was the craziness: So many people were sick that many times that night we would be woken up by someone throwing up over the side….or someone falling out of their hammock and throwing up on deck…or someone throwing up over the side and then fainting. It was absolute madness! The next morning we were all relieved to be back in Manaus, where 9 of us who still weren’t feeling great stayed in the hotel, and the rest went to a different city to see some waterfalls. Unfortunately, I was one of the ones who stayed behind, but it was good for me: I slept for a few hours, ate a little bit of lunch, went back to sleep around 2 pm and slept (only getting up to go the bathroom various times) until the next morning. We had one more day in Manaus, looking around the city some more, and that night we went to the airport to fly to Fortaleza!

Next post: Fortaleza. How did you guess?

Grande Viajem, part 1! (Arrival, Manaus)

I got home at 4:30 am Sunday morning from an absolutely amazing experience travelling through the Amazon and Northeast region of Brazil. Before I start telling you all about how wonderful it was, I’d like to thank all the wonderful people who helped make it possible: the trip was very expensive, and when my family and I asked for financial help, our wonderful family and friends really stepped up to the plate, just out of the goodness of their hearts. Thank you SO MUCH!!!

I’m breaking up my account into parts, each one for one section of the trip, for easier writing/reading. This first part is about our trip and arrival in Manaus.

Now, to the story!

I left on the November 11th, taking a bus from Assis with 3 of the exchange students who live there to Marilia, a city about an hour away. We had to wait a few hours to catch our next bus, so we went to McDonald’s, and I was reminded of how disgusting McDonald’s is. Candido Mota and Assis are both too small to have a McDonald’s, so this was the first one we had seen in months, and I thought to myself, “maybe it isn’t as bad as I remember.” Nope. Still gross. Anyway, at 9 pm we were picked up by the bus that the other exchange students were on, and we drove on. We drove for about 5 hours to an airport, and took off early in the morning of November 12th. It was a long trip for two reasons: we didn’t have a direct flight, so we had to make a few connections and wait at other airports, and we were travelling across the country:

We started in the bottom left hand corner of São Paulo, and went all the way to Manuas, which is up at the top in the state of Amazonas.

We arrived on Friday afternoon in Manaus, the state capital. It is a metropolis in the middle of the jungle, in a sense, since Amazonas does not have a very large population and most people there live in Manaus itself.

Manaus is an old city, which in the 1800s was very wealthy because it had a monopoly on the rubber industry (rubber trees are native to the area). Because of its history, Manaus is very interesting architecturally. It has a lot of old, European-style buildings that are very nice to look at. One if the most famous landmarks in the area, however, is the theater, Teatro Amazonas, built in 1896:

The theater is still used for a variety of festivals and performances, including opera, film, music and dance. It is a small theater, because when it was built only a small number of people were rich enough to use it, so there are not many seats inside and it is very difficult to get a ticket. For the people who don’t get a ticket, screens and speakers are set up in the plaza outside, and people who weren’t able to get a ticket can watch for free.

We also went to a street fair in Manaus, where you can buy lots of cool stuff

necklaces made of seeds from the rainforest

We also went to a market where you can buy fish and meat. It was really pretty disgusting, because it is all out in the open and can’t possibly be sanitary. Just outside the market, however, we saw the Rio Negro, one of the 2 rivers that makes up the Amazon, for the first time.

We explored the city for the rest of the day, and at night boarded the boat that would take us down the Amazon, and on which we would be living for the next 4 days.

Next post: The boat!

See all the photos here!!!


São Paulo!

Yesterday, I went on a school field trip to the state capital, São Paulo. It was really, really awesome, so now I’m going to  tell you all about it! We got on our buses a little after 1:30 am, at my school. São Paulo is about 6 hours away from Cândido Mota. We drove for about 4 hours and then stopped at the Rodoserv, which is like a rest stop except way, way nicer than the kind of rest stop that has a dirty bathroom and a vending machine. It has a really nice bathroom and an indoor area with a restaurant, sandwiches, a cafe, and a store. I had a misto quente, which is a sandwich made with french bread, mozzarella and ham, and then grilled, and an espresso. I was given 4 sugar packets to put in my espresso, and everyone thought I was weird when I didn’t use any! Anyway, we got back on the bus and headed into town…

My friend Carol and I, arriving in São Paulo!

What you see when first entering the city:   This is a favela, folks. This is where the poor people live. Right after you see some poor people houses, you start to see this: It’s pretty interesting how the really, really poor are right next to the really, really rich. Our first stop was the Instituto Butantan, one of the world’s biggest biomedical research centers. It is famous for making antidotes to snake venom as well, and has a museum section where visitors can see all the snakes that they keep there. Very cool, unless you don’t like snakes. Fortunately I think they’re pretty awesome. Next, we went to Museu de Ipiranga. This is a Brazilian history museum, which I absolutely loved. Unfortunately, visitors aren’t allowed to take pictures of the inside of the museum, which is a shame because the inside is more beautiful than the outside, which is really saying something!

