Oi! This is the first of many blog posts about my experience studying abroad in Brazil for May of 2014. Here I will compile thoughts, experiences, pictures, and what have you for my stay here in this divided country. (wink wink seg-way)
Saturday May 10th,
I say divided country because within 4 hours of being on Brazilian soil, I, Cailin Manning who am usually so cautious, was pick pocketed about 3 hours outside of Sao Paulo at a buffet restaurant/gas station combo (it’s common there. just go with it). Credit card, debit card, ID, half of my reals (Brazilian currency in which the “r” sounds like an “h”), insurance cards, and my sweet cece’s gift card: all gone. I didn’t cry. I just called “Invincible Vickie” and she cancelled it all and got me a debit card sent to my next hotel. Yes, I was stunned and disheartened that I might not be able to trust ANY of these people for the entire month I was here, but then there is the other division of Brazil…
The other division comprises some of the friendliest, most accepting and fun people I have ever met…and I have only been here for a day at this point. Once we got to our first destination, Sao Jose do Rio Preto, our friend/guide Rafael (remember the “r” sounds like an “h”) took us to a house party for the UNESP college nearby. Awkward does not even describe our little 21 American wolf pack as we walk in not knowing a lick of Portuguese, fumbling as we count out the door fee, and walking around still pretty much jet lagged from re-routed flights and Sao Paulo traffic that caused a 7 hour delay in our trip, yet once Rafael introduced us to a few of his friends my faith in Brazil was restored. They were so interested in why we were there, what we studied, and eager to practice their English skills with us or fix any language barrier we came across with other people. In comparison to parties at OSU it was much more relaxed and the personal bubble is almost non-existent (chocolate cake was shoved in my mouth multiple times without consent but it was all fun and games…and extremely delicious).
The people are truly as colorful as the streets: the darker ones will steal your wallet, but the bright ones will give you risenos and remind you that money can’t buy happiness and memories.