Sunday, October 23, 2011


So! It has been A FAIR WHILE since I've written here but lately I have been VERY out of routine..which has been great! First up I moved houses, into a family that has older kids and one on exchange in Australia (Alice Springs) so I'm back to being an only child and yeah relishing in it actually! My new parents are amazing, they really do so much for me to make the most out of my time here and they're so attentative, helpful, loving and really so interesting to talk to but the worst/best thing is they have TOO MUCH GOOD FOOD! Um, the first night I sat down for dinner I was just like well wow, we are going to have problems..there was like no space left on the table..just full of various delicious dishes.

It's gotten to the point where my friend was like 'oh look! It's Sarah!' at this

Which starts the first story! This is at the São Paolo zoo, which is quite amazing place to see when you think about how congested the city is with it's endless grey concrete buildings! Anyway the zoo even had Emu's so of course the two Australians and I started talking to them in ridiculous Australian accents..because you know us exchange students..we hate to draw attention to ourselves or be weird....................such as the following night...5 Australians, 2 skate boards and a night on Paulista (the main avenue of Sao Paolo city) ...=recipe for madness. We skipped along the streets yelling the Australian anthem, one of them crossing the street belly flat on my board, various falls, fire extinguishers being set off, tomato sauce EVERYWHERE, finding random people walking around with guitars turning into besties and busting out wonderwall together and yeah... I wish I could give details about what happened from then until 7.30am buttt that's gonna have to be one for when I get home ;)

The rest of São Paolo was very fun too, it really is the New York of South America in that it has allll the things and the individuality. We went to Japan town, 25 do março (a crazy market street full of everything and anything) and the Rock Gallery (6 storeys of piercing/indie/skate shops-where I bought my board!).

Next trip: Florianopolis! This is a city in the South, 8 hours away which is actually an island hanging off the continent. My family and I went down to visit my host brother and he and his girlfriend took us to all these amazing beaches, view points and sights which were absolutely stunning, and we did a little trek which was so revitalising to be surrounded by endless forest and little lakes and just untouched's so much more appreciated when you are used to buildings and more buildings and oh how amazing it was to see an ACTUAL beach with WAVES! All of this made me think of Yamba, with love :)  And I found many more little pieces of Aus in this city, like when I saw an Aussie flag hanging in this tiny little lakeside cafe..turns out the owners spent a year there and even went to Yamba! Very small world indeed! 

There are in fact many  Brazilians from Floripa that go to Aus for the surf/travel/lifestyle and many Australians that visit Floripa as well for the same reasons and it makes me realise how similar the countries are. I actually found an Aussie themed restaurant "Didge" that's how into it they are and it was hilariously over done with rugby jerseys, surf boards, didgeredoos, 'sheilas' on the ladies bathroom and the waiters all walked around in these Steve Irwin-inspired ranger outfits. The menu had things like 'sydney steak', 'burger surfista' 'Aboriginie sauce' haha they have clearly thought that adding an Australian-related word would instantly make the food Australian...

                  (their attempt at's just icecream in the middle...)

But the best of all was YAMBA LAMB!!! Ahhh I couldn't believe it when I saw it..I almost cried of pride. Like there I was, sitting in Brasil, ordering something with the name of our tiny little coastal town that has been such a big part of my growing up. It was a real moment of connection between my two lives, from one home to the other. And I realised that perhaps this world isn't as big as we think it is :)

Another cool bridging of the worlds ocurred two weeks ago when I met up with Luiza, the Brazilian exchange student who went to my rotary district in Aus! I caught the 3 hour bus to her house to be greeted with the news that we have 2 free VIP tickets to Flo Rida's show which just happened to be on the same night in a club of her exact city! So instead of paying the $150 we rock up as he's starting..(everyone dying of suffocation from getting there so early) start shimmeying our way through the VIP area pretending we bought backstage tickets..made it to the very front and enjoyyyyed every minute! Champagne was sprayed, sneakers were chucked, Flo Rida money flying everywhere, his body was thrown into the crowd and we ended up getting into the backstage area anyway and yeah it was just crazy amazing times!

Aside from that just being going to school casually, had a bit of a tear the other day as we were celebrating independence day and everyone went to the quad to sing the national anthem and their school anthem and saw the little 4 year olds and I just thought far out this is the last time they'll ever do this after so many years, and now it's like the end of an era for them you know? And I know this will sound really lame but it feels like I have grown up in the walls of Carmo singing this school anthem every year..when of course I haven't..but they make me feel like I have :D   And today they got their graduation t-shirts with everyone's name on them and mine is on there! Ahh there is nothing quite as special as that feeling of belonging ;)

As for now, just trying to enjoy the last few months here, soaking up the sunny weather and getting into some Capoeira, surfing, beach runs and longboarding (now my principal mode of transport haha)! I am loving the feeling of the air, on my skin, it's got it's own vibe that brings a certain happiness and excitement..I don't know why's weird because summer's arrival for me is usually about school holidays, christmas concerts/parties, Country style/yamba surf/podium, extreme busy-ness, and just Yamba in general..and it's almost not summer without these things but I think wherever we are this vibe will stay with us forever, I can't explain it but we all know the one!

Now that it's coming to the end I always sit here thinking wow I could have done this, I should have said that, imagine what it would be like if I paid more attention to this person etc. etc. like with just random things that I'm discovering now..and the more you analyse each day/thing and think about how it could have been better it kinda leaves you upset and disappointed with yourself. Like even simple decisions I enter this existential crisis looking at both options wondering what will be the most worth it, what is the 'right' thing to do, what will you miss out on if you choose this side etc. and there are just so many possible variants..and our freedom of choice feels more like a curse but yeah I'm starting to realise that you can't do every activity, be everyone's best friend, accept every invite and have every single day run perfectly efficiently. Life doesn't work that way, nor should it. There is no correct formula and it is impossible to please every person and experiment every current mum consoled me the other day by reminding me that our regrets are made up of choices that felt right at the time, with the thoughts and capabilities that we had at the time, and they're not worth upsetting today. So, trying to roll with that idea :)

I have 3 more trips that I've been on since I started this blog and many more stories but no WAY will it fit here you've done well to make it this far haha! And soon enough I'll be setting off for the big 30 day trip around the North East haha! So, life is accelerating now more than ever but instead of worrying and over-planning like always I'm just going to try and take it com calma, in the spontaneous spirit of summer! Glorious summer. Oh how we've missed you! X

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ferias (holidays!)

