One week down, where do I start? Despite having only been on this trip for a quarter of its total planned time, I am already hugely overwhelmed by how much I have already been exposed to. This does not mean to say that I am in any way finished though, and in fact this first week has only made me eager for more. I feel like this is mostly because I haven’t really travelled internationally to this extent before. There were many things that happened during our first week here, but I would like to focus on two things I felt were the most interesting.
Firstly, I have taken a huge interest in learning Portuguese while I am over here. One major thing I have learnt straight away here in Sao Paulo is that there are barely any English speakers. This makes it difficult to do the things that we would take for granted back home such as order food, ask where the bathroom is and even introduce yourself. Although difficult, one of the best parts of this trip so far has been being forced to learn their language. Furthermore, there is a certain feeling that comes with connecting with people in another language, something you aren’t able to do back home so much.
Another highlight for me this week came in our trip to Ubatuba for three days. Going from Sao Paulo to here was a very contrasted move. Sao Paulo very much feels like a busy city in which you are constantly surrounded by amazing architecture and skyline, whereas Ubatuba feels like a town planted smack bang in the middle of a jungle and next to over 50 different beaches. Highlights from Ubatuba included going to the beach and meeting many Brazillians who were up for a good time in the heat. But perhaps our most interesting part of our time in Ubatuba was our visits to the Boa Vista Guarani indigenous community and also to a Quillombos community who had a very impressive sugar cane processing plant.
It was amazing connecting with the Boa Vista community, getting a taste of their culture as well as how they live. We were able to go for a walk through the rainforest to their community buried within. We were guided by a man named Alex who showed us around his community and told us of their various practices. They welcomed us through waiata, much like we would do back home in Aotearoa.
I am very much looking forward to the rest of our time here, especially the community visits we have planned for next week!