Small Achievements and Great Discoveries

Angie Martinez
March 7, 2016

I have officially been in Brazil for a few days more than a month and the time has passed almost right before my eyes. I’ve realized me and roommates have just gotten some of the simpler things down, but still have so much left to learn and see. It’s really starting to set in that our trip to Peru quickly approaching and we’re eager to soak up as much Brazilian sun and Carioca culture as we can. Here’s a list of a few basic things we’ve finally mastered.

1.    Transportation 
Ok maybe not exactly ‘mastered’, but about a month into our program we finally found the bus that takes us straight from Botafogo to the street across our house in Gavea. Living far from our programs center in Urca can be a hassle, but two Brazilian buses in the morning will certainly wake up at the very least, and possibly leave you pretty nauseous if you come in with an upset stomach – but honestly I’ll miss the buses and the adventures of getting lost, even if sometimes we got REALLY lost.

2.    Laundry 
Doing laundry in South America is different, and while most students get host moms who do their laundry, me and my roommates learned is not always super easy. First of all, I don’t think dryers are a thing in Brazil – we hang dry everything, so our laundry usually takes one sunny day to dry. Washers are also a pretty recent thing in Brazil, most people hand wash a lot of their clothes. While we did have a washer, it took forever to finish a cycle! So I hand wash most of my clothes and leave them to dry – rather than trying to do two weeks’ worth of laundry at one time.


3.    FOOD 
I love food and I finally know my Brazilian favorites! Acai, brigadeiros and pasteis. Acai is now my favorite thing ever and every time we’re in Botafogo I bug my roommates to get some with me. It’s like a fruit sorbet and I always ask for it with chocolate sprinkles. Now the reason I’m addicted to chocolate sprinkles is because of brigardeiros. Brigardeiros are usually little balls of chocolate mixed with condensed milk and covered in chocolate sprinkles and they sell them everywhere, you can even find them in Starbucks! Pasteis are like little hotpockets or Mexican empanadas, you can find them in all types of savory and sweet flavors, my favorite are the shrimp ones you can get near the center – but they’re so small! One thing you shouldn’t expect to find a lot of in South America is spice. Spicy food isn’t really something South Americans are accustomed to, so bring a bottle of your favorite hot sauce!

Now while we’re trying to figure out how to do some pretty basic stuff, we’re still traveling and getting to know Brazil. This week we visited Petropolis, about an hour car ride away, and saw the summer home of Dom Pedro the second. It was a beautiful town with beautiful sights and anytime we can take a break from the heat of Rio is a nice time. What was really funny for me was on the car ride back, as we got closer to Rio I started to feel more at home. Its official, a little more than a month into living in Rio de Janeiro and it already feels like home.


The rain in Rio seeps into my arms.
 I hold its history for only a few moments today,
and the city goes on without any qualms.
The thunder is still loud
The people are still out
The taxis still drive
No rain, mosquito or alarms will stop a Carioca.
The rain still streaming through my clothes,
washing me with Brazil,
allowing me to be a part of its home.

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