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Opinion

November 14, 2013

Oktoberfest in Blumenau, Brazil

Oi, where has the last month gone?

I cannot believe that I have already been in Brazil for over 2 months! Now, I completely understand why Rotary told us to not arrive with any expectations. Nothing could have prepared me for the experiences I have already had and the surprises I have every day. One year ago, I couldn’t imagine the life that I am living now.

A typical day for me begins at 6 am when I wake up and get ready for school. I have a small breakfast which is usually coffee and toast with ham and cheese. I walk to school with another exchange student from Ohio who lives down the street from me. School begins around 7:20. I have a block schedule so every day I have a different set of classes. I love my classmates so much and they have been very helpful with teaching me Portuguese and translating when possible. Math, history and Spanish are my easiest classes. The math courses I took in the US are more advanced than the classes here. I am learning world history again and I have had several years of Spanish. My school day ends at 12:40.

After school I have lunch with my host family. We either go out to lunch at a restaurant or we have a meal that my host mom cooked. Sometimes my host grandmother joins us. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day and it is a time to talk and laugh with family. We usually have rice, a type of meat, fruit, and vegetables. The fruits and vegetables are very fresh here and I have enjoyed trying the different types. My plate is usually an array of bright colors.

After lunch I walk my younger brother, William, to school. His classes don’t start until 1:30. I try to go running or walking every afternoon for about 4 miles. I love being able to run alongside the ocean and I can usually watch the sun set behind the city. I study Portuguese on my own for at least an hour a day. I read articles, conjugate verbs, and expand my vocabulary. My host parents gave me books that they used to teach my host siblings Portuguese when they were younger. I sometimes feel weird using a book that is meant for a two year old, but they have been very useful with expanding my vocabulary. My friends and I try to spend one or two afternoons together per week. Right now it is difficult for them because they are studying for college entry exams. When we do spend time together, we go to the beach, mall, and the small shops.

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