Friday, July 23, 2010

Goodbyes and Changes

I have made a new semester resolution: WRITE IN MY BLOG MORE! This should be easy because I have internet in my new house. So no excuses!

My semester in Rio de Janeiro ended July 7th. It was hard to say goodbye to all of my new Brazilian and international friends, but hopefully I will see everyone again someday, somewhere. July 11th I flew to Santiago, Chile for ten days in order to get a new visa. It was extremely cold, especially after 6 months in Rio, which may have permanently weakened my tolerance of the cold. I returned to Brazil on the 21st and moved to Salvador, Bahia the next day.
In Pichilemu, Chile (3 hrs from Santiago on the coast) wearing EVERY layer possible to stay warm.

I am now living in Salvador, in NE Brazil in the state of Bahia, with a nice Brazilian mother, daughter, and empregada (live in servant). The program here is very different from Rio, more like the one I participated in in Ecuador during high school. Much more cultural and experience based and only 25 students from the US, in comparison to over 500 international students in Rio. The academic director is an anthropology professor! I start classes in the beginning of August at the Federal University of Bahia, though I have no idea what classes I will be taking yet. Everyone else has been here a month already, so I have entered as the sort of late comer who already knows Portuguese and a lot about Brazil. It's funny to see all of their reactions to things that I now consider normal and don't think about at all!

So far I have been recovering from my trip and not seen much of the city. I live in a relatively ritzy part of the city called Barra, about a 10 minute walk from the main beach. All my meals are provided by the family so I get to eat some DELICIOUS Bahian food! I just have to avoid gaining over 15 pounds like I did in Ecuador... Today we went to a percussion lesson in a social organization in a favela that provides percussion, circus, and art classes for kids in the community, as long as they prove they are attending school regularly. It's very interesting for me to compare the favela dynamics here and in Rio, as well as tons of other things. Studying here was definitely a good choice and I'm really excited, though I miss Rio and everyone there a lot!

Lots of love to everyone! I miss you all and hope you haven't forgotten about me!