Monday, June 11, 2012

Floripa! Week 1

All righty! I flew to Brazil June 1 and arrived June 2 in the Sao Paulo International Airport. However, my destination was Florianopolis, aka Floripa. Sam and I came into this excited and ready to go from the time the airplane landed. So that means that a lot of stuff happened this first week, and in order to give a good, concise idea, I am breaking it into sections.

1. Clothing

I don't know about the Sao Paulo, Belem, or Curitiba crew, but I was surprised as anything to get into Floripa and see shorts and flip-flops EVERYWHERE. We were told over and over and over again that these two items were a big no-no. But as soon as we asked Professor Riso, our advisor, she laughed. Hard. There is nothing wrong with wearing shorts and flip-flops in Floripa. In fact, I would have been thrilled to have a pair because the first day was so hot. I know it is winter here, but the weather has fluctuated from 30 degrees to 80 with rain in between, so preparation is key.

2. Food

It's just ridiculously amazing. I have never had such fresh, flavorful, and delicious food before. Brazilians love cheese and coffee, which are two of the greatest things in the world in my opinion. We went to a feijoada this past Sunday with out professors, their friends, and their families. This is a great Brazilian tradition involving good food (beans, rice, sausage, wine, desserts, etc.) and great company. Not to mention, the grocery store has so many items here that are cheaper than in the U.S. This includes fresh tomatoes, meat, mangoes, juices, etc. Samantha and I are in heaven! We have saved a lot of money by grocery shopping and cooking, which I love to do. I adore our little kitchen, which leads me to the next point.

3. Pousada

It is so gorgeous, and we are lucky to be here. It is extremely spacious with a kitchen, bathroom, two beds downstairs, and a loft upstairs. It even has a television with cable. I have been watching Criminal Minds in Portuguese from time to time and loving it. We even have a maid service once a week, all I can say to that is Meu Deus! I was not expecting anything this amazing. And the view is so spectacular. We are in Lagoa near a lagoon and basically the heavy nightlife of Floripa. It is just breathtaking and exciting.

4. Activities

In one weekend, I went on one of the most difficult hikes here and viewed the ocean from atop a mountain. I sand boarded the dunes of Joaquina Beach, and I went to a capoeira class, a traditional Brazilian martial arts. In between the adventures, we went to local clubs and bars, making friends and enjoying the music. They have a lot of American songs tossed in with Brazilian hits that make everything lively and exciting. The bulk of this amazing first weekend is all thanks to the wonderful Chloe and Nadia, two MHIRT students in Curitiba. Chloe came to Brazil last year and knows the ins and outs of some of the coolest places. Her Portuguese is tudo bem as well. I only hope to have half of her charisma with the language and the adventures while I am here!

5. The Lab

Of course I can't finish this post without mentioning the reason I'm here! I love the biochemistry lab at UFSC, the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina. Professor Carlos and my lab mates are so welcoming and full of knowledge. I got to dissect beetle larvae on my first day, which was something I have never done. I am just excited to learn these intricate skills, such as dissection under a microscope. I plan to have steady hands by the end of this! I have grown close to Mychelle, one of the masters students in the lab. She even came over for dinner one evening. I made burgers of course, so she could try something American. She has shown me around the local mall, Iguatemi, and given me a lot of genuine advice that I will always keep with me.

Overall, this is a lot for a first week, but I wouldn't want to miss any of itl! There will be more to come, so tchau for now and beijos!

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