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Friday, September 2, 2011

Breathtaking Day

Dalton and I had a mission. To find the waterfall we saw a picture of on a website. 
The Sun came out and we decided it was time to go on the search of the trail that would lead us to a beautiful waterfall surrounded by vegetation and fresh water. Brendolyn and Mike came along without any idea of what this trail was about. Again, it was something Dalton and I needed to check off our list before we left Brazil. We got on a bus and got off on its last stop and with no idea of where the trail started we started walking up a hill that was not leading us to where we wanted to go. This hill was not just any hill, this hill makes small mountain seem childish. So we paused the torture of climbing and asked a local where the hell we where and with my little knowledge of portuguese obtained new directions to this wonderful place. Minutes later, we were lost again... walking in the middle of a neighborhood with apartment buildings and elementary schools made us feel like we were never going to find the trail. So here I go again, ask another local and he ended up leading us all the way to the street we needed to go to, without this man we would have been doomed. 
As we reached the end of the road there was a sign indicating the beginning of it all and so we began. Trees and trees, all I saw is green, a little brown here and there, but everything was so natural and clean. Then, I start hearing water rushing near me, only to find a river that needed to be crossed. But there is one problem: we need to get our feet wet because there are no rocks to step on to cross it. So we all crossed the small gap barefoot feeling nothing but cold, fresh water caressing our skin. And then proceeded to climb, jump, and walk. After twenty minutes of walking through green and transparent fresh water we saw the breathtaking waterfall. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Here comes the sun

Argentina gave us a break today and I saw the sun for the first time in a week. Waking up at 6 in the morning to go on a field trip is worth doing when you wake up to a soft ray of sunlight playing on your face rather than an alarm clock.  As soon as I got off the bus in downtown, it seemed that Brazil had woken up, pampered itself and presented itself as the place I was waiting to meet and it showed me more than I was expecting.
First, there is no better feeling than being on top of a hill watching a breath taking view at 9 a.m., except maybe standing still in the middle of a deserted beach with nothing on the horizon but a fisherman's boat and blue waters. And maybe it shouldn't be a big deal to be at a beach when I live in sunny San Diego, but it's kind of a big deal when you're getting over a cold you got from the continuous rainy weather the Argentinians' blew to our side of the continent and the beaches I visit are from a Utopian dream; deserted, calm and blue.
After spending some time at school, an hour of portuguese class and lovely weather. I felt motivated enough to do something about my medium level portuguese and turn it into an additional language on my list. Currently with two portuguese essays on my hands, a novel by Jorge Amaro and all of my host family communicating with me in portuguese only... I think I might just be able to squeeze this language onto my list.
Tomorrow, will be yet another sunny day. I will buy my plane ticket to Salvador, Bahia, the largest city on the Northeast of Brazil or also known as the Capital of happiness, mostly because of the laid-back lifestyle and rich Afro-brazilian culture. Also, I will be booking my two night stay on a city called Blumenau for the festivities of Oktoberfest in Brazil- A maior festa alema das Americas. Considered to be one of the biggest german parties in the America's and sometimes even pondered to be at the same level as Germany's Oktoberfest.
With two more days until my one month anniversary in Brazil, doors have been opening for me. I already have a volunteer job to teach english and spanish to high school students on another city with all expenses paid, I have yet 5 more Brazilian cities to visit and maybe Buenos Aires, my portuguese is only improving and time is only going by faster. Soon it will be over and my life will be back to normal and I will have this adventure imprinted in my memory. But as for now, I still have three more months of enjoying the Brazilian lifestyle and having saudade of my mom's cooking, father's cuddles and my boyfriend's loving.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Beginning my project.

To write about what you think you know is hard to do, especially when it involves an alien subject that I've been exposed to for less than a month. As I mentioned on my first post, my intention was to understand this foreign country at the best of my ability and to open my mind while loosing all prejudice and stereotypical characteristics I came to gather before coming here.
At first, my project consisted of comparing feminism in the Brazilian and American culture, but then I became more interested in the subject of religion affecting sexual education in Brazil, considering that Brazil is one of the most HIV/AIDS infected populations, I thought this would be an interesting subject to touch in as well.
I've always found it interesting how religion would sometimes prefer to not educate it's followers on taboo subjects such as sex and give them a false feeling of purity and innocence by keeping them ignorant instead of giving them the knowledge and awareness to make them make responsible decisions that could protect them from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. To me it seems that Catholicism, Brazil's and Latin America's leading religion, prefers to keep it's followers pure of mind or in silence rather than knowledgeable and speaking of taboo subjects such as sex. And I've always found this to be a real concern for young boys and girls that are trapped in a world were they don't want to commit a sinful act, but naturally their biology is giving them inevitable sexual urges. With no official studies, interviews or detailed observations I do not feel qualified to comment on the way sexual education works here and what they do to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. But what I've noticed is that Brazil's erotic lifestyle is stressed upon human instinct and affection towards the significant other seems to be a need rather than a want, whereas in my culture it is a slower procedure were you don't want to get close to the person until you know what his or her intentions are and the erotic lifestyle is based more upon the object of sex or a sort of reward rather than a need. This being said, Brazil is still one of the countries with the most HIV/AIDS recordings, but then again it has one of the strongest and most effective government prevention and treatment services due to the high recordings.
I still need to research all the aspects that surround the sexual education spectrum. I still need to figure out why it is that the percentage of sexually transmitted diseases are so high here; if it has to do with religion, low sexual education overall; including public and religious education, cultural customs and behaviors making them more instinctively sexual rather than being more cautious and aware of the dangers. Or then again, maybe I am jumping into conclusions... I've only been here more a month after all.