Well well I don't know HOW June just kinda flew by in a blink! I guess that's much better than it passing slowly and being boring. Let's see here, I went to about a million farewells. They don't really get any easier, and yesterday the last intercambista from Santos left :(
It's quite strange, it's like half of my life has disappeared from here. All the crazy cats that I used to call for afternoon hangs (that would always end up in hilarious fits of laughter/inappropriate public behaviour/wild singing and skipping in the streets etc.) are all gone now. Of course I still have my amazing Brazilian friends that I love to DEATH but there's just a certain bond between exchange students that you won't find anywhere else.

Exchange students are the people that want to try anything and everything once, the people that have left their previous lives and everything they knew and loved behind in our own little corners of the world, the people that have been shoved into this new country to see what we can make of it, the people who are always out of money, the people that go from not understanding a single word to living their life in another language, the people that are living in random people's houses, the people that are growing and learning more things about themselves and the world than they could ever imagine, the people that haven't had a hug from their real mum or seen their best friends for months, the people that understand you.

And these people, HAVE ALL GONE HOME :(   Back to real world! So yeah Santos has a bit of an empty feeling at the moment, with the addition of the classic winter slump but nevertheless, soon to be fixed with bright and beady eyed fresh excahnge student meat arriving next month! Seeings as I'm the only girl that's left from my district I have decided to be their mumma cat and show them the ropes :D

But anyway, always having a big bag of fun with my Brazilian friends. Last month we had this thing at our school that happens all over Brazil called Festa Junina. Alot of them didn't know the exact reason why it's celebrated but you know, any excuse will do for a party here. So basically everyone is in checkered shirts all barnyard-ey and little girls have this gorgeous little dresses and everyone is skipping around like crazy doing these crazy squaredances and eating lots of traditional yummy food. The month of June was considered to be a favourable time to marry because it is named after the Roman godess who is the patronage of marriage (Juno), spreading of Christiany the traditions were eradicated blah blah but her marriage abilities were passed on the Saint Anthony. So hence we have this fake marriage. My guy friend was the bride and it was all quite hilarious.

Anyway the ferias started with a bang, 18 of us went in a van to some random inland city for my friend's birthday and we all stayed there rented out a house for four nights with a massive front yard and everything and we never left there, just totally away from civilisation in our own little world living off 2 minute noodles and partying every night haha. Dancing on table tops was a regular occurence. Extraordinarily wild fun!

My host dad also threw this 50th birthday party this month, it was fancy dress and there were like 100 people all in crazy costumes in this beautifully decorated room ah it was amazing! This host family that I'm with now are just so incredible, every single day I wake up grateful to be in their lives. When I arrived here and saw their amazing apartment, heard of their overseas holidays, the kids in good schools everything you first kind of think 'oh, these type'. But they are definitely the opposite of that rich egotistical stereotype, FOR EXAMPLE, when I saw that they had a maid here I thought that was quite uppity, like if someone had one in Australia it would be met with a 'oh so what you're too good to clean your own house then? How lazy.' type attitude but then I thought about it and really, they are out there operating people's hearts and attending to patients etc. helping people in need, while at the same time they are giving this single mother a job. And not just a job, they bought her a HOUSE and paid for her to get braces to fix her chronic dental problem when she didn't have the money up front. Like, can you believe that? Who would DO that?

 They have the purest of hearts that exist in this greedy world, my host dad grew up pretty humbly and the years that they have both worked to create what they have here is just amazing, and not just materialistically, how they are as a family too. Their bond is just incredibly strong and even though I only met them a few months ago, they have made a big impact on my life because they are truly genuinely good people, the type that you aspire to be you know? When we came back from the party we were all just sitting around and they said that I seem like their own daughter and that they could keep me forever if I didn't have to go anywhere haha! It brought tears to my eyes and overwhelming gratitude because they treat me SO well and I truly do love them as family too. Just another one of those things in exchange that definitely won't end at exchange :D

And the rest of the holidays have been pretty tranquilo..waking up at midday..enjoying some sun in the arvo, longboarding usually and then if everyone has the energy.. going out at night! It's been good.
But I can definitely feel a change under my feet, around the halfway mark a few weeks ago I realised that I'm not a new little tourist running around anymore. Like, this has become reality, normal life type thing. It's not like everything is crazily new anymore, I know my way around, and I'm apart of this city in so many ways that Santos seems like home now.

So, em fim, life is travelling along smoothly 4 months of school and then bam 30 days in the northeast, bam christmas, bam new year and then pahhhh 2 weeks of hard goodbyes. Will all arrive in the blink of an eye, this I am sure of. I hope you've all enjoyed some winter hibernation. And do let me say, that while life here is a dream, some people will just never realise how much I miss them..!

 Saruxa x

(pang of homesickness #13: when Brasilians find the concept of vinegar on hot chips and cheese on hot dogs ABSURD. I just sighed and said ahh it's normal in my country, I swear.. ) 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Opa ok lots of fun little things have happened since Easter...

  • Spontaneous taekwondo lesson 
  • Went to a couple of studio rehearsals of a friend's band...(they're really flippin good too!) 
  • Walked up a mountain here in Santos (really see the other side of Brazil up there..heavy shit) 
  • Discovered the goodness of Temaki
  • Started some casual hip hop classes (that always end in me and tshiamo bursting out our own krumping)
  • Getting heapppps tighter with my school friends who have saved me various times (that they aren't aware of) from little lame bursts of homesickness
  • Spreading my group's little weird words and sayings to Brazilians and exchange students from all over the world...this ding dangin' be goin global! 
  • Started drawing classes at school 
  • Partying extraordinarily hard
  • Doing 10km tribuna with my Rotary club on a few hours sleep (day was crazily good..the whole city really came together at 7am on a Sunday morning..hundredddddds of people doing the for real real or just groups of friends walking it in gorilla costumes..then you've got the old ladies cheering in their fold out chairs on the side...people throwing down bananas from their windows in the wild mayhem...real nice community spirit day!)

