Just over a week in Brazil and I’m still in love! It’s been a crazy couple of days but I’m enjoying every moment. We’ve had class for the past week and it’s going really well. My Portuguese class is four hours a day Monday through Friday, and I am also taking “Doing Business in Brazil” for three hours a day Tuesday through Thursday. The Portuguese instructors speak to us only in Portuguese and things are starting to click. I can already understand about 60% of what the instructor says. Our business class is fascinating. I had never thought of Brazil in terms of economics but I’m learning so much about its industries, trade, politics, and more. When my professor learned I am from Florida he joked that “every year Brazilians wish for Florida to have a hurricane or earthquake to destroy the orange crops so Brazil can take over”.
Now, to talk about the World Cup! Every time Brazil has a game is like the 4th of July in the United States. No one goes to work or school and everything seems to stop during the game. Every restaurant or establishment is tuned in to the game. Our group of AIFS students and others studying at FAAP (Fundacao Armando Alvares Penteado) went to FIFA Fan Fest in Centro Sao Paulo on Saturday to watch the Brazil vs. Chile game. Oh my…anyone who watched that game probably could feel the tension from thousands of miles away. We got to the fan fest at 10am and were a few rows back from the huge screen. My feet still hurt from six hours of standing in the heat! Every goal (and almost goal) resulted in screaming, cheering, hugging strangers, and so much noise. It was an incredible experience to be surrounded by people whose hearts are truly in the game.
After the game I met up with my Brazilian friend Luccas. He and his friend took me to Avenida Paulista and then bowling with some of their friends. The girls were so nice! They loved meeting an “Americana” and adopted me into their circle so fast. Brazilians have the biggest hearts.
On Sunday our AIFS coordinator Giovanna took us to Parque Ibirapuera, the biggest park in Sao Paulo. A few of us took naps in the grass while others played soccer with some Brazilians. In the park is the Museum of Africans in Brazil. The museum had exhibitions about the African descendants in Brazil and their integration into Brazilian culture.