Thursday, June 7, 2018

What is going on?

                                    Typed Time   -{}-   Posted Time
                                   3 June 2018   -{}-   7 June 2018

                                      14:48 BRT   -{}-   10:56 BRT
                                     13 C (55 F)   -{}-   6 C (42 F)

Well, hello everyone. I've been putting this off just because I haven't wanted to do it. However since there is now less than a month until I return I guess I should write out at least one more.

So, over the past two months, I've been to a city named Iguazu, and the Amazon. While there were many problems that ended up happening while we were on our way to, in, and on our way from Iguazu, I still had fun.

To go into detail, our bus kept breaking down due to an overheated engine on the way to the city. The trip that should've only taken thirteen hours by bus ended up taking twenty-four. Due to the delay in arriving in the city, the schedule for our activities got changed and not exactly for the better. Lastly, on the way home, we had a new bus, our bus lost a wheel. Now what I mean by 'lost a wheel' is just that. We were driving down a regular country road and our rear, passenger-side wheel came off of the car. We ended up having to stay on the side of the road for about three hours while it was fixed and then got the rest of the way home. However having been forced to stay outside for three hours, I had laid down on the road, in front of our bus, and due to that and the cold temperature, I got a fever after arriving home. However, with some awesome care from my host family, it went away in the next three days.

Only a few days after that I was headed to the Amazon. I met up with five other exchange students at the airport and we all flew to Manaus, Amazonas. Due to our district being the furthest away from the trip, we left and arrived earlier than all the other students. On the first two nights, we all stayed in a five star hotel in the city. It had a pool and so we were able to relax and get to know the hotel's layout.
With over sixty other exchange students, we stayed on the Amazon River. We were seperated into three different groups to go with the three boats we would all be staying on. The first was Jacaré (Alligator), the second was Bicho-Preguiça (Sloth), and the one I stayed on was the Anaconda. Each boat had about twenty-five students and two coodinators, along with one sort-of activity leader. While on the boat, we slept in hammocks and during the days we got to do many different awesome activities. On the very first night in the forest everyone went on a trek through the forest. It was quite beautiful. On the very last night, my group got to sleep in the forest with our hammocks. We had a roof to keep the rain out, but no walls.
Overall, the Amazon was amazing.

That all happened in April, however there have been a few awesome parts of May as well. Such as my friend's birthday, my birthday, my half-sister's birthday and even my host-mom's birthday! I ended up calling my friend and talking to her for about an hour in the morning since it was a Saturday.
For my birthday, my host family actually ended up throwing me a surprise party the day before. The next day, I didn't have to go to school, simply because it was my birthday!
The next big thing was my host-mom's birthday. I made fettuccine alfredo for lunch and Texas sheet cake for dessert! Though I definantly couldn't have done it without the help of my host sister and my host family's maid Soleni!
Lastly, though today isn't anything special besides it being a Sunday, which is a day to be with family here in Brasil, I made French toast for everyone's breakfast!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Everything, All At Once

29 March 2018
Written at 01:18 BRT (EST + 1 hour)
Location: Unknown

Hello everyone!
At the current moment that I am writing this I am on a bus with almost every other exchange student, almost because Ngwale has already gone home, and Maru didn't come with due to bad timing.
Why am I on a cramped, not entirely made for long distance travel bus writing this at one in the morning?
Well, at three o'clock in the afternoon, March 28th, I left my house with my host dad Nilo to pick up another exchange student named Marian, she's from Mexico.
From there, we left for Santo Angelo, an hour drive if the traffic is with you. Shortly after our arrival, three other exchange students arrived, another from the US, another from Mexico and one from India.
Now, we waited until about 18:30 (6:30pm) when a small, eighteen seat bus arrived. Being the first onto it, we picked our seats and before departing another exchange student, from Belgium, arrived and joined us.

At this point you're probably confused about why everyone is slowly meeting up. Well, we're all taking a thirteen hour (for me, shorter for others who got picked up later along the route.) ride to a place called Foz de Iguacu, or Iguazu Falls.
We'll be staying there and enjoying the sights and attractions until Sunday, when we will all be headed home the same way we arrived.

