So far in Brazil I have learned a lot! I am constantly trying to step out of my comfort zone even when it may be scary and I am loving it. I am normally a very shy person and really need time to warm up to things in new places that are unfamiliar. I am amazed by how I am able, after only a few days, to warm up to everyone and start to feel less anxious and nervous about trying new things, such as capoeira. Capoeira is a fight, dance, play type of martial art in Brazil that derives from Africa and Brazil. Capoeira disguised martial arts training as dance to allow the African slaves in Brazil to hone their fighting skills. It has evolved into a beautiful, fluid, dance like activity that combines “fighting” movements in a give and take manner.
I have a background in dance so some of the movements of capoeira were familiar but it was scary to be in front of a lot of people and dance while being watched. I was happy that one of the instructors came over to help me learn and showed me some different movements.
I am also amazed by how I can understand, with just gestures, what someone is trying to say without understanding the language. I have loved communicating with my host father and mother even though I only speak English and I am trying to learn more Portuguese. It has been so much fun being able to teach them words and have them help us learn words as well. It is amazing being able to have a conversation by making up sign language to communicate. I love talking with my host father because he has such amazing energy. He is very happy and he is showing me how not everything has to be so sad and how to be more grateful in certain situations. I have learned a lot from Capoeira, not only in movement, but in love and respect for my peers and others in general. It has shown me how much Brazilians care for each other and how, although sometimes I may get frustrated with my lack of understanding, I should try to stay calm and positive and grateful. Being able to communicate my love for God with my host father has been fun. He showed me some sign language for saying “Jesus Loves You.” I am very excited to teach others because it is very touching and heartfelt.
So, to sum up my first three days: at first it was scary and I was anxious and missed home. But after, I started to connect more with my family and I have become happier. I am so excited to learn and experience so much more on this trip!