The worldwide Augustana College experience

Salvador First Impressions

When I arrived in Salvador I had quite an interesting experience with my first homestay (I say first because I have since been moved for safety reasons). Here is the abridged version: Deanna, Rachel and I were placed in a home that was two doors down from a favela (and not a welcoming one like that of Santa Marta in Rio) and had a large space in a large wall that resembled a window… yet had no window covering. We thought that perhaps that we had just been spoiled in Rio and that now we were experiencing the “real” Brazil and so we feared for our lives but stuck it out for a night. When our professors got word of this they were very upset and had no idea that that was where we were placed or what the situation was. We were moved to their pousada for one night and then to a new “home” the next day. We are now in a marble, gated building with a family consisting of a grandma, mom, dad and son. They are very warm and welcoming and we are very happy here. Theview of the ocean which we are located on and can see for miles. The sunset can be seen from my bed. We didn’t need this, rather we simply wanted to feel safe, but indeed this is amazing.

Other than that, Salvador is taking some getting used to for me. It is not as clean, welcoming, safe or exciting as Rio. The food, however, that our Mai (mom) and maid make for us is incredible. Everything is “mixable” and SO yummy. I can hardly explain how excited we get for breakfast and dinner which both consist of FULL tables of food, dishware and fresh juices.

The maid thing has taken some getting used to. It is quite cultural to have a maid, not what you would expect in the US as this service being reserved for only the very wealthy. She is very nice and warm and is seemingly a part of the family which i nice. I just don’t know how, nor will I ever know how, to let someone make me food and fresh juice constantly, only then to wash my dishes, clean up and put away the meal, and make my bed when I leave the next morning. One of the most difficult parts of this is that we can’t communicate with her because of the langauge barrier and so we cannot convey our thanks for her hard work.

The most exciting part about Salvador thus far has been working with Professor Mariano and Rachel in making progress on the research proposal that we will be turning in to apply for a grant to fund joint-research in Brazil this summer. I am so excited about this project and I get more passionate everyday with the more research that I do.

Although I’m not yet in love with the city here as I was in Rio, I have no doubt that Salvador will grow on me the more that I navigate it and find places and people to get to know.

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