Museu de Ipiranga

An observation: Museums in Brazil are a lot cheaper to visit than in the US. Ipiranga was 6 reais, which is about $3.50 USD. And it’s a really fancy museum! Other museums that we visited were also only about 6 reais, while in the States, museums are around $10, or more! Interesting. Anyway, after Ipiranga, our plan was to go to O Museu da Lingua Portuguesa (The Museum of the Portuguese Language) but we ended up going to an art museum across the street, called Pinacoteca. That was cool, but it was really hard to enjoy because we were all way too tired to be able to pay attention to art. Finally, we went to the mall. São Paulo has many huge shopping malls, and the one we went to has over 300 stores. In other words, it has all kinds of American fast food!! Some of my friends ate Burger King, while I enjoyed, for the first time in months, pepperoni pizza. Pepperoni is not very common here, because no one really likes it. They find it too spicy! We didn’t have very much time in the mall, so my friend Bruno and I went on an epic quest in search of books. The mall had two bookstores, one very small the other very big. Just our luck: the big bookstore was having a CD signing event for a Christian music band, so there was a huge crowd of people getting down with the Holy Spirit and blocking our access to the comic book/graphic novel section. This was a problem. However we dealt with it, and Bruno ended up getting his novels and I got my literature, including the Portuguese translation of one of my faves, “Dune.” Finally, all my friends and I finished the evening with Starbucks frapuccinos, which for them was an exciting taste of America, and for me a reminder that Starbucks really kind of sucks.

We got home around 4 am, and I slept until 2:30 pm this afternoon. All in all, a great day!

To see all the photos, click here!

Also, if you have any questions or comments, post them below!!! ❤


Food, and RECIPES!

Sorry I have not updated recently, been getting distracted and finally I got guilty enough to get to work!! I got a number of requests about food and recipes, so that’s what this post is all about! Fist of all, a quick rundown on Brazilian food and meals:
The 3 meals a day are breakfast (café da manhã), lunch (almoço), and dinner (jantar).
Café da manhã is a small meal, usually just bread with butter or cheese, and cappuccino or coffee. I usually eat breakfast around 7 in the morning, right before school.
Almoço is the main meal of the day, usually eaten around 1 pm, which is right after school. Practically every day we eat salad, rice and beans, some kind of meat/poultry/fish, and some kind of vegetable/greens.
Jantar is in the evening, usually around 7 pm but often later, and tends to be a smaller meal as well.
But no one cares about that. What you want is some of the actual FOOD! So I’m going to throw out a few recipes here, and I will continue to post recipes as I come across those that people may like, but here is a starter:
First of all, actual food:
Bacalhau com arroz
(Cod with rice)
800g shredded cod
1 red bell pepper
1 can dried peas
1 cup chopped olives
1 onion, chopped
3 tomatoes w/out skin, seeds (optional)
2 cups rice
½ cup oil
Combine all ingredients in a casserole dish. Add 5 cups boiling water, cover with tinfoil and put in oven for 1h 15min at 350 degrees.

This is a Portuguese influenced dish, and it is very tasty!
However, here is the IMPORTANT part of this post: THE SWEETS! Because the thing about Brazil is that they make sweets out of EVERYTHING! They make sweets out of papaya, pumpkin, carrot, corn, the list goes on! Here are a few:

This is a typical Brazilian sweet that is traditionally served at birthday parties. There are many, many variations, so if you want to try out different kinds do a little research online. These are my favorites so far:

Brigadeiro branco
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon margarine/butter
50% cocoa chocolate powder
Cook on stovetop, constantly stirring, until it is no longer sticking to the bottom of the pot. Take off stove, put in dish and let cool. Then, grease your hands with the margarine/butter and roll the brigadeiro into little balls, with a height/width approximately that of a quarter. Next, roll the candy in the chocolate to coat.

Brigadeiro stuffed apricots
So with this one, you’re going to start by making the same brigadeiro recipe. Then, you are going to get dried apricots, and if you look closely you can see that each apricot has a little slit in it, an opening. Get a small knife and cut along the apricot’s “seam” to open it up and turn it into a pocket. Next, get a spoon and stuff the apricot with brigadeiro. Finally, get melted chocolate and dip the open end of the apricot into the chocolate and put it aside. Keep going until you run out of ingredients! This is so amazingly delicious.

