We are here! We are soaking up every moment of our trip so far. To be honest, I was having a really hard time saying goodbye to my boyfriend, family, and friends when we left for Toronto yesterday. I have never traveled without my family before, and I have never been outside of North America! Thankfully I am traveling with the most encouraging students and faculty, and the closer we got to Brazil, the more excited I became! God reminded me that my family may not be with me, but He goes before me and leads me into every adventure.
Speaking of adventure, after our ten hour flight, we made it through Brazilian customs with no issues: one more major way that God provided for this trip. I immediately noticed how many of the signs and advertisements had both Portuguese and English, making our first exposure to Brazil seem a little less foreign after all. From there, we met Vanessa, our contact from the Universidade Metodista de São Paulo (UMESP), who made us feel welcomed immediately!
It took over an hour to get from the airport to UMESP, which gave us a lot of time to look out the window at this country in which we are first-time appreciators. I have never seen so many people working outside! The traffic was like D.C. traffic but with more public transportation and a lot of motorcycles driving between lanes. It was not a boring drive, to say the least.
But more than the drive itself, the colors in the city stood out to me. They are representative of the culture itself. The oranges and yellows and reds are ubiquitous and are as warm as the people we have met!
Once we got to UMESP, we got to meet our host families! My roommate and I are staying with a woman and her 13-year-old daughter. We had a relaxing afternoon unpacking and resting and got to visit a supermarket later at night. I am so excited for the rest of the trip: to learn more Portuguese, to get to know the Brazilian culture, and to see how God works in our hearts as he introduces us to His people here!
The God of Rochester, NY is the same God who creates the colors, warmth and excitement we have already experienced in Brazil. What’s next?!