Friday, November 27, 2009


I’d like to apologize, again, for making you all wait for this blog entry. Life is hectic down here in Rio de Janeiro. Way too much has happened since my spring break trip to write this post in my normal flowing prose, so instead I’m gonna bust it out in list form. The following are highlights and memories from this past month in Brazil. Enjoy.

* On my first day back to classes after traveling, my professors returned all midterms and papers. I was thrilled to receive three perfect scores and one 9 out of 10. I’m not entirely sure those scores were merited, but I’m not complaining. My literature teacher read my paper in front of the class of Brazilian natives as an example of an A+ essay. Haha.

* The next day, Wednesday, I decided to move out of my homestay in Leblon. It was a mutual decision, as my host mother was obviously tired of being a host and therefore I felt uncomfortable living in her house. That weekend I moved into another homestay in Copacabana, farther from PUC but closer to the beach, friends, and cheap food. I adore this new chapter of my Brazilian experience. SO MUCH.

* The following Saturday I took the metro early in the morning and explored the Cinêlandia district of Rio, famous for its cinemas and theaters. I visited the Museum of Modern Art, the Municipal Theater, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Imperial Palace and Flamengo Beach. There are few things I love more than having the free time to get lost by myself someplace beautiful.

* At 10:37pm on Tuesday, November 10, the power went out in my apartment. I was on the phone with my parents and Skyping with my best friend Martín, who was writing from Italy. The phone connection dropped, as well as Internet. I looked out my window and saw that power was out in the apartment building next door as well. And then my host mom and I learned that it was also out along the beach, and in all of Zona Sul, and downtown and in the entire state of Rio de Janeiro. Radio broadcasters quickly announced that power, phone lines, and Internet were out in seventeen other states in Brazil, as well as in Paraguay, Uruguay, and parts of Argentina and Chile. My host was really scared that it was sabotage, and she kept repeating how awful it must be for everyone trapped in elevators. She lit candles and placed them all around the apartment as I ate half of the block of cheese I had just purchased from the supermarket (no sense in wasting it, right?). I played some guitar for her and showed her pictures from my Italy trip on my laptop, which ultimately led to some nice bonding. At 1:30am, still in the dark and no longer with candles, I tried to fall asleep in the 95-degree heat of my unventilated room. Fifteen minutes later I heard tons of cheering outside my window, as if Flamengo had just scored a goal, and I knew that the power was back. Sure enough, I turned on my fan and it began to spin, sending a much-needed breeze my way. We never found out exactly what caused the blackout (“blecaute” in Portuguese), but authorities claimed that a failure at the Itaipu dam had triggered the chaos. My host mom still thinks it was terrorism. You just never know what you’re gonna get here in South America…

* The following weekend I almost went to the movies with a Brazilian girl from my literature class. We were trying to see “2012” in Copacabana, but all showings were sold out when we arrived, so instead we walked along the beach and watched a soccer game at an outdoor restaurant with over a hundred crazy fans. It was a wonderful afternoon and evening, and marked the first time since I arrived in Brazil that I hung out with a Brazilian classmate outside of class.

* My first GlobalPost article was published, the one about the last Fla-Flu. It's not the first time I've been published online, but the feeling of seeing my name and writing and a picture I took on the web never gets old. Another article will be published this week, and I expect to write one more before I leave Brazil. Watch out.

* Last Thursday night my friend Martina arrived in Rio from Italy. She is a 24-year-old hostel owner from Praia, in Calabria, and was the sweetest, most amazing person I met during my two months writing for Let's Go Italy during summer 2008. She is crazy fun, has traveled through 49 countries, and speaks every language that I'm learning, only unbelievably fluently. On Friday we spent five hours together on the beach in Ipanema, and on Saturday we went to a samba/funk concert on the Ilha do Governador, an island around an hour from my apartment. Grupo Revelação, a famous samba group, was the headliner and put on an amazing show at the crowded União da Ilha samba school. On Monday night, just as I was getting ready for bed, Martina called and invited me to a boat party. I reminded her that I had class the next day from 9am until 7pm, then she reminded me it was her last night in Rio, so at midnight we were setting sail into the Brazilian bay to the sounds of funk and reggaeton. We had tons of fun dancing and laughing at all the gringos around us (it was a hostel excursion, so everyone there was just traveling and partying it up in Rio, which explains why the boat was packed on a Monday night). Martina confused lots of people with her nationality, telling Italians she was Brazilian and Argentines she was Cuban and Brazilians she was Australian. Lucky for me, she brought me into these stories as well, which ultimately led to a 20-minute cab ride home at 5am with two Spanish-speaking Italians who wanted to know everything about my "hometown"... Mexico City. Haha, lots of memories were made that night...

* This past Wednesday I went back to Niteroi (the city across the bay with the spaceship art museum, memmer?) with some friends and played five hours of soccer on the empty beach. When the thunder and lightening came, we decided to take some sweet pictures and then sprinted to the bus stop and caught a two-hour ride back to Rio, where we had a free program dinner waiting for us with the director. He was happy to see that David and I have become Brazilian, not only because of our dark tans but also because of our wet swimsuit shorts, flip flops, soccer ball and sandy faces. I can't believe we're getting school credit for spending six months in this paradise.

* Tonight I'm going to a concert with a bunch of friends from my Brazilian Culture class. We're gonna see Exaltasamba, a famous pagode group with countless hits. They're going to be so surprised and thrilled that I know the words to most of the songs, haha. Hopefully they bring cameras so we can get good pictures, since my camera screen was destroyed on my trip... I'll let you know how it goes.

AUGHHH!!! Fewer than three weeks until I fly home! I'm excited to see family and friends, but I DON'T WANT TO LEAVE RIOOOOOO!!!!!!!

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