  • Went to a random interpretive dance show of a friend (oh it was interpretive alright)
  • Being so tired that I fall asleep in meditation time at yoga (this has happened more than twice...)
  • Sitting on the steps of a shop at midnight next to a bar with a big group of  exchange students and a guitar ..singing and laughing the night away until 4am true poor intercambista style...
  • Doing a wholeeeeee big bag of longboarding! My fellow Aussie here lent me his longboard (I'm sure I've already talked about a skateboard but you kinda just cruise along smoothly..curving..not like jolty turns.. kinda surfboard on wheels I guess)  The other day I actually skated home on the bike track! A little scary, but I didn't die so that's a plus. I did however have my first fall the other day..was fairly hilarious..face plant into the garden type a sexy (read: horrible) battle scar to prove that I'm a true skater now haha
  • Going to crazy over the top expensive little kid birthday when you think little kid birthday parties I think back yard, some mild games and those little red sausage things...well that is NOT how these city kids roll. Probably I have already mentioned the Brazilian's and their love for parties..pretty much goes unsaid..well they have these what they call 'buffets' and 'salão de festas' (in apartment buildings) which are places just purely for parties.

    I went to a buffet for a 4 year old's birthday and inside it literally had dodgem cars, a mini rollercoaster, a pirate ship type ride that swings back and forth, an area to play football, a dancefloor, Wii, computers and a playground..more still. It was off the chain! Part of me really wished I was 5 again, or that it was socially appropriate for an 18 year old to go on a mini rollercoaster with 5 year olds haha. Plus like it had an endless supply of drinks/snacks/lunch/desserts/cake. The whole thing went for 4 hours and I think cost like $2,500
  • The other one would have cost the same or maybe more as it had a magic show and so so much alcohol (for the parents, keep your pants on rotary) and they rented a full on decoration setting we're talking extreme. Most of the mums at both parties were wearing amazing classy clothes and high heels and the catering was so ridiculously gourmet (let me remind you this is to a one year old's birthday party) as most of them were from my building; Costa Blanca.
  • Oh by the way I switched families/houses! I now live 2 blocks from the beach in a (I'm not gonna lie) really really gorgeously amazing building. Everyone who lives here has worked really hard to get here, (or are football players haha) like they're all doctors and important people. It has a pool, gym, sauna, playground, little football area, finger print ID in the elevator and yeah it's really nice. Being here and going to their social events is like stepping into a different world, like they're all chillin with their designer clothes and maids and overseas holidays and I'm like the intercambista who would rather walk places than pay the R2.65 bus fare haha.
  • But my new family is really really lovely. The dad is a cardiologist and the mum is a physiotherapist/uni professor/also doing a PHD. So um yeah they're pretty clever people. But since day 1 I've felt really welcome's like we're real family already and it's only been a couple of weeks! I have an 11 year old host brother and another 17 year old that just came back from a year in Mexico! And we have a dog! A cute tiny little thing! 
  • My first weekend with them they took me to the grand final of the State competition to watch Santos beat the Corinthians...the whole city was had this vibe like tense but excited and positive..4pm EVERYONE was glued to their televisions..this game was a BID DEAL. I don't know if you know how much Brazilians love football (to be fair not all of them...) but like when they love it..they are just not kidding around. Every 2 minutes there would be a unified outcry of fierce portugese swearing and when our team scored goals it was like everyone was simultaneously winning the lottery. So electric. 
  • Also went to a theme park! And like the quality intercambista I try to be, didn't say no to anything..went on every ride even up to this crazy bungee jump/getting let go from 60m and flying over a river type thing. Was nearly crying with fear/cutting off my friends circulation with my terrified grip haha which seems dumb now that I've actually done it..but going throught that 'ahh I realllllllly don't want to..but I'll regret it if I don't, I'm only gonna come here once' type of thing is where some of the best experiences come from I think. Those ones where you kinda just dare push yourself through the unknown out of your safe sensible thinking (like..oh it would be so much easier if I just didn't) are the ones that make you feel so damn alive. Like when you just suck it up and hope for the best you're..I dunno..growing..finding something new..achieving something..making things happen. Splashing around some colour. 
  • In exchange you are always thrust into these new and strange situations where you are totally lost (like the other day I went to my friends school and spoke to about 6 different english classes full of teenagers I had never met before..but you know it turned out being completely fine..) and because we're on this constantly ticking time bomb to go home it's like we will accept every invite, say yes to that ride, grab any opportunity and see where it takes us because if you wait til later... before you know it your time's up! Saying goodbye to all the Northern Hemishpere exchange students really makes me thing does come to an end..and each day it gets closer and closer...
  • SO, my little piece of wisdom that I seem to be giving at the end of each blog (unintentionally, but it just kinda happens with all this reflection haha) is: Reap the shit out of every day. If there's something you always say 'oh I wish I had time to do this'..just..DO IT. You have the time. If it's something you really want to do then you can make the time, it's only you that's stopping yourself using time as an excuse. Live like an exchange student and say yes to the random event even though you could be awkward anaconda never know who you can meet or what you may learn (and at the very least there's the possibility of free refreshments). 
  • Donnnn't stay sitting home alone on your computer virtually watching your friends' lives, GO OUT and actually be living in those lives instead! Here in Brazil I have never come home from school and stayed there until sleep time. Literally every afternoon I am out doing something, not like crazy mind-blowing adventures..just you the time with those around me whether it's just going for ice-cream with someone or going long boarding, or even if it's just going outside for the sake of it being a beautiful day WHATEVER because in 7 short months it's all going to be taken away from me...this I know I can't all I am left to do is make the most of every day, just squeeze every inch of life from them, and I've never felt happier.
Sarinha x

Monday, May 16, 2011

Aniversario 18th and Easter!

