Is it possible to miss you even though I have three months more? The inherent kindness of strangers—their naturally open, welcoming, and talkative nature. The terrazas—why would anyone eat inside when the weather in Madrid is almost always beautiful, sunny, and breezy? The winter sunsets (and sunsets in general). The abnormally long hours of sunlight. The late nature of everything from sleep, work, and school to meals—I feel like I get more out of my day. The free museums—El Prado and Reina Sofia. The social nature of food and meals—people take their sweet time and chat.
I went last weekend to visit my host family in Curitiba, the city that I stayed in for two weeks when I first got to Brazil for In-Country Orientation. My family in Curitiba is a couple with no kids, and they are both doctors, (financially comfortable and extremely well-educated), and spoke English. I was very much in my comfort zone, living with the same language, socioeconomic status, and habits I was used to. I remember worrying when I was there that my experience wasn’t “Brazilian” enough or simply different enough from the life I had just come from in the US. Visiting them for the weekend was a nice little vacation back into my American life of speaking English and having a clothes dryer. Seeing my family and Curitiba again after four months also allowed me to compare the Sophia of September who had just arrived in Brazil, homesick and terrified, to the more confident, Portuguese-speaking Sophia of January.
February was crazy! It started of finished “Training Seminar 2”, the second of three program retreats. This time I was hanging out with all of my friends in the state of São Paolo. On the second weekend of February I went to Blumenau, the city with the largest Oktoberfest in the world after Munich. The next weekend saw me in Rio de Janeiro. Then I was barely able to return home before heading out again to Iguacu Falls (worth the google image search if you don’t know what it is). I finally returned to Florianopolis, for probably the last time, the day before Carnaval. If I thought the rest of the month was crazy, I had another thing coming to me.
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