Aaaand one more:
Doce de morango
(Strawberry dessert)
. Ingredients: Meringues (vanilla flavor)
Strawberries, sliced
Heavy cream
Start with your meringues. These are going to go into the bottom of a pan (or any kind of dish, really, because you aren’t going to be cooking this). The layer of meringues needs to cover the bottom of the dish completely. Then, don’t pulverize them, but crush them down a little bit with your hand. Then layer the sliced strawberries on top. There shouldn’t be a white space left by the time you finish! Finally, whip up your heavy cream. It doesn’t have to be all the way whipped and stiff, it can still be a little runny. Spoon that on top of the strawberry layer. Now, just cover your creation with some saran wrap and stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours. The idea here is for the meringues to get soggy and delicious. Scoop it out with a spoon when you are ready to eat!

Now, I know I don’t have any pictures of these because I didn’t think to take any when we were making them, and I don’t have any on hand at the moment, but the next time we make them I will be sure to take some pics for you all! If you have any questions leave a comment for me, and I will do my best to respond.
I’ll try to do another update soon to make up for my absence!

A Day in the Life

EDIT: As you can see at the end of this post, I’d love to hear requests on what to write about. Allow me to expand upon that briefly: I’m open to requests to write about pretty much anything that I’m doing here, or just about Brazil in general, and you may also specify medium. For example, feel free to request to know what it’s like to go shopping here…in the form of a poem. Or a haiku. Or whatever. Just so that we don’t get bored! And never fear, silly little posts like that won’t be in lieu of my monthly, long posts, but just for a bit of fun! Now, read on:

I got a request to describe an average day for me here, which I think is a great idea, and also I’ve decided to incorporate pictures, because pictures make everything so much better. So, a rough sketch of a day in the life:

First of all, I wake up on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at around 6:30. I kick off my covers (actually, I don’t kick them off just then, since they’ve certainly been kicked off already at some point during the night!) and getting ready for school.

my bed after I have clawed my way out of it in the morning.

I go to a private school, because apparently Brazilian public schools are really bad, and the private school has a “uniform,” but not the sort of uniform one might expect. You can wear whatever bottoms you want, but you have to wear a school t-shirt, like this one:

Or this one:

hehe I love how serious I look

In other words, your uniform is only the t-shirt and if you’ve been going to the school for practically your whole life (like most of the students have!) then you end up with a variety of shirts from different events, projects, etc., meaning that you still have a number of options as to what to wear each day. By the way, “COC” is the system of schools which our school is part of.

Anyway, I get ready for school and then eat breakfast, which is usually something quick and simple, usually bread with butter or requeijão (which is a sort of creamy soft cheese), and cappuccino.

School starts on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at 7:15. On Wednesday and Friday, we don’t have a 7:15 class, so it starts at 8. I get to school, usually just in the nick of time, and get home in time for lunch. Lunch is so good. It is so delicious. And almost every day, we eat beans and rice. They are so yummy. I have tried to explain refried beans to the people here, but they just don’t understand (“You fry them??” “No, no, you sort of crush them…ah, never mind”).

After lunch, we usually watch the news, and then after that, anything goes. It really just depends on the day. Mondays, for example, I go to UNESP in Assis (a larger city next door to mine), which is essentially São Paulo State University Assis, for a Portuguese language class with some other exchange students. The class is pretty cool, because the first day it was ridiculously easy and I thought “nooo this is going to suck!” but then we ended up being split into two groups, English-speakers and Spanish-speakers (we also have an Italian!), because Spanish speakers progress much faster, so the class is harder now and that makes me happy. On Fridays after lunch I go back to school for an after school art class. I have only been once, but I really liked it so we’ll see what happens there! The other days it really depends, sometimes I go run errands in Assis with my host mom, other times I go do something with friends, things like that.

But that just about covers it for now; please, dear readers, suggest things for me to talk about! I don’t want to just describe what I do because that will get boring for us all after a while. What would you like to know? Ask me questions! Also do you like that I have pictures? I like the pictures. Are my posts too long? Too short? You want MORE PICTURES??? Feedback, please!!! Don’t be shy!

O Rodeio

This is kind of outdated as the rodeo was some weeks ago, but I got sort of distracted and haven’t gotten around to posting until now. But it’s a fun little tidbit, especially for you Salinas people!

Those of you in Salinas should at least know something about the Rodeo, or to go by its full title, The California Rodeo Salinas. All the spectators sit at the Salinas sports complex , watching the bucking broncos and the bull riders and the lassoes and all that stuff. Also, it is during the day, so everyone is sitting in the sun eating peanuts and it’s lovely. Also it can be kind of boring.