Ah ok so this was definitely nearly a month ago but finally here we go. Sooo I'm 18! Finallllly. In Brazil the 21st of April is a holiday and this year fell right before easter! And then after that my class had the week of exams so pretty much I got home from the cruise and then we had my birthday kicking off a 10 day holiday! (holiday from what, I don't quite know as I don't really study..) It was my host dad's birthday the day before so we had a combined festa with all their friends, my 20 closest friends and the extendo family! It was such an amazingly gorgeous gesture of them and they had the room all decorated with the Brazilian flag, the Australian flag, balloons in both the flag colours and like a 'fusão' of them both in between. Their daughter is doing an exchange in australia so it was kinda like a colourful metaphor of our lives :D

It was a really joyful day; my host dad did an amazing churrasco (barbequed meat has never been so good), I got so SO many sweet presents (some from people I hadn't ever met!) my south african bestie teaching everyone the waka waka dance, getting cake spontaneously smeared into my face/hair/clothes/bod by my friends (apparently it's a brazilian thing...still suspicious about that haha) and yeah just lots of laughs! I'm really grateful for my family really including me in their lives and making the day so special, I won't ever forget it.

Oh and if you know me well, rest assured I didn't let you down, the birthday night was quite wild too haha ;)

The day before easter me and my host family went to this sort of exclusive beach called Iporanga in the neighbour city Guaruja. We had to wake up at 6am to get there early as they only let 30 cars in per day but it was definitely worth it! It was a beautiful beach, and it had WAVES which I had been missing! Had a bit of an Angourie moment..when you just look pop your head up out of the fresh cool water, squinting into the sunlight wondering how something could be so perfect. I be reppin with my aussie bikini! God I thought I'd never wear one of those but when you're away from home suddenly it's a novelty :D

Woke up to easter with my host brother poking me saying 'sarah! sarah! Kinder ovo! I is very happy!' haha he is crazy. I got an easter egg too, and then 4 more when we went to my host uncles place for lunch. So...much..chocolate...

The whole weekend was really special because my family, and the whole extended family really have embraced me as one of them. Family ties are really really strong here in Brasil and I've been learning alot about the importance of family in our lives (ugh I think that's the lamest sentence I have ever written but it's pretty true)  For example, my host aunty did a 6 month exchange to the US like 30 years ago or something..and the family that she stayed with is coming over here to Brasil to visit her (bringing the next generation of kids along with them) ..30 years later! Which just goes to show that exchange isn't really for one year will always be with you if you let it.

My host mum and host aunty both have kids living in other houses overseas on exchange, and both the mum's miss them terribly and had a little tear for them not being there but they know that they are having the year of their lives so they fica tranquila, they know that their kids are out meeting people/staying with families that will be with them for THEIR lives too. It's a really beautiful little thing, exchange. Bringing the world so close together. Anyway at this massive turkey lunch I got a bit emotional because like coming from having just a mum and a dad in my country and them being so far away it's a really nice be loved and cared about and sharing a meal with so many people with everyone all connected. There were like cousins and grandparents and aunties/uncles and everything..things I'm not really that used to..and all of a sudden you don't feel like you're out here in a different country all on your get a real sense of belonging one HSC english student might say..

Anyway when we got there the house was all decorated with cute little easter bunnies and special 'feliz pascoa' hand towels it was so cute. So festive! We had a big turkey and also baked salmon sweet jesus nothing in my life was better..then there were 5 DIFFERENT CAKES. Um so yeah yet again I became really overwhelmed and overate the shit out of lunch and ended up being sick..bit of a food overdose..but so damn worth it ahhh.

So I hope you all had a lovely easter too and took full advantage of those half price creme eggs on the monday! And if you are having an lil issue with a family member..try to patch it up and keep it tranquila because it has taken me 4 months half way across the world to realise there is nothing more important in this world than family.


Monday, April 25, 2011

My nautical experience..I'M ON A BOAT

Well, those who are keepin up a good stalk would know that last weekend I went on a bit of a cruise. Bit of a 4-day all expenses paid cruise to Rio and Buzios with around 25 other crazy amazing exchange students! When we all arrived at the terminal thing we were all jumping around wildly, taking photos, wearing weird rotary hats and singing the "i'm on a boat" song. Actually, that pretty much sums up the whole cruise (except for the hats thing..we took them off pretty quick haha)

So pretty much we have a floating hotel..massive pool area, restaurants, bars everywhere, but the cabins were like smaller than a standard fit 4 people and all their bags..haha but it was all good because we had a flexible room. Ie. two of us had done ballet and the other two did gymnastics, so we managed!

Our days were basically filled with poolside chills, sun baking, so SO much dancing, not nearly enough sleep, extreme over-eating (we're talking at least 4 meals per day..20 desserts in 3 days) , staying up to watch the sunrise...then watching it set on the same day on the very top of the boat..getting in trouble for being on the very top of the boat..Aussie reppin..(one of the other aussies tied up a flag amongst alll the white rotary ones haha such a win)..getting off at Buzios and jumping off the pier with the locals (a gorgeous little island with cute boutiques, cobblestone roads and the cruisiest vibe) playing that -never have I ever- game in over-crowded spas..going to night cabaret shows...constantly singing the on a boat song and stating what one was doing and always finishing with..on a boat...

hilarious 5 course dinners..being too poor to pay $2 for water at the fancy restaurants so just eating the ice out of wineglasses...become absolute besties with our waitress Jackeline (she gave us all of the 3 desserts each night when you can only order one)..gettin dowwwn at the balada (word for clubs) with mexicans..actually just gettin dowwn with people from every country..saying REOW suggestively with a cat like hand movement...waking up at midday in Rio to lunch and a crazy samba carneval-style presentation...volunteering myself to shimmey with the sambistas in front of everyone on da boat...pumping up the sweet tunes of happiness from cat empire with the other aussie under the burning sun..winning keyrings in arvo soccer games..hanging pajama pants in the cracks of the ceiling just cause I can..toooo many laughs... befriending the cutest six year old girl at the tropical party night and just dancing and jumping around crazily with her and the exchangies under the stars..(when we left she was crying so her parents took her to the club to find us and dance with us again!! Hahha ohhh really don't care about rules do you...) ...spontaneous first aid missions ..and yeah just generally being woken up too early, regretting not sleeping more the night before but staying up late again anyway..