The reason I'm writing this at now 01:27 in the morning is because we stopped for dinner and hour and a half ago. That lasted an hour and we've been on the road for half and hour again.
After eating, everyone is VERY awake and there are two other people in the space of one seat next to me due ta a card game that's being played despite the bumpiness as well as the girl in front of that seat wanting her hair braided.
While it sounds like I'm typing that as a complaint, it's more funny to me as over the time we've all been together we've become our own small family so it doesn't really bother me much anymore.

Oh another thing I should probably note. I mentioned the Amazon last time didn't I? Well, if you know much about the Amazon you probably know that it is (maybe just suggested) required that every person who goes gets the Yellow Fever vaccine at least ten days before going.
Well, I got the Yellow Fever vaccine this morning and should be arriving in the Amazon on the 7th of next month. CUtting it close I know.
However, one thing that was interesting about that circumstance is my bodies reaction to the shot.
Since having two shots of medical dye and a shot of cortizone in my wrist, the pain of shots doesn't bother me much anymore. However, as it turns out, getting a vaccine you've never had before can cause your body to get sick for a least a little bit after getting it.

As told by my host sister Cris, who took me to get the shot, apparently I had gone very pale, including my lips and I got dark circles under my eyes, except they were green. Strange reaction, however the only thing I felt was dizziness and lots of buzzing.
A few minutes later, I was drinking a cup of water and beyong being a bit shaking and tired was perfectly fine. Quite an interesting reaction.

I'll be trying to take plently of pictures and videos while in Iguacu so be excited for that!

6 April 2018
Written at 21:19 BRT (EST + 1 hour)
Location: In the Skies on the way to Manaus

Hello again! The reason I'm putting this in the same one is because I never quite finished the other blog.

--Back in time to 07:00/08:00 March 29--
Well, the bus started beeping. At the time we weren't sure why, but we we're suppose to arrive in Iguazu at 09:00 and we were already no where near Iguazu.
After stopping on the side of roads, and at one point we even stopped at gas station sort of place to pour water on the engine because, apparently it had started to overheat!
We stopped multiple times and at one point, one of the other students pulled out her duffel bag from under the bus, only to find that it was soaked in an unknown liquid.
At noon, we stopped at a proper garage which, happily, had a building nearby that served lunch. So while I, the other exchange students, and the Rotarians ate lunch, the bus was getting repaired.
Three hours pass and we finally get back on the road. Only to have it start beeping an hour later.

As it turns out, when the bus was being repaired, it wasn't the engine that was getting repaired but rather the onboard toilet we had. It had apparently been leaking into the undercarrage where everyonce suitcases and in one special case, duffel bag, was.
Which means, that the girl whose bag was soaked through, had a very unhappy start to our trip. However lucky for her, she had a host family member who lives in Iguazu and so she was able to go and get her clothing cleaned.

Continuing on, we stopped on the side of the road once more where we waited an hour for a mechanic to come to us. While he was looking at the bus, some of us hung out outside and some stayed on the bus. Half an hour after the mechanic arrived, those off the bus comprised of two Rotarians, me and five other exchange students, and one of the two bus drivers.
At this time, the bus started, the door closed, they pulled off into traffic and drove away. Leaving the nine of us on the side of the road.
Turns out that the mechanic had told the driver onboard to start it and drive to test if he had fixed the engine, however they didn't tell us this before doing so. We waited on the side of the road for almost another hour until another bus under the same company name pulled up to us, picked us up, and took us to another gas station where the old bus was.
Apparently they were halfway back to us when it started beeping again and so they stopped, called for another bus and had it pick us up.

After tranfering our luggage onto the new and SO much better bus, we drove a single hour, and arrived in Iguazu at 19:00... 24 hours after I first gotten on the bus the previous day.
We got settled in our hotel, showered and freshened up and then we went to a mall for two hours. We had food and shopped for a bit before heading back to the hotel and going to bed.

