Ever since I have been in Brazil, it has been nothing but an adventure. I came to Brazil thinking I did not truly have expectations of the culture and the various adventures we are embarking on. However, as we go about each day, I now realize that I did hold some expectations. What I am experiencing contradicts many of my expectations, but in the best way possible. I have learned to “go with the flow” and to keep an open mind. I like to have a set schedule, for the most part, and this trip has gone against my typical way of living. This not only is healthy to learn to have a fluid schedule and adapt, but it also is a part of the trip that I will bring back with me. Furthermore, my experiences here have exceeded my expectations and challenged my thinking of how I view the world and other cultures. While being in Brazil, I have to remember that I am here to learn and experience Brazilian culture. It is exciting to experience a new and beautiful culture and to learn about life that is different from my previous experience. I am thankful for this opportunity to learn and to grow. For instance, we had a Samba class this morning, which was very fun and hard work. In addition to Samba, we visited a culinary school where we were taught about the various regions in Brazil and what foods are a part of each region’s culture. Both of these events allowed me to understand the culture that lies here in Brazil and take time to reflect on the beauty of this country.
Our group after our Samba class!
Our meal at the culinary school.
To continue, family plays a significant role in Brazilian culture. We always have family time during dinner, and tonight, our host dad’s niece came over with her family. One family member present, who I had not met before, was a little girl. It was her first time ever hearing English (according to our host dad), and she was in awe as she saw and heard Morgan and me speak in English. She loved listening to us and our inflections as we spoke (my roommate and me). Our host dad, mom, and sister, also conversed with us in English and she was amazed. She was determined to help me learn Portuguese by picking up various items around the house and saying their name in Portuguese with much enthusiasm. By the end of the night, she did not want to leave because she wanted to stay and practice English/Portuguese with us. This interaction reminded me of how I am here to learn Brazilian culture, and at the same time, people close to me, like my host family, desire to know more about my own culture at home. There seems to be a cultural exchange that exists within my host family and my roommate and me. They desire to know how their home, life, and food compares to mine in America. However, most of all, they want to show us the amazing culture that lies within Brazil that they hold so dearly.
Finally, this night reminded me of the love and importance of family resembled in Brazil. If there is anything that I want to bring back with me (other than coffee beans lol), it is the idea and feeling of family here in Brazil. Family here is greater than anything else, and I hope to remember that feeling and carry it with me throughout my life.