Updating my blog is obviously not my top priority, so here are some highlights of the last few weeks to keep you all connected!
University is in full swing now here. It took some time, and frustration, to figure everything out but now I'm set! I am taking introductory Political Science, an anthropology class called Race, Class, and Gender in Bahia, Portuguese, and a capoeira class. Capoeira is a sort of martial arts dance, fight, art form typical to Brazil. It is a mixture of African slave influence in Brazil with the hierarchical presence of the Portuguese, representing the underground struggle in Brazil against slavery. I encourage you all to look up some videos of it online if you have no idea what I'm talking about. It's rather amazing! My class is interesting as well because we're doing history, culture, technique, and practice of capoeira so it's like part anthropology and part physical education. I love it! My professors are all great and the workload is manageable, considering it's all in Portuguese.
My host sister left for the states August 28th so now it's just my host mom Ana Helena, the maid Lucia who lives with us, and me. Lucia is an AMAZING cook and I'm going to try and bring some of her skill home with me! A couple weeks of Friday morning cooking lessons and I should at least be able to master something delicious!
My friend Dan, from southern California, is a great jazz musician so I have been going to some of his musical expositions around Salvador. He's played with Italians, Brazilians, and other Americans at bars, open air music halls, and art museums. It's been a wonderful connection to have and a great way to meet non-creepy Brazilians.
Last Thursday, September 2nd I went to a play with my anthropology professor and some other students at the slum closest to my house, Calabar. It's the same place I have been doing some volunteer work, but I haven't been there recently and never at night. It was put on by a theater student from my university here and was in a tiny house on the edge of the slum. It was a play by a famous Brazilian author called Dois Homens e uma Noite Suja (Two Men and a Dirty Night). It was quite powerful and overwhelming, telling the story of two extremely poor men in Brazil and their different reactions to poverty and desperation. It involved a loaded gun, physical fighting, and complete male nudity all within a tiny room about a foot in front of me. Wow.
September 7th is the national independence holiday of Brazil so I had a wonderful long weekend. I went to a city in the interior of the state of Bahia called Cruz das Almas. It's a small city where my host mom was born and raised her kids before moving to Salvador. I LOVED it! Small town, huge farmer's market with crazy produce, friendly people, safety, open spaces, trees, hills, gardens, grass, mud between my toes, animals, bird song. You get the picture. I promise you all that this living in a big city thing will not happen again for a very long time!! I am a child of the rain and trees and desperately need them in order to be happy. As many of you know, I got a tattoo right before leaving Rio de Janeiro of a basic Evergreen tree on my right ankle. I love it and now everywhere I go Washington and my childhood surrounded by nature comes along with me! People of the cities of the world have no idea what they're missing. We also went to Itaparica Island, which is in the bay across from Salvador, where my host family has a hosue. It was beautiful with deserted, white sand beaches and warm water!
Danielle, Stephanie, and I
I'm thinking of everyone back home now and wishing you were all here with me! It rained here today, but you can tell that summer is on the way! I only have three more months in Brazil and I hope to make the most of it!
Love to you all,