Sunday we had nothing scheduled, and my roommate Mariah and I were looking forward to a day of rest. It was a day dedicated to spending time with our host families. Our host mom, who we call Mama Natalia, planned a day to meet her family and enjoy some authentic Brazilian Barbeque.
We started the day by heading to a farmer’s market and a handmade craft fair with one of Mama Natalia’s daughters and her grandchildren. We then went to Rio Grande to walk along the lake. While we were there, we also saw a baptism happening in the lake. It was very cool to see someone publically declaring their love for Jesus
Then we got in the car and headed over to Mama Natalia’s other daughter’s house to relax and eat dinner. Once we pulled into their driveway, we were welcomed like part of the family. As soon as we stepped out of the car we were pulled into the most amazing hugs. After a house tour, we sat down for an amazing meal. We all sat around speaking a mix of English and Portuguese, talking about all different subjects.
After lunch, we all decided to go for a walk before heading back to the house to relax for the rest of the night. By the end of the night, I did not want to leave. The way I felt reminded me of the way I would feel when I had spent the day with my cousins. On the ride home, I was reminiscing about spending time with my cousins, and I came to the realization that I considered Mama Natalia’s grandchildren my own family.
My favorite thing about this trip is how easy it has been for me to make familial bonds with people I’ve never met before. It surprises me how willing everyone is to adopt someone from a different culture, who continually struggles with the language. I have been welcomed more in Brazil than I have with some of my own family, and it makes me feel so loved and appreciated.