Winter in Brazil

Hi all!

I was planning to write a couple of weeks ago, however, I dropped my laptop and it has been at a shop being repaired. :-/  I finally decided to finish this post using Pedro's computer!

The past month I have been developing somewhat of a routine, tutoring individuals in the condominium in the mornings and teaching at Yázigi in the afternoons.  I have been a little homesick, although I can't quite use that word, because in fact, I miss more than my 'hometown'...I miss my family, I miss my friends in the US and in Korea, I miss having my own apartment, knowing where to find things and go places alone, etc. But I am adjusting and learning more Portuguese every day!

Some of my students at Yázigi
One day when I was feeling a little homesick, my coworkers suggested making bolinho de chuva, which literally means "rain scone" but it's basically a homemade doughnut with cinnamon and sugar.  We all got together during our afternoon break and went over to Iara's house and made them together.  And it was a perfect day for it, sprinkling a little bit all day long! They were delicious... :-)

A few weeks ago the school hosted a pizza and karaoke night for the students.  After being in Korea, I am VERY used to singing karaoke with friends and coworkers, but I was surprised at how much fun brazilians had singing and dancing together!  I should have known they would have been naturals... ;-)  Above all, the teachers' rendition of "I'm sexy and I know it" really brought down the house.

Heloisa, Marcela, and I singing "A Thousand Years"  

My coworkers at Yázigi

During the Corpus Cristi holiday a few weeks ago, I explored downtown São Paulo on my own.  Pedro really didn't want me to go alone, but he had to work all day on Friday and I had no classes. 

So, I arrived at the bus stop with the intention of following the directions he had given me: Take the bus to Santa Cruz and then take the subway to Sé where the cathedral is. However, when I arrived at the bus stop, there was a bus approaching that said "Praça da Sé"  and this is precisely where I wanted to go!  I hopped on and rode it until the last stop: downtown.

Catedral da Sé

Catedral da Sé
 I entered Catedral da Sé and walked around the square a bit. Then I asked some policeman nearby how I could walk to Mosteiro São Bento (speaking only in Portuguese of course!).  I arrived at the Monastery and spent some time inside.  I wandered around outside for a little while trying not to look like a tourist.
I had no trouble walking around until I asked a parking attendant how I could walk to Estacão da Luz.  She informed me that it was too dangerous to walk there alone and that I should take the subway there even though it was only one stop away.

Pátio do Colégio

Mosteiro São Bento

Estacão da Luz and Parque da Luz were very beautiful, but like she said, they are located in a bad area of downtown and are thus a little run down and host many strange or homeless people of the city. All in all, I had a nice day and I felt very liberated after making my way downtwown alone and using my survival street smarts and Portuguese skills! ;-)

Estacão da Luz
Estacão da Luz

Parque da Luz

Parque da Luz

We've also gone to Campos do Jordão several times because Pedro's parents have an apartment there.  This city is nearby and it is located in the mountains.  It is very popular this time of year because it is one of the colder cities in this area to visit during the winter.

Last time we went with Pedro's brother José, his girlfriend Gabriela, his cousin Lucas, and his girlfriend Flavia. It was nice to walk around downtown at night because the town was full of people eating and drinking at cute outdoor bars and restaurants all decorated with lights!

Last weekend we drove to a town nearby called São Francisco Xavier and ate a a beautiful restaurant nestled into the mountains.  The countryside is beautiful and I really enjoyed seeing the surrounding towns, although the car ride made me a little sick (the road was so curvy!).  But the view from the restaurant was beautiful and we had a lovely afternoon together :-)

São Francisco Xavier

I miss you all!

Beijos e abraços,