Our Brazilian host family often refers to “cultural exchange” as the practice of exchanging ideas, emotions, stories, and customs among individuals from diverse backgrounds. Right from the start, we knew our adventure would be brimming with moments of laughter, tears, and treasured memories. We started the day on Wednesday, May 17th, by sharing breakfast with our host family. Suze, our host mom, thoughtfully served us an array of Brazilian fruits, underscoring the significance of embracing a variety of flavors throughout our visit.
Sarina and I eating breakfast with our host family
After our morning meal, our host dad graciously provided transportation to school, where our group embarked on the first day of Portuguese lessons. The instructor was engaging, and despite our initial resemblance to kindergarten children singing the alphabet, we swiftly absorbed the fundamentals. Portuguese is a captivating language, resembling Spanish yet boasting its distinct pronunciation. We have already shared laughter and camaraderie while stumbling through some seriously incorrect word pronunciations. To our chagrin, we mistakenly thought we were requesting bread on our initial evening, only to later realize that we were inadvertently shouting an offensive word in Portuguese at the bakery! How embarrassing!
Our first Portuguese lesson
Subsequently, we savored a quick lunch aboard the bus as we made our way to Natura, the main headquarters of a renowned Brazilian natural cosmetics company. This visit granted us a profound insight into the complete process of manufacturing their products and the remarkable dedication behind it. Alongside the impressive business aspects of Natura, the architectural marvels and campus design left us mesmerized, representing the harmonious integration of beauty as both a commercial enterprise and a way of life.
Karly, Sarina and I in the courtyard at Natura
During our journey back from Natura, a profound longing for our host families enveloped us, yearning to reunite with them after a tiring day. The feeling of returning to a loving and hospitable family who embrace you as one of their own is truly rejuvenating and difficult to put into words. Upon arriving back on campus, our host father graciously fetched us, leading us to a delightful evening filled with relaxation, delicious food, and captivating conversation.