All in all...a really fun time that went WAY too quickly! I don't know how I can ever ever thank Rotary for giving us this amazing opportunity, most of us had never been on a cruise and yeah it was just truly amazing. Such a brilliant way to spend my final days of being 17. Photos are up on facey!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

April livin'

Oiiiiii gente

Quick update, well what's been happening in the last week...pretty much general school life. Which is thoroughly enjoyable. I've actually gotten to the point where I am waking up at 6.17 every day leaping out of bed to go to school because 1) I don't have to do ANYTHING 2) All my friends are there and 3) my class is ridiiiculously fun and nice and just generally full of great people! It's kinda a ding dang because some of them have been there together since they were like 2 years old and everything is done in the sammeee class samee people and they know each other inside out so they have this whole family type thing goin' on. Which is nice! But could have been awks to shimmey into you know what I mean?

But it's actually not like this at ALL everyone is tooo beautifully welcoming and I have nuzzled into their warm embrace with glee. We actually get up to so much ridiculous shit and right now Imma take full responsibility for anyone not passing their university entrance tests...

Ok every day is a new day with it..por ejemplo..tuesday we had double geography and I actually understood the whole thing! It was such a beautiful epiphany like I just wiped all the water of the windscreen and could see everything clearly, and then we went down for recess and I couldn't understand anything my friends were saying. And then yesterday I met a guy whose mum works at my building (he is literally the guy version of me..nothing is better) and we talked for 3 hours straight only in porto like SUPER fast about 3947 different subjects and it was awesome! And then some days I can't be fucked and just say it in you know..getting there slowly!

On Saturday my Rotary district had this nations fair, where all the exchange students get together and have a table with stuff from their country to help next years exchange students choose where to go. We had fairy bread (yes people this is australian I didn't know this..?) ANZAC biscuits..and we WERE going to have a pav and lamingtons but 20 eggs and a failure oven later we had nothing. But we did have heaps of cute little trinkets and people were easily impressed when we told them I had kangaroos at my house. So pretty much, we would talk to someone and they be wantin to go to like germany or canada or something and without failure five minutes of our ridiculously enthusiastic blabbering later they had changed their minds :)

I didn't realise the little things I loved about Aus until I had to persuade people to go there! And anyway it was basically just a day of wearing the flag as a cape and jumping around spontaneously with the other exchange students.

This Thursday, we all have to go to a rotary district conference where old men talk about rotary programs etc. boring right? WRONG. YOU ARE SO WRONG. It is actualllllly a free 4 day cruise to Rio de Janeiro!


So obviously, really really looking forward to that. I got my flippy floppies. And it's all you can eat so you know, generally, my paradise! The other day I ate porkchops till I was in crippling pain and today I had 5 different desserts with lunch..sooo off to the gym for a nice 3 hours tomorrow I'm thinking haha.

Beijos a todos! XXXX

(also, if you haven't tried longboarding before...get to it. It's like surfing but on a skate board type thing...just the cruisest thing ever..especially around my sussa little seaside city!)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

So it's been over a month...

People, I thought I would be great at the blogging thing. Oh how wrong I was..I just end up with big chunks of turbo-information and now I've just been silent for about 4 weeks. FAIL.

SO at the start of March Brazil had carnaval! For those that don't know..or haven't seen that Simpsons's generally just a week where everybody stops work and school to relax or party. I like their style. Carnaval is one of the national icons of Brazil because they have the big samba school competitions in Rio and Sao Paulo with crazy floats that usually have a gorgeous sambista in a tiny sparkly bikini and hundreds of drummers / dancers / people in crazy cool costumes following just getting loose to samba and loving life.

My family went to an inland city to visit relatives and it was raining EVERYWHERE so we just had a quiet one, but I got to watch the parades on tv and they were seriously amazing! When I come back to Brazil being in one of these parades is on my bucket list :)

Well..what else is new...? I changed classes at school! Now I'm in 3rd year..which is more like yr 12, and I must say, they are pretty cool cats. Super welcoming and just generally awesome..I can tell we're all going to be so tight by the end of the year! But I've been so lucky to have two really cool classes, of course I miss my friends from 2nd year because they kind of like 'raised me' here (and taught me all the swear words on the first day) haha but they're just down the hall and we have recess with everyone and party together still so it's all good!

I have been able to go out a lot more with friends which has been really good, for a while there I had a moment of homesickness missing everyone in Australia, and I still miss you all alot but at least now I can go out and do things that I'm used to doing on weekends :)

It's been two months here already, and I simply can't believe it. Like SO much has happened, but it seems like in an instant. 1 month from now I will be 18 (so long waiting but now I don't want it!) , 2 months from now I will be with my 2nd family, and 10 months from now I will have to come home ! But there's no need to look so far forward, each simple routine-style day even has it's own little treasures and memories, like meeting  a DJ for two of the best clubs here at the gym, wagging school to spend a glorious day sipping beverages on the beach with some aussie and kiwi exchange students, and getting the friday song stuck in everyone's heads haha!

Also, I made anzac biscuits, they kind of failed. How you might ask? Look, you're talking about the girl that came up with a fried egg, upon direction to make caramel (heh heh good times grace) so yeah. I will try again :)

Also, yes, I did it. Don't judge me. PLEASE don't judge me..I just succumbed to peer pressure and went and made a's super popular here. Don't worry, I don't tweet all the time..maybe..twice a day..haha I maintain that it's to pick up portugese quicker. But it IS good for being in the loop..speaking of's coming along pretty well :)  I'm just so impatient that I want perfection and clarity right NOW but of course these things take time. I'm grateful for everybody being patient with me, they say I'm going well..but you strength lies in swearing haha.

ALSO sorry just one last thing that is lame in australia (other than twitter) that is fully embraced here is CROCS. Ok not fully embraced but one of the coolest kids in my old class wears yeah. Shit got real with that.

Anyway that's it for now! I feel like I deserve an update on everyone else's life now..if we haven't touched bases this year LET'S! I do love to 'stay connected' as facebook suggests :D
Big hugs and many kisses!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February so far!

Okay wow well I've noticed that I really tend to write novels in this because there is so much to say, BUT I have decided to confine everything into a simple clean-cut no fuss dot point format this time!

