One week from today I will be getting on the plane to return to the US. God´s been giving me grace with this lately. For the last week I was just absolutely not ready to accept that I wouldn´t be here. But seeing as my life until graduation is in Troy it was time to be okay with it.
I haven´t written much mostly because of a lack of time but there is another reason also. I think I´ve been trying to find a way to keep my experience here from becoming just another story like it so easily can. You go back to your normal life and when people ask you about your trip it becomes a quick summary because how can you really communicate something like this? How can you communicate the friendships built that you never expected, the growth from travel and new things, and the absolute dependence on God when the language barrier becomes too much?
This morning was an early one and one of my favorites so far. We left the house around 6:45 to get across town to the favela we were volunteering with today.
The definition I found online of a favela goes like this: “In Brazil, a slum or shantytown. A favela comes into being when squatters occupy vacant land at the edge of a city and construct shanties of salvaged or stolen materials. Communities form over time, often developing an array of social and religious organizations and forming associations to obtain such services as running water and electricity. Sometimes the residents (favelados) manage to gain title to the land and then are able to improve their homes. Because of crowding, unsanitary conditions, poor nutrition, and pollution, disease is rampant in the poorer favelas, and infant mortality rates are high.”
The picture from above is where we were and it is the biggest favela in the city. We spent our whole time playing with little kids. It was the best time. They absolutely wore us out and although they knew we couldn´t speak Portuguese that didn´t stop them from trying to talk to us the whole time. My favorite moment was when I was trying to tell a little boy that I didn´t speak Portuguese and the emphasis I put on the “guese” part was too strong and he responded with “Portu-gay” and started laughing.
The biggest things going on in the city right now are the Confederation Cup and the protests. I put a video up of the protests on my facebook but if you want to learn more then look up protests in Belo Horizonte.
As our time here is drawing to an end please just pray that we are fully here until the moment that we leave, that we would have full closure from our time here, and that we would transition back into American culture with ease.
I’m basically falling asleep while writing this. Exhaustion has been hitting like a ton of bricks the last two days. The biggest drainer is the language barrier. Conversations that should take two minutes take about fifteen minutes here due to working through the language. My body’s also being a jerk by making me crave all of the things I can’t have here. I can’t remember the last time I was craving fried cornbread but man has my mouth been watering for it since last night. Also, if anyone could mail me some Hook’s BBQ or some Chick-Fil-A that would be great.
Still loving it, though. One thing we’ve learned is that Brazilians really put an emphasis on shared experiences. Even if you aren’t really saying much because you don’t speak the same language they still feel a connection with you because you were there with them.
One of the girls I have gotten closest to is Stacey. She couldn’t speak a word of English when we met her but she’s been learning so much. Saturday night after hanging out with us she went home and studied English all night. Tonight a bunch of people came over for dinner. We have a schedule for dish washing and tonight was my night but Stacey was determined to help. In exaggerated motions, broken English, and broken Portuguese I was telling her to get out of the kitchen and go enjoy herself with everyone. She would not have it. She stayed beside me the whole time and washed dishes. Later on she was braiding some of the girls hair. After she braided mine I had someone translate that she was going to be a good mom. That pleased her so much I thought she would cry. Here it is the respectful thing to live with their families until they marry but Stacey is the only student I have met that doesn’t live at home.
Hope everyone is doing good. Seriously send some Hook’s BBQ.
We have been in Brazil for three days now and this is the first chance I have gotten to listen to music (that Brazilians weren’t playing for us) or log onto a computer. At this point I have a deep gratitude that Ryan Adam’s full Ashes & Fire album can be found on YouTube because, guess what, Pandora is not available outside of United States, New Zealand, and Australia.
It’s difficult to sum up what we have experienced so far. The plane ride was LONG and nonstop turbulence. It’s winter here but you probably wouldn’t think so. Imagine those few perfect days that towns down South get when we’re transitioning to summer but not quite there. That’s how every day has been here so far BUT NO HUMIDITY.
We’ve made so many friends already. They always want to hang out. It’s been so fun learning Portuguese and helping them learn English. I think my favorite is when I meet someone who knows as little English as I know Portuguese and we just struggle through it together.
The food is so good and all organic. Seriously nothing is processed.
Tomorrow I will go with my new friends to their English class and play sports with them. The school we spend time at is all sports and physical education so a lot of time spent together is bonding with sports. On that note, I played soccer last night. In Brazil. I feel like that’s something to mark off a bucket list. Oh also have you ever heard of a capybara? If not then look it up. They’re these huge rodent things that wander around near this water area and I got introduced to them today.
Thank you all for your prayers and good thoughts.
"In a month she would not mourn, because in that season it had never seemed to her that they were married, she and the silent Methodist Edmund who wore a necktie and suspenders even to hunt wildflowers, and who remembered just where they grew from year to year, and who dipped his handkerchief in a puddle to wrap the stems, and who put out his elbow to help her over the steep and stony places, with a wordless and impersonal courtesy she did not resent because she had never really wished to be married to anyone."
— Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
I don’t know about you but a certain new trend has caught my eye something fierce…
The way these shirts cinch in and then flare out is incredibly flattering on almost everyone I’ve seen so far. It creates the illusion of a great waist and hips.
I’m on the hunt for a shirt just like one of these.
The credit for these shirts goes to Urban Outfitters and ModCloth
This is pretty late but just to make it blog official…I will be interning with Judith March this summer! I’m so incredibly excited. I really want my life to head into a fashion career and I’ve been at a loss of how to even get started and then God practically placed this internship in my lap. Judith March is a fashion line that leans mostly to a cute bohemian style. They’re based in Santa Rosa, Florida which is about ten minutes down the road from my most favorite place on earth: Seaside.
The first half of my summer will be spent in Brazil with Campus Outreach. We’ll be there to spread the gospel and see God in a bigger light and I can’t wait. I’m nervous and will be out of my element though.
How could this summer get anymore perfect?