After a few days in Salvador the contrast to Rio is quite strong. We are no longer in “touristy” Ipanema beach where the beaches were scattered with flawless guests from all walks of life. My home is now located in Amerilina, a community within Salvador with a highly concentrated Afro Brazilian population. By the end of just the first few days here alternative living arrangements had to be made for some of my classmates. All the students are now living with Brazilian families scattered throughout the city. Coming from a diverse background me and my roommate have come to appreciate our unique opportunity to live in this warm and loving community. On our first full day with the family our arrival from class was met with applause and about a dozen or so family members gathering to celebrate our grandfathers 87th birthday. There was music, dancing, food, and socializing. The family is very gracious and appreciative of our presence as me and my roommate often play outside with the family and neighborhood kids ranging from around 6-10. The warm reception and the care we recieve every day makes me feel instantly a part of a family I will cherish forever. OUr mother took us to and from school the first few days as the bus routes can be overwhelming. The first indication I was blessed with an amazing family was when my mother picked us up from the reception for new families. Me in my rookie packing efforts picked an enormous suitcase I filled with clothes. My mother noticed I had this to carry and a heavy backpack and carried my backpack out to the car for me. This sign of welcoming and grace has set the tone of my experience here in Salvador. The community is far less commercial and less American influenced. As I wind up and down the coast on winding roads I have realized that studying abroad is not about ocean views or model filled beaches. Experiencing a country is only justly done when done through living as the people do, where the people live, and doing as they do. What is really important to the everyday citizen of the world, the everyday traveler, and everyday American is not something I can comment on as my opinions are biased. What I can say is that Salvador is a very refreshing place where families enjoy anothers company in a harmony more beautiful than I have ever experienced in America. The children are greatful, cheerful, and optimistic in even the most simple and common forms of attention and care. The families enjoy anothers company, not their salaries or exclusive memberships. In Salvador a complete stranger can walk into someones house and not just be accomodated and treated with hospitality, but with true acceptance and a love that I will remember forever.