So, here is a mixture of amusing/awkward/interesting things that have been happening lately;

  • The girls at ballet are dancing in the parade of my city for Carnaval so they went to a samba school to practise, and they invited me to come! They have to sing and dance for 45 minutes (in the street I would assume) NO BREAK! Ahh they have to be so fit. So here at the samba school there were about 10 guys on drums and it was just the loudest thing you've ever heard..cups pretty much shaking on the tables etc. and then they told me for real Carnaval it's like HUNDREDS of these drummers. Ahh it will be so wild! Okay so that was a cool experience that I'll never forget! 
  • Erm well the bus driver that usually is on when I am going to school just randomly pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket when I got off .. unraveled to find his EMAIL ADDRESS...that was definitely an awkward moment. And then said he had 'the day off tomorrow' ..I was like okay..yep..I'm gonna go to my seat now..Why did he think it was the right choice to extend the passenger-driver relationship?! Needless to say that was quickly thrown away and I  now avoid eye contact! 
  • Here they have Valentines day on the 12th of June (yeah, I'm not quite sure why either) so yeah..nothing really special happened there..just a regular joe Monday...BUT if I had to choose the closest thing to a special act of kindess that day it would definitely be my yoga teacher who taught me the proper way to do the splits whilst standing on my head! So that was fun. Sometimes I think he is a weightless ninja guru man, he can balance his bod on his hands in about 47 different ways..I plan to learn many! 
  • But nonetheless I have found a lover here, and we are quickly becoming inseparable. Hershey's chocolate and I met on the 16/2/11 at school, friends introduced me. It's cookies and cream flavour and just simply the best. I'm hoping that we can have a long-term relationship together and hopefully do the distance thing when I return to Aus! If not I will bring packets with me! 
  • Last week my host mum booked a manicure and pedicure appointment for me because I was going to a party (which was so nice!) and got them all done in maybe an hour and yeah it was just your flat $12...good...I think I will be getting a few more of those this year..just for the sheer price absurdity! 
  • Gym life is going good, got my finger print entry happening (so suave! I like to pretend I'm a spy?!)  and I'm going start hip hop classes and a flexibility class! As well as crazy ninja yoga that I love! I meditated for the first time at the end of yoga this was one of the coolest's exactly how people describe's like you're not asleep but you're not there either and somehow time passes without you knowing that it has...
  • Ballet + school life just keep getting better and better! Everyone at Escola Municipal and Carmo are just the warmest, funniest and most helpful people ever, everyday there are laughs about weird/normal/silly things :D  There couldn't be better people to spend a year with, I can tell we are going to have tooo much fun this year together! 
  • A few days ago at the 1 month mark I promised everyone I knew that I would stop speaking english and only speak portugese and so far it's going really well! You don't realise how much you actually know until you are forced to say it, and just in 3 days of doing this I have learnt heaps. But in saying that it definitely doesn't always work I tried to conjugate the verb for colour and say I like to colour (because I haven't used coloured pencils in ages..I was excited okay!) and then little did I realise that 'I colour' is the same word used for that ended really well...
Anyway I have failed to make this short and snappy but if you skipped over everything I can sum up by saying; I can't believe I have been lucky enough to come here and be apart of this city and country, the days are flying, the people are smiling and there are lots of exciting things round the corner! 

Beijos a tudos x

Sunday, February 6, 2011

New kid! School and lots of exercise :D

Well this week has been crazily busy and fantastic. On Tuesday, my host sister got on a plane to Australia and I went for my first day of school. Here in Brasil you don't move around the school, you have the one class and the one room and the teachers come to you! It's really good because a) we can just relax between classes and b) I have a sense of...dare I say it NSW Senior English students...of...BELONGING! Haha no but really, it's comforting to come to the same people each day instead of having 6 different classes/ much more to learn about the group dynamic/who is who etc. SO everyone at my school is really, truly, awesome. It's really welcoming and in the breaks everybody talks to everybody, it's not like 'groups' where there is a full-on hierarchy.

I got put in 2nd year which is like the equivalent of year 11, but most of the people in my class are like 16. With the boys, you can tell that's how old they are, because they are so crazy and silly but I love it this way because they are so much fun! And the girls are so gorgeous, I get along with them really well. They are so nice and I felt welcome there as soon as I walked in the door. Plus they speak really good english!

During class time I can't really understand that much because it's SO fast so I kind of just amuse myself with writing in my journal, reading my phrase book/magazines and when it really gets desperate iPod solitaire or sleep! But in 2 months I think I will be able to understand more and will actually learn something because they take things like philosophy, current global affairs and portugese grammar. If there's one thing the Australian school system needs it's a grammar class...also english class is pretty fun! Here school begins at '7.20' but by that they mean you can rock up at 7.30 and we might start class at 7.40, but it's not so bad because we finish at 1pm. Brazilian time is something to get used to...they never mean the time they the host of a birthday party said 7pm and so we leave home at 8.45, it's just the way it is! Verrry relaxed. My school friends have taught me various swear words and also the equivalent of 'go shit on the grass' which I'm sure will be very useful and practical in my first few weeks haha

So Tuesday, I went to a shopping centre with the other Australian here and he bought a longboard from some skate shop, and while it was getting assembled, the only lady that could speak english got chatting to us (also it was hilarious to see this big 60 year old mumma talk knowledgeably about bearings, deck types and trucks!!) ANYWAY we were just talking about how welcoming everybody was at school and she said that here in Brasil people are very accepting and warm, whether you're rich or poor, black or white. She and her husband had a group of 11 couples that were their best friends and three of those couples who got along really well were 1) German 2) Jew and 3) Arab. They had no idea and when they found out of course it didn't change anything because they were best friends..but it was just a touching little story I thought of how positive the Brazilian way is. Despite the deap-seated conflict and hostility between these groups they got along fine because they didn't care about that stuff.

