Sunday, June 23, 2013

Floripa! "The Magic Island"

Santa Catarina Island welcomed our arrival with a majestic view of what we (MHIRT-Florianopolis) have been describing it, PARADISE! After the long night of traveling, nothing could have been more comforting and rewarding then looking out the window as the plane landed and seeing what we will be calling home for the next 10 weeks. Words cannot tell what I was feeling when we were landing, but I could not wait to step off the plane and begin my adventure.

Lagoa da Conceição: our perfect, beautiful neighborhood by the sea. After seeing other parts of Florianopolis, we could not have been placed in a better location. Lagoa da Conceição is separated from the busy city life of downtown Florianopolis by rainforests covered mountains. There are no high rises on this part of the island. The neighborhood feels much like a small beach town with many restaurants, marinas, surf shops.

I work in the Aquatic Pathology Department, with the lab located away from the main campus of UFSC. So far my time spent in the lab has been very rewording. The people in my host lab are incredibly nice and helpful and a lot of fun to be around.

Everywhere you look all you see is beauty on the Island of Santa Catarina. With a less than a 15-min walk from our pousada, the tropical landscape of the swaying palms and mangroves stops, and mountains of sand and small grasses appear. The picture above was taking after a 3-hour hike across the mountains of sand, that were as high as 10-story buildings. With every mountain of sand climbedthere was always an incredible view of the island and sea.

History is being made in Brazil. The large violent protests and riots that the news media is portraying in Brazil are skewed by very small incidents in a much larger movement that has swept the county with millions participating in peaceful marches in over 100 cities in Brazil.

There are many reasons why the Brazilian people are protesting, but its mostly due to government corruption. On Thursday June 20th, the country erupted in protests that were schedule for 6 that evening. On that day the University closed at 2pm and the city buses stopped running at 3pm. Work that day was very different. The city felt different. You could feel something big was about to happen. The afternoon, my lab mates used the back of old research posters to write their signs of protest.

That night reports say anywhere between 20,000- 70,000 people marched peacefully in Florianopolis. They protested on the bridge connecting the island to the continent, blocking the only access onto the island. So far my experience in Florianopolis has been truly magical. Every day I experience something new, and learn about world. This is by far the closest place I have ever known to paradise and so lucky to call it home. I cannot wait to see where the magic of Floripa will take me next!

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