Our last excursion ☹:
Nov. 26 2009
Although Brazilians don’t celebrate our thanks giving, (I don’t know if they have anything similar though either) Clara wanted to do it for us because she "knows how important it is to us". So she invited us to her parent’s house near Praia do Forte so we got to see the castle/fort of Praia do Forte on the way there.
And took the opportunity to have a photo shoot.
It was very cool being there in its ruins but I have no idea what it was about. This is one of the things that I would suggest that they do better because I feel like we just get a little information about where we’re going but it’s not really put into context. Like when we went to the caves when we went to Lencois, I don’t even know if that was in Lencois or what it was called and in Cachoeira too, what were the costumes about?
Anyway then we went over to Clara's mom and dad’s house which was amazing.
It was near a river where we were swimming and just chilled out on the front ...yard? garden more like. And they made some pita pizza for us: vegetarian and meat options.
And we had music and, while the feast was being cooked by several ladies in the kitchen we were swimming and playing music. Some of my friends played the guitar, one played the harmonica and it was great. We had a drummer too.
For the feast we had, fried beringela (eggplant) several salads, one was like a sea food salad, another the lettuce and tomatoes etc., two turkeys, and a sauce that was supposed to be kind of like a cranberry sauce, but since there aren’t cranberries in Brazil, it was made of something else, clara wouldn’t tell us but I think it might have been jabuticaba.
Either way it was delicious I didn’t even miss the cranberry sauce it was very good and very similar. And well there was a lot of food—in the beginning, but man this time I didn’t stand next to the table so I was toward the end of the line and people totally took almost all the turkey, there were little scraps left ☹. It made me really really really sad. But I overcame that quickly.
Oh yeah and they were making fresh juice all the while :abacaxi (pineapple), limão (lemonade), and maracujá (passionfruit juice). And then we went back into the river.
Later on that day we did a toast and Clara kind of made us all go up to the Mic, but man there was soo much crying. We are a really big group, but what was a recurrent idea is that, even though we were such a big and diverse group people really connected and we all got to interact with one another at some point and everyone had made really strong connections and friendships with people.
It was the case for me anyway, I got a long with everyone I think, but there were a good like 10 people that I really want to visit after the program ends, and like 5 that I think are going to be life-long friends. I have actually not had the best of luck when it comes to that, but I was really lucky to meet some amazing, intelligent, and genuine people that have been sooo good to me, with whom I share so many good memories and I really will miss them.
From what people said for the toast, there were a lot of things, but the whole friendship thing and also that people noticed how this experience abroad has made them grow, how they’ve changed etc. I feel like coming from a little town of 700 people, going to school with the same people pretty much from when I was 2 and a half to when I graduated high school. And even my campus town is not a big city. But it think it was a nice jump. By no means was I literally by myself in Brazil, but when I was traveling around a foreign country, like going to Sao Paulo with one other girlfriend—we were by ourselves, and one day I was actually around like the San Francisco of Brazil by myself because my friend got sick ☹. But it was just amazing! I love doing this to myself though, I like creating challenges for myself and another thing I like to do is making myself do something I don’t want to do because I don’t feel like I like it.
In high school I found drawing portraits of people soo hard so I didn't like to do it and I hated watercolor and pastel, so I decided to do my Advanced placement concentration portraits all in water color and pastel, sometimes I don’t like a food but keep eating it until I like it (if it’s good for me). And I like to go and give speeches in front of lots of people when I’m unprepared just to see what happens.
But this trip kind of showed me that if I can do this, it opens up so many other options as to what I feel I can do and also for more likes, more ideas of what I would like to do.
Other people also mentioned stuff about Salvador. I think like I had said somewhere in November, a lot of people were really ready to go home, they were just mentally done with Salvador. Many people were specifically done with Salvador because they didn’t like the city, were complaining about how dirty it was, the smog, the dog poo and the occasional harassment on the street, "why couldn’t we have studied in Morro de Sao Paulo blablabla".
I never felt that way necessarily but the smog and harassment and fear being out in the streets was not pleasant. But someone mentioned that he really enjoyed it overall, regardless of all those things Salvador is a really important place historically and culturally. It was a real experience that we didn’t just see the European Bahia and history that we’re always learning in class while others like African contributions and histories are footnotes or incomplete (twisted ehem*) at best. But that was the focus of our studies and it would only be appropriate to be in the city richest in afro-brazilian culture.
Anyway it was a ridiculously nice time that Thanks Giving-- I think for everyone, despite the fact that I did not get to eat as much as I had wanted. And the general sentiment was that we really really were/are thankful to have the opportunity to be here and were really going to miss it.