Wednesday arvo after school my host brother went to this big gym/pool complex and in the middle there was this place for a Capoeira school. This is like a traditional Brazilian art form that combines martial arts/dance/music all in one. It started with the slaves in the 16th century who needed to fight for their lives but only had their bodies to do so..and so police etc. didn't know what they were doing they made the movements all smooth and fluid so it just looked like a dance. ANYWAY it was just to promote the school and somehow I ended up there with them doing it..! The kicks and stuff were easy because of ballet and yeah it was really fun and random! They had these cool instruments too that they taught me how to play. Okay so this is a short clip of capoeira:

Thursday arvo my host cousins friend (yes vague I's all about the contacts here) took me to her ballet school! I was so excited, but erm little did I realise that it is like the best one in the city/possibly state and everyone is SO EXTREME. For instance, their group won a national competition and the older group one a competition in New York so...yeah...they aint foolin around. Again I was put with girls who were like 15/16 but they honestly looked like they were full time dancers. The school is paid for by the government so the girls don't pay, but in order to go there you have to pass a test and be fabulously amazing at all times..if you start to drop your technique or get a little fat they will ask you to leave!! So yeah shit gets pretty real here! The teacher said I can come 3 times a week if I want to on one condition; that I stay in Brasil forever haha! I like her thinking...Classes started at 5-6 and finished at 11pm! So dancing girls next time you get kept back late don't complain! And tell Mrs Lewis that I'm going to go all year :D

Thennnn Friday arvo I went to this gym which is free for exchange students but really expensive for everybody else because the owner was once an exchange student! So this gym, is pretty fabulous, we're talking individual tv screens on every treadmill, swimming pool, sooo many crazy machines that train muscles I've never seen before and a cute little cafe. They even gave me a program and everything! These two activites will keep me quite busy and most importantly burn off all the barbeques and brigadeiros and bread cheese ball things! So I have done it. I have found the solution to avoid becoming obese yet continuing my over-zealous eating habits!

Oh and may I add that all the people at these 3 activities spoke no english! Sooo I was really forced to just come up with stuff in portugese, which was good! Hand motions have never been so useful..
Saturday went for a good shop and got about 12 good things for $70! Also went to the beach for a lonnng time and I believe I have become accustomed to seeing dark, toned, beautiful men parading around. It's not such a novelty any more, but it doesn't do any harm...
Now it;s Sunday and I just came back from a day around town that ended at the beach where they have a band set up and old couples come to dance at the square. The council organises it all and it happens every Sunday night. So here we were watching these couples, some like 70 years old, just totally getting loose to this music..all dressed up..looking into each others eyes..just totally being there in the moment and loving life. There was this woman who was dancing by herself to I will survive and she was just so happy...there was no shame with these people, like they didn't care about being daggy or anything, they just wanted to have fun!

These people wade through the same shit that all adults do but they don't sit around and mope about it and worry what the next person is going to think of's Sunday night..they go out with their lover..have a dance, laugh and then look forward to it the next week. I reckon if everybody lived like Brazilians, people would be alot happier. So, for this week, in your own lives, if something is getting you down just I dunno give yourself a break, indulge in something, crank up your music and have a stupid dance like that lady and all of a sudden life won't seem so serious! Anyone can be Brazilian at heart :D


Monday, January 31, 2011

Settling in

Okay well I just read over my last post..and do not even remember writing that haha! The day I posted it seems like it didn`t even happen because I was sleeping most of the time as I got super sick! So I was firmly out of action for a good 3 days, just resting..I think it was my body telling me slowww the flip down Sarah! Because the first 3 days were really full on, out all day, then going out again at night, not really sleeping properly, then when I was finally going to catch up on missed sleep/jetlag/new time zone (as in comPLETE opposite..13 hours difference with daylight savings) we didn`t get back til 4am and woke up at 7am for the trip to the city!

SO! It was good to have the time to just chill and recharge! I`ve been watching alot of Nickelodeon with my brother in this down time and will absolutely admit it right here loud and proud on the internet that I love that iCarly show. Yes, I know it is aimed at 10-14 year olds, but it`s pretty funny! Especially in Portugese...most American shows here are dubbed in Portugese with completely different character voices/tones everything. From the Simpsons to Spongebob (bob esponge) it`s all in Portugese!

Despite being sick I`ve still done some cool things..we went to this monument in the twin city to Santos called Sao Vicente and it overlooks the coast line of both has the most fantastic view but I forgot my camera so next time I will show you!
The next night we went to a little birthday party for the other Australian in my city. His name is Beau and he`s from South Australia..he only just turned 16 so he is the baby of the group ...yet still the tallest haha. Here I met some of the other exchange students in my city, a frenchie, one from Denmark, a couple from Ecuador and 4 Americans. They are so nice!! And really welcoming. Beau and I are really lucky because there is a whole group of them to show us the ropes because they have been here since the start of their school July/August. In the apartment buildings they have all the individual places upstairs and then down the bottom they have this big room which is there purely for parties =D    they really love their parties!

The next day I went to my rotary club for the first time..and wowowowow is it a fancy rotary club! Mainly because it is in a high rise building right on the beach! It was such a beautiful time I will put photos up. But because this is a new club, it is very small. My host sister Layse, is the first exchange student they will sponsor, and I am the first one they have hosted. So, we have no shoes to fill which is good!

The next night it was my host uncle's birthday, so we went to their house and had lots of food and brigadeiros. I feel this will be one of the top 5 reasons of not wanting to go home to Australia...THERE ARE NO BRIGADEIROS! Okay so it's like a kind of chocolate truffle..a tiny little ball of smooth, sticky condensed milky delight!! Oh just the best! Don't worry, I will still come back to Australia, because I will obviously learn how to make these magical treats.

On another food note, I had my first Churrasco today! Which is a Brazilian barbeque. MAN do these people know how to cook MEAT! Ohhh wowow it was really something. I would be lying if I said I didn't eat 13 chicken drumsticks. This irrational behaviour is not uncommon for me here so this week I am going to buy some joggers and get running again! Otherwise I will come back and my parents will not recognise me/I will not fit through standard doors!

My host sister leaves in a couple of days for her year-long exchange to Australia...she's off to Cambelltown which should be...interesting! I told her to take lots of cosmetics because they are SO much cheaper here! It's unbelievable! Everything is pretty much half the price or less! Also the ALCOHOL is sosoos cheap....1L bottles of vodka for about $12! Just casually sitting there in the supermarket. Good quality beer is like $6 for a 6-pack and when you order it at a restaurant it's like $2-$3. I plan to bring some home just because it feels wrong not to take advantage of this outrageous deal that is their constant lives! One could build some kind of enterprise from it if it weren't so (probably) illegal...

