This day we met with another activist who runs one of eight community centers for young kids in favelas (slums) or in poorer neighborhoods. They teach them about technology, sports, reading, arts and crafts and they even take them on field trips! It was great hearing about the work they do catering the young people so that they can gain skills and have fun.
I skipped out on going to see the Christ the Redeemer because I wasn't interested. Later that night we went to a city called Lapa which is big on nightlife. The city was alive that night! We danced for two hours and it was the first time since prom where I had fun dancing this much.
We had another activist meeting at a building called the ship of knowledge where young children come to learn about how to use computers, coding, and other technology related lessons. Flavia was our dance workshop leader and her group taught us about a traditional Afro-Brazilian dance called Jongo derived from the Bantu people in Africa. She told us the history of Jongo during slavery in Brazil and how black people would practice variations of this dance. It was also a way to communicate with each other. We gathered in a circle and Flavia taught us different movements that we eventually put together. We broke out a bit of a sweat.
Just like last Sunday went back to the hippie fair/market even though it was slightly sprinkling and gloomy. I was only planning on getting one more postcard, but I ended up with a few more goodies. Things I bought: Postcard with a Brazil game, a colorful bracelet, a purple coin purse dedicated to the 2016 Olympics hosted by Brazil, and a rock my friend got me.
Afterwards we ate DELICIOUS nachos at a Mexican restaurant and the owner is from Socal!
Today's class was different. There was a documentary by Ana Flauzina, -a well-known activist in Brazil- shown in the morning around 10am. The basis of the
We discussed the film, had lunch and then regular lecture with Ana about her book which discussed love, racism, blackness, and inner struggles. It was like a compilation of different stories told from various points of view.
This was a chill day. I worked on this post and my presentation for class on one of the activist sessions. I chose the one on Jongo because it was really interesting and we could show a video in class.
Later that night, three of us went to a sushi restaurant and it was delicious! I've had sushi before, but this night I tried raw fish and I actually enjoyed it.
Last day of class! During class we did our presentations, completed evaluations for the program, had a guest speaker from Finland, and finally a little party. It was a little bittersweet -more sweet than bitter I was ready to come home.
A few people in my group got tattoos, so we stayed in the shop for hours. Then we had our last potluck.
We packed in morning until two because we had to move into another room for the night.
Our flight got delayed!! Instead of leaving at 9pm it was moved to 2am.
Arrived at 4pm. So glad to be back! I will post an overview of the trip next week so watch out for that.
July 11th to July 18th
Our group went to the Jardim do Botânico and walked around taking pictures for hours. It was a beautiful place. There were so many trees, streams, birds chirping, and a lake with fish in it. I enjoyed the scenic view. It's a place where I could sit down and read or write. Some plants were very different, but still spectacular. We climbed up stone steps with moss on them, and took many pictures of spiders! We didn't see all the botanical garden had to offer unfortunately, but maybe we'll visit again.
Discussion section in the morning then class
We met with an activist in a city that was pretty far. Our trip consisted of the subway, a train, and a bus. Her name is Flavia and she is a spiritual leader for an Afro-Brazilian indigenous religion. The place was named House of Forgiveness. Flavia is an advocate for religious rights and women's rights. She feeds people in her community that are struggling and is running for a position in Federal Congress!
My roommate and I walked to a currency exchange store because we ran out of Brazilian Real.
Afterwards we shopped at a grocery store that resembled Wholefoods. I found peanut butter, almond milk, granola, wannabe pringles, and tortilla chips!
I cooked coconut rice, chicken, and fries. I've never tried coconut rice before and I was nervous when cooking because I wasn't sure if I would like it or not Thankfully everything tasted delicious.
This day was an adventure. Our group went to a hippie festival to buy goodies for ourselves and people back home. They had bags (fanny packs, backpacks, purses, handbags,etc), shoes, headscarves, and lots jewelry and crystals! There were many different booths. I bought a crystal necklace, a notebook, two postcards, and a shot glass. My mind was conflicted because I wanted to buy a straw woven purse (keep in mind I do not use purses) but it was a bit expensive.
Class at one. Our professor discussed parallels between the US and Brazil surrounding the history of black people and how anti-blackness affects people's perceptions, mass incarceration, etc. It creates the notion of nonblack vs. black instead of the black vs. white model.
This day was an adventure, we walked A LOT. On our way to the famous Escadaria Selaron we through a park and saw ducks that resembled swans. They were bigger than any ducks I've ever seen. Once we reached the stairs it was PACKED. I mean we were bumping into folks while trying to take pictures and go up the stairs. The artwork was stunning and I saw a Ghana flag. That was cool.
Afterwards we walked about 20 minues to the Museum of Tomorrow, but it was too late for us to enter. Tickets sold out. Instead, we walked around and took pictures by the water as the sun was setting. Finally we got on the metro and headed to a mall in another city to eat dinner.
