The time leading up to your first study abroad adventure is full of excitement and anxiety. A million thoughts go racing through your mind as you mull over all the potentially great experiences that lie ahead while at the same time trying to account for all contingencies and potential for ruin. As you get closer and closer to your departure date thoughts only become more frantic. I describe it like being on a roller coaster. The few days just before your trip is like riding the cart to the top of the track and the day you leave is when you drop and the ride begins. Here are some of the things you’re thinking on the way up: Read more
Posts from the ‘Florianópolis’ Category
Known as “A Ilha da Magia,” or the island of magic, Florianópolis does possess a certain otherworldly quality, aside from the beauty of its paradisaical beaches. This ambiance comes in part from the multifaceted spiritual side of the island. Floripa is not known for cultural richness in comparison to the Brazilian states of Bahia where African culture is predominant or Amazonas where indigenous life still thrives. But the island does reflect on aspects of Brazil’s approach to spirituality and has unique movements of its own.
Small idiosyncrasies and the eyes to recognize them give life a little more color. Just as it began to rain cats and dogs in Curitiba, Brazil, a city in the southern state of Paraná, my friends and I stopped in the nearest dry place we could find, which happened to be a German pub decorated with coats of arms and filled with medieval banquet tables. After eating there, we walked back outside into the street crowded with vendors. Mingling in with the crowds were wandering musicians. One such group represented Hare Krishna as they rambled through the market chanting and beating their drums. In an open plaza just up the street from the pub we saw a group of Ecuadorean indigenous men wearing North American style headdresses singing “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias. I felt like I had walked through parts of Germany, Brazil, India, Ecuador and the U.S in five minutes. Read more
Leaving the Andes of Ecuador for Florianópolis’ tropical beaches was a bigger shock to the senses than I anticipated. I was in Quito, Ecuador volunteering and teaching on my own, now I’m hitting the books again as a student with ISA in Florianópolis, Brazil. Read more
Many of my ISA co-bloggers are describing how their last few weeks in their respective programs are going and are listing the things that they’ll miss most about their new homes away from home. My time in Brazil is far from over; I’m here for another 3 months. While I am sure that most of my friends heading back home to the U.S. will miss their home abroad, they must be excited to be back in the States. This made me think about what I miss about home, specifically the things I cannot do and the people I cannot see here in Brazil. Read more
The word paradise translates to “paraíso” in Portuguese. It is defined as “heaven, the final abode of the righteous” or “a place of extreme beauty, delight, or happiness.” From my experiences so far, my definition of paradise would only be one word: Florianópolis. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, this city is paradise. Whenever I meet locals I always tell them “Voces morem no paraíso,” which means “You all live in paradise,” just to remind them how beautiful this place they call home really is. Some people here, though they take full advantage of such natural beauty, don’t know what it’s like elsewhere. And to be frank, why would they want to?
If there’s been one thing I’ve noticed here in Brazil, it’s that things are MUCH more relaxed down here. Living in the States, punctuality is encouraged and instilled in our minds as much as our ABC’s. To be late or to do tasks in a relaxed manner is not the way to be back home. However, things in Brazil work a bit differently. Brazilians need a day off, and every single Sunday almost the entire city of Florianopolis shuts down. Supermarkets, gyms, restaurants, barbershops and even convenience stores all close on Sundays and sometimes for the whole weekend. You might be able to get lunch at a few restaurants on Saturday but come Sunday, everything is closed.
To say that last night was one of the most fun evenings of my life does not express how great last night’s festivities were. A little bit about myself; I live for food. I believe that the best way to learn about a culture is to spend time with its people and to indulge in their culinary creations. So when my host family told me that we were going to have a BBQ, filled with a wide array of meats and poultry, I was excited.
When given the prompt, “describe how your first few days in your host country has been”, I laughed out loud at the idea of summing up my experiences in words. The past four days have been unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and unless you are here with me in this amazing city then you cannot understand the plethora of shocks, not only cultural I’ve experienced. Here’s my best attempt:
As I relax on my memory foam mattress, methodically checking Facebook and Instagram almost every five minutes, I wonder: what the hell am I doing? I see all my friends back at college posting their obligatory statuses about how crazy last night’s party was or how ridiculously swamped they are with Chem 420; I actually feel a sense of jealousy!