To say I was excited before getting to Brazil would be an understatement. However, that level of excitement could not compare to the state of pure awe and amazement I currently find myself in. You might be thinking, how can someone who has only been in a country for one full day possibly admire a country so dramatically? I have four words: Brazilian people, Portuguese, and capoeira. In just one day, these three things have been so meaningful, and seem to be precursors to what I will experience in the next 2 weeks.
I have to brag a little bit about my living situation. So I am staying with a woman named Leticia (my host sister), and her ADORABLE dog Pitchuco. She is the nicest, most caring, smart, and passionate woman of God I have met, and her dog is so sweet and snuggly! Also, she is a great cook, so I have already tasted some amazing food and I know there is more to come! She tells me that her secret ingredient is love, which I already have felt in so many ways.
Along with Leticia, I have met many other individuals that have expressed so much care for our group. One that stood out to me is a girl named Greyce (“Gracie”), which was SO cool because we bonded over having the same name! She says she is not fluent in English, but that’s what I say about Portuguese, and she could most defiantly speak and understand more English than I can Portuguese. However, my interaction with Greyce helped to destroy my own insecurities of being a foreigner in a new country. It pays to step outside of your comfort zone and just talk to people and make yourself vulnerable. As I like to remind myself, embrace your awkwardness and bathe in the embarrassment that might come! Which I have found to be true no matter where I am, both in Brazilian culture and American culture.
I was able to implement this mindset in my fist capoeira class. This is a type of Brazilian martial arts that is mixed with dancing. I loved the invigorating environment and really felt connected to the Brazilians who were helping us. They were so passionate about capoeira and the importance of keeping this historic “dance” alive, and I only wish I could be as good as them one day. I was able to dance with two of the guys who were really good. Even thought it pushed me out of my comfort zone and and could have embarrassed me, I embraced my awkwardness! This merely scratches the surface to my experiences in Brazil so far, and from what I can tell, this will be one of the most amazing trips of my lifetime.