Class at one again. Our speaker went over the deciding factors for what makes one issue a social problem that lawmakers will focus on compared to another issue. Also why at certain points in time a particular issue is more prevalent, loses its support then becomes a problem later. For example let's say public transportation is a really important issue right now but in 4 years it won't be, then four years after that it becomes an issue again. She gave models and diagrams on the process. I enjoyed it.
July 4th- July 10th
Bought food from the farmer's market
Went to class
Back to the hotel
Language class during the afternoon
Me and my roommate walked to Starbucks fifteen minutes away. We stayed there for three hours writing. I bought 2 banana breads which were soft and spongy.
Later in the night our TA cooked dinner for us.
Then we had karaoke which I did not participate in.
The last Brazil game! A couple small restaurants near the hotel had TV's to watch so two other students and I chose one to sit at. During the course of the game we ordered three platters of fries back to back! They were delicious! Moments like these are what really make up this trip, sitting with the locals and taking in the atmosphere, and enjoying the environment. Oh, and getting alarmed each time fireworks went because it was down the street from us! It felt like each boom stopped my heartbeat.
Our group took ubers to Sugarloaf Mountain and went up in cable cars to both mountains. The view of Rio de Janeiro was spectacular despite some fog. From up there you could see the beaches, a small island, and the cities surrounded by luscious green trees. Standing on those two mountains was peaceful and serene. I appreciated the scenery down below as well as on the mountain walking around watching monkeys race along tree branches and feeling the breeze hit us.
I started to feel more sick when we came back from Sugarloaf, so I decided to relax in the hotel all day.
Had class at 1pm
Went back to sleep, got up around 3, and went to the market to buy food for our second potluck. My roommate and I made fries, potatoes, and bacon.
Oi, tudo bem?
I am starting this breakdown from Friday of last week up until Tuesday because it's a lot of information. This timeline was pretty fun! We only had class once on Wednesday due to Brazil playing against Mexico on Monday.
I was at the hotel all day writing and listening to music. As I've said before, I am working on my other stories this summer and Being a Model is one of them. If you're new click here to read about Being a Model. I wrote 994 words for BAM and that is a good number for me despite not writing fiction since December. Words just flow when I'm working on this story. Unlike my other stories, this one has more description and extrospection than introspection meaning my main character is focusing on the details of the external world more than what's going on internally.
We went on a walking tour to learn about the history of Rio De Janeiro starting from the 1500's with the slave trade. We went to the parts of the city where the shore used to be (they filled in the water with land to build what is now Rio) Ships would come in with African people(six million in total), many who would die from disease and starvation. Our tour guide showed us an area that was excavated. Archaeologists found over five hundred thousand artifacts from the 1500's like pottery and glass among other items. He also sang a song explaining how the history of slavery is romanticized and retold as an event not as harsh as it was. Next, we visited a cemetery/museum for archaeological items from slaves. Lastly, we went to an area in Rio call Little Africa. This Afro-Brazilian community has a lot of rich culture where African religions and music is very strong. It's also the place where samba and Carnival was born.
I took a nap/laid in bed for a couple hours.
Me and my roommate plus other students talked and watched Identity Thief on Netflix.
Got up in the afternoon and started writing today's post.
Wrote few hundred words for Being a Model
That's all I remember!
I stayed in bed so i didn't watch the Brazil vs. Mexico game but I kept up with the score.
My study abroad group planned a potluck so we had dinner and dessert that night. We had spaghetti with ground beef, potatoes, white rice and Spanish rice, salad, garlic bread, drinks, chocolate cake and ice cream. During the dinner we discussed many different topics. We went over the first week of class and talked about racial classifications and our experiences. It was a great conversation and I discovered new perspectives and worldviews surrounding self-identification when it comes to race/ethnicity/nationality. I love these types of conversations because it allows you to step out of your perspective and understand another's experience. Without these discussions, we wouldn't be able to understand the world.
Afterwards, we went to the park, took pictures of a mural and walked around for a couple hours.
Then off to bed.
Today was also fun! In the morning it was discussion section and language class in the morning with our teacher assistant (TA) and the professor for the program. We worked out a issues we were having in class due to the use of Portuguese for the majority of class time.
Around three o'clock me and two other students went to a restaurant to watch the Columbia vs. England game. There was plenty screaming and disappointment throughout the match. Then out of nowhere it started raining! Thankfully we were in a shaded outdoor area and by the time it stopped, the match ended.
Walked to the mall with eight floors and a movie theater on the top floor. I bought an apple pie from the McDonald's there and it was AMAZING, better than the U.S.
When I got back to the hotel our translator helped me turn on the oven because it's gas not electrical so she used matches. I was scared and burned my finger a little.
Then off to bed.
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