7 April 2018
Written at 21:06 AMT (EST + 0 hours)
Location: Manaus, Amazonia

The next day, we got up, got ready, ate and headed out by bus to go to the Iguazu Falls. We walked along a massive mountain area on the other side of the falls and still got wet from the fall's mist.
At the end of the giant walking path, you are right up against one of the falls meaning that even if you have a rain coat, your shoes are going to be soaked on the way up to above the falls.
We finished the trek and then waited an hour in line to get to the buses to go back to the main entrance area. Once there, our clothing almost or at least half dry, but our socks still soaked through, we went down the street to a restaurant and had lunch. Did I mention it was about 16:00 in the afternoon?
Just before 17:00, we managed to get into the Bird Park nearby just before the doors closed. We walked through the entire park, traveled back to the hotel by bus, got cleaned up and once more went out to a mall for the night, though a different mall this time.

Sunday was the day we were scheduled to go home on, however due to us missing the first day it was decided that we would go to Itaipu, one of the world's best water powerplants. We went through the entire tour and picked up a few souvenirs and than sat down to talk.
The other thing we would have done was go to a very popular budist-type temple. We put it to a vote, and it was decided that we all just wanted to go home.
And so we started the drive home. We stopped for lunch at the same place we had on the way to Iguazu and continued driving afterwards. With the route we were taking, I would arrive in Palmeira das Missoes (where I was going to be picked up) at midnight, and then after the hour long drive to Panambi, arrive home at 01:00.

At about 16:30, we were driving down a road in the middle of no where when suddenly pulled to the side of the road and stoped, a strange smell of smoke coming into the bus.
Turns out we had lost a tire. Not just popped a tire, but lost a tire. The entire tire came off while we were driving.
For the first half hour, we were told to stay on the bus. However, soon they needed us off because they needed to raise the bus to get to the wheel well better.
And so, fourteen exchange students sat on the ground with a few sitting on a giant wheel at the front of the bus, for a total of three hours.
At one point during that time, the Rotarians called the police because we were on a two lane road that didn't have shoulders and so in order to avoid more accidents, they had a officer come out and direct traffic if it was coming from both directions at once.

I ended up arriving in Palmeira at 05:30 and Panambi at 06:30. Upon arriving home I walked into my room, set down my backpack and, wearing my sweatshirt and all, collapsed onto bed and fell asleep.

While overall, the Iguazu trip was fun for the activities and company we had, our luck could've definatly been better.

Continuing, when I woke up later on Sunday, we figured out I had gotten a fever. So I spent most of the next few days bundled up and resting.
On Monday however, I still had my Portuguese class at Cipex that I went to, though I still kept my jacket on.
Later that night however, I had gone into the bathroom to use the bathroom of course. Shortly before standing up from the toilet, I found out that I had a 'small' friend sitting less than half a foot away from my feet.
A spider.
I bolted out of there, and just stared at it from outside the bathroom until Cris returned home from picking her mom up from Cipex.
Let's just say I stayed upstairs on the couch that night.

Oh, I might've forgotten to mention. While I was on the Iguazu trip, my family had me change bedrooms in their house. My new room was downstairs (across the hall from the bathroom where the spider was), double the size, with a double bed (rather than a single) and an AIR CONDITIONER!!! YES!
Though at first I wasn't allowed to use it because I was sick.

--Present Time: 21:44 AMT (EST + 0 hours)

Well, I left Rio Grande do Sul (my state) yesterday on the path to the Amazon.
Yesterday, at 05:00 I woke up, finished packing a few more things, and traveled to the bus station.
At 06:00, I left on a six hour bus ride to Porto Alegre where my flight was going to leave at 15:20 towards Sao Paulo. I arrived at the airport two and a half hours before the plane, and an hour and a half before the other students from my district (who were already in Porto Alegre.).
Our plane was a bit late, and so at about 16:30 we were off and on our way. When we landed in Sao Paulo, we had a plan.

First, we were going to find where our next gate was, then, we were going to find the Starbucks. If you didn't know, the international airport in Sao Paulo is one of the only, if not the only, place that has a Starbucks in all of Brasil!!!
Upon finding our gate we headed to the Starbucks, which was mostly on the other side of the airport. When we found it, it was right next to a ramen-type restaurant as well as a TGI Friday's. Definantely the kind of american food I've been looking forward to.
Jan-Philip [Germany], Nicole [Austria] and I ended up having dinner at TGI Friday's while everyone else went to the other restaurant.
We finally arrived in Manaus yesterday at 01:30 our time, however 00:30 their time.