Here, people don’t go to the Rodeo to watch the cowboys and the animals (although they do use it as an excuse to dress like a cowboy, like we do!). No, this Rodeo is all about the party. There are cows and horses and cowboys and bull riding, sure, but not that many people are actually watching; mostly they’re hanging out with their friends and drinking beer (or soda, in many cases!). It’s at night, and it doesn’t start wrapping up until close to 2 in the morning, and it is way more fun. The rodeo (in Portuguese spelled “rodeio”), called “Gigante Vermelho” (which means Big Red, on account of the area’s red dirt), is attended by practically everyone, and it was especially crowded on the first night because the post-rodeio show was a performance by Luan Santana, who is currently one of Brazil’s most famous musicians. The best part is, the rodeio starts on a Thursday, meaning that after staying up until 2 am, you get up at 7 am to go to school. I’m just kidding, that wasn’t the best part at all, that was horrible. The first night was definitely the best for me, since I was exhausted on all the nights after that. There was only one other thing I didn’t like, and that was that smoking is not at all prohibited, and that, of course, means that at all times the person right below you or right beside you or some other spot in your vicinity is smoking, and it is thus impossible to avoid breathing in second hand smoke; of course, this didn’t bother anyone else because they are all used to it. Regardless, it’s very fun, and way better than American rodeos, which are just boring in comparison.

A little help from my friends

Hello, everyone!

I’ve been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to take a trip down the Amazon River and to the Northeastern region of Brazil. Every year, Rotary Youth Exchange provides trips for exchange students in their host countries. I just found out a few days ago that my district has a 2-week long trip to the northern part of Brazil, which takes us down the Amazon in a ferry boat and through the rainforest where we even go visit tribal people. Honestly, for a few years now, a dream of mine has been to someday sail down the Amazon, and now I have a chance to do that; however, there is a problem: the trip costs 4,500 reais, which is approximately 3,000 US dollars. The trip is so expensive because it includes airfare from my home in Sao Paulo (at least I’m already on the right continent); the only way to get to the Amazon is by plane. My family has already payed a lot of money for the youth exchange program, and they are also currently paying for my brother to go to college, which, as all we Californians know, gets more expensive every day. I really don’t want to ask them to pay more after all they’ve given me to just do this, which is why I’m now asking for your help. I would be eternally grateful if any of you could help in any financial way. I plan on pitching in too and have told my parents that when I return to the states I’ll get a job to pay my parents back any money that is not fundraised (it’s like my first student loan, haha), because I’m willing to do everything I possibly can to make this happen. The other problem is that Rotary needs to know very, very soon if I can go or not, which means I have  very little time to get together the money I need to pay for this trip.  If you can please help, please email my mom at ASAP with a “pledge” amount.

If you are willing and able to help decide to help, please email my mom before September 5th, I know that is really, really soon but the deadline to register is only a couple of days after that. Thank you all SOOOOO much!!

❤  ❤ ❤

PS Yeah, this is pretty much a pledge drive, so if no one pledges I’m going to call Ira Glass and he’s going to go to your house and tell you a humorous story about why you need to pledge, and then guilt trip you into it. Just sayin’.

PPS My apologies to Sgt. Pepper and his band for stealing lyrics from their most certainly copyrighted music.


I started school on Monday, the 8th, and it was pretty cool. School goes from 7:15 on the morning (on most days-some days it starts at 8) until 12, or 1, it depends on the day. I can’t quite remember yet which day has which schedule, but I’ll figure it out soon enough. Either way, that means you come home for lunch (and the whole family comes home for lunch, meaning the kids are home from school, the parents are home from work, etc.), eat lunch with your family (a big lunch, the equivalent of an American dinner) and then have the rest of the day to do your own thing. Everyone thought it was crazy that school for me went from 8 am to 2:45 (“You eat lunch at school??”) and that there were 2,500 students that were all in high school. My school here has 300 students, and it is all grades, from elementary school to high school. Here, the students don’t get to choose the subjects they are taught, and also, they have way more classes. They have different classes every day, sort of like a block schedule but not quite. With a block schedule, the classes alternate, A day, B day, A day, B day, et cetera. Here, they don’t alternate, each day has a different set of classes, with only some repeating. Math, for example, is taught on 3 different days. English is only taught on one day. Also, the teachers come to the class, as opposed to the students going to the teachers. And here’s the best part: they have real chalkboards. That’s pretty cool.

Classes include: Chemistry (Quimica- I have absolutely no clue what is going on in this class!), Physics (Fisica- Ditto), Geometry (Geometria-I sort of get it. Sort of.), Philosophy (Filosofia- This one’s great. Very easy for me), Art (Art history, not actually doing art itself. This one was confusing too), History (Historia- so easy! They’re on WW2, which I’m pretty good at, so it’s awesome), Biology (Biologia-it’s ok, I guess), Geography (Geografia-I’ve pretty much understand this one, too), Literature (Literatura- Nope. Don’t got this one either), English ( Yeahhh…), Writing (Not so bad, so far it’s just grammar which is pretty much the same as the grammar I know), and Portuguese (also sort of confusing, but it could be worse)

Next post- A bit about the rodeo, and maybe some photos… Stay tuned 😉