Boa Dia from Sao Paulo, Brazil! Wow, it is hard to believe we are more than 5000 miles away from home in a strange place and a strange land. Looking out the window of our plane as we arrived yesterday morning, it was incredibly apparent just how big the world in which we live is — and how small we are in comparison! And as we nervously waited by the entrance to UMSP for our hosts to pick us up and take us our separate directions, that’s exactly how we were feeling: very. very. small.
One by one, we waved goodbye to our fellow classmates with whom we had just spent the last day or so in travel (I believe Dr Kovach likened it to seeing her “children” off) and headed to our host families’ homes. When it came to mine and Josiah’s turn, we loaded our luggage into our host’s car and off we went. Over the course of the rest of the following afternoon and evening, we got to know our hosts a bit and explored just the tip of the iceberg of life in Brazil. For Josiah and myself, this meant embarking with our hosts on a massive grocery shopping trip to the local “mercado.”
Believe it or not, navigating the names and aisles of a grocery store in a foreign country is more difficult than one might think, but through success, and failure, trial and travail, we somehow managed to end up with a full cart of groceries — and were introduced to our hosts in a way nothing but grocery shopping could do. We set off with our hostess Moriah and housemate Tais. It probably didn’t help that neither Josiah nor I have much experience shopping at home, but nothing could have prepared us anyways. We were introduced to guavas, acai, and all manner of Brazilian produce and tried to follow as our hosts rapidly rattled on in Portuguese.
Now, we didn’t learn all about our hosts in a single grocery trip (and we honestly probably did more harm than help), but after lunch, an afternoon of running various errands, and dinner with the entire family, we were beginning to feel somewhat at home in this new place. As we walked to the University this morning, our housemate Eduardo talked with us about life back in the US, helped us find our fellow classmates, and told us goodbye.
It seems we now have a new set of friends in our hosts (though we still sometime struggle to communicate), an exciting new set of itinerary over the next few days, and a view of Sao Paulo from our upper story room that is bar-none.
Perhaps it is not so bad to be a small person in a big world. I am excited to see what the next few days bring, to practice our Portuguese, and to get to know our hosts better.
Please pray for us, however, as we are all still in need of sleep :).
~ Nathan Cannon