We were the first exchange students here, as everyone else was going to arrive on the next day.
Now the trip has begun, there won't be any cell reception and no wifi during the trip from tomorrow onwards so wish me luck and I'll be sure to take many photos!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Chaos!! But not?

8 March 2017
10:52 BRT (EST + 2 hours)
Current Location: Panambi

Well, not much has been happening over the past three weeks when explained in a week-to-week format. However, over the entirety of those three weeks a LOT has happened.

The reasoning for why I did not post or even pre-write out a blog for the 21st is that not much had happened during that time. I had been sketching a bit, and had managed to get a beautiful picture before it got too dark outside.
However, it might also be because that Wednesday, at about 14:00 (2pm) I was told that I was going to Panambi once more, and that I needed to pack about ten days worth of clothing and such. As it turned out, a family in a different city wanted to host me for a while and it fit into my nonexistant schedule perfectly!
So I managed to shower and pack everything I thought I might need in an hour and a half, which was half an hour before I was going to the bus station to take the bus to Panambi. I took the bus and arrived in Panambi at about 16:45 (4:45pm), where Ester picked me up. I spent the night at her house, and the rest of the crazy adventure began the next day...

So the next day, I woke up at 08:30 and got ready. Shortly after, Estar drove me almost an hour out of her way to a city called Palmeira das Missões. Fun fact about this city, they have a population of 38,000 people, only 1,000 more than what is recorded for Elkhart!
We met my host family at the shop that they own, they sold traditional gaucho/gaucha wear as well as many other things that are heavily inbedded in the culture here in Brasil. This place was called Rancho Gaúcho. (Look it up if you want!)
I stayed with them for the next six days, and during that time, I was able to get into contact with another exchange student who lives in Palmeira! She's from Canada and her name's Maggi. We ended up going out quite a bit and hanging out. One day Maggie, a friend of her's and I all made lunch for my family! With their awesome help as well as their other ideas, we made stuffed shells into a lasagna (we only had lasagna noodles), as well as a salad that Maggie has made multiple times for her family in Canada.
My family also had a swimming pool in their backyard that I took advantage off multiple times. I am a fish!!
When it had been time to leave, it was actually earlier than I thought it would be. As I had been told to pack for ten days, I thought I would be staying for exactly ten days. Instead I was simply told one day that I would be leaving on the following day in the afternoon.

Thus, I spent the day, after packing up, just laying around as it was too hot to go out and do anything. At around 19:00 (7pm), my host parents came and picked me up before driving me back to Panambi. It was quite a bumpy ride, as their car didn't handle bumpy roads as well as every other car I've been in so far.
Either way, we managed to arrive in Panambi in one piece, and after a short stop by Cipex to drop me off I was on my way to a slightly stressful next few days.

After having packed the essentials for one night into my backpack due to that being how it was on the way to Palmeira, I found out in the not so vocal way that it was not going to be that way. I ended up staying another day and another night, which ended up being okay because I had an extra shirt in my bag.
However, then on Saturday we thought that Andrea would be able to pick me up around noon. However, as was the reason for the delay before-hand, it had continued to storm throughout the day. As it turns out, it had been storming heavily over the few days before and had managed to do some damage to the major store in town, to a few homes that I know of, as well as a bit of flooding.
After a few more days of waiting, on Monday I found out as a surprise that I was going to my next host family. However, it wasn't anyone that I had thought it was going to be. I was going to be staying with Ester and Cris and their family. (Cris was the previous Inbound Coordinator, and Ester was the previous Club President.)
They are going to be my host family from now until I leave, along with quite a few other families in different cities who want to host me for a week or so each.
My next four months are going to be quite busy.

