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/subjects..so 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 say...like 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 know..it'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 them..it'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