Friday, July 18, 2014

Pictures will soon follow, but for now just some thoughts about my time in Floripa:

I'm feeling a little disappointed that I only have a few weeks left here. Although I still plan on visiting Rio, it really feels like I need more time.. more time to explore other states, to meet more people, and to see Brasil as it goes through its seasons. The beaches are beautiful now, but I can only imagine them in the summer! Two of my close friends have already left the Island and while their goodbyes were hard, I know it will be even more painful when I say my own. For now though, I'll try to focus on the awesome parts :)

This past weekend, I went to Santo Amaro da Imperatriz. This is beautiful city in the continent--the kind of place I could spend a large chunk of life in. Maybe it's because I've never lived close to the ocean, but there is something about mountains and water together that captures me; the rain/mist of the day just added to the allure. There were banana, tangerine, and kumquat trees...all beside waterfalls and forests. My friends from the Island and I went rafting first and all I can do is thank God for allowing someone to invent wetsuits! Our rafting adventure is one I hope to never forget: we got stuck (quite a few times), lost a paddle (and got it back at the end), climbed into a waterfall "cave," and swam around like happy ducklings. Charlotte and Amaka really impressed everyone with their ability to go out of their comfort zones! When we finished up and were a little chilled to the bone, we went walking to the hot springs. Unfortunately, these turned out to be baths filled with water from the hot springs, and not a swimming hole--still nice, but definitely not what I expected. Anyway, the "healing waters" were a welcomed temperature change and public baths a new experience.

In my lab, I'm becoming quite acquainted with the challenges of research! The data isn't always what I plan for, or what I'd like to see, but I'm improving my techniques and the rats never cease to amuse me (the chubby ones are my favorite...and oh how they love to plan an escape). Even better than my little pets are the people I work with-- they show me so much patience and guidance! I would have a lot more trouble on my hands without their help...

And now a part a little harder to put into words (read carefully or my mind-jabber might not make sense).
  One of my favorite things about Lagoa (a borough of sorts for Floripa) is that just walking around or sitting on a bench, I run into almost everyone I've met here- like a little incentive to go and enjoy the day outside. The other people, the ones I don't know, are so diverse in this international city of mine that they could all be someone I'd see walking around in the US. Here is my challenge: the part of me constantly searching for familiarity while abroad sees these strangers as a comfort-- not in a way that makes me long for home, but in a way that makes it easier to be away (Don't hate me Auntie). What I hate is knowing that the same thing will happen when I return to the US. I will see faces that remind me of Brazil; our American diversity will mirror that of the Brazilians, but this time not in a way that keeps me content with my surroundings. Instead, I'll be reminded then of what I'm learning now: I've been a Brasileira at heart all along. I guess I'll just have to come back :)
Now time for bed before hikes and sandboarding! Boa noite- Elizabete

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