Oh, and did I mention the Amazon?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


14 Feburary 2018
10:54 BRT (EST + 3 hours)
Current Temperature: 19 C (66 F)

Well, these past weeks have been sorta busy and it looks to me like I'll be keeping myself busy for the foreseeable future. I spent over a week in another town taking Portuguese lessons almost every day, and I now have an almost everyday schedule for at least one thing to do.
Since being back, I have finished painting the walls at Cipex and almost everyone who went on the Canada trip are back. Andrea, my counselor, is actually arriving back in Santa Barbara today as she had stuff to take care of in another city.
Now, my daily schedule it going like this, I'm getting up at 08:30 EVERY morning. On Monday's, Wednesday's, and Friday's I'll be going on an hour and a half walk around the city to start off the day, and then on the off days of Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, I'm going to be going to the gym at around 19:00. Sunday's will be my free day.
Besides those everyday scheduled things, I'll be trying to find other stuff to do outside of the house so that I'm not at home all the time.
Soooo, if you guys have ideas for stretches, or anything I could do outside the house shoot me a message! I'd love to hear them!!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Kiiiiiinda Late

31 January 2018
23:25 BRT (EST + 3 hours)
Current Temperature: 30 C (86 F)

Thursday was a pretty relaxed day. It didn't rain at all!! YEAH! So, since it didn't I managed to take some time, about an hour and a half, to relax outside on the hamock. Though while I was trying to relax, I had to police Nero who continually kept jumping into one of Odete's plants.
Not long ago, Odete put a rule in place for Nero, and me mostly, that at 19:00 (7pm) Nero has to go outside and stay outside until the morning. Which is understandable, so we do so. However, Nero doesn't like it very much, he tries to bolt inside at any chance he can get. So, this day, I decided to play with him for a bit outside. I figured out a while ago that if I roll a small pink ball up the driveway, let it hit the garage door and start rolling back down, Nero LOVES to chase it. It's actually hilarious!

For the first part of Friday, I relaxed. However, I had plans! But in the meantime, I had a cute little sleepy kitten with me.
For the second half of Friday, aka after 17:00 (5pm), I went out to Cipex to meet up with Marky! Though we sorta met partway to Cipex and so walked together. Once we arrived there, Paulo showed up at the exact same time! Marky and I were going to go get some icecream and Paulo ended up coming along while we got it. Then we went back to Cipex and hung out for an hour or so. I may have doodled a bit on the white board.

Saturday... it rained again. Like, the road is now a river, rained again. (Almost)

Sunday was a day of travel, birthday party, and lots of rain once more.
I got up at 07:15 in order to be ready by 08:00 to go to Odete's sister's house for her son's birthday party. We ended up leaved at 09:00 when we were picked up by Odete's parents and all drove together to their house. I got to hang out with Odete's sister's daughter and I had quite a bit of fun while there.

On Monday, nothing too big happened. I got up at a reasonable time, showered, had lunch and then went to Cipex! I began painting a bit more on the 'brick' wall. I've begun painting the bottom part, that doesn't have bricks, over with white, to try and lessen how visible the scrapes are on the wall. Then I began putting on another coat of blue paint on the bricks! I'm about a third of the way done with the bricks, but I do need to put on a few more coats of white for the bottom of the wall.

Once more, I have successfully woken up at a good time! Though it was sorta funny timing, as I got up, could hear Odete outside my room, I went to the bathroom, and went I got out she was gone. It seems she hadn't even realized I had gotten up at that time, because she had unplugged the wifi, which is normal for when I'm alseep or no one is going to be at the house. I simply found it funny.
Well, when she got back about an hour or so later, she told me that at 19:10 that afternoon I was going to be taking a bus to Panambi, and that I was going to be staying with my Rotary Officer Cris for about a week... maybe. So, I made sure to pack what I needed for a week and by 19:10 I got to the bus station, got my ticket and waited for the bus. It was almost a half hour late...

I'm in Panambi now. As it stands, I'll be here until at least next Thursday, which would mean that you guys would get another blog about the week before then. However, I'm think I'm going to skip that week. I will be writing everything down at the end of the day, however I will be waiting until this is over to update everyone about it.
Wish you all a nice week!

PS Sorry if this gets posted late. My internet situation at the moment isn't the best. I will post this as soon as possible!
(I'll be adding the pictures later.)

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


24 January 2018
18:30 BRT (EST + 3 hours)
Current Temperature: RAIN RAIN GO AWAY

Well, I chose to take another day off. If I remember correctly, it had continued to sprinkle down rain throughout the day and so no Cipex for me. However! It did stop for a while when it started getting dark, and I managed to get some A-Mazing pictures of the sunset.