There were lots of little funny things like that which I wanted to share but I can't think of them now so they can wait. As we are all saying here " I do have a WHOLE year" ! But bottom line- I`m incredibly happy and smiling each day. Language is getting better...accent is getting worse...the other Aussie just looked at me, totally betrayed, as he heard me speak the moment I've got this warped west coast US thing going on. Who knows what it will be like after a year! My family, extended family and everyone in and between and gorgeous. My host brother and I get along SO well! We are constantly in fits about something random and stupid...but when the look of confusion comes up, one word will solve all things- traductor? Which is for google translate =D
  Brazilians are such beautiful, welcoming people. They love to socialise and eat. So we do. And that suits me juuuuust fine!

Hope you all are soaking up the last remnants of summer before reality kicks in, whether it be for school, uni, work. Whatever it is, have fun, chew gum and enjoy it!


Monday, January 24, 2011

First 48 hours

Well well well

Here I am, sitting in my new home in Brazil, wondering where to ever start. I don't reallllly know how to what the protocol is....but I guess I will just say what I would be telling you all individually if you asked how is it so far..

So the day I flew out, the 20th, was quite literally the longest day of my life..I left the gold coast at 2am..and then after driving and waiting and flying we left Sydney at 1.30 pm and after a ten hour flight to Argentina the local time was only 3.30 pm..the other exchange students from Australia to Brazil were quite awesome and we all agreed that we chose the best place :D
Finally we got to Sao Paulo airport at 9.30 pm, and we were greeted with all our host families. As all these young Australians anxiously looked out to the sea of strangers, they yelled out to me "Sarah, I think we know who your host family is!" I emerged from customs to find a big screen printed sign held up by my host parents that said "Welcome to Brazil Sarah King" in this bright yellow and green. It was such a beautiful gesture!

The drive from Sao Paulo to Santos, my city, was full of questions to my host parents about anything..everything...! I was just so excited and happy that after all the time spent looking forward to this was actually HAPPENING!

The next day we went to the local shopping centre and I got some yellow and green havaianas with the Brazilian flag..yes I know..the ULTIMATE tourist (for those that don't know, Havi's are from Brazil!) They were about $10..a price to be enjoyed. Then they took me to the beach of Santos, a place that I will be going to frequently this year. Then we went to meet the extended family, like aunties, uncles, grandparents, cousins etc.
It's funny because some speak english, some speak a little and many speak none at all. So, I have been using lots of portugese, a little bit of english and the rest in spanish. Usually I just try to say it in Spanish and see if they understand..many words are the same so that's good. But sometimes that just doesn't work out and there is just this silence coupled with raised eyebrows..quickly followed by a look to my sister or mother who both speak both languages. So, it is a bit of a trial and error system. But it is only day 3 or 4 and already I am not using much english in the house...I just want to throw myself into it because the quicker you can communicate the better the times will be! But yesterday I met some Exchange students from the US and I just spoke in Portugese and they were like errrrm we do speak english...! But I have become so quickly influenced..gone is the Australian I speak english in the way that my host mum and sister do...a little bit jolted and with this weird italian/american accent. So, I AM ALREADY FORGETTING ENGLISH

Which is weird...
Anyway, the next day the family went to the next city called Guaruja which is the only beach in Brazil to be awarded with the blue flag, which is certified by the Foundation for environmental education. To get one, the beach has to have super super high standards  for  water quality, safety, environmental education and information, the provision of services and generalenvironmental management. On the weekend, everyoneeee from the hustle and bustle of Sao Paulo city come to Santos or Guaruja to have a day at the beach. And man do they enjoy the beach. If you look at the photos on facey you will see how crowded the beaches are...and here they don't just go to the beach to swim and then leave. They spend the whole day here...sitting, sleeping, eating, drinking, swimming, walking, playing and just generally relaxing. There are hundreds and hundreds of umbrellas and chairs for everyone to use and they all stay til the sun goes down...about 8pm. 

Now, if you thought that the Brazilian bikini was just a stereotype, you are SO WRONG. Here, allllllllll the girls wear skimpy, cheeky cut bikinis. Often just straight up g-strings...No matter how young, old or fat you are, you still wear them. The sights aren't always pleasant but here they are just so comfortable with their bodies so it's just kind of like; good for them ! Also, the guys only wear speedos...well..they are more like boyleg cut undies but yeah there are certainly no boardshorts in sight. I felt like the absolutely crazy one in my regular joe swimmers!

I get along reallllly well with my family, and their extended family, even with the language barrier we are always joking and laughing. My host brother is so cute, at first he was shy, but now we are like sister and brother. I showed him you forgot the blueberries on youtube (thanks joanna!) (if you haven't seen it look it up and then fastforward to the's the goods) so that won me a few kudos. We generally just bond over random things like American music and playing football together. Sometimes our conversations have a 2 minute delay because we type what we want to say into google translate and then pass the computer over..then we's a great little system. The first thing he said to me was 'you eat ALOT' haha

That night we left at midnight to go out to a club that was playing samba music, my cousins friend taught me how to do it and we just went wild! It was so much fun. Here, the people don't go out to get drunk, they go out to dance! I loveeeed it! We didn't get home until 4am,,

It's like everything you could ever hope for when you go to Brazil i have already the beaches, the samba, the food (ahhhhh soo good!!!) the welcoming people..everything! Quick note on the food, when you visit people they always offer food and get offended if you don't eat it, so my host mum said that I will be loved because I am always hungry haha

But on a sour note I think I went a bit too hard too fast because today I had a lil vom..and by little I mean ten times...awks..because it's such different food and it's so hot and I was overrrtired. After all the years of bragging about not vomiting since I was 7 ..I think I have made up for it all..hahah

oh sweet jesus

this has been TOO LONG
if you made it this far
congratulations..I am time it will not be this's just because everything is new and exciting that I want to share it :D

I hope you are all doing well in Australia!! Lots of Brazilian love xxxx