After arriving with our new family, our viewpoint on Salvador began to look up. Our mom, fernanda, spoke broken English but was very interested in learning more. Beacause of this we barely spoke in Portuguese, except when we were hanging out with grandma. Our grandma was this awesome lady who loved us so much, she didn’t speak any English though – which was great because then she would try to teach us Portuguese. We also had a little brother, Lucca, who was about 8 and spent most of the time we were there at their summer home on the island – a dad, Paulo, who we rarely saw in anything but his silky boxers and haviannas – and a maid, Né, who made the best food around.
Our days in Salvador were much more structured than elsewhere, it was easy for us to settle in a routine. Every morning I would wake up around 9, eat a delicious breakfast of granola, banana, and some kind of suco. I would spend nh time before class either reading a book or doing yoga on the patio downstairs. Around 12:30 I would get on the bus for the half hour ride to class, spend about 2 hours max in an air conditioned classroom, and then get back on the bus to go home for an awesome dinner.
Not everyday was like this though, sometimes we had a planned activity for the day instead of class. We visited several museums and historic sites. The program also took us to a Bahia (Salvador is the capitol of the state Bahia) soccer game which wasn’t really my cup of tea but it was still pretty fun. (On the way into the game I walked straight into a pole which was pretty funny, we also ate straight sugar cane at the game – very strange but fun… as far as the game went, I think Bahia won? Haha) the program also brought us to a capoeira school. Capoeira is Brazil’s version of karate zen and yoga all mixed together. It is played as a game between two players and looks like slow-mo fighting. We had the school’s. Capoiera master teach us some of the basics in the courtyard of the school while the morning sun beamed down onto us. After the class, they showed us the musical instruments played during the game and taught us how to play them. We also had a workshop with the capoeira masters where they taught us how to make one of the instruments, the caxixi. It didn’t go too smoothly though since the teachers spoke little English and had no idea how to teach such a large group. When I showed the teacher he said with a disgusted face “who was your teacher?!” Apparently, I had misunderstood the directions and didn’t make my caxixi right – luckily, we worked together to make it work. My caxixi doesn’t look the best still but none of the seeds on the inside fall out so I’m happy with it.
The program also took us to an island one day. We had been talking with our family about it since they had a place on the island and wanted to take us there but we never were able to find the time. Whenever we talked about the island they never said the name.. it was always just “the island” which made it seem mysterious and cool. (they pronouced it i-ss-lan so it sounded more like Aslan the character from narnia haha) When the program took us though grandma was at their house there so we were able to spend time with her and see thier beautiful home. The island was much more populated than we had expected. Therewere beautiful beaches and mango trees everywhere. We also had feijoada – the traditional Brazilian bean and meat dish- for the first time, it was unbelievably delicious. After the day of lounging around in hammocks and swimming in the ocean we had to go back to Salvador unfortunately. It was a great day : )