Friday, I FINALLY managed to get over to Cipex for about five hours in the evening! I got the entire first layer of all the bricks down. Now I just need to go over some of them with another coat, paint the wall below it with a fresh coat of white and make sure all the pencil sketching is erased!

Saturday, I relaxed once more. However, with a single look at the week ahead, in reference to the weather, I didn't really have a choice but to relax. Starting Sunday, we were going to have constant rain and thunder storms. Lots of fun...

--Sunday - Wednesday
It has really be storming everyday. However while it has rained everyday, it ranges between complete and utter thunderstorms and just calm sprinkling of rain. However, it's made the ability to walk anywhere very scarce.
Even as I'm writing this, it's thundering outside. It has only been sprinkling rain all day but I've heard thunder every once in a while, the main storm is probably farther away.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

1 AM Update Time = Success

18 January 2018
01:11 BRT (EST + 3 hours)
Current Temperature:

So the worst thing about this is that I had managed to have everything written out and ready besides today so that I wouldn't have much to do... I still managed to totally forget until I was about to go to bed... Whoops...

Well, I went back to Cipex once more for a few hours. Paulo ended up coming as well because he had work he had to do, so we ended up hanging out while doing our own stuff. I finished sketching out where I wanted all the 'bricks' to be, and had started filling in the larger ones with a paint roller. However, as it turns out, they don't look too nice when you use a paint roller. So after already filling in about 10% of the bricks, I decided to go back through and neated those up by hand, with a brush that is about an inch wide. After that, I simply filled in about half of the rest of the bricks by hand as well. So far, I think it's coming out quite well!

I'm still waiting to get the putty spatula so I can fill in some scrapes and such, however I might just end up painting over them. Most of the scrapes and such are really small and at the base of the wall, so they aren't super noticable.

I was planning on going to back Cipex again on Friday, however the temperature got in the way. According to the weather station, it was only 24 C (75 F) but it seriously felt like it was at least 34 C (93 F)! So, I decided to stay home and not die of heat.
The worst part of Friday, was that my fan stopped working! So even though it was a little cooler inside the house, it was still REALLY hot, and I didn't have anything to cool down!

It had been raining off and on all Saturday evening. Quite annoying when I wanted to go out and do stuff. However, I did manage to get an adorable picture of Nero!

Once more, my plans to go to Cipex were foiled. I had checked the weather forecast, and while it said that it wouldn't rain until the evening, I didn't want to be stuck at Cipex when I wanted to leave.
Normally, when I go to Cipex, I go later in the day and then leave around 19:00 to 20:00 (7-8pm). As the forecast had said, it was going to begin raining around 19:00 (7pm), so I really didn't like my odds.

I had been awake for less than an hour and already had more than three new mosquito bites on my legs... HOW?!
Well, while I had planned to go to Cipex and work some more on the bricks, it was sprinkling rain off and on throughout the day. I probably would have been fine to just go, however I chose not to.

Started off the day right! I went outside and picked up Nero, who had been laying under a bush, and brought him inside to hang out with me. I'm not sure what he got into, and I'm pretty sure it's not because of the bush, but I ended up getting a few small spots of a rash on my arm. I know it was from Nero because they showed up exactly where Nero's front paws and head touched my arm. Odete put some stuff on the spots and they have disappeared now, but I'm still curious what he got into that caused me to get a rash.
Also, while Odete was out doing something I had a mini-vistor! Sadly I only took a video and no pictures, so the picture I have is sorta bad quality, but apparently it was just a regular lizard here. It was just strolling through our yard to hide under a giant flower bush Odete has. She said that they can get really long when they grow up, so the one I saw is probably still a baby.

If you can't see him, look closely at where the grass and the green base of the fence meet.

The rest of the day went by slowly and around 21:00 (9pm) my time, I FB called with my parents for about an hour and a half.

Today went by like normal. I really wanted to go to Cipex and work more, however the weather had another plan. Odete and I had a late lunch, and shortly afterwards it started pouring. It kept doing this off and on for a few hours, however later at around 18:00 (6pm) I managed to go outside and lay out in Odete's hammock for an hour or so. It was actually really relaxing and nice, I'm definitely planning on doing it more in the future.